Power Hungry President Sucks The Joy Out Of A Local Artist Collective, So Artists Get Revenge And Drive Him Out Of Town

Source: Reddit/AITA/Unsplash/@yessijes

Folks, if you’re a fan of the arts, this story will first infuriate you and then will put a big smile on your face.

It’s a real rollercoaster ride and it comes to us from Reddit’s “Pro Revenge” page.

Read on to get all the details!

“For background, my older sister, who I’ll call Beth, is married to her high school sweetheart, who I’ll call Craig.

Beth is a pretty laid-back person, but she has one hot button trigger that causes her to have zero chill: anyone treating her beloved Craig poorly.

Craig is very quiet and kind, just in general a mild-mannered, good-natured guy who’s not great at standing up for himself, so he often attracts bad actors who view him as an easy mark, and because he always assumes that other people have good intentions, he’s not great at realizing when he’s being mistreated.

Don’t mess with Craig…

Beth is usually pretty relaxed about things, but she will basically turn into a howling, vengence-seeking banshee if anyone takes advantage of Craig.

Which brings us to ~2-3 years ago. Craig works a white collar job remotely, but he’s an amateur artist/craftsman as a hobby. He does wood carving, a little bit of light metalwork, and 2-D art (mainly pencil sketches and pen-and-ink illustrations).

He joined an artist’s collective/makerspace where he could work on these hobbies around likeminded people, and he absolutely loved it. Whenever I hung out with him and Beth around this time, Craig would excitedly talk about the space and his projects there with infectious enthusiasm.

His eyes were practically beaming out of his head whenever it came up. Beth joined too to learn/improve on her own hobby of fiber arts (mainly weaving and dyeing), but she was way less into it than Craig.

It was time for a new leader at this place.

Some time after this, the president of the makerspace stepped down. It was essentially a volunteer position, though it came with a small (mostly symbolic) stipend.

Since the makerspace had no actual staff, being president of the makerspace was a huge undertaking that involved being a one-man show for everything–for a start, coordinating with the board, keeping day-to-day operations going, and chasing the grants that kept the lights on.

The current president just couldn’t do it anymore with his full-time job, and announced his intention to vacate the role. Craig had come to love the makerspace, and he figured he had the resources to be an effective president.

His job is entirely remote and deliverables-based (he can work whatever hours he wants as long as he’s meeting his objectives), so he figured he could work out of the makerspace on his laptop and be available there if anyone needed him, and then do the heavy lifting of the role outside work hours. So he threw his hat in the ring.

And then there was Jamie…

Enter Jamie, a recent industrial design grad. Jamie was known to be flaky and very dramatic, but he’d been a member of the makerspace for a couple of years, almost as long as it had existed, and he felt entitled to be handed the presidency because he had seniority.

He lost his mind when he heard that Craig had the audacity to go for the same role and complained to several members about how Craig was massively overstepping. This got back to Craig, who didn’t really take it seriously, and it also got back to Beth, who, of course, was already irritated that Jamie was stirring stuff up, but kept it to herself.

Craig was obviously a good guy.

Long story short: Jamie won the member vote by a small margin, which Craig was very gracious about. Craig congratulated Jamie on the victory, then settled back into business as usual. Jamie… was not so gracious.

He was enraged that Craig had gotten so many votes, and made it known to everyone that he was trying to figure out who had voted for Craig, and that they “would pay.” Many of the members who had voted for Jamie passively because he’d been around forever and they didn’t really know Craig were shocked by this behavior and started privately expressing regret to each other.

On the other hand, Jamie was a real creep.

But it gets worse.

The makerspace had always offered members the perk of sponsoring workshops, meetups, and classes that anyone, members or non-members, could attend; all you had to do was sign up for the space on a first-come, first-served basis and kick up 20% of any profits to the makerspace if you charged a fee.

Jamie started preemptively cancelling classes and workshops sponsored by anyone on his **** list by blocking off all available reservations during the regular times certain classes would be held.

So Craig had traditionally sponsored a popular casting workshop on Wednesday evenings, and suddenly all Wednesday evenings were booked solid before the sign-up sheet was even available. He tried switching to Thursday, but after just one rescheduled workshop, suddenly Thursday evenings were out too.

He tried Tuesdays, but because it was so early in the week, no one could come. Craig was bummed, but was still too good-natured to realize Jamie was intentionally sabotaging him out of spite, despite a righteously angry Beth trying to paint the picture for him of what was going on.

Jamie wasn’t done yet.

Beth. Was. Mad.

But she wasn’t banshee mad yet. Not until…Jamie selectively told the people on his **** list that member fees were going up.

By almost double.

He presented this as a makerspace-wide policy, but he made one crucial error.

Somehow, Jamie never picked up on Craig and Beth being married, probably because he was never around both of them at the same time.

So Beth flew under his radar, and he didn’t raise her member fees, just Craig’s and some of Craig’s known friends, which confirmed to her that he was intentionally retaliating against Craig.

Beth was NOT HAPPY.

At this point, Beth had steam coming out of her ears and went to go talk to the board, since they have the power to cite or even throw out the president. They were uneasy about what she told them, but they said the president was technically allowed to set member fees, and they’d keep an eye on things.

Beth didn’t really believe the board that they’d be keeping an eye on things, because Jamie was already dropping the ball all over the place, and the board wasn’t making a peep over it. He wanted to be president because of the prestige, but he was never willing to do the work, so he just–didn’t do it, and things were falling apart.

The makerspace was getting late notices on unpaid bills, basic maintenance of the space wasn’t getting done, materials weren’t being restocked as they ran out, and the record keeping was nonexistent.

It got so bad that the previous president who had stepped down because he couldn’t handle the time commitment anymore (who had run the makerspace from its inception) quit as a member altogether because he was so saddened and disgusted by how bad things had gotten.

He’d put his blood, sweat, and tears into this place, and stepped down from a role he treasured because he believed it was in the best interest of the organization, and now he had to watch Jamie run this place he loved into the ground out of sheer laziness. Craig was also losing his excitement over the makerspace, because he no longer had the space or resources to do the things he enjoyed there.

Beth got to work.

Beth, at this point, had gone from furiously angry to strategically angry.

Suspecting that Jamie was being shady in more ways than one, she spent a few days being friendly to Jamie and sucking up to him, and then sprung on him the offer to help with the organization’s bookkeeping and records.

Still not realizing that she was Craig’s wife, but knowing that she worked as a project manager in her day job, Jamie saw a chance to get some skilled work done at zero effort to himself, and he happily agreed, and gave her access to the makerspace’s Google Sheets (not the most high-tech operation). For a little while, Beth bided her time, bringing the financial accounts up to date and continuing to be diabolically friendly to Jamie.

After a while of this, she calmly pulled together six copies of documents comparing the official organizational income that Jamie was reporting to her with the actual income, which Jamie was completely unaware she was tracking.

Jamie was about to be in big trouble.

These documents proved that Jamie was not only skimming money off the top of class and workshop fees, but was actively stealing money from the grants the makerspace was receiving, which is highly illegal.

Beth gave the six board members her impeccably compiled proof of what was happening.

Almost immediately, the board “fired” Jamie and issued a lifetime ban from the makerspace.

They were afraid of losing their grants if news came out about the gross misappropriation, so they didn’t report Jamie to the authorities, but instead gave him 48 hours to return the stolen funds, the implication being that they would report him if he didn’t.

He panicked and complied, selling his car quickly to do it and scrounging up the difference in a ton of quick loans from friends, many of whom were makerspace members not aware of what was going on (no, he never paid them back).

Jamie isn’t exactly welcome around town anymore.

He’s now persona non grata with all of his former friends, and while he still has a clean criminal record, word traveled pretty far in the local artist community, which means he was black listed from most of the industrial design jobs in the area and couldn’t use his degree if he wanted to stay in town.

As far as Beth and Craig knew, he moved away about six months after all this went down, but they haven’t kept up with him, and don’t know where he is.

The makerspace board realized their setup was bad, so instead of a single president, they restructured to have a panel of volunteer officers running the operation. Craig is one of them, and has happily thrown himself back into wood working and metal casting. Beth still helps out with the books.”

Here’s what people had to say on Reddit.

One individual made a good point.

Source: Reddit/AITA

This reader is a Beth.

Source: Reddit/AITA

Another person said Beth is AWESOME.

Source: Reddit/AITA

One individual said you can’t mess around with this kind of stuff.

Source: Reddit/AITA

This Reddit user was impressed by this.

Source: Reddit/AITA

That guy got what was coming to him.

What a creep!

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