Brute Force Takeover of VegNews Magazine »
…in a particularly galling move, Joe has just put out the December issue of VegNews on his own, without any mention of Colleen. In other words, Joe is acting like there is no lawsuit, no dispute over ownership, and that he’s now in charge, simply by locking Colleen out and pretending she doesn’t exist.
This is beyond upsetting. Read the whole thing here.
Vegan road trip: Phoenix! Check out Green restaurant and make your own Big Wac! »
What’s a girl to do when a case of winter S.A.D, holiday fatigue, and the daily grind have got her down? Go to the Grand Canyon for Spring Break! Beat the blues by visiting one of the greatest natural wonders the Earth has to offer. Cautiously stand six feet away from the ledge, watch a group of men take a picture of their friend plank on the edge (thinking that surely you are going to watch a handsome Englishman plummet to his death right before your eyes, frozen in fear and experiencing vertigo just looking at him) and forget your own emotional baggage for a couple hours.
Sick of winter and worn out from the holidays, my bestie Britney and I began planning Spring Break 2013, or SXAZ, as it seemed everyone else was in Austin at the time. What was initially envisioned as a road trip from Vegas to Santa Fe quickly became reduced once travel time and expenses became a reality. Enter PHOENIX! VegNews just profiled Tempe and Phoenix vegan hotspot Green, Air BnB rentals* are plentiful, and for the four-hour drive to the Grand Canyon, Zipcars are available.
Now, if you should for any reason, find yourself in Phoenix, it is imperative that you eat at Green restaurant. Britney and I ate at Green three of the four days on that trip, we just COULD NOT get enough. By far, for both us, the most incredible item on the menu was their Big Wac, a vegan take on the (in)famous McDonald’s burger. We loved this sandwich so much, we stopped by for the third visit on our way to airport so we could eat our Big Wacs for dinner in San Francisco. Consider us obsessed.
Upon returning home, within four days I had to make my own. So I present you with the Big JB.
I like my junk food with a side of sautéed kale. Or chocolate cake, whatever is available.
Two imitation burgers of your choice (I used Whole Foods brand)
Vegan cheese (Daiya cheddar wedge)
Buns (whole wheat if you are healthy, white flour if you love decadence like me)
Equal parts vegan mayo and ketchup (probably about 2 tablespoons of each)
2 to 3 tablespoons diced white onion
Cook your burgers as instructed on the box. I fried mine up in vegetable oil, in a saucepan on the stove, because if I’m making glorified fast food for dinner, I’m not going the healthy route. Melt your vegan cheese atop burgers as you see fit. I like to put it on the burgers when they are almost done in the frying pan, turn off the heat, and cover the pan till the cheese melts. Smear your buns with “special sauce” (i.e. ketchup and vegan mayo), add diced onions and a couple pickles. Add your romaine lettuce as desired for nutrient value. Design burger as pictured, because you need that extra bun layer, believe me.
*We stayed in a hippie house that put Berkeley to shame. TO SHAME. No matter my minor in hippie studies from Humboldt State; I broke pretty much every rule in that house with my mere existence.
Domestic Drama Sends Owners of Vegan Magazine to Court »
VegNews is an influential, award-winning vegan lifestyle magazine. It just won its 10th Maggie Award for Best Niche Lifestyle Magazine, and the New York Times refers to it as “a glossy magazine that is a mix of People and Real Simple for the meatless set.” It was founded in July 2000 by Joe Connelly and Colleen Holland, a vegan couple aiming to launch veganism into the mainstream.
Unfortunately, there’s trouble in vegan paradise.
According to documents filed in August of 2012 in San Francisco superior court by Joe, he claims to be the sole founder and owner VegNews, asserting that Colleen is just an employee. A cross-complaint filed by Colleen on Feb 7, 2013, alleges this isn’t true, and that she and Joe are now — and have always been — equal partners in the business. In fact, she says the first time she ever heard Joe’s claim to sole ownership was when she reviewed the complaint that he filed against her. Something stinks, and for once, it’s not home-brewed kombucha.
In documents and declarations obtained through the Superior Court of California, several close friends, consultants, and advisors who have been present since the inception of VegNews, say they believe Colleen is telling the truth.
Al Whaley remembers in his declaration, “Joe introduced me to Colleen Holland. He introduced her as the co-founder and partner of VegNews which is the organization that Colleen and Joe were representing at the convention.”
Davy Davidson states, “Not long after we became friends in 1999 Colleen told me she had met a wonderful guy in the east and that he was moving to San Francisco and they were going to start a business together. Later I met Joe Connelly after he arrived in San Francisco when Colleen and he did indeed start that business, which became VegNews.”
In 2004, Joe filled out forms for an organization known as PIPS, and lists both Colleen and himself as owners of VegNews. In a 2005 interview with Quark Technology Partnership, Joe states, “Prior to moving to magazine we were two-person operation. Aside from our network of writers all of the work was done by two founders.”
In a 2005 editorial in VegNews, Joe writes:
Finally, I’d be more than remiss if didn’t recognize Colleen Holland, my partner with VegNews since the planning stages long before the publication of issue 1. She deserves at least as much credit for VegNews’ success as I do.
According to a declaration from longtime friend and advisor Rey Ortega, Colleen and Joe approached him in 2008 to mediate whether or not Colleen should be considered a co-founder of VegNews. Joe claimed she shouldn’t, and Colleen claimed she should. Ortega agreed with Colleen, stating she should be known as co-founder. He adds:
I was never asked to judge who owns VegNews because they both acknowledged they were co-owners of VegNews and the issue of foundership only pertained to recognition.
According to evidence submitted with Colleen’s declaration, Joe acknowledged her as a co-founder in marketing documents as recently as 2006. As recently as 2011, Joe and Colleen were listed as owners of VegNews in a proposal to Eric Brent, the owner of HappyCow, a website they were considering purchasing.
However, in 2012, according to Joe’s amended complaint and Colleen’s declaration, relations between the two decidedly took a turn for the worse. The couple sought mediation for their problems, but it was seemingly unsuccessful, and according to Colleen’s declaration, ended with Joe saying “I will spend the rest of my life making sure you do not get what you want,” and “I hope we both get cancer and die.”
According to Colleen’s declaration, in mid-2012, Joe began changing the signature lines on his email to “founder and publisher”. Since the litigation began, he has added the title of “owner”.
On December 21 2012, Colleen states that Joe cancelled her two VegNews credit cards, leaving her unable to charge “critical VegNews business expenses.” She also writes:
On the other hand, Joe has taken several personal trips including to Canada, Pittsburgh, Colorado, and New York (where his family and girlfriend lives), using VegNews resources, and he refuses to account to me for expenses he incurred which are being charged to VegNews.
According to Colleen’s declaration, Joe either removed her access and/or changed the passwords on VegNews’ on-line banking system, the back-end server, and their internal financial system. She also alleges he changed the locks to the location of the company’s business records. Further, she claims he removed her name from VegNews’ first bank account, which they opened together in 2000.
In August 2000, Joe and I opened VegNews’ first bank account at Santa Cruz Community Credit Union. The account was opened in both of our names. Joe and I have always had equal access to it and have used it for VegNews business. I verified the checking account balance on December 27 2012 which was $59,204. On January 31 2013, I was informed by a representative of Santa Cruz Community Credit Union that on January 25 2013, Joe had my name removed from our account. I also verified that he had emptied the funds of the account so that the balance in the checking account on January 31 was only $31.49.
Colleen’s declaration continues:
Joe has now had my name removed from our VegNews bank account and my access to all credit cards withdrawn. I’m unaware of what Joe has done with VegNews money but don’t believe that it was used to pay legitimate business expenses given my knowledge of what outstanding expenses we had when Joe drained the bank account. These funds are needed to pay VegNews’ operating expenses.
Although Colleen is the sole lease holder on the VegNews office, Joe’s lawyers sent a letter to the managing owner of the building on January 14, 2013, saying they needed to terminate the current lease with Colleen and issue a new one to Joe.
On January 22, 2013, Joe informed Colleen that he had instructed the office cleaning people to not clean her office until she starts separating her trash from her recyclables. The letter ends with “If and when you decide to become a team player, they will gladly resume cleaning your office.”
Joe is asking for full ownership of VegNews, and $4.5 million dollars for breach of contract and fraud, while Colleen is asking for injunctive relief and for “an independent third party to take control of the accounts payable, receivables, payroll, draws, and all other financial and operational decisions that Joe and I cannot agree upon.”
To me, this is a cautionary tale — we in the vegan community need to behave ethically to fellow humans.
VegNews has been crucial to my journey as a vegan. When I first became vegan in 2004, I remember reading each issue cover to cover, and savoring every word. I looked up to both Colleen Holland and Joe Connelly, the people I understood to be the founders and owners, and cheered their success. When, in 2010, I began working as a VegNews columnist, and the magazine’s Editor-at-Large, I was absolutely thrilled. I now consider both Joe and Colleen to be bosses, and friends.
To say hearing about this lawsuit was upsetting is an understatement, and I’m heartbroken to learn what’s transpired. Right now, I’m personally grieving for a relationship that was once so strong, and has turned toxic. I believe that the talented and dedicated VegNews staff can right the ship, and I can only hope they’re given that chance.
Happy Almost New Year: it’s the Vegansaurus best meals of 2012! »
You didn’t think we’d let 2013 come at us without a best of list, did you? OF COURSE NOT. So for your reading pleasure, we came up with our very favorite meals of 2012. Let’s do this!
Jenny (that’s me!): My new favorite restaurant of all time is Pura Vida in Las Vegas. I ate so many wonderful meals this year, but Pura Vida topped them all. Chef Mayra is a culinary mastermind—her dishes are vibrantly colorful and packed with so much flavor! Almost every day I think about the breakfast burrito I had about eight months ago, and I cannot wait to to get back to Vegas to hit her up again! I’ve actually planned my entire wedding in Vegas (sans groom) (for now) solely based on Chef Mayra catering the elegant debauchery that will no doubt ensue.
Latin’tude breakfast burrito, I love you!
Megan: ”For me, it was the year of chickpea flour—and more specifically, the Tuscan chickpea frittata. Oh boy did we have some good times this year! I made them every which way from Sunday. So easy and so yummy! And totes versatile. It’s the best!”
Man, that was a lot of fun, when Megan was making all those frittatas! I can’t believe I never tried one myself, but I suppose that will have to be what 2013 is for!
Vegan, gluten-free frittata; so many delicious combinations!
Laura: ”The VegNews all-cheese holiday party, catered by Miyoko Schinner was, in a word, mind blowing! Cheese, cheese, and more cheese!! Giant cheese-stuffed ravioli was maybe the best thing I’ve ever eaten in my life (SORRY ABOUT THE PHOTO, I’m too pretty to be good at anything!) and fried croquettes on amazing salad, and so much more. Vegan meringue, too! Holy mother!
"Vegan cheese, you’ve come a long way since your days of gross inedibility! Buy Miyoko’s book IMMEDIATELY!”
Hot dang, that VegNews staff knows how to get down!
Vegan cheese, you HAVE come a long way!
Meave: Of course, sometimes it is impossible to pick just one, so our Meave gives the lowdown on her top five! First, comes Isa’s Maple Pecan Pie, because what holiday is complete without this delectable dessert? (Follow Meave on Instagram to see how her beautiful pie turned out—I was blown away at its loveliness!)
Maple pecan pie, before meeting the oven!
Next up we have a filling and colorful veg bowl, to which Meave explains, “Angela Liddon, salad genius, made so many of my lunches better with her legume and veg bowls, but my favorite was her Lightened Up Protein Power Goddess Bowl. Meave is quite the salad dressing connoisseur (“I’m picky”), so if this made the list, you know it’s got to be good! Of course we can’t leave out the brunch at Donut Farm, which includes Meave’s personal faves — the winter hash, double-dipped donuts, banana fritters and potato works!
Winter hash forever! Or at least until spring!
Sarah: Keeping up with her title, Sarah dishes out some raw opinions, telling us her favorite dish of 2012 was “Cafe Gratitude’s I Am Whole bowl. Always”. I bet she’s missing that over on the East Coast! Hope you got your fill on your recent L.A. adventure, Sarah!
Sarah’s version of said bowl, via her personal blog queerveganfood.com.
Andrew: “I’m going to have to go with our recent Mexican vegan Christmas dinner menu—homemade refried beans, Spanish rice, homemade mole with tofu, three kinds of homemade tamales (soyrizo, mushroom and mole, and green chile and cheese); margarita pizza with soyrizo (definitely NOT homemade); and horchata made from scratch, which was used for Mexican White Russians. This fed seven of us at dinner and then everyone got some to take home. And we’ve had leftovers for one meal a day since.” I did manage to get myself invited to this magnificent dinner, but alas, Long Beach was just too far away!
Check out this magnificent plate, made complete with a Tecate, of course!
That’s enough about us and our favorites—now it’s your turn to rave about your absolute faves from 2012, so the rest of us can enjoy them in 2013! Happy New Year everybody!
Need we say more? Vegan and Jewish, represent! Or just a potato enthusiast, that works too.
Click here or above for the recipe!
Love you, VegNews. Hanukkah begins Saturday night, but there is never a wrong time for potato pancakes.
Robin Robertson has got vegan Thanksgiving help for you! »
You guys know that Vegansaurus loves Thanksgiving. Eatin’ and loved ones and time off work and more eatin’—no gifts, no religion, just good food and better company (or vice versa!).
Unfortunately, preparing a big, multi-dish meal for often mixed-diet company often causes loads of stress, which can put even the best-dispositioned of us entirely off Thanksgiving. But don’t fret! Vegan chef and author Robin Robertson is here for us! On Monday, she announced the opening of her holiday hotline, a series of posts full of her (very valuable!) holiday success advice. She also announced a contest to win a copy of Party Vegan, which you should totally enter.
Yesterday, she posted three example holiday menus, all the recipes on the first of which are available here! For more immediate help, VegNews is hosting a vegan Holiday Hotline on Twitter tonight, Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 6 PST/9 EST. The participants will include Robin, and her esteemed vegan food colleagues Nava Atlas, Ayinde Howell, Hannah Kaminsky, and Allyson Kramer. Check it out tonight at hashtag #vegnewschat. With their help, you could make Thanksgiving 2012 the fanciest ever! Or the least stressful! Whichever is more appealing/realistic!
[photo by Robin Robertson]
SF Bay Area! Go check out Vaute Couture's lovely THIS WEEKEND (Nov 10 & 11) from noon-6pm! There will be new stuff (complete with heavy discounts, Champagne, pink lemonade, and cupcakes from Fat Bottom Bakery!!) at the gorgeous VegNews HQ in the Mission (3505 20th St)! So, go and buy all the things, OK? Because they are gonna be AMAZING and YOU NEED THEM.
You can pop-in or you can make an appointment:
What’s a Vaute Couture POP UP SHOP appointment?
Just to be sure you have lots of time one on one with me, I take appointments! I used to do an open event, but this works out much better. It’s about 20 minutes per, and you can bring up to 4 friends with you for your slot. Just be sure to RSVP with however many you plan to bring! Check out what time and date I’ll be in your city, and email Kristina at KristinaVaute@gmail.com ASAP to let her know what general time is best for you- i.e. “Before 4pm” or “Between 1-2pm is ideal” and she’ll get back to you with your slot. And then take a look at the website to see some of what we have, but get ready because I’ll be bringing lots of new stuff too.
More info on their site! And they’re going to Portland, too, so PORTLAND GET UP ON THIS!
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! »
Paul Shapiro is back with all the animal news you need. Let’s go:
Ever wonder what the meat industry’s tired of? Well, Pork Magazine’s editor wrote this week, “I am getting tired of the constant barrage of announcements driven by the Humane Society of the United States against the U.S. pork sector, and I know you are too.”
One thing you may not be tired of is good news like this: industry publication Feedstuffs has a story this week about a formerly pro-gestation crate animal scientist who now concludes that a transition away from the crates will indeed work, and that producers seem to be getting dragged “kicking and screaming into another inevitable change.”
Other good news: HSUS is proud to be named this year as VegNews magazine’s “Nonprofit of the Year!”
A new undercover investigation by Mercy For Animals documented egregious cruelty at a large dairy producer.
Video of the week: Rescued ducks hit water for the first time! [Ed.: UGH THIS IS TOO AWESOME]
SF Vegan Drinks is TONIGHT! Delicious snacks and delicious booze, what could be better?! »
Are you going? Please say you’re going! We have an awesome group of people already attending (including the very wonderful and fun crew from VegNews, who are definitely the brilliant brains and brawn behind this whole event!) and are looking to broaden our reach to even more greatness! Which means, YOU! And then, when we’re all together, we’ll discuss world vegan domination because that’s an especially fun thing to do when you’re PLASTERED.
JK, JK, vegan drinks isn’t about getting super-drunk, it’s actually about eating sweet potato tater tots and beer-battered fried pickles until you pass out! Food, it’s my alcoholic beverage of choice. SEE YOU TONIGHT!
SF Vegan Drinks is tomorrow night! It’s your monthly chance to meet your fellow Bay Area vegans in the (cruelty-free) flesh. Check out that menu! Are fried beets any good? I mean, duh, what fried food isn’t good, but still! Beets!
SF Vegan Drinks happens from 6 to 8 p.m. at Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, 2323 Mission (at 19th Street) in S.F. Check out Facebook for more info! Be there, or be sober and poorly fed!
And, of course, the original Vegan Drinks takes place tomorrow as well at Fontana’s Bar on the Lower East Side in New York. For more info (and there is a lot of info), visit the website.