Following is a letter regarding the status of petition circulators regarding I-1000. It was posted on Facebook by Mark Jacoby from Let the Voters Decide petition company.
“Open letter to all I-1000 petition circulators:
To those of you who were worked in Washington State on the I-1000 initiative, in freezing temperatures during the holidays and still have not been paid…
We are collecting information from everyone interested in seeking the payment owed to them. I will be posting a template worksheet for you to fill out and send back to us. We are very interested in hearing from anyone involved, and finding out what they believe they are owed
While I understand and respect that Roy Ruffino has been in the business for a long time, and that he has run previous campaigns successfully, on this project, the way he and his partner/client , Jesse Wineberry, and the leaders involved have handled their initiative is truly unacceptable, and took severe advantage of professional petition circulators and how they do their jobs.
We were never told that we were working on spec. (Working on “spec” means speculation, in essence, we collect the signatures and hope that whoever asked us to get them, can use them to get paid BECAUSE they already have them in hand.). Working on spec does happen sometimes, However the one ESSENTIAL aspect to taking spec work, is that EVERYONE INVOLVED KNOWS THE RISK! They can assess for themselves the risks involved, and make a business decision for themselves as to whether the risk is worth it for them or not.
Roy & Jesse also managed to leave out the information that they did not have a deposit from their clients, which is the most common business practice in the industry, and allows the primary coordinator to ensure that they are not in the exact situation we are in now, where someone, somewhere, ran out of money, and the circulators are the ones left holding the bag. Roy & Jesse owe just me $85,000. I know that he owes many other coordinators as well, including including Carolyn, the Harwig‘s & Tyler.
It is beyond unacceptable to ask circulators to work in freezing cold weather on Black Friday, Thanksgiving Day, and all the shopping days leading up to and including Christmas Eve, and then not pay them AT ALL, when they were promised to have been paid in time for Christmas.
I held they signatures I had back, until the very last day, because I had already paid 85% out to my circulators, because I don’t believe in making circulator wait for work they have completed, especially at the holidays, which is what they had been busting their butts to earn the money for in the first place! However, he was unaware I had already pre-paid my team, and still made no effort at all to get them any money before Christmas, which would have ruined Christmas for dozens and dozens of families!
what’s worse is he never told me or us that we weren’t able to expect payment Until the day before we were supposed to turn in
On that last day, Roy had Jesse Wineberry, a six-time elected official to the Washington State Senate contact me, and explain that once the signatures were turned in everybody would be paid immediately. (I have several text and voice messages from both Jesse and Roy begging me to get them the signatures I had, so they use them to qualify I-1000, and that I would be paid immediately after turning them in.)
I accepted Jesse’s word, and delivered the signatures to them. However, no payment was forthcoming. The “immediately” turned into “within seven days.” After the 7 days went by, it became “within 30 days, and then “within 60 days.” It was during this time that we discovered that we had been lied to as well, about Roy working without a deposit, and then the entire project having been done, not only without a deposit, but on spec!!! I had no recourse but to threaten legal action if I was not paid. That was when Roy sent the most ludicrous thing I have ever seen: A promissory note that promised to pay me $20,000 within 7 days after the signatures were submitted, but in any random amount and on any random days, but in full within 60 days from the date he signed it. He had previously given me 2 different dates upon which he would make payments, but he has failed to pay any amount on any date he has promised to.
Our goal in asking for the folks who are still owed money is to work to find a total amount owed to all circulators, and to be able to negotiate for EVERYONE, not leave each coordinator or circulator to try to negotiate on their own. We have more power together than we do as smaller teams or individuals.
My educated opinion is that Jesse plans to use I-1000 to create a publicity platform from which he can launch another run for office in the near future. (For anyone unaware, I-1000 is to repeal an existing bill I-200, which banned affirmative action in WA, and I-1000 would bring it back.) The publicity as a champion of I-1000 and civil rights issues is absolutely ironic, when that initiative was qualified on the UNPAID BACKS OF MINORITIES, LGBTQ, WOMEN, and VETERANS…the exact groups that I-1000 would seek protections for, and yet Jesse Wineberry had no qualms about letting those people go through the holidays with no pay for their hard work, so HE can get his platform!
If you are reading this letter, it is because we offered Roy and Jesse an opportunity to accept a settlement of 2/3rds of what they owe us to resolve their debt and pay within 10 days. They either declined or could not come up with the money, even after all this time, to pay the people they owe, while they are attempting to raise up I-1000 with Jesse Wineberry as one of it’s primary supporters, but could or would not pay the people who did the work to get it before the legislature & on the ballot.
It would be (or should be) obvious to any proponent or supporter of an issue that you want the voting public to choose your side of, that paying your workers is essential. Otherwise, they can become very unruly, and seek out the attention of the voters by way of the media, to ensure that the voters become aware that people like Jesse Wineberry who are two-faced liars, who are willing to sacrifice the very people he claims to want to assist, if it gets him farther ahead. Personally, I don’t think that will go very well for him, and that the media will see the irony instantly, and jump onto this issue, which will be our plan, once we receive and collate the information from you guys about what we are owed by Roy and Jesse”