My Side of the Story…

Dear Reader,

My love affair with The Rumor blog began more than a year ago. Like many, it was one of those blogs that I just had to check everyday. The hours I saved by checking out the pics on the gallery instead of TPing from place to place were countless. And then, in the middle of May this year, I saw a post asking for bloggers. Though I had never really blogged before, I jumped at the opportunity to learn something new and to join the team of The Rumor, and was thrilled when I was accepted.

It was then that I met Katya (“Kat”) Jhamin. She was a blogger for The Rumor and the owner’s (Pennelope Theissam’s) assistant. It was her job to teach me the ins and outs of a Rumor post, from taking the pictures and making notes to uploading them to the blog itself. We tag-teamed the Alabama Disaster Relief Fund together for my lesson, and anytime after that, I would always go to her for proofing my post or getting her opinion.

Within a short amount of time, I was covering 4-5 events every weekend, and even going to Kat during the week, hungry for more sales or events to blog. I began meeting and making friends with designers, and strived to do my best with each post.

Things continued on in this manner until, on July 1st, I asked Kat how she was doing and she reported that she wasn’t doing well at all; that she was going to have to tear down The Rumor sims. Needless to say, I was shocked. How could The Rumor sims be shut down when they had been around for so long? I asked her, “Why?” and she proceeded to explain that, for the past few months, Pennelope (Penn) had been almost completely out of SL and out of contact due to RL personal reasons. Kat explained that during this time, she had been trying to keep the sims running by herself, but that tenants were leaving because their needs were not being addressed by Penn. Penn had even stopped paying Kat her wages, but Kat continued to do what she could because she cared about the sims, but finally, the situation had become too dire.

Kat contacted Penn, asking what she should do with the blog and the sims, and Penn told her that she did not care; to do whatever she wanted with them; that she was away from SL indefinitely, if not forever. And regarding the blog, to have me and the other person who had expressed interest in taking it over to email her with the logistics of transferring it and she would do whichever was easiest.

So with tenants leaving and both sims now rented at only 1/3 capacity, rental funds were not sufficient to cover the tier. Kat would have to tear the sims down.

When I heard the story, I asked Kat if there was any way to save it. I couldn’t believe that they would just be destroyed. She explained that she didn’t see how they could be saved unless we could find someone to cover the costs financially and help manage them. I knew that I didn’t have that kind of money, but I asked her to give me 24 hours to see if I could do anything. I contacted several friends, asking if they might be interested, giving them the costs and possible profits, and my friend, Roses Wycliffe, was interested and wanted to know more.

And so the following day, Kat, Roses and I had a conversation addressing our concerns and confirming our interest, and we told Kat that we would take over the sims, to not tear them down. She arranged a group chat between herself, Penn, Roses and me which took place later that night, during which any questions we had and the logistics of the transfer were addressed by Penn. We were also assured by Penn that she would not want the sims back. This is an excerpt from that conversation:

Vix 7/3/11 12:36 AM
I think an area of concern though is that, what if Roses and I work hard and build the sims back up, and then Penn comes back and decides she wants to take them back. Then we’re kinda screwed. No offense, Penn.

Penny 7/3/11 12:36 AM
no you’ll own the sims

Vix 7/3/11 12:36 AM
Okay, just the builds we’ll have your rights for.

Penny 7/3/11 12:36 AM
and I won’t be wanting to take back over the sims, guaranteed

Vix 7/3/11 12:36 AM
So they will stay as they are.

Kat 7/3/11 12:36 AM
lols Pen

Roses 7/3/11 12:37 AM
ok..good to know…we had to ask

Penny 7/3/11 12:37 AM
yepp, if I get ornery you can always ban me and the builds would be safe lols

Vix 7/3/11 12:37 AM
lol

Kat 7/3/11 12:37 AM
Oh there’s always that. hehe.

* * * * * * * * * *

Kat 7/3/11 12:39 AM
They’ll keep the Rumor alt, if that’s alright, Penn?

Penny 7/3/11 12:39 AM
and we’ll give you the password to the rumor alt
that is fine with me

* * * * * * * * * *

Penny 7/3/11 12:49 AM
honestly, you’ve already put in a lot of work and effort at the blog, and I’d much rather do what is needed to hand things over to you

people in sl are shady, and until I see someone who is willing to put in effort it is hard for me to trust them

Vix 7/3/11 12:51 AM
Okay, great. We can work out those details. If you can make sure that everything is renewed so that it doesn’t go down in the meantime, I think it would be a good idea to focus on the sim aspects first and foremost as they are the most critical.

(The statements above were not modified, only extracted for presentation here.
All four members of this conversation will possess the exact same transcript.)

On July 3rd, Kat contacted the landlord and estate mgmt rights were transferred to Roses and me. It was at that time that Kat also gave us rights and the login information for the rental system used on the sims, for the avatar account that all of the funds dumped into, and admin rights on the blog. Roses and I were the new owners of The Rumor sims.

Later, Penn came in to give me rights to her items and noticed that she no longer had estate mgmt rights, and asked if we’d told the landlord to remove her. Kat and I stated that we had not. She then said that she would not be able to help us very much with any problems that may arise if she did not have access, so I contacted the landlord and asked him to add her back for a week or two, just until we had control of the reins.

Over the course of the next few days, I began contacting all store owners who had expressed interest in renting on the sims, started correcting poorly aligned textures, and met many of the current tenants on the sim. (Penn, Kat and I had agreed that, for the time being, I would tell all store owners that I was merely “assisting Penn” so that they would not tuck tail and run, until we felt in control enough to announce that the sims had new owners.) Within the course of a week, I had moved in 7 tenants (some of which had come to us but some of which I found on my own) and had developed the concept for a weekly event that would cover both sims. I was learning to build and textures were becoming my new addiction.

Then, on July 11th, Penn IMd me in Skype. She asked me how things were going, told me that she was renewing the lease for the domain as it expired this month, and I asked her a few questions regarding some of the tenants and their rentals. We discussed the builds on the sims and I asked how I might be able to acquire them as not owning them was proving to be quite a handicap. Then, midway through the conversation, she asks if I’ve put anything in a certain corner on The Whisper sim; that she’s thinking of completely redoing her store and moving it to that corner. I was a bit shocked by this information as she is no longer the owner, and still has a store for her own use on each of the sims as it is. But there was more to come.

She then proceeded to say that she “was thinking about doing something with the website, where like if y’all conjure up and ad for it, I can do like a commission paid to y’all for it…that way I can get paid for the domain and shit”…”like it’s 1k a week, if yall sell a month ad for 4k we could do like 10% commission for it and yall would get like 400.”

Again, I was shocked. I’m under the impression that Penn and I have an agreed-upon future discussion in which we would pinpoint the logistics of transferring the blog over to me, and she’s proposing that our advertising dollars go to her to cover the cost of hosting the blog. THEN she tells me that she’s “thinking of setting up like an official Rumor HQ’s or something as well with like a tip jar to help fund the site”…”maybe we could double up and make like a hang out area”…”something that helps attract visitors to the whisper.”

I was completely taken aback, and copied Roses and Kat on the conversation to get their thoughts. All of us were shocked at how “involved” she was presuming to be after she’d abandoned the sims and the blog. And after I had invested 60-80 hours of my time just in the week to week-and-a-half that I had owned the sims, I wasn’t willing to be steamrolled. So on July 12th, I did something that I knew would show me precisely the state of things: I changed the password for the avatar that controlled the funds.

Within MINUTES she was texting Kat, asking if someone had changed the password and why, saying that now I could just run off with the money, and if that wasn’t my intent, why had I transferred $20K from that avi to Vix. Kat tried to explain to Penn that she had abandoned the sims, had given them up, that it was our right to change the password. She was livid and proceeded to bash Kat, the person that had kept her sims alive for her for months with no compensation, and threatened that she could yank this whole thing right out from under us.

Roses and I contacted Penn that night in a group IM to try to talk to her. She said that she was too busy to do so (yet she had been in IMs with Kat at this point for over an hour laying into her). Roses and I asked if she would be available the following day and she answered that she should be.

The next morning, I logged in to discover that the password for the Rumor avatar had been changed. For me, that was the point where I felt that if she wanted them that bad, she could have them. I wanted nothing more to do with her, The Rumor sims or the blog. I sent a notecard to the landlord, his assistant, to Penn and Kat relinquishing any claim, right or responsibilty for The Rumor sims. I removed any items I had placed, removed myself from the groups, and removed my admin status on the blog. I have not spoken a word to Penn since. Katya also submitted her resignation to Penn, who replied by saying that this only showed her Kat’s “true colors.”

I understand that since that morning, Penn is trying to paint me as ineffective at managing the sims despite my many successes; suggest that Kat and I deceived her and somehow stole the sims from her, when she obviously abandoned them and her tenants to their fate; and imply I am thief because I transferred $20k from the Rumor avatar to Vix to pay the rent, all because the Rumor avi did not have an LM to the rental office. (To view the receipt of the transaction, click here.) She has bashed me as well as Katya again and again.

From my point of view, you would think that she might have some grounds to show appreciation for the work that Kat and I did to improve the sims, to bring in tenants, even to keep them alive. Had we not, her sims would not even EXIST right now. The tier would not have been paid and the sims would have been destroyed. But instead, she shows her gratitude with slander and abuse, and I have a feeling this post will incite more of the same.

Thank everyone that reads this for their time and for giving me the opportunity to present the other side of the story. I hope that the tenants I had a hand in bringing to The Rumor sims accept my apology for any inconvenience these events may have caused them. Best wishes to you all.

Sincerely,

Vixen Thibedeau

P.S. I want to note that Katya had no part in writing this post – she is certainly more of a lay-low kinda gal, waiting until the storm passes. But I felt that to state the facts, I couldn’t fully do so without revealing her part in this. Thank you, Kat, for allowing me to state your side. ❥

UPDATE: Since this event, I have been inspired to create my own sales blog, built on the idea that a blog can succeed by building people up vs. tearing them down. Please check it out at www.seraphimsl.com, and join the group in world, too, by searching “-Seraphim-“! Thank you!

2 thoughts on “My Side of the Story…

  1. As someone who was one of the original renters during our The Rumor “planning stage”, long before we officially got a sim up and running, I’m disappointed that I wasn’t notified of what was going on. Had I known of all of Katya’s efforts, I would’ve tried to help in ANY way I can. I NEVER knew that Katya was on her own for so long. I knew Pen went on a mini vacation and I personally took a break due to my Mother’s passing, but wow.

    I’m extremely concerned that as a renter that the sim damn near shut down without any knowledge. I really hope that I don’t wake up to find my items gone, or Jeanie’s items gone. Jeanie was the one that put her head together with Pen to get The Rumor going ANYWAY. :\

    I don’t care for the drama, I try to avoid it, but not being told anything is not great at all…

  2. You have behind the scenes support Vix and Katya. There are lots of us out here that know the kind of person you were dealing with and understand and believe what you are saying because we know from experience.
    In the bubble of the rumor you may not see the kind of anger, resentment and distaste most designers and bloggers have for that group, but it’s out there and it grows every day from the lack of compassion and honesty they display. I wish you luck and happiness. Move on with your head up, knowing that you got out before it got worse.

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