Another rat has deserted the sinking ship that is A Voice for Men.
Attila Vinczer, the site’s former “Activity Director,” has now joined the swelling ranks of former allies on the outs with AVFM cult leader Paul Elam.
The last couple of departures from AVFM – Dean Esmay, the site’s former “managing editor,” and Dan Perrins, the skinny Canadian with the giant beard – left the Cult of Elam without much in the way of public explanation.
Vinczer, a more melodramatic sort than even those two, announced his departure by sending “every MRA I know” a bitter 8-page “Dear Paul” letter full of accusations and invective and enough self-pity to fill a conference hall. “I am no longer willing to remain silent,” he wrote,
particularly with the incredulously wanton threats made against me, by those who at a time, I thought were my friends and allies.
Incredulously? Incredulously. Vinczer has a fondness for using long words he doesn’t actually know how to use.
I have been accused of being a cheat, a liar, a thief, a con artist, dishonest in addition to being called a scum bag and coerced into doing things I was unable to do. Moreover, I have been threatened by a number of people to be publicly shamed, humiliated and thus excommunicated from the MRM for ever. This added stress has had a profoundly negative effect on my health, which deeply cruel, after I made it clear, that I was not well back in April.
Oh, he’s not done yet.
To call me a con artist and to embark on a path to knowingly, and willingly cause me, my family and particularly my children harm by cyber attacking me is criminally malicious. Those who still think I am a liar and dishonest should know, everything I have said, remarked and my entire interaction with AVFM has been digitally recorded. In my defence, I will not hesitate to make that public should the need arise to do so. Remember before you hit the publish button, in a battle both parties are injured.
That last bit, presumably aimed at Elam, backfired. Elam “hit the publish button” on a post attacking Vinczer on Sunday. “Boy, did you ever pick the wrong person to threaten,” Elam wrote.
I am itching to hit the publish button, complete with my opinion that my experience with you has left me with the certainty that you are a liar, a con artist and a dishonest scoundrel that has ripped off people over three countries and two continents.
Our risk mitigation is simple. Let you ride out of here on your exposed ass and make sure that your letter and this, the official AVFM response stays on the record. Protect other advocates from your thievery. Let you sit and rot in the filth of your own creation and never have anything to do with you again.
Yep, this is turning into one of the messiest MRA D-I-V-O-R-C-E-S I’ve ever seen; luckily for Elam, he’s got plenty of experience with divorce to fall back on,
So what drove these former allies into this online pissing match? Money money money.
Vinczer is accusing Elam of leaving him to hold the bag after a financially disastrous fundraising effort and an apparently even more financially disastrous series of Domestic Violence conferences.
Elam is accusing Vinczer of leaving behind “dozens of broken promises [and] unpaid bills,” as well as
manipulating people into covering your expenses knowing full well that if you did not make the money back that you could not reimburse.
So who’s in the wrong here? As far as I can tell from the admittedly self-serving stories of Vinczer and Elam, they both are.
Vinczer’s story seems to be a mixture of hubris and incompetence.
His attempt to raise money for AVFM by selling ridiculous-looking “commemorative coins” was evidently a giant bust; after borrowing $3400 from current AVFM “Chief Security Officer” Al Martin to cover the cost of silver for 100 coins, Vinczer explains that he was only able to sell 23 of them.
Vinczer’s 2015 TorontoDV Symposium was apparently an even bigger disaster. Vinczer flew an assortment of AVFM-friendly domestic violence experts from around the world to speak to a mostly empty room; Elam, who attended at least part of the Symposium, says there were only 8 or so in attendance, and it’s not clear how many of them actually bought $120 tickets for the event.
According to Elam, many of the “experts” and AVFMers who attended the event were stuck paying their own expenses instead of having them reimbursed.
But Elam and his pals are no angels themselves. If Vinczer’s account of their behavior is accurate, Elam and at least one of the “experts” brought to the event made diva-ish demands that drastically increased the expenses they expected Vinczer to reimburse. As Vinczer tells it,
Dr. Tanveer Ahmed agreed to be the keynote speaker at the 2015 TorontoDV Symposium. I secured his flight at a cost of $1,500.00, economy fair. He asked me if he could book the flight on Qantas where he enjoys certain perks for frequent flying.
This elevated the cost to $3,500.00, but I felt his presence would easily draw a sound audience covering the added cost.
No such luck.
This was a gross error as his presence did not sell a single ticket nor did the MSM publish any of his articles. The cost of his hotel bill was at $600.00. I picked him up at the airport on Thursday and dropped him off at the hotel. He got himself checked in. I had planned to pay him $3,500 on Friday and the $600.00 hotel bill. Tanveer has been paid $3,600.00. There has been some banking issue with my recent $3,000.00 payment that will be cleared up. Given his actual threats against me, I have been forced to deal with him in manner that will protect me against harm. More importantly the harm it would inflict against my children.
I’m not even going to guess how exactly Vinczer thinks his financial dispute with Ahmed might inflict harm on his kids.
Meanwhile, Elam insisted on his own travel upgrade:
The cost of flying Paul Elam to Toronto was $800.00, but he asked me to fly him business class as he does not do well in small seating due to his frame. The only option next to economy is firstclass on domestic continental flights between Toronto and Houston. The cost of that ticket was instead $1,378.26.
And Elam apparently also refused to share a hotel room with his unpaid “managing editor” Dean Esmay.
I also asked Dean, Suzy and Paul if Paul and Dean could share a room to save on costs. It turned out that Paul got his own room while Dean and Suzy shared a room.
Vinczer, ever the optimist, had hoped that “ticket sales would ignite once we announced Paul would be speaking at Ryerson.” Nope.
Not only that, but Elam and his unpaid “staffers” ultimately skipped out of the event early.
Saturday morning I woke up after falling asleep in my chair the night before. I felt well enough to head down to the Saturday venue and press on with the event. I had the cash in my pocket ready to give it to Suzy. However to my further shock, I was informed by third party that Paul, Suzy and Dean had left Toronto. I called the hotel and they told me they had checked out and they used the credit of Paul’s room to cover what was owing on Suzy and Dean’s room. I managed to have hotel staff reach Suzy, but she told me I should not speak with Paul and did not explain exactly why. Nobody bothered to offer any help instead drove to Detroit incurring a $300.00 cost to change flight from Toronto to Detroit.
Though Elam claims that Vinczer’s letter is “basically full of lies and poor me victim chanting,” he acknowledges that he left the event early, writing that
sitting around in a hotel with a group of people who are wondering if it is actually, really paid for, and who are making the same stack of complaints as the last people unfortunate enough to do business with Attila Vinczer will make that happen. Indeed, I made a decision to leave and urged Dean and Suze to come with me. That choice was actually a second best to what I should have done, which was decide not to come in the first place.
That raises a bit of a question: why did Elam (and his cronies) agree to go to the event when it was clear that almost no tickets had been sold? Why didn’t they try to convince Vinczer to just cancel the event? And why didn’t they try to stop Vinczer from embarking on the folly that was the commemorative coin fundraiser?
Ah well, it’s a bit too late for all that. Vinczer is now on the outs with Elam, and, as Elam put it in a comment to his own post “my wallet tells me he will not be missed.”
Vinczer, for his part, has declared that
I will never return to the MRM or the cult that has without thought or consideration thrown me under the wheels of the bus.
My not-so-bold prediction is that he will not be the last to abandon the Cult of Elam.