FOR PUBLIC RELEASE
INTERAM 2021/22/23 IN COLOMBIA
After a year of involvement as the planning committee for this event, we regretfully inform you that the event cannot be held as originally planned and scheduled.
Before you vent your frustration, please read what has transpired over the past three years since Colombia was selected to host this event, at INTERAM 2019 . . .
Immediately following the vote, registration was opened for 500 participants, primarily those on the hash boat during INTERAM 2019. Those “early bird” regos sold out almost instantly, resulting in an additional 500 registrations being offered. We believed those also sold out in a matter of hours, but it turns out that there were a number of duplicates. A third block of 500 registrations were also offered, and those we thought sold out, but those turned out to be all duplicates, with no payments associated with them.
The original committee members for INTERAM 2019 were ABBAA (Jonas Astrom) who was serving as GM of Medellin H3 at the time, Pablo Pisscobar (Mauricio Valencia) and Chimbawamba (Ana Maria Moreno Martinez); all of whom had limited experience hosting events of any size, nor had been involved with a large-scale hash event. Based on the planning performed at this point, it was clear that they were not prepared for the event. Let it also be clear that the latter (Mauricio Valencio and Ana Maria Moreno Martinez) had sole access to all INTERAM funds and how the received funds were managed.
After several months of inactivity and uncertainty by the remaining committee, a new team of hashers assembled and traveled to Medellin to attempt to salvage the event. During our initial planning meeting in November of 2021, several months after Pablo’s death, we were under the impression that the event could be salvaged and that it would be mainly a planning intensive effort on our part.
We are unsure how various events transpired up to the point of Pablo’s death, however; since taking on the task of putting this event back together, we have learned that the money taken in (not all the regos were paid) was about $260,000.00 USD based on financial records we could access at that time. We were able to dig deeper into the finances and requirements of how to access a deceased individual's assets. We discovered that the money had been grossly misappropriated.
Our research uncovered that the registration money had been used to purchase a home known as Casa Agata, build another home known as Casa Mirador or the “Hash House '' as well as purchase four tracts of land (approximately 70 acres) adjacent to these structures. Additionally, we found that registration funds were used by Pablo and Chimbawamba to pay off personal debts and loans, and for personal living expenses and travel. These properties and funds were all placed under the guise of the Non-Profit Corporation entitled “La Corporacion de Nuestra Tierra.”
The new committee decided after a day of discussion, that the only way to proceed would be to sell all the properties (with the cooperation of Chimbawamba) and recover as much capital as possible. Over the course of a few months, we invested hundreds of combined hours (and even our own personal funds) into the planning and logistics aspect of holding the event and all that it would entail.
A full-on effort ensued to track down any remaining or hidden funds, establish contracts to hire a commercial event planner, meet and work with town officials at the host venue town of Guatape for permitting and advertisement, secure lodging, create a new website, and work the real estate process in Colombia. These delays, and partially due to COVID, as it affected the suppliers we needed to work with, caused us to come to the conclusion that we would not be able to execute an INTERAM event in 2022 due to the original lack of planning and hurdles to access registration money, resulting in postponement to 2023.
Of course, there were numerous other challenges faced, which continued to mount. The houses were on land that had a deed restriction prohibiting building any dwellings. The lands were titled in the Corporacion with only one remaining officer (Ana) and although we initially had Ana’s cooperation and a signed contract to sell the lands, once buyers were found, she stopped cooperating.
This final action by Ana required the committee to seek out legal assistance to investigate our options and attorneys were contacted and put on retainer. The initial support provided by the remaining original committee had now been removed, which prohibited the sale of existing assets. The crushing realization is that we do not believe we can recover any assets in time to fund and hold this event in 2023. Rather than drag this process out yet another year in the hashing world, we have made the disappointing decision to cancel the event in Colombia. This may allow another host to take on INTERAM for a 2023 event in a different location while the attorneys do their work in Colombia. Please understand that announcements, social media presence, and email responses could not be posted or addressed due to the mitigating legal issues. We were not ignoring, we could not respond and risk jeopardizing any chance of recovering hash funds during this unprecedented circumstance. We truly tried our hardest for every hasher involved.
Case # 050016000248202267427 has been opened in Medellin, Colombia. See https://www.fiscalia.gov.co/colombia/servicios-de-informacion-al-ciudadano/consultas/#1536851620255-61ce92ac-374f for details.
As this legal initiative unravels, over what could be years; any funds that can be recovered and are received will be evenly dispersed and refunded to the remaining paid registrants. For those who already have purchased flights or still have a burning urge to visit Colombia; we are not ruling out hosting a limited pay-as-you-go event in Guatape, Colombia during 31 Aug – 4 Sep 2023. This would not be an INTERAM affiliated event.
Please continue to check the website https://iah2022.gotothehash.net/ for future updates.