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The $65,000 RSVP

The choice of "Art and Risk" as the theme of a weeklong seminar for Christian writers and artists this June proved sadly ironic when the host, Image journal, lost $65,000 through its online registration process.

Organizers of the Christian literary journal's 2013 Glen Workshop hired Acteva, a company specializing in events for small nonprofit organizations, to handle its online registrations. The San Francisco-based company boasted a solid 12-year track record, and even gave Image a discount.

"We were looking to try to make it smooth and efficient," said Gregory Wolfe, publisher and editor of Image. "We felt that it was a reasonable option for us because they were clearly keeping our needs in mind."

Acteva provided Image with a way to collect applications and credit card information. But warning signs started to appear in February when the company's payment checks to Image started to bounce.

The journal contacted Acteva, only to hear the company was experiencing cash-flow problems. As more time passed without the money from its conference fees being passed on, Image switched the credit card payments to its own merchant account. But by then, the organization was out $65,000.

"Acteva isn't to be trusted," said Wolfe. "It's clear to us that there was a huge downturn that took place." He called the incident a "gross mismanagement" by the company—and even "borderline fraud."

CT attempted to contact Ed Lemire, Acteva's executive vice president and owner, but he was unavailable and his voicemail inbox was full.

Apparently, Image is not the only nonprofit that has lost money through Acteva.

Jason Brown created www.actevasucks.info ...

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The $65,000 RSVP
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September 2013

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