19 comments on “2014 Black Rock Beacon

  1. Mitch, kudos on your labours with the Black Rock Beacon. Much obliged that you are the first person, within the prior 4 months, to dispute my estimate, other than, my estimate is too small.

    Apologies upon a delay of a response, we were on holiday. In addendum, might no writers on the Black Rock Beacon have penned a contract to be representatives of the BMOrg, my apologies. In addendum, you might be correct upon a $10 million retirement fund, this would be in addition upon my prior estimate of $28 million to $45 million of their cash out, I did not have proof, within their numbers, of a retirement fund, therefore, I did not include a retirement fund in addition of the $28 million to $45 million estimate.
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    Mitch states ‘To BP and XXX: My article was mainly concerned with unexplained allocations in the 2013 budget. Specifically, the salaries section, while it may include 401k contributions for all of the workers, wasn’t part of any possible diversion, say what you will about the size of them, salaries are salaries, they went directly into people’s pockets — which may include temporary workers in addition to the full-time staff. I was mainly interested in the $2.6 million increase in usage fees and the $850,000 rise in taxes/licenses. That latter number has jumped around a lot in recent years for reasons that don’t seem clear.

    Mitch states ‘Given the scale of the rises in the two categories I examined, and assuming some of it might be going to what the expense titles indicate,I think it’s possible that they’re creating a retirement fund of $10 million or so, with the idea that they’d work backward from the number they wanted to reach, which, given human nature, would be a round number. You might also reasonably pick $12 million, which would provide $2 million for each of the six directors, or $15 million, which would include payouts to some long-serving senior staff members who weren’t on the board.’ (emphasis added)
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    To Mitch, my estimate of $28 million to $45 million is based upon their numbers stated towards us in their afterburn reports, it is not upon an imagined number, based solely upon beliefs, and doing the maths back from that number, as are your maths of their retirement fund. Click upon the links within the BMOrg Cash Out post for the supporting numbers and statements.

    In addendum, click upon the spreadsheet by Woody, showing the raise of salary from $2,858,000 within 2009, to $7,103000 within 2010, with solely 30 employees upon payroll in 2011 February, as stated by Larry. The awesome, but temporary, DPW crew is upon a different line within the ledger. The numbers state the six prior BRC LLC owners paid salary, towards their own pockets, in due of them being upon the payroll as the Senior Staff, of over $4 million within each of 2010, 2011, and 2012, in addendum of, by appearances, $3 million of salary within 2013, and, perchance, they took the cash remaining upon the BRC LLC ledger upon the donation of the BRC LLC to the Burning Man Project, purposed towards gaining a large deduction of tax levies, at 2013 end.

    This is proved by the same 3 ledger lines of their afterburn reports within 2005, 2009, 2010, and 2011. Might you desire to view other years, click upon the spreadsheet by Woody.

    2005 Cash Expenditures
    Payroll (office: administration, board) 1,759,934
    Outside Services (legal, consultants, accounting) 69,458
    Outside Services: Independent contractors (DPW crew, information technology, ranger management, commissary and administrative support) 511,049

    2009 Cash Expenditures
    Payroll 2,858,000
    Outside services (legal, consultants, accounting) 1,274000
    Outside services: Independent contractors 161,000

    2010 Cash Expenditures
    Payroll 7,283,000
    Outside Services (legal, consultants, accounting) 1,468,000
    Outside Services: Independent contractors 231,783

    2011 Cash Expenditures
    Payroll $7,103000
    Outside services (legal, consultants, accounting) $1,601,000
    Outside services: Independent contractors $973,000

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mitch states ‘… the $850,000 rise in taxes/licenses’.

      My gf, and I, discussed this with one of our mates. She stated, perchance, it was in due of the BRC LLC making profit, and tax levies must be paid upon the profit. Within prior years, of 2010 to 2012, near all profit, perchance, might have been as ‘salaries’ the six BRC LLC owners paid towards their own pockets.

      Mitch states ‘I totally agree on the hypocrisy of the Bmorg, but I think the only people who are actually suffering from it are volunteers who believe the hype. For everybody else, it’s a BYOB party that costs $380 and has its own newspaper.’

      All people are entitled to beliefs of their own. I penned the $28 million to $45 million BMOrg cash out post in due of a belief in fair play. The BMOrg PR is stating of a giving economy, of yet, they are taking, taking, and taking of the gifts of labours, entertainment, and art towards the BRC LLC, which is controlled by them, as a corporation owned by the 501(c)3 Burning Man Project, of which, they are within control. They are hiding, from donors of cash, entertainment, and of art, the cash directed towards their pockets, and, in addendum, they are hiding their big conflicts of interests, from donors. View the bylaws of the Burning Man Project of the manner of which they hide their conflicts of interests. This is, by appearances, within the law of California, but, of my belief, it is not of fair play, it is wrong, it is not right.

      Upon the cash out post, I desired the BMOrg to respond, towards the awesome Burner community, in a manner of fair play, by paying for the wood, space lease, and transportation of the art, gifting thousands of tickets to the sound camps, and others providing of entertainment, for them to utilize as they desired to support their gifts, and, make attempts towards selling tickets towards the Burner community, of whom this event, and the culture, in reality, belongs. The BMOrg did none of this, in place of this, they posted the ‘Where the Ticket Money Goes’, purposed towards hiding the cash directed towards their pockets, by mis-direction, upon their website, to be repeated within the RGJ, Fortune, and repeated, of parts, within your article within the Black Rock Beacon. That is the rationale commented upon your article.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Mitch here, had to take the year off because of all the money I’ve put into the Black Rock Beacon.

    Vincent: What shred of evidence do you have that the Beacon is in any way sponsored by Burning Man? We’re an independent, not-for-profit company that has published in Black Rock City every year since 2005. Nowhere does Bmorg claim any ownership or control over the Beacon, and we’ve made clear that we’re independent. There’s a notice in small type on the bottom right of the back page, we explained our history in our first issues (on our website) and, really, most people who have actually been to Burning Man know about us. If you’re feeling at all jerkwaddy right now, you can assuage your guilt with a tax-deductible contribution via donations@blackrockbeacon.org

    To BP and XXX: My article was mainly concerned with unexplained allocations in the 2013 budget. Specifically, the salaries section, while it may include 401k contributions for all of the workers, wasn’t part of any possible diversion, say what you will about the size of them, salaries are salaries, they went directly into people’s pockets — which may include temporary workers in addition to the full-time staff. I was mainly interested in the $2.6 million increase in usage fees and the $850,000 rise in taxes/licenses. That latter number has jumped around a lot in recent years for reasons that don’t seem clear.

    I also didn’t look into the real estate situation other than to inquire about the end to interest payments, one explanation for which may be that a property was sold or transferred. To do that properly, you’d have to go to the Washoe County courthouse and look at deeds.

    Given the scale of the rises in the two categories I examined, and assuming some of it might be going to what the expense titles indicate, I think it’s possible that they’re creating a retirement fund of $10 million or so, with the idea that they’d work backward from the number they wanted to reach, which, given human nature, would be a round number. You might also reasonably pick $12 million, which would provide $2 million for each of the six directors, or $15 million, which would include payouts to some long-serving senior staff members who weren’t on the board.

    $2 million may seem like a lot to some people, but if it’s invested in a 401k-like vehicle that isn’t a Roth, it means $100,000 a year of taxable income for life, not outrageous for people who live in San Francisco.

    Feel free to posit higher numbers if you like. I don’t think the directors are taking on the scale of $10 million each, they’re not unreasonable people and they do deserve security. Plus, $2 million or $3 million a year wouldn’t be screamingly obvious once they stop taking it, $7 million or $10 million would be.

    One last observation: Very few people care about this. The Beacon is following it because the Bmorg posts the numbers publicly, they’re kind of asking for us to check it out, and in the past, when they did talk to us, we got some good stories out of it. Most Burners wouldn’t mind if the board members were taking $10 million each out of it as long as they have a good time.

    Like

    • Hi Mitch. We’ve been covering these financial issues in great detail, so there’s no need to further inform us about them. Rather, you should inform yourself from our research. In particular, I suggest you read these posts:

      https://burners.me/2014/05/09/the-great-bmorg-cash-out-of-2010-to-2016-28-million-to-45-million-est/

      https://burners.me/2014/06/09/profit-grows-donations-shrink-2013-afterburn-analysis/

      https://burners.me/2014/08/12/where-does-your-ticket-money-go/

      As for your assessment that very few people care about this, I beg to differ – and I have the traffic data to prove it.

      Sure, some Burners care much more about lecturing others that they’re doing it wrong or about what all the rules are. These Burnier-Than-Thous lap up every statement from BMOrg as if it’s the word of god. Even when we prove to them directly that many of these statements are false, with references and evidence, they would rather believe “Burners.Me is a disinfo site” than “BMOrg deliberately misled us”. These are the Burners who think that they’ve really helped the environment by paying this new vehicle tax. These are the Burners who think it’s rich people who have ruined Burning Man, even if they didn’t even go to Burning Man themselves until after 2010.

      Just because there are a lot of these Burners, and they can be vocal on social media, doesn’t mean that nobody cares, or that Burnier-Than-Thous are representative of the global community of Burners. And just because *we* care about truth and facts, doesn’t mean we begrudge the founders getting $10 million each.

      Believe it or not, many people go to Burning Man to rage. Some say “it’s not a party, it’s not a festival, it’s not a rave. It’s an experiment!” And yet, every year, more people go to it and party their asses off. What are the scientific findings of this experiment? How to create a cult without its members thinking they’re in a cult? How to throw a party and get everyone else to pay for it?

      We are being told that we’re making a difference in the world by being part of Burning Man, “embracing the principles”, and that it is all in the name of charity. But is it, really?

      Like

      • I’ve read your stories, I’m on your mailing list, and I wasn’t “further informing you,” I was explaining my thought process. ABP comes to a much bigger number for the black-box funds, and I was just walking through why my amount is more conservative.

        The “traffic” that counts isn’t web hits, it’s the slow-moving conga line on 447. Burning Man is filling to capacity and could probably go to 100,000 if they could figure out better transport. Do these Burners care if their ticket price could be $20 or $50 lower? Obviously not.

        I totally agree on the hypocrisy of the Bmorg, but I think the only people who are actually suffering from it are volunteers who believe the hype. For everybody else, it’s a BYOB party that costs $380 and has its own newspaper.

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        • Again, I beg to differ. If you look at BMOrg’s pronouncements over the last few years, it is the global spread of the culture that is important to them now. The Nevada event is pretty much at capacity, even if they would like to grow it to 100,000. Most of these people are not Veterans.

          I’m not sure that the ticket prices are related to the founders’ cash out. I think it is more of a supply and demand issue. Why do they raise prices? Because they can.

          You say that you’re not at Burning Man because of all the money you’ve put into one of the newspapers there – so aren’t you suffering from it too? If you could sell advertising you could fund your activities.

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    • >>Vincent: What shred of evidence do you have that the Beacon is in any way sponsored by Burning Man?

      Oh well, the money ran out, so sad… But the kool-aid is still flowing. So who needs evidence when the proof is in the words of your publication?

      Like

  3. Pingback: How Much For That Ranch In The Desert? | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

  4. The Black Rock Beacon is the BM-state sponsored newspaper, for those who don’t know. Now read the bit about Paul Addis. Love or hate Addis, BMorg made sure he was charged with a felony. Be happy with that, or not – but check out how they say “After his incarceration Paul’s life nosed-dived.” This little piece is not in-memoriam of Paul Addis, – it is a warning to others.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There were several Burners to died over the last 12 months, and they chose to give an in-memoriam to Paul Addis? They didn’t choose to put a picture of him, but rather and image of his ‘sad’ deed against the community. Finally stating that his final moment was a sort of performance; ‘ironically creating one last sad spectacle for the very tourists he distained. [sic]’

      That is very dark.

      Liked by 1 person

      • As if there’s a difference. BR Beacon tows the Company Line more than the company itself does. Spitting on a man’s grave because he burned their stick figure ahead of schedule.

        Like

          • Okay, Mitch, at least ‘tow’ is a word, unlike “distained” that the fine journalists and editors and Black Rock Beacon failed to catch. Just keep sucking Larry cock, it’s what you’re good at.

            Like

  5. Kudos to Syd Gris, penning an article within the BRC Weekly, discussing the awesome sound camps and mutant vehicles, and discussing of that the sound camps, and mutant vehicles, are funded by awesome benefactors, or by the awesome Burner community, they are not funded by Burning Man tickets sold by the BMOrg.

    In addendum, kudos to Mitch, penning an article within the Black Rock Beacon, ‘Mysteries of the Bmorg Budget’ discussing the manner upon which, the BMOrg is hiding the cash they are taking towards their pockets. Mitch, within his article, has numerous statements correct, and kudos, to him, for querying the BMOrg upon the $2.6 million of cash the BMOrg states went to the BLM, but, of which, they will not explain further.

    But, he has many incorrect statements within his article, in particular, his estimate of the cash the BMOrg is taking, towards their pockets, is near to $30 million too small. In addendum, it is not speculation, as Mitch states, but, it is estimated upon simple maths upon their afterburn reports, their prior statements, and their corporate records. For details of support, view my prior post upon their huge cash out. Mitch must add the following numbers, of cash towards the pockets of the BMOrg, within his article –

    2010 – over $4 million of salary – $7 million of payroll, with solely 30 employees states so
    2011 – over $4 million of salary
    2012 – over $4 million of salary
    2013 – over $3 million of salary, and unknown cash remaining upon the BRC LLC ledger, upon the donation of the BRC LLC to the Burning Man Project
    – Mitch has queried the BMOrg as towards the not explained $2.6 million of ‘other’ usage fees

    2014 – estimate
    – $4 million to $7 million, in reserve, towards the purchase of the Burning Man(TM) trademarks, owned by their Decommodification LLC, at 2016 end
    – Mitch includes the $2 million to $2.5 million of cash for ‘usage’ of the Burning Man(TM) trademarks within 2014
    – near to $800,000 of salary, in due of their positions upon the Burning Man Project
    – unknown cash for licence of images of the Burning Man event

    2015 – the same as the estimate of 2014
    2016 – the same as the estimate of 2014

    Thusly, Mitch’s estimate, by simple maths, is near to $30 million too small

    Once again, I would be much obliged of any whom may prove of any number, or of any statement, to be incorrect, to do so. No other person, as of yet, has done so, other than my estimate was too small, and the ownership of the BLM Work Ranch is not known.

    Liked by 1 person

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