TJ’s Transparency Just Got a Bit Foggy

A number of people, myself included, wondered how TJ Juskiewicz, who one day after quitting Ragbrai told the listeners of KXNO radio that he had the greatest job in the world and was looking forward to the 50th anniversary of Ragbrai. Just how could one news story cause him to spiral downward in 2 weeks and leave.

Also amazing was the day he left, his web site for his new ride was up complete with logo, primal shirts for sale, and registration. He claimed he did this all in 2 weeks on his own time. The guy who made it a point to emphasize his transparency failed to mention he and his wife created a nonprofit over a year before, this nonprofit just happens to be running his new ride.

So the guy who claimed his motives were related to Carson King has been waiting in the long grass 14 months for just the right time to destroy RAGBRAI. Drawing a salary from Ragbrai while actually running his new gig.

This story answers many questions.

When the disclosure statement on the finances of this nonprofit hits the light of day, we will also see the salaries for TJ, his wife, and other employees and officers. That ride he touted as totally for charity, well like they say, charity starts at home, TJ’s that is.

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/2019/10/22/former-ragbrai-director-juskiewicz-operated-non-profit-year-before-resignation/4057785002/

26 Replies

The Masked Rider, October 24, 2019 at 9:30 pm

Any articles on this subject in the DMR are obviously one-sided. I no longer read anything that they print after what they did to Carson King. I now subscribe to the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

#1312281

Ken Reed, October 25, 2019 at 7:47 am

Wait, what they did to Carson King? You mean gave him national exposure, gave him a platform to not only raise money for charity but also discuss the ills of racism. On top of the fact that he raised more money after the article was published. I read the ENTIRE article and not just one paragraph. Put down your pitchforks, the DMR was doing it’s job. Also, the fact that you say the latest T.J. article is one-sided. They are not one-sided. They interviewed T.J. for it and got his explanation. I’m not sure what people want from the DMR here. People’s own personal political bias are clouding people’s judgement on this whole thing.

#1312301

mootsman, October 25, 2019 at 7:55 am

Interesting. It could explain why IR seemed ready for a split. And why IR is organized in such a way that it is poised to try and replace RAGBRAI.

Let’s focus on the 3rd side, we the riders.

#1312302

Joseph Schlau, October 25, 2019 at 11:46 am

Darrell,

Up until last week, I had not heard of the Carson King story and subsequent controversy. My first alert to this was receiving an email from RAGBRAI in which TJ was outlining his departure, some reasons why he was outraged at his former employer of 16 years and his plan to hold a ride the same week as Ragbrai in direct competition.

Having ridden Ragbrai for the last 16 years, I was questioning the reason why I am being pressured to change to IR. I am not a person who gets easily caught up on fads, emotional causes, the outrage of the day, nor charismatic idols. This story had them all. I need a rational reason to change rides based on more than emotions.

I did take the time to look up various news stories and interviews to get an idea what the story was.

Carson King has no animosity toward the DMR.

TJ seems to be the one who wants to continue to fan the flames of the Carson King story.

He has a personal and financial benefit by keeping emotions high since the outrage of the day would drive riders to his ride.

TJ’s outrage is not mine. I’m staying with Ragbrai.

#1312314

Joseph Schlau, October 25, 2019 at 2:25 pm

The story does originate with DMR. I am thinking they thoroughly fact checked each segment carefully since an error would be pointed out immediately. I am also thinking other media who run the story will carefully fact check as well. But if the facts stand, along with the supporting Secretary of State document, it does no good to dismiss the story out of hand and make believe it isn’t so.

What will you think if if the Cedar Rapids Gazette and other media runs it. The documents show JT’s intentions 14 months prior to his mock outrage over Carson King. It now forces TJ’s faithful to overreach even further to justify the attack on Ragbrai and rationalize the lies already told.

#1312322

KenH, October 28, 2019 at 11:20 am

TJ’s story is preposterous. He bends over backwards to explain how what he has done and is doing does not mean what it seems to mean. But the sheer number of facts that point to him being someone who has become possessive of RAGBRAI over the years and has been looking for an excuse to pull the trigger on a takeover plan is too compelling to ignore. He is trying to steal it from the Register. He could have pulled his supporters together and put a buyout plan on the table for the Register to consider. I have to believe that it is in the Register’s best interest in the long run to loosen their ties to the ride. A reasonable offer would have given them all the benefits they currently get from the ride without any of the liabilities and it is hard to imagine them saying no.

But that would have left TJ beholden to his investors. I don’t think that is what he wants. He wants to get full control of the ride on the cheap and there is no cheaper way to get that than by stealing it. And that is exactly what he is attempting to do. I’d love to seem him make BACOON into a week long ride. I hope his attempt to steal RAGBRAI fails.

#1312405

Joseph Schlau, October 28, 2019 at 5:27 pm

Ken H,

Once both registrations are open and progressing along, each organizer will be able to estimate their final ridership.

Neither side will have 100% of the riders but should have an estimate on the minimum number required to move forward.

Factor into this any financial backing they may have in addition to rider registration fees.

At that point, each organizer will have to make a decision to continue or fold.

Looking at each ride, what would each group be capable of in terms of moving forward or refunding fees.

Ragbrai has used a lottery the years I was self registering. Those who did not make the lottery could not use the services nor charters. Unless you had friends or relatives in Iowa, participation was difficult. In spite of the lottery, thousands more jumped in anyway. If the IR takes local ridership away from Ragbrai many more out of state and international riders, who know and care nothing about Carson King will make it in the lottery. Ragbrai’s international recognition is a plus. If expenses still had be covered, the financial resources of the DMR could cover this.

If the unlikely decision was made to fold, I feel more assured to receive a refund from a corporate backed entity.

IR already opened registration and claims “hundreds” signed up already. TJ’s definition of hundreds though is as vague as many of his other answers. I’m thinking if it was 899, it would have been reported as nearly a thousand.

Unlike Ragbrai, who already has office space, equipment, vehicles and other stuff needed to operate, IR is starting up.

Ragbrai also would have reserve funds from the prior year to purchase the materials needed for the next until registration money started coming in.

IR is now dependent on the early money coming in now to meet expenses. If it gets to a point where the necessary ridership doesn’t materialize to meet expenses and the IR is canceled, the question would arise how long would they wait to announce it and will there be anything left to refund.

#1312422

Larry Klaaren, October 28, 2019 at 6:04 pm

Ragbrai also would have reserve funds from the prior year to purchase the materials needed for the next until registration money started coming in.

The cynic in me says the reserves are minus 50,000 dollars that TJ pledged to the Carson King fund before he left. I have heard that is not yet paid, but I do not know.

This reply was modified 8 months, 2 weeks ago by Larry Klaaren.

#1312427

Joseph Schlau, October 28, 2019 at 7:14 pm

Don’t think it is cynicism.

TJ already knew he was walking. What better way to plan it. Send 50k out of the Ragbrai fund, throw more gas on the Carson King fire to stir up the dying story.

In his case when management said no, it gave the perfect pretext to express false outrage then walk out. It left DMR with the same financial commitment and again stirred up the story. Win win for TJ.

#1312429

RDaryl Daryl, November 15, 2019 at 9:30 am

It seems to me that the DMR still has not disclosed how the foundation distributes profits from RAGBRAI.

TV news video from Des Moines NBC Channel 13:

whotv dot com
channel-13-investigation-into-ragbrais-charitable-contribution-claims

#1313062

KenH, November 15, 2019 at 9:54 am

I don’t claim to know how RAGBRAI distributed funds to charitable causes. I do know that if there are any questions about how this has been done during the last 16 years any improprieties were on TJ’s watch. He has as much to answer about them as the REGISTER and probably more since he was in charge of that portion of the Register’s operations. From what he has said since the split he seemed to be careful to acknowledge that the Register has done a good job of supporting charitable causes “just not at the highest level”. He is promising that IR will do so at the highest level. He doesn’t seem to feel that the Register has done anything wrong which is understandable because that would implicate him too if there was any wrongdoing. Of course if IR does not meet its own expenses it will not have anything to give to charity and that would not be an unusual turn of events for a first year startup. But if it were me I would be more careful about bragging about how much my operation will give to charity than TJ has been. It may be his honest goal to get to the point where he outgives the Register but it could take several years to get there.

#1313064

Bitsy Gurney, November 15, 2019 at 10:36 am

Check out the Iowas Ride facebook, they just changed dates to run a week before RAGBRAI and will run east to west. They will refund anyone who can no longer ride. Said they heard feedback the parallel scheduling of IR and RAGBRAI was actually splitting teams which they did not intend.

This was a good decision for the riders.

#1313066

Ken Koprowski, November 15, 2019 at 10:49 am

New dates for IR. No longer same as RAGBRAI.
July 12

#1313068

Ken Reed, November 15, 2019 at 10:50 am

I’m almost willing to bet that this was a compromise between TJ and RAGBRAI through their mediator.

#1313069

KenH, November 15, 2019 at 11:01 am

Well, this is great news! With this change I can wish TJ and his team great success, next year and in the future. I am still 100% committed to RAGBRAI next year but in the future I could do part of each or, since I will retire in a couple of years at the most, both! Just let me be the one to break that news to my wife … but after a couple of years of retirement she might actually be happy to be rid of me for TWO weeks!

Now the perfect plan would be if they agree to use the same end/start town so that one ride feeds directly into the other….

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