Prometheus Labor Communications was proud to sponsor Mike Elk’s journalism for the past several years. Mike is very passionate about his work and like us, works hard for the cause of workplace justice.
Over the past few years, Prometheus has donated over $3,000 to Mike when he was a reporter for “In These Times” magazine and as an independent journalist for his own news operation, PayDay Report. We never asked anything in return for our donations, we simply wanted to help out someone who was passionate about telling the story of workers.
Recently, Prometheus Labor Communications agreed to make another donation of $267 to PayDay Report to cover Mike’s AirBnB expenses in Chicago so he could have a place to stay at the People’s Summit conference. Mike never used the money for the AirBnB so we told him to invoice us for “Marketing” because Mike gave Prometheus the opportunity to make a 3 minute presentation at his fundraiser on Friday to a gathering of about 25.
Mike informed us he was very tight on money and needed to cover the rent so in order to help him out, we consented to pay him in Chicago to help him through his hard times. Our standard agreement is to pay invoices within 30 days but we decided to make an exception for Mike due to his circumstances. In Chicago, when Mike sought immediate payment, we offered to transfer the money electronically to his account in order to help him pay his rent. Mike rejected the offer and demanded cash immediately. Despite our reservations about responding to his aggressive demands, we nonetheless contributed $45 in cash at his fundraising event and, another $100 the next day with the cash we had on hand.
However, when he was handed the $100 he became very confrontational at the People’s Summit conference, shouting obscenities and calling us “assholes” and demanded payment for the rest of the cash by midnight because he needed to pay his rent. He told us that unless he received cash by midnight, he would sue us for non-payment. He ranted and yelled for about 10 minutes causing a considerable scene and interrupting the conference. It went on so long and was so loud and aggressive that conference attendees and eventually security asked him to leave. When one bystander suggested he should calm down, Mike berated him as well.
Needless to say, we were quite taken aback by his somewhat less than gracious response for our financial support. We attribute it to Mike’s extreme financial duress. We still think Mike is a very passionate reporter and wish him all the luck but believe it is unwise for us to continue to support Mike’s journalistic endeavors.
We will gladly contribute the remaining balance of $122 to Mr. Elk but he will not be receiving it by midnight tonight. And the seven beers he put on our tab at his fundraiser without quite asking us if it was OK are still on us.
Good luck, Mike.