By Duncan Mackay

Paul Kimmage at Change Cycling Now press conferenceMay 4 - A legal fund dedicated to the defence of Irish journalist Paul Kimmage against a International Cycling Union (UCI) lawsuit is missing $64,000 (£41,000/€49.000), putting in jeopardy legal action he was taking against Pat McQuaid and Hein Verbruggen.

The Kimmage Defence Fund was founded last year after McQuaid and Verbruggen, the UCI President and his predecessor, sued Kimmage for alleged defamatory comments he made about their handling of the Lance Armstrong doping case.

The fund was spearheaded by Aaron Brown, otherwise known as the Twitter personality UCI_Overlord and the founder of the satirical cycling blog Cyclismas.

Within months, the fund, which was run in cooperation with, raised nearly $100,000 (£64,000/€76,000) in Kimmage's defence.

But only part of his legal fees have been paid for and Kimmage claims he cannot access or locate the remaining funds.

Paul Kimmage defence fund tweetLesli Cohen makes it clear she is not in control over the Paul Kimmage Defence Fund

Brown claims that funds remain in the PayPal account he created on Kimmage's behalf but are tied-up in legal battle with Lesli Cohen, a former business partner of Brown's and an advocate for Kimmage's defence.

McQuaid and Verbruggen has dropped their suit against Kimmage but he had launched a criminal investigation against them in Switzerland and while this was initially rejected by the public prosecutor, an appeal had been lodged.

Without access to any funds, Kimmage is unlikely to be able to continue. 

"I have no idea if what he is saying is the case or not," said the former Sunday Times journalist.

"I never had any control over the setting up of the fund or how it was spent.

"The bottom line is that I have had to call my lawyer and tell him to stop.

"That is how it affects me.

"It could be that the money is still there.

"If so, that is great, but what if it is not?

"I am still going to have to pay the bills at the end of the day.

"So I told him to stop."

Paul Kimmage defence fund tweet 2Aaron Brown, who runs a satirical Twitter accounts, promises a solution to the problems with Paul Kimmage's Defence Fund

Kimmage has asked for the $64,000 (£41,000/€49.000) to be transferred to a neutral account 

Brown said that the sum which remained from the original total represented what was left after a sum of approximately $21,000 (£13,000/€16,000) was paid out to Kimmage's Swiss lawyer Cédric Aguet, plus PayPal costs.

"When that lawsuit [by McQuaid and Verbruggen] was suspended the agreement was that we would not have any more action and Paul's legal bills were paid," said Brown.

"As it stands now, the legal action is still suspended and if Paul incurs any more legal bills in defence then the fund will pay it.

"Once the case is over the funds should be dispensed to the donors."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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