Brad McQuaid: Morally and Ethically Bankrupt?

I came across this item this morning on Wilhelms blog, TAGN.

The money- It’s widely agreed upon by all parties that this project took in roughly 145 thousand dollars. A large chunk of that money, 35k, came from a single individual who promised another couple hundred thousand once he cleared it with his trust. Brad was having personal problems at the time and needed to take a cash advance from the project.

He took roughly three months pay in advance which equaled roughly 38% of the funds that were left. Brad thought the rest of the money would come in, but the trust supervisor declined without even looking into the project. Reason being, he didn’t want to be sued if the start up failed. Brad admits that it was a mistake and wishes things worked out differently but the money is spent and there isn’t anything he can do.

He then went on to express that he was sorry for how it happened and is planning on liquidating personal assets to put the funds back into the project.

Rerolled Forums -> Pantheon Oh For F*** Sake.

and a little further down

The contracts that were given to the devs were paid. Roughly 85k of the total funds went to paying the contracts. Some money went to the fees involved with starting the company. The founding devs were also given stock in the company. Payment for work didn’t begin until Feb 2014.

Brad took 45k as his advance and it was for 5 months of work advance, not 3.

Rerolled Forums -> Pantheon Oh For F*** Sake.

To summarize:

  1.  McQuaid for the last x amount of time has been working on the Pantheon concept.
  2. He, without a lot of prep, put up a Kickstarter aiming for $800K.
  3. The Kickstarter failed.
  4. Visionary Realms (Brad’s company) decided to go ahead anyway and try crowdfunding on their own website, without the protections of Kickstarter.
  5. They raised approx $145K, with $35K being from one donation. With an expectation of another $200k from a trust fund.
  6. Here’s where it gets interesting: Brad decides to give himself an advance of 5 months salary ($45,000)
  7. The trust fund investment doesn’t eventuate as the manager was a bit antsy about the risk.
  8. Visionary Realms runs out of money (whether it was before or after the advance, I’m not sure)
  9. Visionary Realms shuts down old website, goes to a new host, more bloggy website.
  10. Visionary Realms gets rid of paid developers
  11. Visionary Realms is now looking for volunteers to do the development.

Question: Does Visionary Realms still exist? A quick look on the new site doesn’t seem to mention the company name.

I didn’t donate to the Kickstarter, and certainly not to the private crowd funding attempt. I figured if it couldn’t get enough interest to fund under Kickstarter (which is a low risk crowd funding platform) then the game wasn’t too likely to succeed anyway, and it was just throwing away money. How right I was.

But a lot of people, including the trust fund guy, did believe enough in the game to commit a substantial amount of money to it.  McQuaid violated that trust by advancing himself  such a massive amount because he was having personal issues.

And that’s aside from the fact that he was paying himself a salary of $108,000 a year. Really? You’re building a start-up and taking that much of a salary. Start-ups are hard work and low pay until you hit the big time. Until you get there, you need every cent.

Don’t get me wrong, everyone deserves a salary, but when the coffers are low it’s smart to conserve.

You also have to consider that (the rumors suggest) that the developers were not getting paid enough to pay their bills, and some were fronting some of the costs out of their own pockets. Wow. The guy up front is paying himself an extremely generous salary for the stage the business is in, and is underpaying his developers.

Dude, that’s morally and ethically bankrupt.

Back when Vanguard/Sigil failed, McQuaid took a lot of heat for the way he acted. I wasn’t impressed back then, but it’s hard to build a business, and I was ready to consider that it was just bad business management coupled with a personal meltdown. Hey it happens.

But this time, in very similar circumstances? Once may be an accident. Twice? Looks a lot like character.

This guy has screwed his employees now, not once, but twice. Leaving them in the lurch and walking away with naught but damage to his reputation.

Then he wants to use a bunch of volunteers to complete the project.

Come on… Don’t let him do it again.

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  1. Doone

    I’m, unfortunately, not surprised. When the Kickstarter went up I was one of the many skeptics who noted this project looked like thin air: info about the devs were not on the site, art was not credited on the site, there were NONE, ZERO prototypes of ANYTHING. It was pure hopes and dreams.

    I am NOT surprised at this dude. He needs help. But I also can’t believe how many people keep getting suckered by him.

  2. Stropp (Post author)

    I also skeptical about the chances of the Kickstarter, but the beauty of KS is that if a project doesn’t reach its goal, no-one gets charged. It’s probably at least partly why the amount raised on that campaign wasn’t replicated by the private attempt, people liked the idea but were only prepared to risk their money if enough other people also committed.

    I’m not ready to out and out consider McQuaid as a scammer… yet. But his behavior comes across like someone who has the intention to do the right thing, but just can’t help themselves. In a lot of ways its the behavior of an addict. This money is for the bills, but I just need one drink, or race, or hit. Then I’ll return it.

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