Bob Barr’s “Lessons in Liberty” #1: Pay Your Ghostwriter

Bob Barr has once again made history. His is the only U.S. presidential campaign to ever be sued by its ghostwriter.

In June 2008, after Bob Barr captured the Libertarian Party nomination for presidential candidate, his campaign manager, Russ Verney, requested that I ghostwrite a campaign book. We came to terms, I wrote a book, and the campaign released Bob Barr’s Lessons in Liberty.

The deal called for payment in full prior to publication. They paid less than half of what they owed. The Barr 2008 Presidential Committee’s official financial statements, filed last month with the Federal Election Commission, states that they owe me a $47,000 “authoring fee.” [A copy of the campaign’s most recent debt statement is included below. You can access the statement here; the debt is on Schedule D]

Barr will be the keynote speaker at the Libertarian Party’s national convention in St. Louis later this month. If you see Barr there, ask him about his authoring experience – and when his campaign is going to pay its debts…

A pre-final version of the book cover, before they gave Barr a big stick to point at a chalkboard

Excerpt from Barr Presidential 2008 Committee’s most recent debt statement to FEC

The complaint:
Case No.:330488-V

Jim Bovard, Plaintiff, Plaintiff :
V. : :
Barr 2008 Presidential Committee, Inc. :
900 Circle 75 Pkwy Suite 1280
Atlanta, Georgia 30339

COMES NOW PLAINTIFF, Jim Bovard, by and through the undersigned counsel, and for his Complaint against Defendant, Barr 2008 Presidential Committee, Inc., states as follows:
1. Plaintiff Jim Bovard is an individual and a resident of the State of Maryland… who conducted business with Defendant in the State of Maryland .
2. Defendant Barr 2008 Presidential Committee, Inc. is a Georgia Non-Profit Corporation with its principal place of business at 900 Circle 75 Parkway, Suite 1280, Atlanta, Georgia 30339.
3. At all time material hereto, Defendant’s corporate purpose, as stated in its charter, was to manage the business activities of the campaign committee established to advocate the election of Bob Barr for President. Upon information and belief, Defendant engaged in said business in Maryland, and in connection with such business activities entered into the contract with Plaintiff that is the subject of this action.

Breach of Contract
3. On or about June 20, 2008 Defendant, acting through Russell Verney, CFO for Barr 2008 Presidential Committee, Inc., and Plaintiff, acting individually, initiated contract discussions with Plaintiff and pursuant thereto entered into a binding and fully enforceable agreement in Maryland which provided that Plaintiff would write a campaign policy book for the Barr ’08 presidential campaign, comprised of an estimated word length of 40,000 to 70,000 words, and for which Plaintiff would be compensated at the rate of $1.00 per word.
4. Defendant sent to Plaintiff, in Maryland, a $5,000.00 deposit for the work to be performed by Plaintiff in Maryland, and agreed to pay Plaintiff for the contract work all to be performed in Maryland, 1/3 of the outstanding balance upon receipt of various chapters totalling 25,000 words, and payment in full upon final edits for publishing the book.
5. Pursuant to their contract, Prior to July 22, 2008 Plaintiff performed services requested of Plaintiff in Maryland and delivered about two thirds of the estimated book, being between 38,000 and 40,000 words,
6. Prior to August 9, Plaintiff performed further services in Maryland and delivered four additional chapters, with total text to date comprising approximately 50,000 words, and Defendant made a partial payment of $10,00.00 on or about August 9, 2008.
7. On or about August 21, 2008 defendant made an additional payment of $5,000.
8. Prior to September 15, 2008 the balance of Plaintiff’s work, which was performed in Maryland, and which was ultimately comprised of 77,000 words, was delivered to Defendant who acknowledged the book as “terrific” and who praised the work commenting that “the flow from issue to issue was seamless.” On or about October 21, 2008 Defendant verbally represented that Plaintiff would be paid in full and on or about October 23, 2008, Defendant made an additional partial payment of $10,000.00.
9. In response to Plaintiff’s further request for payments, Defendant, through Russell Verney on or about November 4, 2008, wrote to plaintiff and stated “You will be paid and you will be paid in full. I simply do not have any money on hand. I am going to continue fundraising to pay off all of our obligations and you are at the top of the list.”
10. Subsequent demand was made upon the Defendant for payment and on or about November 25, 2008, Russell Verney again promised payment stating, “I am well aware of Mr. Bovard’s outstanding amount due and we are making every effort to pay it, in full, as quickly as possible.”
11. Of the total $77,000.00 owed to Plaintiff for 77,000 words delivered and accepted by the Defendant, the Defendant has paid $30,000.00 and has failed to pay Plaintiff the $47, 000.00 which remains due and owing.
12. Defendant has breached the Defendant’s agreement to pay Plaintiff, and is indebted to Plaintiff for the remaining $47,000.00, promised but not paid.
Wherefore , Plaintiff Jim Bovard demands judgment as to breach of contract against Defendant for the sum of $47,000.00, plus pre- and post-judgement interest, and such other and further relief as to the Court seems just and proper.


18 Responses to Bob Barr’s “Lessons in Liberty” #1: Pay Your Ghostwriter

  1. Not a Barr-ista May 7, 2010 at 9:31 am #

    Always knew Bob Barr was an unprincipled scoundrel. Well, of course, he’s a politician, right?

    But even among that scurvy lot he’s a particular hypocrite. After leaving office, he set himself up as a huge privacy advocate. But his voting record in Congress sent an entirely different message.

    On everything he touches, he’s a regular Mr. Do-As-I-Say-Not-Do-As-I-Do.

    Now, having failed to fool Republicans, he’s been working at fooling Libertarians for the last few years. And gods forbid, he seems to be succeeding. (Who would ever have thought that the Ls would be more gullible than the Rs?)

    I hope you get your money out of the bastard, Jim.

  2. Pete Eyre May 7, 2010 at 11:14 am #

    Damn, that sucks that you were forced to take this course of action. Not too responsible for someone claiming to be a libertarian.

  3. D. Saul Weiner May 7, 2010 at 11:52 am #

    There’s a good spokesman for fiscal responsibility!

  4. Scott Bieser May 7, 2010 at 1:23 pm #

    Frankly, James, I’m disappointed to learn that you consented to work for this douche-bag. Although I can understand how 77 large would be difficult to turn down. I hope this has been a learning experience for you.

  5. Not a Barr-ista May 7, 2010 at 1:36 pm #

    Hey, Scott Bieser — you yourself are one talented and creative fellow. I admire you both your talents and your principles. But as one of Jim’s fellow Starving Writers … I think I could work for a lot of douche-bags for $77k!

    Of course, it helps if they actually PAY the $77k …

  6. Jim Davidson May 7, 2010 at 4:07 pm #

    I propose to chant the following when I see Barr at the convention in St. Louis:

    Barr Barr Black Sheep have you any dough?
    No Jim No Jim not for any ghost.

    If enough of us chant loudly enough maybe he’ll hear over the sound of his Barr-itone voice and enormous ego.

  7. Tom Blanton May 7, 2010 at 7:19 pm #

    Always get the dough upfront when dealing with former CIA employees running for President.

    Barr was the first Libertarian candidate I didn’t vote for since 1980. He was just too much for me and then there was Root – yikes. I’ll never vote again.

    Sounds like a slam dunk case though, Jim. Good luck with getting the cash.

  8. Lewis May 7, 2010 at 7:28 pm #

    Unbelievable that he’ll still be a keynote speaker at the conference. What’s he going to talk about? How to con your fellow L’s?

  9. Pete May 7, 2010 at 10:34 pm #

    Sorry to hear that you were neo-conned by Barr. I’m not sure who in their right mind thought this guy was a libertarian, much less worthy of towing our party line as our presidential candidate. Good luck with your litigation!

  10. Powell Gammill May 7, 2010 at 11:21 pm #

    You can buy a lot of beer with $47,000! Some of it might even be good beer.

  11. JenS May 7, 2010 at 11:25 pm #

    Wow. Too bad for you, Bovard. Sorry to hear about that. Perhaps Barr needs some $$ and that’s why he’s speaking? Love that chant. Clever.

  12. George Phillies May 9, 2010 at 9:43 pm #

    Dear Jim,

    Sympathies that you have been reduced to this situation. Liberty for America magazine has spent that last year and a half covering the finances of the Barr campaign; I believe we are the only media outlet to have done so regularly, though at one point the Georgia papers gave the topic a bit of a spin.

  13. Lawrence May 10, 2010 at 2:45 pm #

    Hi, Jim:
    There’s a common thread here. In nearly 20 years as a freelance writer, the only time I’ve been stiffed for even part of a fee was when the client was a retired FBI agent that wanted to go into a legitimate business selling a bit of hotel concierge software. He left town and was never seen again — maybe except in D.D.

  14. Lawrence May 10, 2010 at 2:45 pm #

    I mean “D.C.”

  15. liberranter May 12, 2010 at 4:18 pm #

    I’m not sure who in their right mind thought this guy was a libertarian […]

    Apparently, and fortunately for the libertarian cause, not very many. I don’t think the LP suffered a more disappointing and dismal presidential election than that of 2008. But the LP did everything in its power to deserve that outcome by nominating such a transparent fraud as Bob “Drug Warrior” Barr, another truly desperate and pathetic grab by the LP at “mainstream respectability.” (Just for the record I tore up my LP membership card six years ago during the whole Perry Willis brouhaha, which was arguably the beginning of the party’s continuing downhill slide into Demopublican/Republicrat Beltway-ism, and haven’t looked back since.)

    To echo other posters here, Jim, I hope you get every dime you’re owed. I’m sure too that you’ll think twice in the future before working for another political hack without getting ALL of your money upfront.


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