Karen's Naughty List

Much as I love working with international clients, it does come with one risk: getting stiffed. I have been incredibly lucky; in 17 years of making freestyles, I can count on two hands those clients who didn’t pay me in full, and there really are only a few who walked away from paying me for their entire freestyles. Their names are listed below.

***February 2017***

While 2016 is giving every appearance as having been a normal year – as in, no bad debts from any of my clients – 2015 was the worst year I’ve experienced when it comes to getting stiffed. A total of three individuals failed to pay me for the freestyles they received, despite my repeated efforts, not to mention patience. I would like to remind anyone reading this list that publishing someone’s name is a last resort for me. I do it only with great reluctance and after exercising every reasonable means to try to get these three women to respect the social contract upon which our civilized society depends. My purpose in publishing the names below is two-fold: firstly, to give myself small consolation in the act of public shaming; and secondly, to serve as a warning to other service providers in our industry who may be in danger of also becoming victims to people who have no regard for the good faith and trust that, fortunately, is standard behavior for the vast majority of the population.

***Elena Golubitsky (Sokolovskaia), OH USA***

In the summer of 2015, Elena contacted me in fairly urgent need of a Grand Prix freestyle for her stallion, Adesco C. The freestyle was created over a period of just a couple of weeks. Elena used the freestyle at the 2015 Region 2 Championships. At that competition, Elena and Adesco finished sixth in the Grand Prix Championship, having received a score in the Grand Prix of 61.35%. In the Grand Prix freestyle they finished fourth with a score of 67.375%. The only payment I have ever received was a deposit of $500 before the project began. It was paid by Elena’s mother Liana Sokolovskaia, who lives in Alberta, Canada. It is worth noting that when she first contacted me, Elena asked if she could pay in Canadian dollars, arguing that she is technically Canadian. I agreed to allow her to pay in the lesser currency. In retrospect, I realize I failed to hear a warning bell that I might have difficulty getting paid for the balance of the freestyle. According to her website, Elena is a professional trainer and owner of her own business. It is a source of great bafflement to me that someone whose livelihood clearly relies on being paid by her clients for her services fails to see the parallel when she herself is the client. If you see Elena Golubitsky performing a Grand Prix freestyle using dramatic piano music by the Croatian artist Maksim, that is the freestyle that Elena has not paid for.

***Karyn Joy, WA USA***

Also in the summer of 2015, Karyn Joy contracted my services to create an FEI Junior freestyle for her daughter Madeline (Maddie) and a horse named Rocketman. The only payment I have received for this completed project is a $300 deposit. I spent more than a year attempting to elicit a response (never mind payment) from Karyn, using email, phone/text messages and Facebook Messenger. Karyn was quite adept at making sure she didn’t show the FB messages as ‘read’ by not clicking on them. I eventually sent a FB message to Maddie (she was a minor at the time and I was reluctant to involve her, since it was her mother who owed me the money); the ‘read’ status of my message to Maddie proves she is aware of the unpaid invoice. In my efforts to contact Karyn I discovered from others in the Seattle area that she has a reputation in the equestrian community for not paying bills – for board, training and farriers, to name just three that were mentioned to me. Karyn Joy is the principal broker at Apogee Property Management. I’ve been given to understand this is Karyn’s family business. As with Elena’s story above, I find it astounding that someone whose profession is built on trust between client and professional has no compunctions about stiffing someone who provided a service to her. If you see an Elton John-themed freestyle at Third/FEI Jr. level being used by Maddie Joy, that freestyle has not been paid for.

***OR USA***

The person whose name appeared in this space last week sent me a check (postmarked the same day) to cover the amount that was owed. For anyone considering public shaming as a last resort effort to get paid, this is evidence that, at least with some individuals, the method works.

In closing, I would like to thank the kind individuals who attempted to assist in my getting paid, unfortunately to no avail. To competition organizers, I would like to point out that if you allow these individuals to use freestyles that I created for them, you are effectively allowing stolen property to be part of your organized event. If you are considering working with these three individuals in a service providing capacity, please take this as a warning. My advice would be to either receive payment in full up front, or to find more gratifying people with whom to work.

***News Flash***

Naughty List works its magic – a check arrived in the mail a couple of weeks after this page went up. There is now only one person who has not paid me. Since this person is in another country, my recourse has been limited to some imploring emails which received no response….but if nothing else, perhaps posting his name here will keep other service providers from being ripped off by him in the future.

***Update September 11, 2008***

Wow! When I decided (after long deliberation) to put this page up and post the names of clients who had not paid me for the freestyles they had received and used, I didn’t seriously expect them to suddenly change their minds and ‘show me the money’. But the second of the two individuals who were named on this page contacted me to say he would send me full payment within the next six weeks. He also implored me to remove his name. I have complied with his request, but watch this space. If he doesn’t pay me by the date he specified in his last email, you can expect to read about him all over again!

***Update December 9, 2008***

Well, Fernando Olivan de Roche, you are back on the list, and it looks like you are here to stay. It’s quite a distinction to be the first and only client in ten years of business to not pay me a single penny. In this case the product sought and delivered was a freestyle your daughter Maria and her pony Aristos used in European Pony Championship qualifiers in 2007. You promised me in two emails this fall that you would forward payment in full, but two months after the date that you chose as a self-imposed deadline, my bank account remains un-augmented by a transfer from Zaragoza, Spain. And you have disappeared once more into the lost world of cyber space, no longer responding to my messages. I don’t believe the excuse you gave that last year you sent a transfer which, after five months of non-delivery, was returned to your account. Nor do I believe that you sent me an email about it, especially when you subsequently said your email had been ‘down’ for a year after I forwarded you the messages I had sent around the same time that you allegedly contacted me about the failed transfer. I don’t believe anything you say, Fernando, not anything at all. And since I don’t expect to ever receive even a portion of what you owe me, I guess your name and ignoble story will sit here for as long as applausedressage.com occupies a place on the world wide web.

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