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325 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I wonder around to many of the diecast boards BUT have Not been able to get into the MCCH boards for 4 or 5 days now.

Does anybody else have problems?

I know the MCCH boards were close for a few days before because of member problems - Is that the issue again?

Anybody Know?

325 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
I did a little more investigation and found this:

" Dear Administrators, Moderators, Members, Members, and Friends of the
MCCH- We were severely hacked earlier this week. Our server was co-opted
for an attack on ebay, paypal, and banks in a phishing scheme. The FBI
is involved and this was a major crime. The perpetrator traces to Romania,
where I doubt he shall ever be caught.

Suffice it to say, that we lost quite a bit. I have it backed up, but I
am more concerned with getting back to a new forums than I am converting
the back ups to restore things. It was plain that our forum software was
to blame, as there was a "Five Star" security breach published for it."

So I guess they got some work to do to get back up and running.

Dan (Zeezeerider)

804 Posts
A public message from Mark Curtis in relation to the temporary closure of the MCCH site, information regarding the 2012 Gathering & addressing some of the numerous rumours doing the rounds on various forums:
Mark Curtis said:
Saturday Evening, July 21, 2012

Dear Friends-

Well Howdy! My, but my ears are burning!

It is not like I have much to do this weekend, so when asked if the database that runs the forums could be turned off to facilitate an update to the server, I agreed. It cannot be active during an update, or the database goes wonky. Becca is working on some of the development pages. We are finding a solution for getting the Pat’s box site back up. Well, I tried to patch and upgrade the vBulletin, and I really messed it up. Good thing there is a backup. It was also complicated by my required jury duty this week.

Yes, I also did not really want to see what I was missing with all my friends there in Albuquerque .

When Keith Borden and I started planning the first Matchbox Collectors’ Community International Gathering of Friends From Around the World in late 2001, it was not meant to be a convention. It was simply a gathering of friends who had not had the chance to meet each other, and a dinner party with which to meet. Kind of like the Scots returning to the family and homelands for a festival. I really wanted to avoid the “Hot Wheels – Strauss” events, which seemed more of a grab for money. I was talking with Jim, and he said we could meet in Albuquerque and have a dinner. Then he could put together a toy show on that Sunday… Well, it happened. From that seed grew an event with which I was proud to be a host, along with Jim.

All I really wanted was to obtain funding for the MCCH. Yes, it was an ego boost too, being associated with the most successful Matchbox event in the USA . It was a good time. Loads of friends and an overload of Matchbox. It went on with an informal agreement between Jim and I, with Jim being the promoter. “This is my donation to the MCCH to help it continue.” It has to be so to facilitate business licenses, permits, insurance, taxes, contracts, and all that.

I was happy to let Jim use his talents to do this. He was happy to ensure the MCCH was funded. It got more involved and expensive. He has a substantial investment in making it happen.

Indeed, in 2009 I grew ill and had some various health issues. Jim and Shaun and the whole bunch there took up the slack. I simply could not function, and Jim and his folks made the MCCH International Gathering of Friends happen. Looking back, There are entire blocks of time I do not remember in 2009 and 2010. In fact, while photographing the items for the 2009 Gathering auction, my wife found me incoherent, wandering around the neighborhood, camera in hand. She asked me what I was doing, and I did not know. To this day, she says it was one of the most frightening things she has seen. I do not remember it. I survived and have some permanent long term organ damage from the entire ordeal, but I am doing far better.

With a management issue, came conflict. I could see it brewing long before it happened. Many people I talked with expressed reluctance to return last year. There was an undercurrent of problems I promised to change for this year. Then, Matchbox made a major turn of focus in the line, and that became a distraction. The Moderators and Administrators worked overtime trying to keep a positive, welcoming site, without bashing and mean-spirited posts that really got personal to those who make the toy line what it is.

I acted to make known that though people could criticize what they did not like, they could not make it mean and personal. There were few that sought to drive a stake into the collector world through their (still continuing) diatribes. They actually succeeded to a great degree. The Moderators and Administrators excised them from the MCCH. They got ever more personal.

To put it bluntly, Jim decided to require that people who were enjoined from membership at the MCCH (who were dropped long before the whole melee described above) be allowed to rejoin the MCCH. They could return to wreak havoc, without any promise to anyone but Jim, to be polite and follow the long-standing site rules. The Moderators and Administrators did not desire to go along with Jim’s insistence upon allowing them to rejoin, and stated so in an area of Moderator discussion where the public does not have access. Jim even said he would go along with the opinions of the many.

Suffice it to say that I considered the arguments, and sided with the Moderating group of the MCCH. Jim harassed me by phone and email all weekend, and then we spoke on Monday night. Maybe I should have taken his 73 calls all Saturday and Sunday. When we talked, he was furious. He called me a liar and that he had taken careful notes of what I said. Whatever he thought I said, we were not allowing purposefully divisive persons to return to the MCCH. He said “I threw him under the bus.” I did not. Whatever he thought he heard through endless rewording of his argument, was never assent to his demands.

Our last spoken words were me listening to Jim, and understanding very clearly that I would not be treated well at the Gathering. That he was shifting it away from the MCCH. He made it clear that I would not be welcome. I thought about it a while, and decided to end my association with the promoter of my event and cancel my event. Obviously, that promoter can do as he pleases to recover the tremendous financial outlay he has in the event. I simply ended my relationship with him.

So, here you are, having a great time. Fine. I really wish I was there. Have a wonderful weekend! Spend your money on an auction where the choice was made to focus upon a worthy charity! Seriously, notwithstanding Jim’s contractual and personal stake in the charity, it is a worthy cause and you should support it. I did. Anything I ever bought in the MCCH auction, that amount was donated by me of my own funds to that charity. Jim and I made sure a certain level was attained for the charity during the auction. Please have fun and donate through this auction to the kids who need some light in their lives.

But, that now brings me to the MCCH... The budget, always previously stated and explained, is very much smaller. The MCCH simply does not have funding to do everything it always did. Last year’s budget was $420 per month. That’s $5000 per year, and much more than half of that went just for the server, domains and other expenses of maintaining a site of the size of the MCCH on the net with no advertising. Software, licenses, taxes, paid help when I found myself needing it, postage, office supplies, and a whole bunch of little things all add up to that above figure. (Mattel asked for an accounting of this, and got it. They never required receipts to my knowledge.)

Last year, actually this year we were hacked three times. The most serious one was through the MS Front page that the boxes site was relying upon. We have now closed that and are fixing it. The other two times…. Well… Let’s just say that a certain disgruntled promoter bragged publicly that the MCCH security was weak. I actually found myself locked out of my own site during this management issue… The logs clearly showed who it was. One thing about running your own server like the MCCH? You have access to all kinds of records. They should be ashamed.

We will carry on. Indeed, now that Becca has graduated with an IT degree, she is working on doing things for the MCCH which I never could.

This brings me to another rather interesting thing… I have been much the object of innuendo and falsehoods. Some of it passed out by Jim himself, and dubiously embellished and distributed by others… A few of which I am aware.

First falsehood: “I put my children through college with MCCH funds.” We are in Georgia . I have two very bright kids. The “HOPE” state scholarship pays for any student maintaining grades above 3.0 at rates from 100% to 80%. Both my kids were on the Dean’s Lists (want to see the letters from the Dean?) with grades from 3.5 to 4.0 for repeated semesters. Becca fell below that one semester, and she scrambled selling toy cars, worked her butt off, got a couple of other scholarships (one was from the Frozen Food Manufacturers Association), and got one small student loan. She is paying that off at $17 per week. She was HOPE reinstated the following semester. Kimmy has not ever asked for one dime, not one. She has worked her butt off, has the full scholarship, and has achieved a 4.0 for her entire freshman year.

Second falsehood: “I Fixed my children’s dental problems with funds from the MCCH.” Wow. As if the small amount that was gained from the MCCH auctions was anywhere near enough to pay for all that! For your information, both my girls have had very expensive dental work. We have very good insurance. Any amounts not covered by that was paid for entirely by their grandparents. Completely, as my parents have been blessed to be quite wealthy. Their philanthropic nature starts with all their grandkids.

Got any more rumors, innuendo, or concerns? Call or email me with them! I will address them. Jim actually encouraged me at one time to use the MCCH funds to pay for a small emergency that arose. I did not because I had prepaid all the services for the MCCH at that time and could not do that!

So, have a great time. Enjoy the friends and the party. Celebrate! Add that special thing, that “Holy Grail” to your collection.

I am sorry I am not there, but it was made untenable and I unwelcome. The site and non-working functions will hopefully return sometime tomorrow. I am awaiting word on some things yet to be fixed that I inadvertently changed.

MCCH Senior Administrator,

Mark Curtis

PS, This will surely be copied, bandied about by malcontents, and picked apart. So be it. Like water off a duck’s back.

552 Posts
It is a shame

Mark's statement is nothing but whining because he has no funding source now. He refused to be public with the results of where the money goes. Also I need to be able to account for where it goes on my tax returns. I askd for a receipt and he refused. My parting words were We have to agree to disagree and I hope to see you in July. His statement is way off. He was always invited and welcome.

As for his other statements, he really needs to talk to those who brought them up. I heard them from sources that he confides in and trusts. The college one is new to me. Maybe one of his stools trying to stir even further. Can they be confirmed? I never stated they could as I do not know. There are many other collectors that have issues with him as well I found out at the Gathering. It seems to just get bigger all the time.

The Gathering was never his. He helped with it if you can call what he did help but I always organized, funded, promoted it. He always made excuses why he could complete his tasks. As a result, I fired him.

So he goes on playig word games stating it was cancelled. He upset many people who saw him for what he really is. Hie absence was a huge boost.

I later find out that many collectors would not attend the event if he was involved. They did attend and came in droves. As a result we had the biggest event ever.

Now he emails me and wants event dinner models. I will try to get him one as I have to be the bigger person and will not stoop to his level. I have relayed this to him.

I wish him well but he really needs help.
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