Sally Blanchard's Book Sales, Tongue-in-Beak Clayworks, Color Pencil Drawings, Parrot and Bird Collectibles
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|An introductory statement:
- If you don't want to learn more about what happened with the Members Companion Parrot On-line website and why there were so many problems with it being down and why it is now gone, please don't read this. I don't need to get any communications telling me that I shouldn't "air my dirty laundry in public."
|THE REASONS I FIRED DONNIE MARTIN and Had to Build Another New Website Myself
Written on July 15, 2010 (with updates)
Unfortunately I have to take responsibility for this particular mess. I have always trusted people and then learned far too often that I shouldn't have. How did I find this guy? He was recommended by someone who neglected to tell me that he had some serious problems with Donnie when he had him work on a bird club site.
In August 2009, I hired Donnie Martin to build a "wonderful" website. At the time, he told me that he worked for $15.00 an hour but that he would charge me $825.00 to build a website with Forums, a member database that I could use for group mailings, a calendar, an area to sell products through Paypal, and the ability to put articles and graphics on the site.
He told me that he could do this for $825.00 because he would use Joomla to build the site and also explained that the wonderful thing about Joomla is that it would be easy for me to learn how to work with the program myself. Some of the bells and whistles worked beautifully - a few never worked like the calendar and the group emailing. Since the site went on-line, it has had problems that shut it down several times. Donnie seemed professional at first and things went quite well. I was happy with the site although I was being charged extra so that aspects that were supposed to be part of the original site worked properly. I also had some requests that were not included in the original price, which I paid for. I also spent hours and hours formatting and adding articles, graphics, and other information to the site.
I had not realized when I hired this man to do my website that he had a serious drinking problem that escalated in the time he worked on my site. The most serious problem for me was that the site was down just about as often as it was up.
At first Donnie told me he would put me on his server but the server turned out to belong to another client of his, who turned out to be totally unreliable and his server was also unreliable. In March, the Companion Parrot On-line site was dumped from that server. In one of Donnie's later rants, he says that he took my site off of that server. Of course, this created a lot of work for him to put my site on a new, more reliable server. He essentially said it took him 66 hours to do this, yet he considers himself to be the absolute best website person in the world. (He has said many times that he invented the Internet) I trusted him to put my site on a reliable server from the beginning and he didn't. He knew that his client D.J. was an unreliable person and had already had problems with him in regards to the server. I have never refused to pay Donnie any more money. I asked him repeatedly to send me an itemized invoice but every time he communicates with me, he gives me a different amount that he said I owed him and it ranged from $650.00 to over $3,100.
I had not communicated with him for some time because I never knew if he would be drinking or not. I e-mailed him to ask him in late May to put Issue #75 on the site for download. I heard nothing from him so I called him. He refused to do anything and stated that he wouldn't do anything until I paid him the $2,000 I owed him and called me vulgar names. Again, he had been drinking. I hung up on him. A few days later I e-mailed him that I no longer wanted him to be a part of the site. That was when he sent the first threat to shut down the site. After 3 such threats, the site went down and I was expected to believe that he had nothing to do with it?
Then the Member articles and Parrot Gallery files were not accessible and they had been when we came back on-line. Of course this happened after another round of threats. Not only had he made several threats to sabotage the site and called me names; he came on the forums one night and left 3 drunken rants. The next day he removed them and people's negative responses to him. He also admits to sabotaging the site so that no one else can work on it. An example of his maturity and professionalism is the fact that he created a special password that permeated the site and that password was F--- You.
I began to feel very trapped having to depend on a man with serious drinking problems; a person who became very paranoid and vulgar when he had been drinking. I really wanted that site to work because it was essentially a wonderful site, even though there were some problems with it. I would have loved to be able to pay him and get him off of the site and out of my life.Unfortunately I couldn’t pay him the full amount he said I owed him. With my financial problems from my previous foreclosure, the economy, the unreliability of the site, my basic living expenses, and recent medical expenses, I couldn’t afford to pay him something between $900 and $3100 at one time. I discussed the situation with Donnie when he was sober and we agreed that I would start paying him $25.00 a week for him continuing to work on the site. But he didn't seem to remember anything I talked with him about when he sent his drunken rants. I also didn’t believe that he would ever leave the site alone because despite the fact that I paid him over $1,700.00 to build the site, there was no doubt in my mind that he thought that the members.companionparrot.com site was HIS site and not mine. He became so irrational and paranoid about so many things that I didn’t believe that the site would ever be free of him, his rants, and his drinking problems.
On July 1st, the entire thing escalated even more. I wrote to him that I would start paying him again if:
June 5, 2010 - $25.00 – paypal (During May and June the site was offline a few times for over 2 weeks because of sabotage)
April 10, 2010 - $75.00 – paypal
(During March the site was offline most of the Month because he removed me from his server when he was drinking – he admitted to this in an e-mail below)
March 14, 2010 - $100.00 - paypal
March 3, 2010 - $60.00 - paypal
December 9, 2009 - $400.00 – paypal (paid ahead to help him with a move he made-he forgot about this emergency payment in his totals)
December 3, 2009 - $75.00 - paypal
October 9, 2009 - $57.50 - paypal
August 23, 2009 - $420.00 paypal
$1287.50 Total paypal payments
Plus a check for over half the initial cost of the site ($500).
DONNIE'S DRUNKEN AND VULGAR, LIES, RANTS & THREATS (IN RED)
Donald Martin shut my site down on July 1st, 2010 negating any amount of money that I may have owed him. I never received a legitimate invoice. Yet on 7/1/2011 - I received the following message from him:
July 1 – the end of the site …
Since he was all over the place in regards to what I supposedly owed him, I told him I would need to have an actual amount on an itemized invoice and also a guarantee that he would stay off of the site and stop sabotaging it. Instead of giving me a serious response, he went on another rant about his delusions of the way I live. (One of his favorite rants is about my 'servants' and a special freezer I have just for ice cream?) After that rant, I wrote to him again stating that I simply needed an itemized accounting and an assurance that he would stop sabotaging my site.
July 1, 2010
Donnie wrote the following emails and eventually took me off of my own site and changed the landing page to state that the site and its contents were for sale for $1,700.00 stating that was how much I owed him. At that point I asked my friend Robin to corrupt files in the site so Donnie could not access them. That was essentially the death of the site.
"You pretty much refused to pay me when you didn't pay me. $25 since April 15th. You haven't even paid for February. It's July now.
Call Fred, he's your only hope. I'm ready to shut this site down. I'm not getting paid anyway... lol. I have nothing to lose."
In response to my REPEATED statement that I would start paying him $25.00 a week on July 1 if he would send me a legitimate itemized invoice. Another threat:
June 25, 2010
Perhaps not so drunk but full of lies. E-mail sent to Robin Root who has been helping me with the site:
From: Donnie Martin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Rob Root" <email@example.com>
Date: Thursday, June 24, 2010, 9:36 AM
"My oldest client owns a collection agency in Denver, he knows Sally personally. I have been supporting Fred Iacino, owner of Centennial Credit, for 18 years now since 1992. I actually wrote his software package, installed his entire system, and have been supporting him for 18 years. He called me to tell me Sally was taking me through bankruptcy about two months ago ..." (this is a lie! I never said anything to Fred like this. Either he is lying about it or Donnie is lying about it.) "I was getting 8 emails a day from Sally to do work on her web site. She hasn't paid me for months. She wanted me to do all this work... then she was going to file bankruptcy and write me off " (More lies).
"She's paid me a grand total of $315 since December. Most of that money went to pay her web hosting bill - $25/month. I've actually been paid about $50 over the past 6 months for working on her site. $50 for 6 months of work." (Another lie - 4 months = $100.00 - leaving at least $215 paid for his work. I also paid him $400.00 ahead in November because he had to move and had no money)
"I'm only charging her $15/hour - I gave her a break because she needed a break. I was just being cool. Now, the bill is $1,500.00 and she's paid me $25 total for the past two months. She paid me $150 in April - on a $1,100 invoice." (He has never provided me with an itemized invoice to justify any amount he says I owe him. Depending on how much he has had to drink that amount has varied from $650.00 to $3,100.00)
"Then I moved her site to Godaddy. Another $1,000.00 at $15/hour. My invoice is on her web site, she knows how much she owes me at all times." (He had to move my site because he claimed that he dumped me off of the server I was on. I had trusted him to place me on a reliable server - he didn't. My initial $825 kept increasing. I didn't plan on having to spend that much more money because of HIS mistakes. He had actually not updated his invoice since February. And WHY would it take a ‘website expert’ over 66 hours to move a finished site to another server??? The site on godaddy never worked right anyway. The current website is one I built without anyone's help.)
"I have nothing against you, but seriously, don't help this lady. She is pure evil. I know this because Fred Iacino was in the courtroom for Sally's last bankruptcy appearance and he called me to let me know. " (This is absolute delusion - I know Fred, he lives in the Denver area and if I had actually gone to court at this time, it would be 60 miles north in Larimer County and he would have absolutely no reason to be there. I have also never been in court for a bankruptcy.)
"Now you know... I charged Sally 1/3 initially to build this web site... I gave her a break from the beginning... she's asked me to do more work for free over and over." (At the time, I heard nothing about any deal or break on the price.) "She's evil. She's the worst client I've ever had in 32 years in this business." (Unfortunately, I can't say Donnie is the worst (I would still give that award to John Fisher of the NPPO) but he is close to it. His drinking, his convoluted thinking, his inability to answer a question directly, his threats and sabotage of the website has made him a nightmare to work with. I have paid him over $1700.00 when the website was supposed to be finished for $825.00. He has hijacked the site and left vulgar messages on the forums and has changed elements so they no longer work and continues to threaten me that he will shut down the website if I don't pay him for mistakes he has made. He has already shut the web site down several times at this point)
June 24, 2010
Donnie wrote (in response to Forum posts about the site being up again):
June 23, 2010
"You rent a 2 story house, with a garage. You have 2 cars, 7 birds, 2 dogs, 2 cats... an ice cream freezer. You have fucking servants taking care of your birds, and dogs, and cats... give me a break lady. I've actually talked to your servants on the phone." (In his hallucinations?)
"Various friends and influences here have concluded that you owe me a lot of money. And you have refused to pay. Actually, you've barely paid for the web hosting fees since November of 2009. You've paid me a total of $25.00 since November of 2009 toward the actual work I've done on your web site." (See the Paypal record above for the true amounts)
"You live in a big house, you have a massive storage unit that costs $600/month." ($180.00) "You have a refridgerator explicity desinged to store ice cream." (He has really fixated on this so-called ice cream freezer of mine, which comes from his imagination.) "You have staff to take care of your birds, and your cleaning. You have two cars" (a 20 year old Mitsubishi Montero that I use for hauling that has a blue book value of about $300 and a 10 year old PT Cruiser)."You have a garage. You actually have wait staff." (? Yes and I sit around all day at my pool and eat bon bons while the cabana boy brings me margaritas and caviar) "You have people that come to your house to take care of your birds and cleaning.This is fucking bullshit. I built your primary source of income, and I'm living on $500.00 per month. That's all I need, but somehow you live in a two story house in Loveland, have a huge storage unit, have 2 cars, and you can't pay me? I have none of those things, but I built your primary source of income.And you still haven't paid me. This is not acceptable any longer for me.Your web site is shut down as of now."
"I offered to cut your invoice in half - $7.50 / hour, and still you didn't pay me. (never heard this one before?) I offered to fix your web site for $100.00 - you paid me $25.00.Um... I know your making money off that web site, and I built it... do you think I'm an idiot? 24 hours, $75.00 or I shut it down. Yes, you actually have to pay the guy that built your primary source of income, surprise."
"You want something for free. Call your maids and other servants to collect the money. I'm seriously sick of hearing just how many servants you have, but you can't pay your bills. How many times have you had to hang up on me because your servants were bothering you? Guess what. If you can afford servants, you can afford me." (I had a woman come in to help with the bird cages for awhile but let her go – I have never had servants or wait staff. Not that it wouldn't be great! My family did have a maid when I was a teenager and we lived in London, but that is another story!)
Ok, good luck, you owe me $2,100 and I built your web site. The siege will last 10 minutes. I win. Your site is off. As of now.
I wasted a great deal of money, time, and energy on the site that Donald Martin built. I decided that the only way that I could have a successful website was to build it myself and not depend on anyone. So over the last 10 months I have worked with great intensity to completely build a new site on Godaddy (despite their generally sexist television advertising - not everyone who uses their programs is a post-pubescent teenage boy - some of their customers are aging women like me.). GoDaddy says their website building program is easy but it is certainly not intuitive. Luckily they do have 24 hour access to telephone help and the majority of (but not all) of their people are VERY helpful in answering questions and solving problems.