Chris Lamb, Boris Johnson & Debian unpaid bills


There has recently been news about pranksters in the UK using the online debt recovery form to successfully obtain a default judgment against Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Johnson's address is well known, he lives at 10 Downing Street.

The claim against Johnson may well be a prank but when Chris Lamb finished his term as Debian Project Leader in April 2019, he left office without paying all the bills. Debian is not an incorporated organization, therefore, if you are owed money from Debian, you have to make a personal debt recovery action against the leader. For debts between 2017 and 2019, you can use Lamb's address for service in the UK online debt recovery:

Chris Lamb
Stanley House
Oldhurst Road
Pidley
Huntingdon
Cambridgeshire PE28 3BY

For debt recovery and other legal claims against the current Debian Project Leader, the following address can be used:

Jonathan Carter
8 Leoville, Link Road
Bellville
Republic of South Africa

The address of the Project Secretary may also be valid for debt recovery in Belgium:

Kurt Roeckx, Debian Project, Secretary
Mortelstraat 44
3150 Tildonk
Belgium

Why doesn't Debian pay the bills?

In March 2018, there was a Bug Squashing Party in Tirana, Albania (photos).

A group of students from Kosovo had written to Lamb and asked for funds to travel to Tirana. The cost for each person was €8 for a hostel and €15 for the bus. These amounts seem trivial for many of us in free software but they are more than a day's income for students in a developing country.

Lamb authorised each of their requests in writing (example below).

Many NGOs fund events in the Balkan countries and it is typical for organizations to pay the bills on the day of the event. Some of the students did not have this much money in cash. These are developing countries and organizations have to be sensitive about this when operating there.

There was only one Debian Developer present at the event. Everybody turned to him and one of the local organizers on Sunday morning and asked for help. To resolve it quickly, the Debian Developer went to the hotel, asked the students to give him copies of each receipt and authorisation email from Chris Lamb and then paid all the bills in cash. The total was approximately €431

All the documents were scanned and originals posted to Debian within 2 weeks of the event. All the names and amounts matched the authorisations from Lamb.

Nonetheless, Chris Lamb stonewalled. He had wanted each of the female students to send him a thank you email and personally request their €23 refund.

In many ways, this isn't practical. The banks in Kosovo deduct a fee of €15 or €20 from each incoming transfer. It is far better to process payments in cash in this region. Lamb wasn't there to help and he had poor communications with the volunteers doing the work.

The Debian Developer continued sending requests to Lamb and never received any money. Lamb finished his term as Debian leader in April 2019 complaining that he was a victim of harassment.

Asking for bills to be paid is not harassment. Lamb has an ego problem. He wanted each woman to send him a polite thank you message with a smiley and photo. He was furious that the female students saw another volunteer managing the money. Lamb wanted the women to see him handing out the money. This is the mentality of somebody who wanted to groom the women to be obedient interns and employees of large corporations.

We recently looked at the way women were brought to DebConf in Brazil. Their tickets were bought for them. They were not left with unpaid bills. Most interns only receive one trip to DebConf. Did Lamb give them this second DebConf trip so he could impress them with his power and authority? Was this because he was still furious about another Developer managing the bills in Tirana?

In May 2019, the bill was eventually paid. It was more than 12 months after the event and Sam Hartman had become Debian Project Leader. Why did Lamb leave problems like this for future volunteers?

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA256

Hi Diellza,

> The other women who want to attend are:
>
> - Amire (snip)
> - Arbenita (snip)
> - Artira (snip)
> - Erita (snip)
[..]
> -Transport: 75 EUR (15 EUR/person)
> -Accomodation: 40 EUR (8 EUR/person)
>
> TOTAL: 115 EUR

Approved :)


Regards,

- --
      ,''`.
     : :'  :     Chris Lamb
     `. `'`      lamby@debian.org / chris-lamb.co.uk
       `-
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Chris Lamb, Debian, unpaid bills