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Carolyn Doran : Timeline of events

with 21 comments

The Review presents a timeline of events relating to Carolyn Doran, former Chief of Operations at the Wikimedia Foundation, who was found to have been a convicted felon. Below research compiled by The Review’s resident culture vulture, the fiery angel:

20 Feb 1990 - The Washington Post reports on Carolyn Bothwell (Doran)’s “unlawful shooting incident” with her boyfriend, to which she pleaded guilty

A Herndon woman pleaded guilty yesterday in Fairfax Circuit Court to unlawful wounding of her boyfriend, who was shot once in the chest Aug. 25.

Carolyn Bothwell, 27, of the 1100 block of Player Way, said she entered the plea after the prosecution offered to recommend probation. She said she did not want to risk losing custody of her 3-year-old son.

Bothwell’s attorney, Gerald Bruce Lee, said in court that if the case had gone to trial, the defense had planned to …

15 Sep 1995 - The Washington Post runs an article about Carolyn Doran (nee Bothwell)’s former roommate and testimony that she gave after her roommate’s husband’s death

A former roommate of Betancourt’s, Sterling resident Carolyn Bothwell, testified yesterday that Betancourt told her in July 1994 that Montague “won’t be around in September to worry about.”

Betancourt’s attorney, Gregory Harris, suggested that his client meant that she would be breaking off her relationship with Montague, not that “Cassie was going to do him in.”

The tapes were recorded at the home of Bothwell, who is a neighbor of Montague’s daughter, Janet Hall. Betancourt lived with Bothwell for three months in the spring of 1994.

Bothwell testified that she bought a recording device and put it on her telephone to capture threatening phone calls from her former common-law husband. She said Betancourt was with her when she bought the device. Bothwell said she gave the tapes to investigators after she found out about Montague’s death.

Harris suggested that Bothwell, who has a pending credit card forgery case in Loudoun , was trying to curry favor with prosecutors with her testimony. Bothwell denied that. “I had enough to lose coming up here,” she said. “I had nothing to gain.”

The court transcript for this case is here.

An except from the proceedings :

Carolyn Bothwell, a friend of Hall’s, assisted the police
investigation by wearing a concealed recording device on six
different occasions in a futile attempt to obtain incriminating
statements from appellant. Bothwell testified that she, already
a convicted felon, was the target of a felony prosecution in
Loudoun County at the time of appellant’s trial
but that her case
had been continued. She further testified that she had reached
no agreement with the Loudoun County prosecutor’s office

regarding the effect her cooperation in appellant’s case might
have on her own prosecution.

04 Nov 1999 - Sean H. Doran dies in Cayman Islands on his honeymoon with his recently married wife Carolyn Bothwell

?? Mar 2006 - Carolyn Doran moves from Washington D. C. to St. Petersburg, Florida to be closer to the WMF offices

22 May, 2006 - Seand59 (Carolyn Doran’s first WP account name, see below) solicited a bid to ship her Tuscan dining room chairs from Herndon, VA to St. Petersburg, FL.

?? Sep 2006 - Carolyn Doran begins work as “bookkeeper” at the WMF Florida offices

02 Oct 2006 - Information about adding an office assistant from a “temporary agency” is added to the WMF current staff article

20 Nov 2006 - Brad Patrick adds Carolyn Doran’s name to the WMF staff page as “bookkeeper in the Florida office (since September 2006)

5 Dec 2006 - The account Seand59 is established. User:Seand59 makes their first edit, removing contact information to the European Agency for Safety and Health: This information is now attached to the account of User:Carolyn-WMF per Danny Wool’s 15 Jan 2007 account rename.

8 Dec 2006 - Carolyn Doran’s name is added to the WMF foundation article in Wikipedia as “bookkeeper”

09 Jan 2007 - Carolyn Doran adds summaries of WMF Income summary (PDF) and WMF expense summary (PDF)

15 Jan 2007 - As Seand59, Carolyn Doran removes her title of “bookkeeper” from the Wikimedia Foundation article in Wikipedia. Again as User:Seand59, she edits the controversial Free Republic article, taking out a lengthy passage. The account was then blocked by User:Prodego for “impersonating WMF staff”. Danny moves the Username Seand59 to User:Carolyn-WMF.

24 Jan 2007 - WMF board resolution naming Carolyn Doran COO

27 Jan 2007 - Florence Devouard publicly presents Carolyn Doran as COO and gives some information about her position.

02 Feb 2007 - User:Essjay posts that he provided all his real life information to Jimbo Wales and Angela Beasley, and then the same information to Brad Patrick, but does not say when this occurred.

03 Feb 2007 - Florence Devouard makes a Foundation Annoucement that Brad Patrick would be resuming his role as General Counsel exclusively, after serving as Interim Executive Director, and to now “focus on developing the role of General Counsel, and addressing a backlog of complex legal questions the Foundation faces moving forward.”

22 Feb 2007 - Danny Wool adds Carolyn Doran’s photo to the WMF staff page

27 Feb 2007 - Carolyn Doran removes Brad Patrick’s two lead paragraphs in the WMF staff page and put him in the regular “staff section” with only two lines and no photo

20 Mar 2007 - Former trusty side-kick Danny Wool removes his name from the list of current WMF staff

22 Mar 2007 - Former GC Brad Patrick announces his resignation.

23 Mar 2007 - Here is the WMF’s most recent Form-990, which every 501c must file with the IRS (which is the least they can do since they don’t pay taxes). Go to page 8, where you’ll see that Carolyn Doran signed it on behalf of the WMF on 3/23/07.

20 May 2007 - Carolyn Doran arrested for 3rd offense of DUI.

1-3 Jun 2007 - Carolyn Doran attends a WMF board meeting in Amsterdam. Sue Gardner and Mike Godwin are also in attendence. Upon her return, Carolyn Doran is stopped by US Immigration services because her travel is in violation of her parole for the 3rd DUI offense.

12 Jun 2007 - The Wikimedia Foundation passes a new audit charter

04 Jul 2007 - The WMF board hires Sue Gardner as “management consultant.” The boards passes another resolution on Carolyn Doran, presumably terminating her employment

10 Aug 2007 - Carolyn Doran arrested for 4th DUI and hit and run

14 Sep, 2007 - Florence Devouard confirms that Carolyn Doran has left WMF, but that WMF cannot discuss the matter because they have signed a non-disclosure agreement. Carolyn Doran is free to discuss this, however

17 Sep 2007 - WMF foundations audit begins, according to Florence Devouard.

19 Nov 2007 - Florence Devouard announces publicly that the audit is not completed, “but will be by the end of the calendar year (hopefully)”.

13 Dec 2007 - Story breaks in The Register that Carolyn Doran “was a convicted felon.”

14 Dec 2007 - Jimbo Wales announces that if any money is missing after the audit, he will pay for it out of his own pocket.

I will go even further. If the audit uncovers any evidence of theft, I will personally donate out of my own pocket to cover whatever is missing. I feel pretty confident doing that even though the audit is still underway.–[[User:Jimbo Wales|Jimbo Wales]] ([[User talk:Jimbo Wales#top|talk]]) 21:13, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Jimbo Wales then sums up his view of the incident:

It’s a sad story, if true, but fortunately not of much consequence.

I don’t see how it is a major scandal, given that as far as we know right now, there were no crimes committed at the foundation.

Later that day, Florence Devouard admits that WMF did not do any background checks on their employees and that this situation was not the responsibility of the board, but of Brad Patrick in his role as CEO.

“I would like to remind everyone here that we are still a very small
organization, despite taking care of very large and well known projects.
As such, staff is limited.

Unless I am mistaken, when Carolyn started working for us, the only
old-staff members of WMF were Danny, Brion, Tim and Brad. In fall,
Carolyn and Barbara were added.

Brad was ED at that time. The board hires the ED and has authority over
the ED. Then the ED has authority over all staff members (and he is the
one who hires them). In fall 2006, we did not perform criminal
background checks afaik.”

15 Dec 07 - Jimbo Wales pledges for a second time (on the Foundation-l mailing list) that he will personally cover any losses in the case of fraud.

I have decided to get out in front of the issue by pledging to cover,
personally, any losses due to theft if that turns up in the audit. I do
not think that will come to anything, but I stand ready to make sure
that it does. It is the only thing I know of that I can do to help at
this point in reassuring everyone that this is a non-story in the end.

In a further quote, Jimbo says:

If you ever hear of anything like this again, please do not make the “bad faith” assumption that it is being “hushed up”. Assume that I would be outraged if I knew, and come and tell me.

19 Dec 2007 - The story is broken in the Tampa Tribune

21 Dec 2007 - The story is picked up by the Associated Press’ Brian Bergstein, in a great deal of publications including :

  • San Diego Union Tribune
  • CBS-4 Denver
  • Brisbane Times, Australia
  • Sydney Morning Herald, Australia
  • Houston Chronicle
  • Miami Herald
  • The News & Observer (Raleigh-Durham, NC)
  • Denver Post
  • Newsday (New York)
  • Orlando Sentinel
  • Forbes
  • International Herald Tribune (France)
  • Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • ABC News
  • Fox News

Jimbo Wales discusses this situation from a purely “Wikipedia” point of view :


There is no problem with covering the situation in appropriate places,
but normal consensus about BLP’s is that we don’t have articles about
people who have had some new coverage only due to a single negative
event. It may seem like Wikipedia is the center of the universe, but it
actually isn’t. smile.gif

Random sample found by searching in google for “coo scandal”:

A brief search of Wikipedia shows that in this case of a fraud alleged
by the SEC to have involved $8.2 million profit to the CFO and COO of
this company, we have nothing on either person, nor on the company, nor
on the scandal.

This story talks about the same event as a $200 million fraud. The CEO,
about whom we do not have an article, is charged.

I am not arguing that we should or should not have an article on this
other case (but please let’s not have my use of this example trigger an
idiotic war about it!).

I am just arguing that there is absolutely no way in hell we would have
an article in the case of Carolyn Doran, were it not for Wikipedia
navel-gazing. There was no fraud (that we know of), nothing bad
happened to us (that we know of), it is just an embarassment and for
this poor woman, her rather sad life story is now in the Associated
Press. But this whole thing is still amply covered by BLP1E and
non-Wikipedia precedent and tradition.

However, another poster brings up the repercussions this could cause surrounding “biographies of living persons” if this is not covered in Wikipedia:

I could not agree more. Indeed all mention of this incident can probably
be expunged from wikipedia in about twelve months time.

However, and this is the catch 22, if our concern is that a “poor woman
with a sad life story” be left alone then trying to prevent a bio may be
completely counterproductive. As mush as I hate it, if someone in the
community forces the issue (and I hope they don’t), our only means for
preventing such bio (and enforcing BLP1E, is either to have a wiki-drama
and a high profile DRV or Jimmy publicly intervening. The is the real
danger that either scenario will end up in another press run for trash
like the Register.


Written by The Review

December 20th, 2007 at 12:07 pm

21 Responses to 'Carolyn Doran : Timeline of events'

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  1. What about the manslaughter DUI incident? What was the date of that?


    20 Dec 07 at 2:28 pm

  2. Can this be brought up to date with the new material that I’ve added?


    The Fieryangel

    22 Dec 07 at 12:00 am

  3. AP’s running a story on this situation now. Saw it on a Yahoo news summary, ten minutes ago.

    Jimbo really needs to get out front on this.

    But I think it’s too late.

    Major Disarray

    22 Dec 07 at 12:52 pm

  4. Jimbo’s doing his typical routine : “no big deal! Business as usual…” But I can’t imagine that their “potential donors” are very happy about this…and I don’t see how they’re going to get the 4.5 million dollars they need for their budget to begin with…This can’t be helping matters.

    The Fieryangel

    23 Dec 07 at 9:38 am

  5. nods


    2 Jan 08 at 3:52 pm

  6. If you really want to know about carolyn annette bothwell doran, contact me. She is the mother of my son and I am the “boy friend she shot” in august of 1989. she is a very smart sociopath and dangerous when cornered. I almost puked when I read about this “poor woman”. People do not know what they are dealing with.

    philip brown

    14 Mar 08 at 4:15 am

  7. What would be the best way to contact you? I’m the blog admin, and I have your email address here - should I give it out at my discretion, or do you not care who you hear from…?

    And yes, “poor woman” indeed - Jimbo seems to have a knack for miscalculation when it comes to the opposite sex.

    Anyway, I hope you’re doing OK - those gunshot wounds can HURT!


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