back to article ZX Spectrum reboot scandal: Directors quit, new sack effort started

Two directors of ZX Spectrum reboot firm Retro Computers Ltd have resigned as their attempt to stave off a five-figure legal costs bill for the company proved unsuccessful. CTO Janko Mrsic-Flogel and managing director Suzanne Martin were both recorded by Companies House as having stepped down on 17 August. The filings were …

Is there a point where we get to feel sorry for them?

I backed https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandora_(console) many many years ago, handed over a load of money and ultimately never got a console.

Was clear they were a bit out of their depth, hit with problems, and 'personality differences' (one guy took my money and then said they needed more, the other also said they needed more but did actually get some shipped).

In the end I realized I wasn't going to get my money back either way, and chasing them up was just going to make their lives more miserable than any pleasure I'd get from the console.

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Re: Is there a point where we get to feel sorry for them?

I compare both projects as being very similar.

Both of them were caused by the directors completely mismanaging the business, lying through their teeth and stealing backer's money while throwing it away on things they didn't need to.

In the OpenPandora case, EvilDragon stepped up and made his own business out of it but not before it had lost an AWFUL lot of people's money (i.e. you had to pay ED more to actually get one of the promised things even if you'd already paid OP). Very pyramid-schemey in the end but ED was a nice guy trying to make the best whereas everyone else involved was pretty much trying to splash money on themselves.

In the RCL case, the directors were all pretty much responsible and there was just too much politics to ever have a coherent business. Two directors bowed out, the rest have resigned, and yet only a tiny portion of the units could EVER have actually been finished and the lawyers are vying for monies that haven't been paid, IndieGoGo is (supposedly) chasing with debt collectors, backers are building a class-action-suit-type-thing on other sites, etc. etc. Though Janko may be "innocent" in those matters, they still were associated with the companies until post-release, and the release software is atrocious.

However you look at it, it's not a company that you want to do business with. I followed the OP scandal very closely as I very nearly bought one (I used to program for the GP2X, the OPs "predecessor" if you like, from Gamepark Holdings who just delivered stuff and didn't have this hassle) and though ED personally saved some backers... pretty much I wouldn't want to touch any product that was developed that way.

These people, in particular are being huge con-artists - the project is severely delayed, there's been any number of "next week" promises that never materialised and the final product is a shoddy copy of what you could achieve with a GP2X from 10 years ago, with an off-the-shelf compiled binary of FUSE, and some silly "Hall of Fame" bit plugged into the software that - I think - was never properly paid for and all development on the firmware stopped because of that.

Even Lee Fogarty (another of the RCL contracted-out guys) says that the second firmware was shoddy and unfinished and released in the state he last saw it in, with thousand of bugs filed against it with the authors... who weren't paid so never fixed them.

It's a business scam that I wouldn't touch with a bargepole, and it has NOTHING to do with the product itself (but the product is extremely sketchy precisely because of that). It could be a ground-breaking device, there's no way I'd buy it from those people.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Is there a point where we get to feel sorry for them?

@goldcd; You realised that any legal action was likely to be a Pandora's box, then?

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Re: Is there a point where we get to feel sorry for them?

..and all you have left at the end is hope

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Windows

Re: Is there a point where we get to feel sorry for them?

"chasing them up was just going to make their lives more miserable than any pleasure I'd get from the console."

What about the pleasure you'd get from making their lives more miserable?

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Re: Is there a point where we get to feel sorry for them?

I backed https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandora_(console) many many years ago, handed over a load of money and ultimately never got a console.

Join the club. :) That lesson cost me 327 quids, luckily I didn't order "iControlPad" from same player. Craig Rothwell practically invented start-up scams, much before Kickstarter & IndieGoGo trend.

Mr. Mrozek (ED) is predecessor of Mr. Andrews and Pyra is same to THEC64.

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Facepalm

Legal expenses

Lots of people have successfully paid for legal expenses through crowd funding...

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Devil

Re: Legal expenses

Yes but the issue is that you have to find supporters with some sympathy for your position.

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Anonymous Coward

Indiegogo ?

Indiebollocks more like it.

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Re: Indiegogo ?

Indiegogonads?

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Re: Indiegogo ?

Indiegullablegobshites?

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RCL also published the source code for the FUSE open source ZX Spectrum emulation software port used in the Vega Plus, something required by the General Public Licence under which its author, Philip Kendall, released it to world+dog.

Philip has managed to get the Vega build kind of working.

In the same thread there is an intriguing statement from Philip, "I certainly suspect the speed of its release may have been influenced by RCL receiving a strongly worded letter".

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Anonymous Coward

The dependency rabbit hole and self confessed autotools hell are the type of things that prevent many from contributing to OSS efforts.

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"Indiegogo is continuing the process ..."

Of pretending it gives a shit about scam artists using it to get money from the sheeple.

This is not first, and certainly not the last, group of pathetic liars to take advantage of this kind of service to line their pockets. And as long as Indiegogo cannot be held responsible, they've got no reason to stop the cash from flowing.

And hey, if some projects actually pan out, it's just a fringe benefit and good PR.

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Anonymous Coward

Its traditional for sinclair...

Both of them were caused by the directors completely mismanaging the business, lying through their teeth and stealing backer's money while throwing it away on things they didn't need to.

So fully living up to Clive's reputation then?

Can't relaunch a Sinclair product without a whiff of fraud, corruption, sharp business non working technology and probably sexual peccadillos.

Oh yes, I worked there once....

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Re: Its traditional for sinclair...

Not being overly familiar with Sir Clive's personal life I read the Daily Mail piece linked, and couldn't help thinking that the man must be a fool.

Seriously? An IQ of 159 (as if that means something) and marries a former stripper 39 years younger than himself? Makes me wonder how he manages to put his trousers on the right way around.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Its traditional for sinclair...

> marries a former stripper 39 years younger than himself?

Some people would say a rich older bloke doing that... is showing good taste.

For better or worse, woman around Sir Clive's advanced age rarely compare well to ~30 year old models.

His current family are probably worried she's still fertile, so might pop out another person in line for the inheritance.

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Re: Its traditional for sinclair...

"Seriously? An IQ of 159 (as if that means something) and marries a former stripper 39 years younger than himself? Makes me wonder how he manages to put his trousers on the right way around."

I don't think he has any need for trousers if he's married to a stripper 40 years younger than he is.

Lucky beggar.

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Re: Its traditional for sinclair...

If Wikipedia is correct, he divorced her last year, so no new heirs to worry about, no.

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Re: Its traditional for sinclair...

Sir Clive shipped 5 million spectrums.

So no comparison.

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Re: Its traditional for sinclair...

Seriously? An IQ of 159 (as if that means something) and marries a former stripper 39 years younger than himself? Makes me wonder how he manages to put his trousers on the right way around.

And Sir Clive's old chap, Sir David of Vega's was supposed to supply the gang with his sex robots, actually human robot babies. So it has to be IQ of 5E4. And raising.

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Re: Its traditional for sinclair...

Sir Clive shipped 5 million spectrums.

So no comparison.

Really? How much of QLs, C5s or watches that do not work? Selective memory it seems.

Levy shipped plenty of his chess computers before Vega, btw.

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Is there...............

Enough popcorn in the world for this?

Oh, and, exactly HOW much popcorn is too much?

DaveA

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Re: Is there...............

Someone should start an Indiegogo crowd funded research project to find out...

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Devil

Re: Is there...............

"Oh, and, exactly HOW much popcorn is too much?"

It's going to be hard to source an authoritative answer to that, but I suggest that as soon as it starts flowing out your front door like this, it's too much...

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Levy fan club

Levy's lining up his next business opportunity, but at least this lot can't say they weren't warned.

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Re: Levy fan club

"Levy's lining up his next business opportunity, but at least this lot can't say they weren't warned."

For such a short statement, it's clear they are up to date with 1970's style marketing or mentioning the "product" as many times as possible. It must be an ACE product :-)

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Re: Levy fan club

Oh yes, the sex-bot thing. I started to read his research paper and stopped when I got to the bit where he'd dedicated it to his Mother !!!!

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IT Angle

Company Management

Aussie with a question here.

What happens in the UK if the entire board resigns? There appears to be only one director remaining as per the article. Googling only seems to find US references which all seem to conflict with each other anyway.

Does the company fold? Does the majority shareholder (whoever that is) automatically become a director and become liable? Something else?

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Re: Company Management

Have a google around for the "Spongebob Plan". That's almost certainly the way this is going. There are likely no secured creditors, so the last remaining director can basically walk away from the business, stop answering the phone etc, and wait for Companies house to strike the company off. If there is no money to pay liquidators, and no assets worth seizing to pay for the liquidators anyway, that's the way it will go.

Generally though, if the last Director dies or goes missing, the shareholders have to nominate a new Director - but as I say, more likely they'll just mark the LTD company dormant and walk away indefinitely. Sadly there seems to be little legal recourse - as any secured creditor that could be found (indiegogo maybe, depending on their T&C's?) would need to underwrite the cost of assigning liquidators, which is just throwing good money after bad given the business has clearly been fully asset stripped.

I think the only option now is to take the £105 sunk cost on the chin, and make a stubborn point to flag up quickly and loudly any business venture involving this bunch of scam artists in future to try and prevent a repeat performance.

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Anonymous Coward

NEXT: Skyhooks! Invest NOW

Don't miss out.

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CTO Janko Mrsic-Flogel and managing director Suzanne Martin were both recorded by Companies House as having stepped down on 17 August.

Is Levy the only person left working for the business? If so he will be walking away quite soon i'm sure.

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Hire a better spin doctor!

Come on, how hard can it be to make thing look good? It's not a war, it's a pageant. We need a theme, a song, some visuals!

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there was a court case today

andrews and smith vs RCL +4

and someone appears to have closed their twitter account.

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