The organizer of the canceled Massive Adoption crypto conference, which boasted a potential audience of 1,500, is being sued over allegations that ticket refunds are too slow.
The putative class action lawsuit was filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado by Ashley Gentry, a would-be attendee of Massive Adoption, and alleges fraud, breach of contract, conversion and unjust enrichment. The suit is calling for the organizer, Jacob Kostecki, to refund would-be attendees, as well as punitive damages and the costs of the lawsuit. David Silver, the attorney who filed the lawsuit, told CoinDesk he was doing so pro bono, and would not be accepting payment or fees for the case.
Silver has long been active in the crypto space, and has filed suit against Cryptsy, BitConnect, YouTube and the Tezos Foundation in the past. Crypto exchange Coinbase participated in a settlement connected to the Cryptsy case.
Kostecki originally planned Massive Adoption for November 2019, but rescheduled to late February 2020. He canceled the event by the end of January 2020, however, and promised refunds to customers. An update on his website said he had “inadequate funding,” and fewer guests and sponsors than he needed to maintain the event.
A later update on his website, which went down for some time between February 2020 and late April, said, “Due to a series of local conditions, global markets, operator errors and mistakes the conference was cancelled late January.”
Kostecki said in the update he had begun processing refunds in March, and would continue through July 2020. A countdown clock on the updated site appears to be counting down to Friday, July 31, 2020. Kostecki did not immediately return a request for comment.
Silver told CoinDesk via email that, “we approached Mr. Kostecki several weeks ago with a simple offer to resolve the debts he has already acknowledged he owes to the would-be Massive Adoption attendees.”
In April 2020, Silver tweeted that he would work with any attendees owed under $1,000 for free to ensure refunds. At the time, Kostecki responded, “If you believe that this will accelerate the relief to ticket holders instead of hinder it then that is your decision.”
Kostecki declined the offer, Silver said.
In the new update to his website, Kostecki said “the reaction to Covid-19 has delayed refunds vs internal milestones,” a claim he has also previously made on Twitter.
In his most recent tweet, dated April 26, on an account dedicated to Massive Adoption, Kostecki said, “Refunds continue being made,” and that he had been in touch with “dozens of people” over the past two months. He maintained that he would meet his July 31 deadline.
The lawsuit is being filed as a putative class action because some of the would-be attendees have small claims, and may not be able to file individual lawsuits, Thursday’s filing claimed.
“We are still willing to work with Mr. Kostecki on formulating a quick and simple resolution, but the fact that we filed the lawsuit shows that Mr. Kostecki’s hollow Twitter promises are not enough,” Silver said.
Read the full complaint below: