Statement regarding my involvement with Ken O’Keefe and the World Citizen Solutions project:
In light of the recent revelations regarding Ken O’Keefe and the World Citizen Solutions (WCS) project, I would like to take this opportunity to go on the record regarding my involvement with Ken and the WCS project.
Like many others, I have followed Ken’s work over the years and I’ve developed a great deal of respect for his apparent integrity and courage in fighting for truth and justice. I was excited to hear about the launch of “World Citizen Solutions” and felt that with Ken’s influence and connections this could be a really positive and unifying project.
The idea of a global community of people declaring themselves “World Citizens” seemed very much aligned with the functionality of my existing “Community Connector” web platform, so offering my platform to the WCS project seemed an obvious choice. My offer was relayed to Ken and he soon made contact with me.
It was back in late January when I had my one and only conversation with Ken. The very first thing he asked me was if I would be prepared to relocate to the Caribbean island of Dominica as part of the WCS project. I thought this a strange suggestion and explained that due to my family commitments, this would not be possible. I then proceeded to explain the functionality of my web platform and Ken shared his initial brief for the WCS website requirements. The brief essentially consisted of a slick video marketing campaign and a pyramid marketing strategy that would be used to rapidly gain a very large number of members and massive funds. These members would be required to pay a small fee ($12 per year) and also recruit two other new members (each paying $12 per year) before signing some kind of legally binding declaration in order to become “World Citizens”. The focus from Ken was clearly on the amount of money he could generate and he repeatedly emphasised the millions (or even billions) of dollars that his plan would generate. It was my understanding at this time that a solid legal solution existed as part of the WCS plan, but Ken explained that at this stage he was keeping the details of the legal strategy very confidential. I felt this was a reasonable precaution at this early stage. Ken made a very strong and convincing argument for the need to adopt this pyramid marketing strategy to recruit a large number of members and generate more funds to pay legal experts, etc.
Following this initial Skype call, I was put in contact with William as a point of contact for further discussion. Right from the start I repeatedly expressed my concern regarding the proposal to ask members to pay an additional membership fee. With the success of the initial crowdfunding campaign I felt that asking for a membership fee would not be well received and would also significantly reduce the level of participation. I also felt the pyramid marketing strategy would not be well received by members. I was told at this stage that the brief was only initial thoughts and was very much open to discussion.
Despite feeling a little uncomfortable about certain aspects of the initial proposal (particularly the focus on how much money could be made), I felt that with a solid legal strategy backing up the website and marketing strategies, the project still had merit and that I owed it to those who had donated to do my part to ensure the project was a success.
I said that I would be happy to offer my existing Community Connector platform to WCS free of charge (as I have done for other projects). However, I explained that the additional specific requirements for the WCS brief would require significant and very bespoke additions to the existing platform. I estimated that this would require me to work for at least 3-4 days per week for 3 months (the proposed deadline for launch). Ken agreed to pay me a total of £4,000 for this work and he acknowledged that this was a very reasonable offer on my part.
At this stage there were still many aspects of the brief that were not finalised and many outstanding questions including those of membership levels and membership fees. I began to work on the development of the website as best I could with the very limited information available, however the progress I was able to make was very much limited by the lack of detail that I had been given on the finer points of the strategy. I was told that within a week or two there would be meetings taking place with marketing experts and legal teams to finalise the overall strategy, at which point I would have a clearer brief to work from. I made it clear on several occasions that it would be impossible for me to proceed with my work on the project until I had answers to a series of key questions regarding the requirements.
As time passed the questions regarding the details of the plan were left unanswered and much to my surprise, it became clear to me that nobody on the team had been privy to the details of Ken’s solution. The only real input from Ken at this stage seemed to be a request to set up an additional crowdfunding campaign (despite the first campaign exceeding its goal). Despite repeated requests from various members of the WCS team, Ken still refused to disclose the detail of his legal solution, leaving the whole team questioning whether Ken actually had a solution at all.
With Ken’s ongoing refusal to disclose his plans and a lack of any clear brief, the entire team became ever more frustrated and concerned by the situation, to the point where the entire team was left with no choice but to resign from the project. With no details regarding the website requirements, it was impossible for me to proceed with the website work. When I expressed my concerns to Ken (by email) regarding the apparent lack of any real plan or solutions, I received a series of extremely disrespectful emails back from Ken. In these emails Ken essentially told me that I was not worthy of having any knowledge of his plans and that he expected me to blindly follow his orders without questioning the validity of what he arrogantly called his “Nobel Mission”. Below is an extract to give a flavour of the emails:
“Who exactly are you to question the decisions I make with regard to the mission I created and risk my life for? Why exactly do you even have any knowledge of financial issues or legal issues… You have one hell of a lot of nerve my brother to seriously question my integrity…”
Ken’s emails often had a threatening tone and, reading between the lines, he made it clear that unless we unquestioningly followed his orders, he would use his popularity and position of influence to shift any blame for the failure of the project away from himself and towards William and the rest of the team.
“Make no mistake about this my brother, I will make sure all delays are fully understood by supporters… and for sure I will be naming people who were paid to do work and who did not do it…”
With no clear brief from Ken, and having been on the receiving end of his disrespectful emails, it was impossible to progress with the website work and I made it clear that I wanted nothing more to do with the project.
As far as I am aware Ken has not showed any transparency regarding how the donations have been spent. For the record, I have received £1,346 of the £4,000 promised. I feel this covers the work I completed and do not feel I am owed anything at this time. However, I understand many people involved have still not been paid what they are owed and Ken has shown ongoing reluctance to release funds.
To this day I have seen no evidence that Ken has the solutions he has been promising. All I have seen is a focus on bringing in as much funding as possible. Without a much more detailed plan, discussed and agreed by the whole team, I was unable to take the development of the WCS website forward, and I would have felt uncomfortable doing so in the knowledge that there may not be any real solutions as an end result.
If Ken does have a solid legal solution, he should at the very least have disclosed the details to the core members of the WCS team. His unwillingness to do this made it impossible to take the project forward. If Ken can’t disclose his solutions, even in confidence to his core team, I can only conclude he has no real solution. This being the case, I personally feel that the right thing for him to do at this stage would be return any unspent funds to those who donated.
Finally, I would like to say that William has acted with great integrity throughout and has worked tirelessly to do everything he can to make WCS a success.
Creator and Developer of Coeo, the Community Connector
Web work report, dated and delivered to Ken O’Keefe on March 18th, 2016
As far as the work that was completed by the website development team, you will see that a tremendous amount of work had been completed on the site. Notes indicating that additional explanations and finalised decisions needed to be made before many of the outstanding website build requirements could begin. This is proof that the web development team was completely up front and honest about the requirements prior to moving forward with the rest of the site design and build. Please refer to the web update document below: