Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Update: Genesis Spinning Co-op

All the up-to-the-minute information on the Genesis Spinning Cooperative’s path to production...

The Genesis co-op purchased machinery to spin cotton into yarn in October 2009 from a plant in Venezuela. Since then, they’ve been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the machinery, which keeps getting delayed. We're constantly updating this blog entry, so check below. You can find the latest on where they are in the process to getting that machinery here, installed, and running!

30 September 2010: CALL TO ACTION!

Mark your calendars and come join us if you can! Drag out your poster board and magic markers!

What: protesting on behalf of the Genesis Spinning Cooperative in front of

Coker International, 2721 Whitehorse Rd, Greenville, SC

When: Current dates are...

- Tuesday, October 5, 2-5PM

- Friday, October 8, 10AM-until??

Contact person: Narcie Jeter [] is spearheading protest days. Thank you Narcie!

We need other folk to organize on other dates, but we'd like to have a really big crowd at least on these two dates since we are expecting news coverage on one or both of them.

So... please be in touch with Narcie if you can come on these dates, and please be in touch if you can organize another time. Just tell us when and whom to contact and we'll post it!

Other ways to help:

- Notify your local news media to follow this story.

- Tell your friends in the Greenville SC area so they can come join us.

- Give online to defray costs:

29 September 2010: Stay Tuned for a Call to Action! We're working on the details... stay tuned.

27 September 2010: Things have been in flux. Last Thursday, September 23, we thought we had reached an agreement with Jack Coker of Coker International for the delivery of the equipment. After television reporters showed up at his factory looking in to this matter, he called Mike and agreed to signed a performance guarantee backed up by a bond for the delivery of the equipment or reimbursement of all of our money. Mike told Jack that he would hear immediately from our lawyer, Steve Virgil, however for the rest of Thursday and all day Friday, Jack was unavailable at both his office and cell phones, and did not return any of multiple messages from both our lawyer and Mike. Finally late this afternoon, our lawyer reached him and Jack said he had no money to pay a surety bond but that if we would just put up the remaining $80,000 to pay his debt with the Venezuelan equipment owners and part of the delivery cost, Jack would find funds to pay the balance of the equipment costs and to get it delivered. However, we reasoned that if he had no money to put up a bond, then he had no money to pay shipping or to buy the other equipment coming from him (that he has told us for almost a year was in his warehouse in South Carolina, but which he now admits he does not have all of and that he will have to purchase several pieces). Again we wonder... with what money?

26 August 2010 9 AM: Angel called us! And told us we could solve the whole problem by sending the spinning plant $50,000 directly (in other words, pay for the equipment that Coker never paid for with the money we sent him). While talking to Mr. Magliano, it became apparent that Jack Coker was standing in the background telling him what to say. We insisted on speaking directly to him, and Jack Coker told us to send $55,000 to an account in Venezuela, supposedly to pay the plant there directly, and that would take care of the matter. When we pointed out that the plant itself had told us they were owed $46,000, their response was "Send them whatever amount they want." We informed them that we could not move forward with them until there was movement on the containers that are stuck in Costa Rica with unpaid shipping and fees. And we had a clear indication of how they were planning since by their own admission they have no cash left. They also admitted that they are not yet in possession of the portion of the machinery that was supposed to come from the US (several pieces that could not be purchased from the plant in Venezuela). Keep those emails coming! We need all the help we can get dealing with Coker International!

26 August 2010: More than 200 emails have been sent to Coker! Thank you all for sending your strongly worded message to Coker asking him to "fulfill your contractual obligations" "man up" and in one email "look into your heart; God is." We are so heartened by all your support. Keep the pressure on! Click here to send an email or call.

24 August 2010: Please email or call Coker! You can help us out by asking Jack Coker to act with integrity and responsibility to resolve this situation immediately! Click here to send an email or call.

23 August 2010: More fines and penalties accruing in Costa Rica for not having moved the containers to Nicaragua. Coker still has not paid bills due. We still have not seen proof that Coker has paid for the equipment in Venezuela. Meanwhile, the equipment's original owners have offered to sell us the equipment at a greatly reduced price from what we have already paid Coker. Unfortunately, there's no money to do so.

20 August 2010: We came into the office this morning to find no written agreement from Coker, but an email from the equipment's original owners in Venezuela saying that they had never been paid "a single dollar" for the equipment by Coker. The equipment is disassembled and waiting to load at the plant, rapidly turning into scrap metal. They suggested that we were the cause of delay because we had not paid Coker and told us to do whatever we needed to do to please Coker and get that equipment moving.

We wrote back explaining that it was in fact Coker that was the problem, since they had been paid over 10 months ago.

We called Jack Coker to ask about payment for the equipment and why we had not gotten a written agreement from them. First we talked to Coker's assistant who told us that Jack said Thursday that he would "sleep on it" before sending us anything in writing.

Later we were able to communicate with Jack Coker himself. When asked about this disturbing development about the equipment owners not having been paid he said, "Well, I sent money to somebody down there." We asked for proof of payment, which he agreed to send.

19 August 2010: Coker informed us they would give us possession of the equipment in Venezuela without further payment because they are unable to deliver the equipment as promised. We asked for that in writing and they agreed. We've yet to see the written document.

16 August 2010: Containers arrived in Costa Rica but we can't move them to Nicaragua because seller Coker International hasn't paid the shipping bill and the fees and penalties being charged on the Venezuelan end.

27 July 2010: Ship sailed! Our equipment left Venezuela today, confirmed! That's the first four containers have left three months after getting loaded at the plant. The logistics company, however, is withholding the paperwork we need to release the containers here in Nicaragua until the broker pays the fines incurred in customs in Venezuela...not home free yet!

26 July 2010: Ship delayed: The ship set to sail last Saturday was delayed until tomorrow, surprise surprise. We'll see if it sails then with our containers on it.

20 July 2010: Confirmed ship for the 24th, but no new containers yet: The logistics company has confirmed that the four containers are scheduled to sail this Saturday the 24th, but they have not yet sent more containers to be loaded at the plant and won't do so until they receive official word from the seller to do so. The folks at the plant say they need 12 more containers and that all the machinery is ready to load.

16 July 2010: All containers inspected but incurred fines: Because the plant rep put a suspiciously low selling price on the equipment customs paperwork, each container incurred nearly $4,000 in fines (which the equipment seller is obligated to pay, not us). The good news is that these first four containers are scheduled to be on a boat the 24th of July. Since the inspections are over, it's actually more likely that they will sail on that date than it ever has been before!

15 July 2010: Three containers inspected: Today we received word that the seller has agreed in writing to pay additional costs and that three of the four containers were inspected yesterday.

13 July 2010: Seller says "do whatever it takes": The equipment seller has told the logistics company to do whatever it takes, whatever it costs to get the equipment inspected and out of the country. The logistics company is waiting for confirmation of that in writing.

8 July 2010: Equipment seller rep refuses to bring in lift: The logistics company today was told by the equipment seller's rep that he would not in fact allow the plant rep to bring in "his" forklift to do the inspect. The logistics company refuses to incur additional charges until the equipment seller agrees to pay all additional charges incurred.

7 July 2010: Couldn't do inspection because the National Guard can't unload container: The machinery was too big to unload by hand but the National Guard doesn't have the forklift needed to unload. The inspect was rescheduled for Friday, and the plant rep offered to bring in a forklift from the plant. The logistics company did all the paperwork necessary to get permission to bring an outside lift in to the customs area.

5 PM 29 June 2010: Logistics company talked to the plant rep: Got confirmation from the logistics company in Venezuela that they personally talked to the plant rep and that he doesn't have anything more important on his schedule for next Wed and he will in fact be there for the inspection. Here's hoping nothing gets in the way of that between now and then...

8 AM 29 June 2010: Containers delayed to 12 July: The good news is that there's no inspection today which means that the plant rep can do what he likes and we won't suffer from it. The bad news is that the containers definitely won't go until the 12th at the very least. The new date for the final inspection is next Wednesday, the 7th of July.

28 June 2010: Inspection tomorrow and plant rep a no-show: Informed by the logistics company that the final National Guard inspection is scheduled for tomorrow morning and that the representative of the plant who is required to be there says he can't make it because of another meeting conflict. After an entire month of being in customs. Really. Spent all day trying to get someone somewhere -- the seller, the plant rep, anybody to get this guy to show. If he doesn't make it, the containers don't sail Friday and will be delayed until the 16th of July.

28 June 2010: Container delayed until 2 July: Apparently now they're shipping on Friday.

22 June 2010: Containers delayed until 30 June: Official word this morning is that our first four containers now won't ship until June 30th. That will be one month from the time they left the factory until they sail...IF they actually go on the 30th.

21 June 2010: Containers still in delay: The first four containers went for inspection in Venezuela today, but the National Guard delayed it two days, rescheduled for Wednesday.

17 June 2010: Started breaking up the floor: Using a 20 lb sledge hammer, the women of Genesis are hacking their floor to pieces, removing the concrete and digging down into the dirt to vent the machinery that will go there. This is HARD work. Almost as hard as putting the floor in in the first place.

16 June 2010: Floor cut: Today we rented a machine and cut the concrete and rebar in the three places where we will dig trenches in the floor.

15 June 2010: Breakin' up is hard to do: We've just confirmed that we have to break up the floor in three places to vent hot air from the motors of our largest 4 machines. Our beautiful floor! Too bad we didn't know sooner, but better to do the job now than when the machinery is here!

14 June 2010: Machinery fits! We've found a way to fit all the machinery in the building! Yay! After rearranging and reconfirming, we've got the floor marked where different machines will go and they all fit!

10 June 2010: Machinery doesn't fit? It looks like not all of our machinery will fit inside our building. We're re-measuring and figuring out how to make this work.

9 June 2010: Rotting food has delayed our equipment: It turns out that part of the reason that our shipment of containers is being delayed is that there were 3,000 containers of food sent to Venezuela that was never released from customs for some reason that involved a corruption scandal (Hugo Chavez has thrown some folks in jail, which does make me feel better). Those containers have been there so long that now they are full of rotten beef, chicken, milk and oil. While the government buries the meat and tries to make yogurt out of the milk, there is a lack of containers in the country because those 3,000 have not been moving. Now everyone is scrambling to get containers but there is such a back log at customs that inspections are taking days instead of hours and exports are really slow.

7 June 2010: Unconfirmed. According to our latest information from the shipper in the US, those containers that were confirmed had in fact NOT sailed. They are at port, waiting to be loaded, but the process of customs and National Guard inspection is taking days rather than hours and they are now not scheduled to sail for another two weeks. Meanwhile, we are hoping more containers are being loaded at the plant. The good news? The technician from the plant in Venezuela arrives in Managua tomorrow to advise us!

3 June 2010: CONFIRMED! The first 4 containers SAILED from Venezuela yesterday! They will arrive in Nicaragua early next week. WOOO HOOO!

The official word is that a total of 8 containers have left the plant in Guatire, 4 sailed yesterday and 4 more will sail next Monday the 7th of June. Next week as many as 10 containers will be loaded to sail on Monday the 14th. Any containers not loaded in time will sail on Monday the 21st. If all goes according to this plan, we should have all the machinery in Nicaragua by the end of June, and out of customs by the end of July!

1 June 2010: Port in Venezuela closed for the past four days, the first four containers will sail when it reopens.

28 May 2010: Evening, César is safely back in Nicaragua after checking the equipment list and talking with the mechanics and those in charge of the plant, and watching our machinery go onto containers!

27 May 2010: César is in Venezuela and has seen our machinery getting loaded on to containers! He's checking that it's actually the machinery that we bought, and making sure all the spare parts get loaded too.

26 May 2010: César is on the plane to Venezuela as of this morning!

25 May 2010 4:30 PM: César got his visa for Venezuela.

25 May 2010 10 AM: Our director of projects, César Fajardo is awaiting a visa to travel to Venezuela to check on the machinery disassembly and packing process and talk face to face with the folks who will be installing the machinery in Nicaragua.

24 May 2010: Second set of 4 containers scheduled for June 7th.

21 May 2010: According to the latest from the shipper, first 4 containers of machinery are scheduled to arrive in Puerto Limon, Costa Rica on June 2nd. They will come up to Nicaragua by land.