Revolt of the NYC Delivery Workers

This article is a collaboration between New York Magazine and The Verge.
Lea el reportaje en español aquí.

The Willis Avenue Bridge, a 3,000-foot stretch of asphalt and beige-painted steel connecting Manhattan and the Bronx, is the perfect place for an ambush. The narrow bike path along its west side is poorly lit; darkened trash-strewn alcoves on either end are useful for lying in wait. All summer, food-delivery workers returning home after their shifts have been violently attacked there for their bikes: by gunmen pulling up on motorcycles, by knife-wielding thieves leaping from the recesses, by muggers blocking the path with Citi Bikes and brandishing broken bottles.

“Once you go onto that bridge, it’s another world,” one frequent crosser said. “You ever see wildlife with the wildebeest trying to cross with the crocodiles? That’s the crocodiles over there. We’re the wildebeests just trying to get by.”

Lately, delivery workers have found safety in numbers. On a humid July night, his last dinner orders complete, Cesar Solano, a lanky and serious 19-year-old from Guerrero, Mexico, rode his heavy electric bike onto the sidewalk at 125th Street and First Avenue and dismounted beneath an overpass. Across the street, through a lattice of on-ramps and off-ramps, was the entrance to the Willis, which threads under the exit of the RFK Bridge and over the Harlem River Drive before shooting out across the Harlem River. Whatever happens on the bridge is blocked from view by the highway.

Several other workers had already arrived. The headlights of their parked bikes provided the only illumination. Cesar watched, his arms crossed, as his older cousin Sergio Solano and another worker strung a banner between the traffic light and a signpost on the corner. It read WE ARE ON GUARD TO PROTECT OUR DELIVERY WORKERS.

Sergio walked back beneath the overpass, took up his megaphone, and whooped the siren, signaling to workers riding up First Avenue to wait and form a group before crossing. When five assembled, he announced the next departure for the Bronx.

August 31, 8:45 P.M. Juan Solano makes deliveries in midtown during the dinner rush.

Cesar, Sergio, and three other members of their family, all of whom work delivering food, had been standing watch each night for nearly a month. They live together nearby and heard about the attacks through the Facebook page they co-founded called El Diario de los Deliveryboys en la Gran Manzana, or “The Deliveryboys in the Big Apple Daily.” They started it in part to chronicle the bike thefts that have been plaguing workers on the bridge and elsewhere across the city. Sergio himself lost two bikes in two months. He reported both to the police, but the cases went nowhere, an experience common enough that many workers have concluded calling 911 is a waste of time.

Losing a bike is devastating for a delivery worker, obliterating several weeks’ worth of wages as well as the tool they need to earn those wages. “It’s my colleague,” Cesar said in Spanish through an interpreter. “It’s what takes me to work; it’s who I work with and what takes me home.” He’s customized his with dark-blue tape covering its frame, blue spokes, and color-changing LED light strips on its rear rack. Two Mexican flags fly from his front fork. He also attached a second battery since the main one lasts only seven hours, and he rides fast and for every app he can, typically working from breakfast to dinner. He maintains his bike with the help of a traveling mechanic known only as Su, who broadcasts his GPS location as he roams upper Manhattan. Recently, Cesar added a holster to his top bar for his five-pound steel U-lock so he can quickly draw it to defend himself in case of attack.

Even before the thefts started, the city’s 65,000 delivery workers had tolerated so much: the fluctuating pay, the lengthening routes, the relentless time pressure enforced by mercurial software, the deadly carelessness of drivers, the pouring rain and brutal heat, and the indignity of pissing behind a dumpster because the restaurant that depends on you refuses to let you use its restroom. And every day there were the trivially small items people ordered and the paltry tips they gave — all while calling you a hero and avoiding eye contact. Cesar recently biked from 77th on the Upper East Side 18 blocks south and over the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, then up through Long Island City and over another bridge to Roosevelt Island, all to deliver a single slice of cake for no tip at all. And now he had to worry about losing his bike, purchased with savings on his birthday.

September 1, 6:20 P.M. Anthony Chavez delivers an ice cream during Hurricane Ida.

For Cesar and many other delivery workers, the thefts broke something loose. Some started protesting and lobbying, partnering with nonprofits and city officials to propose legislation. Cesar and the Deliveryboys took another tack, forming a civil guard reminiscent of the one that patrolled San Juan Puerto Montaña, the small, mostly Indigenous Me’phaa village where they are from.

That night, the space under the RFK overpass was a makeshift but welcoming way station. Aluminum catering trays of tacos and beans were arrayed beneath the trusses of the bridge. Arrivals never went long before being offered a plate and a Fanta. The parked bikes flashed festively. Some workers lingered only long enough for a quick fist bump before forming a convoy and departing. But a rotating crew of around a dozen stayed and chatted — sharing stories about who got in an accident and how they’re doing, how orders had slowed lately. Cesar, who hopes to be a video editor, livestreamed his nightly broadcast to the Deliveryboys page. It was something between a news bulletin and a pledge drive, with Cesar interviewing workers, thanking people for donating food, and shouting out to his viewers, who number in the thousands and tune in from Staten Island to their hometown in Mexico.

Just before 1 a.m., a delivery worker rode up, his right arm bleeding. People rushed to him. The worker had been waiting, he explained, at a red light on 110th when someone leaped in front of him with a knife and demanded his bike. The worker accelerated but was slashed on the arm as he fled. Soon, a police cruiser arrived and later an ambulance.

The worker, his blood pooling on the street, at first refused to be taken to the hospital. But the Deliveryboys convinced him to go. Sergio and Cesar shared their phone numbers and took his bike home when they left around 2 a.m. He retrieved it the next day before the Deliveryboys began their watch again.

For years, delivery workers in New York have improvised solutions like the bridge patrol to make their jobs feasible. These methods have been remarkably successful, undergirding the illusion of limitless and frictionless delivery. But every hack that made their working conditions tolerable only encouraged the apps and restaurants to ask more of them, until the job evolved into something uniquely intense, dangerous, and precarious.

Take the electric bike. When e-bikes first arrived in the city in the late 2000s, they were ridden mostly by older Chinese immigrants who used them to stay in the job as they aged, according to Do Lee, a Queens College professor who wrote his dissertation on delivery workers. But once restaurant owners and executives at companies like Uber, DoorDash, and Grubhub-Seamless figured out it was possible to do more and faster deliveries, they adjusted their expectations, and e-bikes became a de facto job requirement.

Today, delivery workers have an overwhelmingly preferred brand: the Arrow, essentially a rugged battery-powered mountain bike that tops out at around 28 miles per hour. A new Arrow runs $1,800 and can easily exceed $2,500 once it’s equipped with phone-charging mounts, lights, second batteries, air horns, racks, mud flaps, and other essential upgrades. What began as a technological assist has become a major start-up investment.

Delivery workers now move faster than just about anything else in the city. They keep pace with cars and weave between them when traffic slows, ever vigilant for opening taxi doors and merging trucks. They know they go too fast, any worker will say, but it’s a calculated risk. Slowing down means being punished by the apps.

A few days after the Deliveryboys began their Willis guard, I met Anthony Chavez in front of a sleek glass apartment building near Lincoln Center. Chavez is something of an influencer among delivery workers, though his fame was inadvertent and the 26-year-old is too reserved to fully embrace the role. Wanting to share the tricks and texture of New York delivery, he started filming his work in late 2019 and posting the videos to a Facebook page he started called Chapín en Dos Ruedas, meaning “Guatemalan on Two Wheels.” Later, his posts about bike thefts would expand his audience to more than 12,000, but at first it was mostly just the six other Guatemalan delivery workers he lives with in the Bronx. Long stretches of his videos pass with little dialogue, just the background whine of his bike and the Dopplering traffic punctuated occasionally by his advice: Always wear a helmet, only listen to music with one earbud, avoid running red lights, and, if you must, really look both ways.

August 25, 4:30 P.M. Between the lunch and dinner shifts, delivery workers rest at an underground garage that serves as a makeshift break room.

For about half his week, Chavez works at a rotisserie-chicken spot in midtown. He likes it there; the delivery radius is a bit over a mile, and the kitchen is good at batching orders. The restaurant pays him even when an accident takes him out of commission. He doesn’t even need his Arrow. Instead, he rides his pedal-powered Cannondale. An enthusiastic cyclist who rode BMXs back home and wears a small gold bike on his necklace, he likes cycling best about the job.

This used to be how delivery worked across the city. A restaurant that made delivery-friendly food like pizza or Chinese employed people to take it to customers in the neighborhood. Managers could be cruel, and owners frequently exploited a worker’s immigration status with illegally low wages, but the restaurant also provided shelter, restrooms, and often free meals and a place to eat them alongside co-workers. Unfortunately for Chavez, the chicken spot never has enough hours, so the rest of the time, he works for the apps.

Before the apps, sites like Seamless and Grubhub simply listed restaurants that already offered delivery. But DoorDash, Postmates, and the other apps that arrived in the mid-2010s had their own delivery workers, armies of contractors directed by software on their phones. If a restaurant didn’t offer delivery or was too far away, the app just sent a gig worker to order takeout and bring it to you.

The main reason restaurants weren’t already letting you order a single bacon, egg, and cheese from 50 blocks away for almost no charge is that it’s a terrible business model. Expensive, wasteful, labor intensive — you would lose money on every order. The apps promised to solve this problem through algorithmic optimization and scale. This has yet to happen — none of the companies are consistently profitable — but for a while they solved the problem with money. Armed with billions in venture capital, the apps subsidized what had been a low-margin side gig of the restaurant industry until it resembled any other Silicon Valley consumer-gratification machine. Seamless, which merged with Grubhub and added its own gig platform to compete, was particularly direct in its pitch, running cutesy subway ads about ordering delivery with zero human contact and requesting miniature entrées for your hamster.

The apps failed and bought each other, and now three giants remain: DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Grubhub-Seamless. Each divides the New York market more or less equally, and each uses the piecework model pioneered by Uber itself. Workers get paid when they accept and complete a delivery, and a gamelike system of rewards and penalties keeps them moving: high scores for being on time, low scores and fewer orders for tardiness, and so on. Chavez and others call it the patrón fantasma, the phantom boss — always watching and quick to punish you for being late but nowhere to be found when you need $10 to fix your bike or when you get doored and have to go to the hospital.

Then there is a fourth app, which Chavez and thousands of others work for but few customers have heard of, called Relay Delivery. It’s a privately held company founded in 2014 and mostly limited to New York. The best way to understand Relay is to think of most delivery apps as two different businesses: the lucrative digital one that customers order from and that charges restaurants commission and advertising fees, and the labor-intensive, logistically complicated — “crummy,” in the words of Grubhub’s founder — business of getting the food to the customer. Relay handles just the second one.

Restaurants can outsource all their delivery to Relay, no matter if the customer ordered on Seamless or DoorDash or called direct. When the food is ready, the restaurant uses the Relay app to summon a worker who is supposed to appear in under five minutes. It’s often cheaper for restaurants than the other apps, and it’s extremely reliable.

This is in part because the rewards Relay offers workers are greater and its penalties more severe. Rather than piecework, it pays $12.50 per hour plus tips. But unlike Uber and DoorDash, workers can deliver food only if they’re scheduled, and the schedule is designed through daily zero-sum competition, with the best-rated workers getting first dibs. If you get an early enough sign-up time to grab the Upper West Side from 5 to 9 p.m., you can rest easy knowing you’ll have a decently paying job tomorrow. But if you rejected a delivery, or went too slow, or weren’t in your designated zone the second your shift started (even if that was because you were delivering a Relay order from your prior shift), or committed any other mysterious infraction, your sign-up time moves back 20 minutes. Maybe all that’s left is Hoboken from 2 to 4 p.m. Worse, maybe there’s nothing and you’re relegated to picoteo, or “pecking.”

August 30, 5 P.M. Anthony Chavez with the batteries for the electric bikes that must be changed every six hours.

You see them around the city, sitting on benches jabbing their screens, refreshing the schedule on the off chance some unlucky colleague had to cancel. It’s a fate terrifying enough that when one worker hit a storm drain, flew from his bike, and suffered a concussion so severe he was passing in and out of consciousness and had to be taken to the hospital, he still made sure to have a friend message the company explaining why he wasn’t accepting orders. Later, trying to get his score up, he volunteered to work during Hurricane Ida, wrecked his bike, and got bumped from the schedule entirely.

So while DoorDash and Uber workers have some leeway to pick which deliveries they take, as a practical matter, Relay workers accept every order assigned to them. They obey the bespoke instructions that pop up on their screens: Don’t wait outside Benny’s Burritos, don’t ask to use the restroom, be “super nice!” to Dig Inn because it is a “VIP client” — or have your account suspended. Above all, they try to maintain the ideal pace of a delivery every 15 minutes, no matter the delivery distance.

If these sound more like the demands placed on an actual employee as opposed to an ostensibly free independent contractor, many class-action plaintiffs have agreed. The company has been sued multiple times for worker misclassification, tip theft, and other infractions. It settled three times, avoiding a ruling that could torpedo its business model, and another case is currently in arbitration.

A spokesperson said the company has implemented a fix to prevent restaurants from unilaterally expanding their delivery zones, but it currently only works for new entrants to the platform. The tip theft that workers often complain of occurs when restaurants receive an order, then enter the wrong tip information into the Relay app, the spokesperson said, and the company has added a way for workers to dispute this. As for the intense pressure, the company said that it matches the number of riders each day with anticipated demand but that there is a large backlog of people who want to work.

That’s true. Many would rather work for a restaurant, but when forced to pick among the apps, Chavez, Cesar, and others choose Relay, which they say pays better and more consistently than its piecework peers. It is, after all, the closest among them to a traditional job. But all the apps have this in common: The physical practicalities of maintaining the modern buffet of speedy delivery options fall to the workers.

Film by Danilo Parra for New York Magazine.

I followed Chavez down the ramp of the glass tower’s parking garage and around the corner to where delivery workers have set up a subterranean base. Electric bikes were parked in front of plywood shelving crammed with charging batteries, their lights blinking red and green. Under the garage ramp, five workers sat on a pipe eating lunch beneath a harsh fluorescent light, clothes hung to dry on another pipe above their heads. About a dozen people sat on folding chairs around a long table, eating from Styrofoam takeout trays and playing with their phones. Others napped in the carriages of bike rickshaws draped with plastic flowers.

Garages like these are scattered across the city, a solution worked out to replace some of the necessities once supplied by restaurants. Another option for shelter, particularly in the winter, is to get a Chase debit card and take refuge in the lobbies of the bank’s ubiquitous branches, warming yourself with a coffee before you’re told to move on. But the coffee raises another pressing question: where to find a restroom. The garage solves both problems and others, like bike storage and battery charging. Now, instead of shift meals during the predinner lull, workers take turns ordering delivery and eat underground. (They always tip well.) Chavez pays $120 a month for his spot.

Every adaptation has a cost, the Arrow being by far the largest. The appeal of the Arrow is the network of shops that sell it. They sell only Arrows, and if you have one, they will do simple repairs for cheap or free. The shops also charge second batteries for a monthly fee. The city’s pocked streets are rough on the bikes, and each evening just before the dinner rush, delivery workers wait outside Arrow stores as mechanics strip and rewire water-damaged controllers and replace bald tires with the fluid focus of a NASCAR pit crew.

Bikes, cold-weather gear, garages, maintenance: The costs add up. Workers even pay for their own app-branded cooler bags. So while DoorDash claims Manhattan workers make $33 per hour, including tips, when you factor in expenses, delivery workers have a base pay of $7.87 per hour, according to a recent study of app-based workers conducted by the Cornell Worker Institute and the Worker’s Justice Project. Neither estimate includes time spent waiting between deliveries.

August 27, 6 P.M. At a garage on the West Side of Manhattan, bikers charge batteries for their electric bikes ahead of the dinner shift.

Workers developed the whole system — the bikes, repair networks, shelters, charging stations — because they had to. To the apps, they are independent contractors; to restaurants, they are emissaries of the apps; to customers, they represent the restaurants. In reality, the workers are on their own, often without even the minimum in government support. As contractors and, often, undocumented immigrants, they have few protections and virtually no safety net. The few times city authorities noted the delivery worker’s changing role, it was typically with confused hostility. Until recently, throttle-powered electric bikes like the Arrow were illegal to ride, though not to own. Mayor de Blasio heightened enforcement in 2017, calling the bikes “a real danger” after an Upper West Side investment banker clocked workers with a speed gun and complained to him on The Brian Lehrer Show.

The NYPD set up checkpoints, fining riders $500, seizing their bikes, and posting photos of the busts on Twitter. The police would then return the bikes because, again, they were legal to own. It was a costly and bewildering ritual. For years, bike activists and workers pushed for legalization, though the apps that benefited from them were largely silent. It was only when another group of tech companies — hoping to make scooter-sharing legal — joined the fight that a bill moved forward in Albany. Then the pandemic hit, restaurants were restricted to takeout, and the mayor had to acknowledge that the bikes were an essential part of the city’s delivery infrastructure. He halted enforcement. The bikes were officially legalized three months later.

Maybe it was legalization that triggered the robberies. Maybe it was the pandemic-emptied streets. Maybe it was all the people out of work who needed money, or all the other people out of work who were enlisting to serve the newly formed Zoom class and suddenly needed e-bikes. Everyone has a theory. But what happened next is a familiar story. The workers turned to the city for help, got none, and started figuring out a solution themselves.

Chavez has no history of activism and no interest in being a leader. Those things take time, and he came to the city with a plan: work hard for five years and save enough money to buy a house in Guatemala City. Many workers treat the job like a dangerous but temporary trial they hope will give them a shot at pulling themselves out of poverty back home. Cesar has a plan too: work until he can buy a house for his parents and himself, then return. Things don’t always go according to plan. You meet someone here and start a family. You discover that all the money you thought you were saving has gone to bikes and food and rent. The city becomes familiar. Years go by.

That was the case for Eliseo Tohom, Chavez’s 36-year-old roommate. He’s been working delivery for 14 years. Chavez teases him on his livestreams. “That Eliseo is well known around these streets,” he said when Tohom chimed in on the chat. “Single ladies, delivery worker Eliseo is looking for a girl to take back to Guatemala.”

Last October, the two were eating pizza in Central Park and talking about the robberies. A fellow garage member, 17 years old, had been unlocking his bike after depositing a dinner on Riverside Drive when two men tackled him from behind. A third grabbed his bike and rode off as the other assailants leaped into a waiting car.

August 27, 6 P.M. Anthony Chavez preparing to head out for the dinner shift.

It was the second such attack to befall a garage member and one of countless they had heard about. According to NYPD data, robberies and attempted robberies of delivery workers increased 65 percent in 2020, to 332, and are on track to exceed that number this year. But those are only the small fraction of cases that are reported to the police. Workers say officers often discouraged them from filing reports and showed so little progress solving the thefts they did report that many stopped bothering to do so. In contrast to the NYPD’s numbers, the Worker’s Justice Project’s survey found that 54 percent of the city’s delivery workers have had their bikes stolen. About 30 percent of those thefts were violent. The group said it receives approximately 50 reports of thefts and robberies a day.

Tohom had put together a pool to buy the kid a new bike, but he wanted to do more. He proposed going to the local precinct, maybe with a dozen or so people from their garage and another group in midtown, and asking the police to do something. Chavez posted the announcement on Chapín.

About 30 people showed up to the park at 72nd and Amsterdam and rode honking to the precinct. There, they blocked the street, shouting “No more robberies!” to nonplussed cops. Eventually, a Spanish-speaking officer came out. Tohom stepped forward and listed robbery after robbery — Monday at 150 Central Park, yesterday at 100th, another at 67th, knives, guns, machetes, thefts they reported months ago and received no response about, bikes stolen with GPS that police refused to pursue — as the crowd yelled “Help us.”

Chavez posted a video of the scene, and it ricocheted through New York’s delivery community. Overnight, he gained 1,000 followers. The next day, a representative got in touch from the Worker’s Justice Project, which had previously supported construction workers and domestic laborers and had started organizing delivery workers during the pandemic. WJP helped file the paperwork for a more formal rally the following week. Again, Chavez announced it on his Facebook page. This time, hundreds showed up. Chavez livestreamed as the armada rode honking down Broadway, flags waving from their bikes, to City Hall.

It was the first time so many delivery workers had gathered in one place, and it sparked an explosion of new groups. It was there that Cesar met Chavez. Soon after, he and his cousins and uncles launched the Deliveryboys page. Like Chavez’s page, it soon became a hub for theft alerts, but it was also a place to memorialize slain and injured workers. When the DoorDash worker Francisco Villalva Vitinio was shot and killed for his bike in March, the Deliveryboys posted videos of vigils in New York and of Villalva Vitinio’s casket being carried down the streets of his hometown in Guerrero, Mexico. Later they broadcast live from the precinct on the day the suspect was arrested.

Small cadres of workers had already begun forming groups on WhatsApp and Telegram to share information and protect one another. But now they built more formal and larger versions with names like Delivery Worker Alerts, Emergency Group, and Robbery Alerts in the Big Apple. At the protest, workers scanned QR codes on one another’s phones to join. Approximate territories took shape, with groups for the Upper West Side, Astoria, and lower Manhattan.

“There are thousands of delivery workers on the streets, and if we are all connected, we can see the thieves and act ourselves,” Chavez later told his viewers as he rode. Join a group, he said. Buy a GPS and hide it on your bike; that way, when it gets stolen, you can track it down and call on your fellow workers for help. If the police wouldn’t get their bikes back, maybe they could do it themselves.

It was Gustavo Ajche, a 38-year-old construction worker and part-time DoorDasher, who contacted Chavez’s group after the impromptu precinct rally and helped get permits for the larger one. Even then, he was pushing the group to think bigger. Chavez and Tohom wanted to march to Columbus Circle; Ajche said the thefts were affecting everyone, so they should march all the way to City Hall. He also wanted them to think beyond the robberies, to regulations and durable improvements to working conditions.

I met Ajche at 60 Wall Street, a gaudy ’80s atrium decorated with palm trees and columns that is a frequent hangout for delivery workers in the Financial District. The nearby parking garage where Ajche stores his bike isn’t as nice as Chavez’s, he explained, on account of leaks and rats.

There were about a dozen Arrows parked outside, all with stickers bearing the red-and-black fist-raised deliveryman logo of Los Deliveristas Unidos, an arm of the Worker’s Justice Project that Ajche helped start. An animated speaker with an open face, Ajche is an effective organizer, and he’s eager to grow the movement. Taking out his phone, he showed me a new Deliveristas logo written in Bengali — part of the group’s effort to expand beyond Spanish-speaking workers. He would soon make versions in Mandarin and French. I noted the green gear-eyed skull logo on the back of his phone case, the symbol of Aztecas en dos Ruedas (“Aztecs on Two Wheels”), a fixie-riding, alley-cat-racing club of delivery workers. “They are my friends; they are with us,” he said by way of explanation. A worker, still helmeted, pushed through the turnstile door and waved to Ajche before joining a group seated on the other side of the hall — Ajche’s friends too.

After the success of the October march, the Deliveristas planned an even larger rally for April. This time, thousands gathered and rode honking to City Hall, where they were joined by representatives from SEIU 32BJ, the powerful union that backed the Fight for $15. City Councilmember Brad Lander, then running for city comptroller, and State Senator Jessica Ramos spoke. Later, the City Council introduced a package of bills crafted in discussion with the Deliveristas that would establish minimum pay and give workers more control over their routes, among other changes (it will likely be voted on this month). In June, the Deliveristas helped kill a bill pushed by Uber and Lyft that would have allowed gig workers to unionize while falling short of offering them full employment rights.

August 27, 9:20 P.M. Delivery workers store their bikes at a garage overnight and prepare to take the subway home.

Some of the apps also began discussions with the Deliveristas. DoorDash announced that nearly 200 (out of 18,000) of its restaurants would let delivery workers use their restrooms and that the company is working on an emergency-assistance button for its app.

Ajche is far from appeased. He recalled a Zoom meeting in which DoorDash put forward a “top Dasher” to tell them how great working for DoorDash was. Ajche silenced him by saying that he can bring 500 people with complaints. “They are afraid of us,” he said. “They think we are trying to unionize.”

Later in June, around the time when Cesar and the Deliveryboys were beginning their watch at the Willis Avenue Bridge, Ajche and other Deliveristas met with the NYPD chief of department, Rodney Harrison, who agreed to appoint an officer to act as a liaison with the workers and to increase security on the bridges.

Progress is slow. The NYPD said it encourages people to register their bikes with the department and to call 911 if their bike is stolen. But the department is a sprawling organization with tremendous inertia and little understanding of what modern delivery work entails. “What we’ve been doing is conquering precinct by precinct,” said Hildalyn Colón Hernández, whom the WJP brought on to handle police relations and policy. Colón Hernández, who previously worked on a construction-fraud task force in the Manhattan DA’s office, recalled a recent exchange in which she was pushing an officer to investigate a stolen bike and he said, essentially, “What’s the big deal? It’s just a bike.” Colón Hernández launched into an explanation: First off, it’s their tool; they lose that tool, they don’t work tomorrow. Second, it probably cost around $3,000. “That patrol officer looked at me very differently,” she said. “They were like, ‘Wait a minute. This is a grand larceny?’ ”

She has been having conversations like that across the city’s bureaucracy. Take the Willis Avenue Bridge. First, she had to talk to the precincts on either side of the bridge because the city splits jurisdiction down the middle. Then came the cameras, which workers complained were broken, because despite the NYPD sign saying the bridge was under 24-hour surveillance, whenever they went to the police asking for footage of their assaults, they were told none existed. But the cameras worked just fine; it’s just that they were pointed at the cars, not the bike path. To change that, Colón Hernández will need to track down someone in the Department of Transportation and explain why it’s urgently important that they shift the traffic cameras on a bridge.

A black-and-white image of three delivery workers dressed in casual clothing, their bikes visible in the background.

August 30, 11 P.M. Cesar Solano at Willis Avenue Bridge on his birthday at the end of his work day.

Chavez and the Deliveryboys rarely attend these meetings. They stress their independence and express skepticism that anyone — police, city officials, sometimes even the Deliveristas — will ever help them. Chavez sees himself as just a guy with a Facebook page. Juan Solano, Cesar’s uncle and the most outspoken of the Deliveryboys, sees a distinction between “politics,” which are futile, and what they are doing, which is “organizing our people” to help themselves.

Ajche understands the wariness. “In our countries, organizations show up, promise to do stuff, and never deliver,” he said. It’s not like they’ve gotten much help from institutions here, either. Yet he is palpably frustrated at the resistance. “A change of mind would be good for them. They have potential; they’ve done things. But they reached a point where they can’t do much more since they’re not in touch with politicians.”

Ajche pointed out that earlier this year, the Deliveryboys told their followers to barrage the Relay app with a cut-and-paste indictment of the company’s rating system, long routes, and vanishing tips. “Us delivery workers are tired of so much injustice,” they wrote, threatening to “stop working without prior notice.”

“It’s the same thing that we are trying to do!” Ajche said.

Not long after the walkout threat, Relay added a DISPUTE TIP button. It was a victory, but a partial one. Making use of the feature requires workers to know the actual amount a customer tipped, and many lack the language skills to ask. Juan is thinking about making cards in English so they can show customers why they need to know.

Compared to the grinding progress of New York’s bureaucracy, when it comes to thefts, self-defense yields immediate results: a bike recovered, a thief apprehended, a bridge defended.

Chavez advises workers to keep a photo of their bike on their phone. If it’s stolen, send the photo to the group, and often another worker will soon spot someone selling it on the street. The spotter sends the location, then pretends to be an interested buyer — “Hey, buddy, how much you want for that?” — until reinforcements arrive and unobtrusively encircle the two hagglers before closing in. Ideally, surrounded by a dozen delivery workers, the suspect gives up peacefully and returns the bike to its rightful owner.

But not always. In June, a Lower East Side group saw someone selling a stolen bike on Lafayette, but the suspect hopped on the bike and fled. The group gave chase for several blocks before tackling him on Delancey. At that point, the police took notice and detained the suspect. When the bike’s owner arrived, he ceremoniously inserted his key into the lock, dangling from the frame, and opened it to cheers.

Two weeks later, a Relay worker named Angel Lopez was cruising up Amsterdam with a dinner from Celeste when he noticed someone sawing through a bike lock with a power grinder, throwing up sparks. He stopped, shocked. While he was debating what to do, workers from a nearby Chinese takeout place rushed out, grabbed chairs from their outdoor-dining setup, and started hitting the thief, who responded by brandishing his buzz saw. A standoff ensued until the thief, deterred, jogged off. Lopez sent an alert to his group, Upper Furious, and followed from a distance.

If I let him go, he’s just gonna get away, just like every other guy, he thought. Lopez crossed paths with two other workers and told them what was happening. They joined in cautious pursuit. Periodically, the thief looked back and yelled, “Keep following me. I got something for you,” Lopez said, and they wondered what that could mean, whether he could have a gun in his backpack and be luring them to a less crowded part of town.

August 30, 11:30 P.M. Bikers wait for a bigger group to form before crossing the Willis Avenue Bridge.

The man stopped at another locked bike and began again with the buzz saw, threatening the workers whenever they got close. “That thing will cut your face off,” Lopez recalled. The bike freed, the thief started to pedal away.

There were now about ten workers, and they chased the thief, trying to shove him off his bike as he attempted to strike them with his saw. Lopez said they passed a cop car and shouted for help, to no avail.

They hit the downward slope toward Riverside Park, and a few workers gunned their bikes forward to head off the thief. Surrounded, he got off the bike and swung the saw, then hurled the cut lock at the gathered crowd. But in throwing the lock, he lost his grip on the saw, and it fell to the ground. It was at that moment that police arrived, pushed through the workers, and pinned the suspect to the ground with, Lopez said, a degree of force he felt ambivalent about. “It got to the point where he said, ‘I can’t breathe’ — you know those famous lines,” he recalled. A few workers shouted that he deserved it. “You could feel the anger in the air,” Lopez said.

He couldn’t stay to talk to the cops. He was 30 minutes late with his order and worried Relay would deactivate him. “You’re no superhero,” he imagined the company telling him. “Just deliver the food.” The suspect was charged with attempted robbery, possession of a weapon, petit larceny, and resisting arrest.

These ad hoc sting operations worry Colón Hernández. She believes that some of the thieves are organized, possibly transporting the bikes out of state. They are often armed. Workers have been stabbed and attacked with fireworks when they tried to recover their bikes themselves. Chasing down and apprehending every thief in the city is both unsustainable and dangerous.

“The first time works. The second time may work. What happens when the third time, somebody gets killed? Or you hurt somebody because you’re chasing people at a very fast pace?” she said. “I’ve been saying this to the NYPD: One day I’m going to get a call that I don’t want to get.”

On a Friday night in July, Nicolas was coming back outside after dropping off a pizza near Madison Square Park when he saw that his bike had vanished. What am I going to do? he thought. How am I going to work?

Originally from Puebla, Mexico, Nicolas, 42 (who, fearing retaliation from the thief, requested a pseudonym), worked to send money home to his four children, whom he hadn’t seen since he crossed the border 12 years ago. The more he worked, the sooner he could return, and he worked a lot: a 5 a.m. cleaning shift at a pizza place, then delivering either for the restaurant or for DoorDash.

He called his brother, another delivery worker, and asked him to post a photo of his bike to the Deliveryboys’ WhatsApp. An hour later, he got a hit: Someone had spotted his bike, a teal-taped Arrow, being wheeled into an apartment building in the Bronx. The tipster had followed the man, filmed him, and noted the address. Nicolas got on the train and headed there.

He was met by five other workers from the WhatsApp group who’d come to help. Standing in front of the building, Nicolas called 911 and was told to wait for a patrol car, so they waited. And waited. After midnight, he thanked the others for standing by him and told them to go home.

Three days later, after he’d given the bike up for lost, one of the workers who had stood with him Friday flagged him down. Another bike had been stolen and traced to the same building. A group was gathering to get it back.

When the two arrived, they encountered 15 or so workers standing in front of the building. Cesar was there along with a contingent that had caravanned from the Willis Avenue Bridge. Chavez was there too. Nicolas introduced himself.

Cesar and Chavez had been called there by the owner of the other bike, Margaro Solano. Unlike Nicolas’s bike, Margaro’s had a GPS. Seeing his bike had been taken to the Bronx, he and his wife — who left her restaurant job to help — had immediately headed there. They confirmed they had the right place by obtaining building surveillance footage of a man — the same one filmed carrying Nicolas’s bike — lugging Margaro’s up the stairs and into his apartment. They could hear Margaro’s bike alarm blaring through the door.

August 30, 11:30 P.M. A delivery worker at the Willis Avenue Bridge.

After Margaro was unable to get help from the nearby precinct, he called Chavez, who texted Cesar, who put out a call on WhatsApp. By the time Nicolas arrived, the group had gone back to the precinct, failed to get help, and settled in for a stakeout.

Rather than risk a confrontation inside the building, Chavez and the others decided the safest approach would be to wait for the thief to emerge and ask for the bikes back. Two workers stood just outside the building entrance, while another loitered in the lobby. The rest gathered on the sidewalk outside, chatting. The stakeout was the first time most of them had met in person.

Around midnight, conversation began to shift to how late it was and when they should decide to call it a night. Many had come directly from work, skipping dinner. Then he emerged, the man from the videos. The workers on the street watched as he opened the lobby door and stepped outside.

The group followed him for a block, tailing him as stealthily as a dozen deliverymen on electric bikes could manage. After a second block, they descended, surrounding him on the sidewalk.

For vigilante justice, it was a restrained confrontation. No one touched anyone else. The workers, masked, stood back in a circle and asked for their bikes to be returned; the man towered over them by at least two heads. Chavez was filming, Cesar broadcasting live. Nicolas stood at the margins, watching.

To Cesar’s surprise, the man asked how many bikes they had come for.

Two, he answered.

When the thief asked for $1,000 to give them back, the workers started shouting. “Show him! Let him see!” they yelled in Spanish. “The camera was watching you!” in English. Chavez said they didn’t want trouble and wouldn’t call the police if the man just gave back the bikes — a bluff. Chavez knew the police wouldn’t come. The man didn’t budge.

September 4, 6 P.M. Juan Solano at home in the two-bedroom apartment he shares with five other delivery bikers.

A worker held out his phone to the suspect, showing him the surveillance video. He watched footage of himself carrying the bike up the stairs. Then he watched it again. He paused, thought it over, and agreed to return the bikes. The group formed an escort down Grand Concourse, the suspect surrounded by workers on foot who were circled by bikers cruising slowly.

Chaos ensued once they entered the building. An acquaintance of the man blocked the workers in the entryway while attempting to assure them he would bring their bikes down. Unconvinced, they pushed forward until everyone — the two men, followed by Cesar, Chavez, Nicolas, Margaro, and several others — started running up the stairs. As they neared the fifth floor, they could hear the bike’s shrill alarm. Nicolas was too thrilled at the prospect of being reunited with his bike to be scared. One man held the workers at bay while the other brought out Margaro’s bike, lights flashing, and then Nicolas’s. Cesar glimpsed two other bikes inside before the men shut the door.

“Thank you!” a worker shouted in English as the group shuffled the bikes down the stairs. “Let’s go! Two bikes — we came to get one, left with two,” he continued in Spanish. “Let’s go tell the precinct we actually could get it. Police don’t know how to do their job.”

Cesar was bringing up the rear and still streaming when someone grabbed him from behind. In the video, the suspect’s acquaintance can be heard shouting that he should be rewarded for helping them. Cesar elbowed his assailant and broke free, dashing down the stairs to join the others in front of the building. They mounted their bikes and sped away, riding down the bike lane together.

The next day, Chavez would tell Colón Hernández what had happened and send her the evidence they’d gathered. She’d watch the video of the raid with dismay — reckless, dangerous, no plan at all — and then work the system her way. She’d finish the process of filing Nicolas’s police report and stay on the detectives. She’d involve the new delivery liaison. Three weeks after the bikes were recovered, the suspect would be arrested and charged with petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.

But the workers didn’t know any of that that night. In fact, they wouldn’t hear about the arrest until I told them. The night they got the bikes back, they had little reason to believe justice would be served. It was their own detective work that had succeeded when the system failed them.

After they rode some distance from the building, Chavez filmed a news broadcast outside a bodega. It was a mix of anger and triumph.

“The police did nothing,” Chavez narrated as Nicolas held up the paperwork he’d been given by a precinct days before. “We had agreed with them that they would be there for us whenever a bike got stolen, and they weren’t. Don’t commit then. We organize. We recover our bicycles.”

They didn’t linger to celebrate their victory. It was late, and they had work in the morning. Nicolas’s predawn shift would begin in just four hours. He hopped back on his bike and sped home to get some rest.

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Daversa: the company that recruits Silicon Valley’s senior leadership faces troubling workplace allegations

Gretchen Howard was sitting outside the Ferry Building in San Francisco when she got a piece of unexpected career advice that would eventually change her whole life. It came from Paul Daversa, CEO of the executive recruiting firm Daversa Partners. “Are you actually good, or are you just lucky?” he asked her. The question sounded like a neg, but it eventually spurred enough introspection to prompt her to leave her stable job at Google and take a chance on a new career path.

As an executive recruiter, Paul Daversa is masterful at nudging people toward fast-paced startups. Recounting the story on a podcast, he pulled up an email he’d sent Howard in 2010, asking her to take an interview at Zendesk. When she said she couldn’t quite handle the risk, he suggested she take a jumbo mortgage. She didn’t bite, but his words left a lasting impact. In 2019, Howard became the COO of Robinhood — one of many buzzy companies Paul Daversa advises.

Daversa Partners is far from a household name outside the tech industry. But for companies looking to grow from collegial side hustle to venture-backed verb, it’s the go-to firm. In tech, many startups are run by ambitious but inexperienced entrepreneurs. Daversa helps bring in executives with industry experience. In short, it puts adults in the room, adding a layer of professionalism and oversight that’s sorely needed in Silicon Valley. To that end, the firm has recruited the chief financial officer of Uber, the chief accounting officer of Instacart, and seemingly the entire engineering leadership team at WeWork.

Behind the scenes, however, Daversa has been struggling with its own alleged lack of oversight. The firm is the subject of a recent lawsuit, brought by a former employee named Vaughn Feighan who says he was repeatedly harassed and assaulted by a man who, at the time, was one of the organization’s most powerful partners. Feighan says the partner drew him in by talking about the opportunity — he, too, could make partner if he just took the older man’s advice. It almost felt like he was one of Daversa’s recruiting targets.

The complaint alleges that the partner, who was in his fifties, told Feighan about his specific sexual desires: that he liked having fingers in his ass when he was having sex and that he’d always dreamed of “going both ways,” but it hadn’t been acceptable when he was growing up.

On three separate occasions, Feighan alleges the partner physically assaulted him. Once, after giving Feighan a ride home, he restrained the younger man in the car and stuck his hands down his pants. “I always imagined you had a massive dick,” he said, according to Feighan’s recollection. The other two alleged assaults occurred on company trips.

All the while, the partner was dangling prestigious career opportunities in front of Feighan, telling him he could get a promotion if he just stuck it out a little longer. He said he was mentoring the younger man — teaching him the subtle art of nudging executives to take a chance on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Feighan’s complaint is not the first time Daversa has faced internal tension. The firm hires many people just out of college, making it difficult for some to gauge whether the behavior they’re witnessing falls within the bounds of normal corporate culture. A former employee says that, despite being more than 60 percent women, Daversa felt like a boys’ club. One partner, who has helped build the executive teams at Google, PayPal, Twitter, and Postmates, allegedly made references to sucking dick and getting fucked in front of colleagues at the offices. During a company offsite in 2019, this same partner apparently got so drunk that he accidentally kneed a female consultant in the head. He currently co-runs Daversa’s San Francisco office.

In response to these allegations, a spokesperson for Daversa said that the firm’s leadership team is majority women, and suggesting that it was a boys’ club “defies logic.” They also said that during a team outing in Napa Valley wine country, “an unfortunate accident occurred” but vehemently denied allegations that this partner made references to “sucking dick” or “getting fucked” in front of colleagues. The spokesperson also sent prepared statements from multiple women who have had overwhelmingly positive experiences at the company.

Feighan suspected the alleged behavior was abnormal. It might have been his first job out of college, but he felt like the excessive drinking and sexual references had to breach some code of conduct. Still, he felt he had no one to turn to. According to the complaint, Daversa did not have an internal human resources department, despite being a nearly 30-year-old company. (The firm did have an outside consultant whom Feighan was aware of.) He tried to tell the other partners about the late-night texts and phone calls he was receiving, but, according to the lawsuit, the firm did nothing to protect him. (Daversa denies that any of the other partners knew about the allegations of harassment or assault or were ever told about the late-night phone calls.)

Over time, Feighan began to see himself as part of a group of people, many of them women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community, who’ve been targeted by powerful men in the tech industry while their companies turned a blind eye. “It was so alarming to me that the people I was supposed to turn to through all of this just kept turning their heads, and that’s exactly what Silicon Valley has continued to do,” he says.

When it mattered most to Feighan, the firm tasked with getting adults in the room at some of the most prestigious startups in Silicon Valley had no adults in the room.

From the beginning, the partner in the DC office took a keen interest in Vaughn Feighan. A recent college grad, Feighan originally wanted to interview for the Los Angeles office but says he was told that the partner had heard about him and wanted him to interview for a position in DC.

Feighan’s uncle had worked at Daversa years before, so the comment didn’t stand out to him. The firm was known for the long tenure of many of its senior staff — perhaps legacy meant something to them.

He showed up for the interview wearing a suit. “You look so stuck-up right now,” the partner said, according to Feighan’s recollection. He instructed the younger man to take off his jacket. Then the partner asked him if he was a “crier.” Feighan thought he’d misheard. “Do you mean, do I cry?” he asked. “Yeah,” he says the partner responded. “Because we don’t really have time for people in the Washington, DC office who are sensitive and cry a lot.”

The partner ran the show in the DC office. He’d been at the company for 20 years and had deep relationships with VC firms like Sequoia Capital. According to Daversa’s website, he’d helped build the “senior most leadership teams” at companies like Spotify and Survey Monkey.

Feighan could see why the partner was so successful. “He could basically get anyone to take a meeting with anyone, regardless of what role it was for,” Feighan says. “His style is very relaxed and very, very effective. He didn’t even talk about roles necessarily. He would just talk.” The partner’s confidence was intimidating — and it worked. His favorite thing to tell candidates was “just follow my lead on this.”

This confidence, in many ways, is what executive recruiting is all about. Tech companies that need to expand their boards or leadership teams will often hire outside firms to woo qualified candidates on their behalf and convince them to take a leap of faith. Jana Rich, an executive recruiter who’s worked with Dropbox, Square, and Peloton, says the work is “touchy-feely,” less about finding people with technical expertise than identifying “public-facing leaders in the C-suite,” according to USA Today. It’s behind-the-scenes work that helps shape the culture of Silicon Valley and reverberates through offices around the world.

Two days after Feighan started, he was sitting in a training session when he got a text from the partner telling him to go to a bar near the office “ASAP.” Feighan responded that he was in a meeting. “Come anyway,” the partner said.

“When I got down there, he was saying, ‘Oh well, you know what? You passed the test, perfect,’” Feighan recalls.

The off-campus meeting became a pattern. The partner would tell Feighan to leave work, at times even instructing him to lie about his whereabouts to colleagues. He called Feighan late at night and on weekends, often to talk about projects, but at times asking Feighan about his personal life or sharing details of his own. The partner was married but talked about cheating on his wife, according to the lawsuit. He mentioned a desire to sleep with men and speculated about Feighan’s sexual preferences — including fantasizing about whether the younger man was a top or a bottom.

A month after he started, the partner asked to meet for lunch to go over an assignment. When they sat down, the partner ordered whiskey and told Feighan that drinking wasn’t optional, according to the lawsuit. “Mr. Feighan felt he had no choice other than comply, or else risk angering [the partner] and jeopardizing his job,” the complaint alleges.

After lunch, the partner texted him: “Great hustle this weekend. Overall B+ and the whiskey/lunch/vision board review puts you @ an A-.” To Feighan, the message was clear: push through your discomfort, and you’ll be professionally rewarded.

In September, the partner told Feighan that he was taking the young associate on a business trip to California — an unusual perk for an employee of Feighan’s tenure.

“Should I act surprised that I am going to SF/should I tell the others or are you going to?” Feighan asked him over text. “Yes act surprised…” the partner said. “I will make the announcement later…for now keep your head down.”

After Feighan arrived in San Francisco, the partner told him to meet him at a hotel. Feighan assumed the partner had gotten him a room, and he had — but it was a room the two men were meant to share. Feighan felt it was inappropriate. He hadn’t been told ahead of time about the arrangement. “I called my dad and I was like, ‘Dad, I’m staying in the same room as my boss. He’s 55 years old.’” His father confirmed this conversation in an interview with The Verge.

On two subsequent trips, the partner booked a single room with just one king bed for the two of them, according to the complaint.

In response to these allegations, a spokesperson for Daversa said, “It is absolutely not typical for any manager and subordinate to share a hotel room and any suggestion to the contrary would be false.” In the firm’s answer to the complaint, however, it wrote that “employees of the same gender who travel together sometimes share a hotel room as a cost-saving measure for the company.”

Later on during the San Francisco trip, a drunk woman began hitting on Feighan at a restaurant in San Jose, even buying him and the partner a bottle of champagne. After the restaurant staff asked her to leave, the partner said that they had just “lived the beginning of a small dream of his” and that he would “love to take that woman in the bathroom, fuck her and pull her hair while she screamed and [Mr. Feighan] watched…if [Mr. Feighan] did not want to join,” according to the complaint.

After the trip, the texts became even more frequent. The partner would mix work questions with jokes, movie suggestions, and heaps of praise. “I can say this w/o being a flag,” he told Feighan once. (According to the complaint, he’d started using the term “flag” ahead of inappropriate comments after going through a sexual harassment training.) “I actually love you and think you’re the next combo of myself and Bryce!!!” He was referring to another high-powered executive recruiter.

In November, the partner took Feighan to dinner at an upscale Italian restaurant, saying he had feedback to give him directly from Paul Daversa. Feighan, hoping to keep things professional, suggested bringing along another of the firm’s directors.

“This is btw you and I,” the partner responded. “Stop being so political…I want to hang with you solo!!! And don’t share.”

According to text messages reviewed by The Verge, the partner picked him up from his house. When they got to the restaurant, the older man ordered a drink and started asking Feighan about his sexuality. He inquired about whether the younger man loved him and found him attractive, according to the lawsuit. Feighan tried to fend off the comments but was feeling pressured to drink as well. Eventually, when the partner got up to use the bathroom, Feighan told the bartender to substitute lime juice and seltzer the next time he ordered a cocktail.

After dinner, the two men took an elevator down to the parking garage where the partner’s car was parked. According to the complaint, the partner began tickling him. “I don’t think I’ve ever even tickled a significant other,” Feighan says. Then, the partner grabbed his crotch.

Feighan pulled out his phone. “I’m going to take an Uber home,” he remembers saying. “I still have your backpack,” the partner responded. Feighan had left it in the car earlier that night. The partner allegedly told Feighan he wouldn’t give it back unless he got in the car.

On the ride home, the partner remarked on the size of Feighan’s dick, according to the complaint. When they got to Feighan’s apartment, the younger man went to unbuckle his seatbelt, only to have the partner throw his arm across his chest to hold him down. “[The partner] unbuckled his seat belt as Mr. Feighan struggled under him, and forced his other hand down Mr. Feighan’s pants, placing several fingers inside Mr. Feighan’s underwear,” the complaint says.

Around 10PM, after a short exchange about Feighan’s growth at Daversa, the partner wrote: “Come on…you and I have taken it to the next level…there’s no turning back…it’s either you, Reece, or Ava” in reference to a director and senior associate at the firm.

Research suggests that more than 24 percent of men in the United States have experienced some form of sexual violence in their lifetime, yet these incidents are vastly under-reported. According to a criminal victimization report from the Department of Justice, roughly 66 percent of sexual assaults aren’t reported to police — and the numbers are likely far higher when talking about male-on-male violence.

In Silicon Valley, an inclusive ethos collides with a bro-centric culture. While companies say employees will not be retaliated against for reporting sexual harassment or assault, the reality is that many go to great lengths to protect high-powered men at their organizations. The situation can be even more complicated for young gay men who are navigating an environment where they’re expected to be “one of the guys.”

Up until the alleged assault, Feighan wasn’t even sure what he was experiencing. He knew he was overwhelmed by the number of texts and calls he received from the partner, but when Feighan tried to bring it up to another member of the leadership team, he says he was told, “Look, we know he’s very intense, but this is how you become the number one partner in the firm.”

(In response to this allegation, a spokesperson for Daversa said, “The employee involved in this fictional conversation categorically denies that it ever occurred, and we believe this individual.”)

The partner was also masterful at making Feighan feel like he was perpetually on the verge of a bonus or promotion. “I have your back and will do what it takes to ensure that u crush it!!!” he texted him once. “Close [a candidate] I’m personally buying you 2 pairs of Chelsea boots,” he said on another occasion.

After the alleged assault, any confusion about what the attention meant evaporated. When his best friend from college got to town shortly after the incident, he told her what had happened. “He explicitly said that he was sexually assaulted by [the partner] the night before,” she says in an interview with The Verge. “I remember being in his little bedroom and he was in the bathroom and he started crying as he said it.”

Feighan didn’t know what to do. When he talked to his father about some of the behavior — omitting the details of the assault — he was told to keep his distance from the partner. But how could he? Oftentimes, when he started to pull back, he’d get a notification on his phone that the partner had Venmoed him random sums of money — at times, upwards of $250.

“I felt broken by the end, completely broken,” Feighan says. He started having panic attacks and suffering from crippling anxiety — symptoms he says he’d never experienced before the job.

Over time, Feighan had begun to mirror the partner’s casual and inappropriate language. He joked with the older man about doing drugs, called him a bitch, and talked shit on the other partners. “They really turned me into someone that I was not,” he says. “That’s been one of the biggest struggles. My demeanor, my attitude toward work and people, and the language I used totally changed.”

For victims of sexual assault, this behavior is hardly unusual. “Victims sometimes cope by focusing on their perpetrator’s loving side and shutting out the abuse, maintaining contact to elicit such affirmative behavior from the abuser,” wrote the Times Up Foundation in 2020. “Often, victims may blame themselves for the encounter and convince themselves — or be convinced by the abuser — that an assault was not what they thought it was.”

Feighan resigned in July 2020, just over a year after he’d started. He knew he’d likely never go back to executive recruiting. When he told the partner he was leaving, the older man at first offered to match the base salary he was getting at his new job. Then he changed his tune and said that Feighan couldn’t stay two weeks — the resignation was going to be effective immediately. “Thank you so much for all your great work, but things have gotten kind of out of control at the firm,” the partner said, according to a recording of the call reviewed by The Verge.

When Feighan started opening up to his queer male friends about what had happened, he was shocked at how many gay men said they’d experienced similar kinds of behavior but hadn’t felt able to report it. Feighan realized that he had an obligation to come forward. He was queer, yes, but also white and well-off. He felt he could handle the fight. He decided to file a lawsuit, naming both the partner and Daversa as defendants.

When the firm received the complaint, it placed the partner on unpaid leave and began to investigate the allegations. Shortly afterward, the partner resigned. He’s now started his own firm, building off of his success at Daversa. “Leveraging his two decades of successfully recruiting top talent around the world, [the partner] is excited to now offer a boutique search experience — taking a hands-on approach from start to finish,” his website reads.

To Feighan, the move is just further proof of why he needed to come forward. “I’m not the first person this has happened to, but hopefully I can be the last,” he says. “Paul Daversa has had 20 years to fix the culture, and nothing’s happened, until now.”

Daversa, for its part, categorically denies that there are widespread issues with the company culture. “Daversa Partners has always had strict policies and procedures designed to ensure a harassment free workplace,” a spokesperson said. “In the very small number of instances in which there were complaints about inappropriate behavior, they were immediately investigated, and if warranted by the facts, appropriate action was taken.”

The company has denied all allegations in the lawsuit as well as any liability with respect to the claims.

The spokesperson also said, “Our firm is committed to providing a workplace that is free of all forms of harassment and has strict policies in place to that effect – we expect everyone at the firm to operate with the same high ethical standards and integrity that we demand of ourselves and that we look for in the c-suite executives, board members and others the firm has recruited for some of the most high-profile and successful businesses in the country.” They called the lawsuit an attempted shakedown with no basis in reality.

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Inside the federal raid on Keene, NH’s crypto mecca

The sky was still dark when the agents arrived at Leverett St. in Keene, New Hampshire, a leafy block of kit houses at the quiet edges of the small college town. They settled on a house at the corner, surrounding it with two armored BearCat G3s and a fleet of unmarked SUVs. Both BearCats had gunners stationed in a hatch on the roof, clad in camo fatigues. The only light came from the blue-and-red sirens, strobing off houses in every direction.

Inside, Ian Freeman was asleep with his girlfriend and their small dog Coconut. He woke to the sound of exploding glass. A ramming pole, tethered to the front of one of the BearCats, had plowed through a first floor window, tearing off the frame as it backed up. Freeman threw on a bathrobe and stumbled downstairs, still shaking off sleep. There was shattered glass everywhere. His first thought was that some stranger had thrown a brick. But then he heard a whirring sound, a small hovering drone that police had deployed to explore the house. He looked outside and saw blinding lights. Coming into focus beside the lights, men pointed rifles at him.

One mile east, Freeman’s talk radio co-host Aria DiMezzo stumbled downstairs in her underwear only to be met by a tactical assault team, who told her they would shoot her if she moved. At the town’s Bitcoin Embassy, a group of agents tore a Bitcoin dispenser from the concrete floor, leaving four symmetrical holes where it had been bolted down. They took another machine from the Campus Convenience in central Keene, another from a bar called Murphy’s Taproom, and a fourth from the Red Arrow Diner in Nashua. Together, they held more than $50,000 in cash.

There was even more money in Freeman’s home, seized by federal agents and later reported to the courts in a forfeiture filing: $180,000 in cash, a 100oz Swiss silver bar (worth roughly $3,000), and a platinum coin stamped with a portrait of Ron Paul. There were boxes full of gold-laced bills called goldbacks that were too obscure to even put a value on — some taken from Freeman’s home, others seized in transit by the postal service. The biggest prize was two Casascius physical Bitcoins, worth 100 and 1 btc respectively, first available in 2011 and now worth more than $4 million.

A BearCat ramming through the window of Freeman’s studio, as captured on video by Christopher Waid.
Video: Christopher Waid

Evidence being removed from the Bitcoin Embassy.
Video: Christopher Waid

For police, the money was nearly as important as Freeman himself. For years, they had been tracking his Bitcoin business for evidence of money laundering or other crimes. As far as they were concerned, it was all part of an unlicensed money transmittal scheme processing millions of dollars a year. The purpose of the raid was to break that system, tearing out Freeman’s Bitcoin machines one by one and seizing any illegal proceeds along with them.

News of the raid spread fast. A local Linux developer and crypto activist named Christopher Waid rushed to Freeman’s house to film the last gasps of the raid, catching footage of the BearCats, the drone, and the bizarre militarism of it all. When he was done there, he headed to the Bitcoin Embassy, where a crowd had gathered to watch police carry out duffel bags and plastic tubs full of loose paper. Despite the name, the embassy was little more than a side room to a convenience store. The most radical part of it was the bookshelf, offering DevOps manuals alongside copies of Ludwig von Mises’ Socialism and Robert A. Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

For years, Freeman had been warning about federal encroachment, broadcasting every night on the radio about the tightening fist of the state. His Bitcoin venture was part of a broader Free State movement in New Hampshire, turning a quiet corner of New England into a libertarian paradise. Now the counterforce was here, like a prophecy fulfilled, and the Free Staters understood their role perfectly. They were ready with cameras, asking for warrants and litigating precisely where they were allowed to stand while the raid dragged on. When police herded the crowd across the street, it just meant they had to yell that much louder.

“You guys are the fucking enemy!” one of the protestors told the agents, as they carried out another tub of papers. “You’re not protecting anybody’s fucking freedom. You’re all a bunch of gangsters.”

By the end of the day on March 16th, six people were in custody: including Freeman, his girlfriend, and a married couple who lived nearby. Two co-hosts on the radio show were also named: DiMezzo and a man born as Richard Paul, who had legally changed his name to Nobody in protest of the bureaucratic state. According to the indictment, all six had been involved in Freeman’s Bitcoin dispenser business. An indictment filed under seal the day before the raid counted out thirteen instances when someone from the group had contacted a bank on behalf of the business since April 2017, listing each call or email as a count of wire fraud.

The defense lawyers describe the project in more idealistic terms. “The defendants were a loosely affiliated group of people with libertarian political leanings that included a strong belief that Bitcoin was a great development for those who champion human freedom,” one filing reads.

Ian Freeman in his home recording studio where he produces FreeTalk Live.

There are lots of people like that in Keene, although you might not guess it from driving through. A quiet college town of less than 25,000 people, the libertarian migration to New Hampshire (also known as the Free State Project) has turned it into a magnet for cryptocurrency buffs, some of whom have unexpectedly become millionaires after the Bitcoin boom of the past few years. In 2019, Forbes called the town a “crypto mecca,” citing more than 20 businesses accepting some form of cryptocurrency payment. Many of those businesses were solicited directly by Freeman and his cohort, who saw cryptocurrency as a kind of moral crusade against the belligerence of the US government.

Freeman is best known as the host of Free Talk Live, a libertarian talk radio show syndicated to 185 radio stations across the country. Many of the activists outside the embassy had appeared on the show at some point, including Waid. When the BearCat rammed through the window, it was ramming into Freeman’s studio, a maze of cables and audio racks where the show is recorded, mixed, and distributed.

Free Talk Live gave Freeman the power to draw together a community of crypto-minded libertarians in Keene, but it also amplified his ugliest mistakes. Most recently, it gave center stage to his still-active lawsuit against New Hampshire’s mask mandate. (“I was never really convinced that COVID was a particularly dangerous thing,” Freeman tells me when I ask about the case.) The show also gave an early home to the infamous “crying nazi” Christopher Cantwell, who appeared on Free Talk Live when he was still trying to brand himself as a libertarian anti-police activist. (“When he became a racist, I fired him from Free Talk Live,” Freeman says. “He just kept getting deeper into that world.”)

The chaotic world of libertarian talk radio made Freeman’s show a natural gathering point for the early Bitcoin community. Free Talk’s first call about Bitcoin came in December 2010, the same month Satoshi Nakamoto disappeared from active development of the Bitcoin spec.

Hyped on the Free Talk Live site as the first consumer media mention of Bitcoin, the episode now comes off as a bizarre time capsule. The first 20 minutes are taken up with a discussion of voluntarist alternatives to the fire department and municipal road maintenance, after which the conversation turns to crystal meth and Venezuela. Around 40 minutes in, a caller named Jeremy from Australia chimes in to talk about a new digital currency called Bitcoin.

“It was about six cents for a Bitcoin in August and now it’s 26 cents, so it’s already increased quite a bit,” Jeremy says.

“My initial concern was that it’s essentially a fiat currency, because it’s not backed by anything,” Freeman responds. “It’s a neat idea. I don’t know if it’s yet a fantastic alternative.”

Freeman came around to Bitcoin in the months that followed, eventually fitting it into broader complaints about the way the US government controls the value of the dollar. The price kept rising: within three years it had cleared $1,000, then $10,000 four years after that. According to the forfeiture documents, Freeman’s cryptocurrency holdings are now worth well over $5 million.

As more money flooded into cryptocurrency, something else came with it. The version of Bitcoin that’s become popular in recent years is less political and more straightforwardly interested in making money. Venture capital has embraced the blockchain as an opportunity on the same scale as targeted advertising or independent-contractor labor schemes. It’s rare to hear concerns about the Federal Reserve at a Bitcoin conference these days, and few are interested in standoffs with regulators — there’s just no money in it.

But if you’re ready to work with regulators, the money is almost endless. Coinbase, an early adherent to federal Know Your Customer rules, is now processing more than $100 billion of transactions every month, while the company itself is valued at $50 billion. New wallet regulations are creeping forward from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and while some activists cry foul, most entrepreneurs have welcomed them with open arms. At the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami, the Winklevoss twins promised a crowd of real estate moguls and retail investors that anyone who owns a Bitcoin will one day be a millionaire.

FreeTalk Live radio co-host Aria DiMezzo is facing unlicensed money transmittal charges.

For true believers like Freeman, that shift has been bittersweet. “There’s nothing wrong with somebody seeing it from that perspective and just wanting to invest in a thing and be successful,” Freeman tells me. “But in the libertarian Bitcoin community up here, they see it differently. They see it as a dramatic transfer of power.”

But if Mt. Gox and the Silk Road represented a transfer of power, the power is now shifting back the other way. In 2017, international raids took down BTC-e (then the largest unregulated exchange), with a money laundering sting revealed the following year. An Ohio man was arrested last year for running a Bitcoin tumbler called Helix, which mixed blockchain records with obscure transactions; a month after the New Hampshire raid, a Russian-Swedish national was arrested for running a similar service called Bitcoin Fog.

In public statements, prosecutors refer to these as “darknet” cases, treating the unregulated Bitcoin system as a loosely organized criminal conspiracy. There is a lot of tainted money on the blockchain: money from drug sales, online scams, or stolen from individual users as part of a breach. Tumblers and anonymous exchanges let criminals escape with that money, so law enforcement agencies are trying to shut them down one by one, like plugging holes in a dam. With so much dirty money trying to get clean, the prosecutions take on a kind of fatalist logic. Any unregulated exchange will eventually be used for money-laundering; any unmonitored flow of coins will eventually be an accomplice to a crime.

For the Keene project, keeping those coins unmonitored was the whole point. Their goal was to maintain the privacy and freedom of Bitcoin’s original design while staying just inside the bounds of the law. But to the federal government, it just looked like one more hole to be plugged.

By the end of May, both Freeman and DiMezzo were out on bail, with the trial scheduled for October 2022. Waid announced Freeman’s release with a wry blog post on Free Keene: “After Significant Delays Hostage Takers Release Ian From From Merrimack County Spiritual Retreat.”

The conditions of the bail are stringent, befitting the aftermath of the raid: they can’t leave their homes, trade Bitcoin, or communicate with other co-defendants. That last provision created significant problems for Free Talk Live, since it meant the main two co-hosts could no longer speak to each other without risking more jail time. Within a few weeks, the court granted a relief order letting them talk for the purposes of coordinating the show, and the show returned to its usual troublemaking. By the end of July, they were drumming up support for a ballot measure that would allow New Hampshire to secede from the United States.

Nobody took a more adversarial stance toward the legal system and stayed in jail for months longer. According to court records, his calls with the public defender broke down into screaming matches. After two weeks in jail, he made a phone call so alarming that it halted his efforts for pretrial release. The recording itself is sealed, but a filing gives alarming titles for the exhibits, including “audio clip — needs to die,” “audio clip — start shooting pigs,” and “audio clip — kill himself if sentenced.”

Prosecutors say he made threats against his public defender’s life, and the public defender withdrew from the case the next day, putting the bail hearing on hold. As late as August, he was still in jail. Supporters rallied outside the corrections building, waving signs that said “Free Nobody.”

Christopher Waid, a crypto activist, filmed the raids on both Freeman’s house and the Bitcoin Embassy.

Freeman’s cohort had always lived at the margins of the broader Free State Project — but after the arrest, a new wave of libertarian activism sprung up around him. The Free Keene website became a flurry of daily news about bail hearings and protests. Waid started a website to support “the Crypto6,” as he called them. Soon, T-shirts bearing the name were a regular sight around town. A longtime Free State activist named Dave Ridley started organizing jail rallies, lending more local credibility to the cause.

As the jail rallies tapered off, Ridley turned to a more ostentatious kind of activism: branding himself as “Bitcoin Gandhi” and launching a 24-day march from Keene to Concord dressed in robes in a historically accurate Gandhi costume. A string of YouTube videos show him walking down the narrow shoulders of two-lane highways, picking up trash and occasionally being questioned by confused but genial highway patrollers. In an open letter to the head of New England’s General Services Agency, Ridley called for the federal government to distance itself from the case, saying, “escalations of this type indicate a Venezuelan-style slide into currency-fascism.” The month after, Ridley’s Gandhi alter ego took part in another protest outside the Concord federal building with Mr. Bitcoin, a Mr. Met-style foam suit embodiment of a physical Bitcoin.

Freeman was familiar with this kind of civil disobedience, acting out to showcase the brutality of the carceral status quo. Years earlier, Freeman had smoked marijuana on the main street of Keene, daring local cops to arrest him for a crime that usually goes unpunished. (A friend filmed the encounter from across the street.) A longer running gag is Freeman’s refusal to pay municipal fines, litigating every parking ticket or summons until the bureaucracy finds it easier to simply give up.

Looking at his Bitcoin business, it can be hard to tell where that activism ends and the straightforward business begins. Freeman’s machines were real, and he was making money by building out cryptocurrency infrastructure like any entrepreneur. But he arranged the business in a self-consciously risky way, avoiding financial licensing and other measures that insulate many Bitcoin businesses from prosecution. Even more than his Wall Street competitors, Freeman was deeply familiar with cryptocurrency prosecutions. He knew that his Bitcoin dispenser left him exposed, but it never slowed him down.

Freeman believes he was under investigation as early as 2018, when he says a federal agent approached Renee Spinella with questions about Freeman’s Bitcoin dealings. Spinella refused to inform on Freeman; she and her husband were among the six arrested during the raids. But it was an ominous sign, the first indication of a federal case against Freeman’s Bitcoin business.

Still, it wasn’t enough to make Freeman drop the project. As he tells it, his Bitcoin work was too important to give up, a kind of moral crusade against the American state and its ability to wage war.

“I was on a mission to spread Bitcoin,” Freeman says. “To give people an opportunity to get out of this government money system that funds evil and funds violence and funds war. Dollar by dollar, people need to get out of that system.”

Freeman also didn’t think the FBI could make a case. “We believed that this was legal,” he says. “There was a legal opinion written by our church attorney that looked at both federal and state regulations and he said, this is just a sale of a product; this isn’t money transmission.”

That opinion, prepared by the Shire Free Church, rests on a unique technical point that makes Freeman’s Bitcoin dispensers more like vending machines than an ATM. The machines look like a Cupertino-fried version of your standard cash machine, but each one holds its own wallet, akin to a stash of Bitcoins held physically inside the machine. So instead of transmitting your money from somewhere else, Freeman argues it’s merely dispensing a locally controlled inventory. It’s a clever distinction, although one can see how the FBI might not be convinced.

A Bitcoin Cash sticker remains on the door to the Campus Convenience store.

Freeman was operating the business openly and the New Hampshire Banking Department never told him to shut it down, but he kept receiving ominous signs from law enforcement. Earlier this year, he was cultivated by a stranger who claimed to be a drug dealer — and who Freeman believes was actually an undercover FBI agent.

“This guy had been a Bitcoin buyer, seemed like a decent guy. He’d shown up at one of our crypto meetups,” Freeman says. “He wasn’t even talking to me personally, but I was within earshot and I heard him say he was a heroin and ecstasy dealer and it was like, ‘Red alert! We have a possible fed here! You’re either a federal agent or you’re a fucking moron.’” Freeman says he recognized the legal danger and refused to sell to the man, thinking he’d avoided a money laundering charge.

But if Freeman was ready to butt heads with the federal government, he wasn’t ready for the dramatic violence of the raid. “They could have just come and knocked,” Freeman says. “No one had to get their windows busted in.”

He also wasn’t ready for the full scope of the charges. Reviewing the case now, he’s particularly alarmed by the charge of operating a “continuing financial crimes enterprise,” which was levied against him specifically. It seems to have been triggered by the Shire Free Church allegedly bringing in more than $5 million in gross receipts over two years, which puts it in a different class of criminal organization. When we spoke, Freeman was still expecting more charges to emerge from ongoing grand jury proceedings.

“It was worse than I expected it to be,” he tells me. “And they’re not done yet.”

Once DiMezzo was released, one of her biggest surprises was the bail restriction on Bitcoin. It’s a reasonable request from prosecutors — you can’t let an accused diamond smuggler sell diamonds — but it’s meant a huge change in her lifestyle because, unlike most cryptocurrency enthusiasts, DiMezzo actually uses Bitcoin as money. She tells me she made about 80 percent of her purchases directly off the blockchain before the arrest, usually businesses in the Keene area that have set up Bitcoin payments through a local point-of-sale system called AnyPay. DiMezzo says she could eat at a different restaurant every night and always pay in crypto. This isn’t how Bitcoin works for most people and it can feel like Keene’s crypto mecca is a kind of island, blissfully cut off from the broader motion of cryptocurrency.

After the raid, the island is shrinking. In a phone call from the Merrimack jail, Freeman’s co-host Nobody spoke to me bitterly about Bitcoin developers’ refusal to increase the block size, a disagreement that ultimately led to the 2017 Bitcoin Cash split. His side lost that fight — the block size didn’t change, pushing the price of Bitcoin up while on-blockchain transactions got slower and slower. The Keene contingent still uses Bitcoin Cash where possible or fully anonymous alternatives like Monero, but it’s a much harder sell than Bitcoin.

The financial side of Bitcoin (the side you would find partying in Miami) isn’t interested in Bitcoin Cash. They don’t care about on-chain transactions or anonymity or anything else that would add friction to the vast sums of money pouring into cryptocurrency. For most of the new arrivals, Bitcoin is about profit, not politics.

“There’s that division,” Freeman says, “between the people who want to be regulated and controlled and people who see [cryptocurrency] as a new freedom that we have.”

That division is particularly stark after the raids, now that supporters are trying to raise money and awareness. It would be a good time to have rich and powerful friends, but Freeman doesn’t have any expectation that the institutional Bitcoin world will step in. “They probably won’t speak up in any of our cases,” Freeman tells me. “We’re irrelevant to them.”

Bitcoin was born as a way to escape from all this, to build a monetary system outside the reach of the dollar, the Fed, or the government. That was the dream that first drew Freeman into Bitcoin, before it was any more plausible of an investment than gold-laced currency or silver coins. In the decade since, Silicon Valley and Wall Street have gotten friendlier with Bitcoin, and prosecutors have learned how to tame it — but Freeman sees the same dream of escape still living beneath it all.

“They’re gonna regulate the exchanges,” he says. “We know that. They’re going to regulate the banks, wherever else they can apply pressure… But regardless of how much effort they put into trying to control cryptocurrency, it will fail because of the decentralized nature of it.”

It is a point of almost religious faith for him. No matter how hard the clampdown, it will be incomplete. The wilder forces will survive just out of reach.

“They can’t control Bitcoin,” he tells me. “That’s why they hate it.”

Correction: A previous version of this piece misstated the total of Freeman’s physical Bitcoin holdings (101 btc, rather than 11), as well as the date of Spinella’s contact with the FBI (2018, not 2016) and the nature of AnyPay’s point-of-sale service. The Verge regrets the errors.

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How Wisconsin’s Brad Davison found ‘biggest fan’ and future wife in basketball coach Tyra Buss | Wisconsin Badgers Men’s Basketball

The two have been together for a little less than a year but on each other’s radars for longer. Davison is entering his fifth season on the UW roster and Buss graduated from Indiana University in 2018 after playing four seasons for the Hoosiers — she even helped IU to a WNIT championship.

Their relationship began when Buss, 25, reached out to Davison, 22, on Instagram after hearing about him from a mutual follower. Direct messages led to swapping of numbers, which grew into long phone calls, FaceTimes and eventually in person dates. It all led to the pair’s engagement.

A mutual love of basketball and similar family values helped the pair grow a relationship while living 435 miles a part. 

One of Tyra Buss and Brad Davison’s family members films Davison getting down on one knee and proposing to Buss.

Their relationship was strengthened through basketball. Davison referred to Buss as his “biggest fan,” and she shared the same sentiment. They’d watch each other’s games whenever their schedules allowed them.

“I’m doing something that I’m really passionate about and she’s doing something that she’s really passionate about,” Davison said. “Even though we might be doing it on our own time, we kind of approach it as if we’re doing it together. You know, her games are my games, my games are her games.”

Not only are they each other’s biggest fans, but also can be each other’s harshest critics. Buss, now an assistant at Wisconsin-Milwaukee, said she didn’t shy away from pointing out mistakes in Davison’s on court performances last season.

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Jones brothers hope to lead Blackhawks back to promised land

The Blackhawks have been listing along for a few years now, riding the waves of mediocrity and teasing their fans with a splash of wins here and there.

So while it may not have been their intention, the organization definitely chose the perfect location to introduce Seth Jones to the media on Saturday — aboard Chicago’s First Lady tour boat on the Chicago River.

The superstar defenseman — acquired Friday from Columbus in a blockbuster deal — will cost the Hawks $9.5 million against the salary cap for eight years beginning in 2022-23.

Might that sink the Hawks’ ability to make moves in the future? Is a capsize on the horizon?

Or is this the move that begins a new era of smooth sailing?

OK, enough of that.

Saturday was all about Seth and brother Caleb getting a grand tour of the city. It began with them throwing out the first pitch at Wrigley Field before the Cubs hosted the Diamondbacks and continued with the aforementioned 45-minute ride in the scorching heat.

“I didn’t realize it gets this hot in Chicago,” said Seth, who loved the experience at Wrigley. “We didn’t completely botch the first pitches. We threw a little high (to) make sure we got it there. It was a lot of fun.”



Which is exactly what the Joneses hope they experience with the Hawks.

Caleb, acquired from the Oilers, has played in 93 NHL games and will fight for ice time with Ian Mitchell, Riley Stillman, Wyatt Kalynuk, Nicolas Beaudin and others. Seth, who has 65 goals and 221 assists in 580 games, has been in the playoffs five of the last seven seasons. Four appearances came in Columbus, although the Blue Jackets did not qualify this year.

There are some who see Seth’s declining numbers as a warning sign and wonder if the Hawks paid too steep a price. In addition to the whopping contract GM Stan Bowman handed out, he also parted with Adam Boqvist, moved down 21 spots in the first round of Friday’s draft and gave the Blue Jackets a second-rounder and next year’s first-rounder (as long as it’s not No. 1 or 2 overall).

Seth definitely isn’t deaf to the criticism.

“Obviously there’s always going to be critics in your game,” Seth said. “You can choose not to listen; you can choose to listen. So of them are wrong; some of them aren’t. I’ll be the first one to say that.

“I just want to prove every single night that I’m going to work hard for this team no matter if I make the mistake or not.”

Obviously the Hawks aren’t expecting many mistakes from their new star. That goes without saying when you make him the third-highest paid D-man in the league (beginning in 2022).



The 26-year-old Jones says he’s still learning and believes he has yet to hit his peak.

“Offensively I can get a little bit better,” said Jones, who scored a combined 20 goals the last three seasons after notching 28 the previous two. “I’ve been really focusing on that the past few summers. …

“Offensive awareness-wise, try to hunker down on when to go and find little areas — soft areas — so I can make more offensive plays happen.”

Seth left most of the contract negotiations up to his agent, Pat Brisson, who also represents Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.

Asked why he zeroed in on the Hawks, Seth said: “(I trust) Stan to do a good job to put teams together and (I) have an opportunity to play with a couple Hall of Famers.

“(It’s) the whole package. I love coming to Chicago. It’s a great city, it’s a sports town. I’ve always dreamt about playing here. So I’m extremely excited that I’m finally in a Blackhawks jersey.”

There were a few lighter moments on the boat — the highlight being when the brothers’ mom happily twirled after they were asked if their family was excited about the trades.

“I got off the ice (yesterday) and I saw five missed calls from my mom,” Caleb said.

One thing’s or sure: More calls will come for Bowman to lose his job if Friday’s whopper of a deal turns out to be a dud.

But if it pans out?

Well, that’ll really float every fan’s boat.


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Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams hint at Packers future

The immediate future of the Green Bay Packers could not be more murky right now, and the latest social media posts of their top players didn’t bring much clarity.

Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams almost simultaneously posted the same picture to their Instagram stories late Friday night. The picture: Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen exchanging fist bumps while playing for the Chicago Bulls.

Take that for what you will.

The simplest interpretation of Rodgers’ and Adams’ post is that the two see their situation as similar to the dynamic depicted in ESPN’s “The Last Dance,” in which a gifted team was eventually split apart by financial considerations and personal animosity.

That’s probably not the result Packers fans want to see, though it could at least mean getting one more season out of the pair.

Davante Adams is backing Aaron Rodgers

Rodgers and the Packers have been locked in a standoff all offseason, with reports of a trade demand and a threat of retirement if the team doesn’t send its reigning MVP elsewhere. The first confirmation from Rodgers that something was up came via Adams’ social media, as the quarterback liked this tweet from his star receiver:

Adams has been openly supportive of Rodgers throughout the ordeal, indicating that he would reconsider his own future in Green Bay should his longtime teammate head elsewhere.

When Rodgers no-showed for the Packers’ mandatory minicamp in June, both Adams and All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari showed their support. Adams left no room for misinterpretation:

“I’ve got his back through everything so he knows that at the end of the day, if there’s ever a wonder if he’s lost a teammate or something because of all that’s come out, he knows where I stand,” Adams said, per the Duluth News-Tribune. “I’ll stand on the f***ing mountain and scream on the mountaintop that I’ve got his back.”

Now, Rodgers and Adams are making cryptic social media posts together. That probably means they’re on the same page at this point, though who knows which book we’re talking about.

More from Yahoo Sports:

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Peter Westbrook Foundation’s legacy looks to inspire future fencing Olympians

For three decades, the Peter Westbrook Foundation has brought the sport of fencing to communities throughout New York City that otherwise would not be exposed to the sport.

This summer in Tokyo, four fencers from the organization will be competing for the United States.

The story starts with Peter Westbrook, a pioneer in the sport of fencing, who competed in six Olympic games winning bronze in Individual Sabre in 1984.

Among the Olympians coming from the foundation is Daryl Homer. Homer comes from the Williamsbridge section of the Bronx. He is preparing for his third Olympic games after winning the silver medal in Individual Sabre in 2016, which was the first for an American men’s fencer in 112 years.

“The first games, you’re elated. Your second games you really want to prove to get back there. The third one’s kind of like… It’s tough, it’s tough. There’s a lot of pressure, you’ve done it twice. I medaled in the second one so that increased expectation,” Homer says.

While Homer is the veteran of this year’s group in Japan, 24-year-old Khalil Thompson is the newcomer. He qualified for his first games in dramatic fashion, winning the gold in Sabre at the North America Cup in May, the final qualifier for Tokyo.

While Olympians have become commonplace at the Peter Westbrook Foundation, Keeth Smart was among the first back in 2000. Smart finished his Olympics career by winning silver in 2008, and now serves on the board for the PWF, helping to direct the future of the program.

They’re inspiring not only the younger generation, but generations for years to come of how they carry themselves and how they give back.

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Former Olympic wrestler from Huntington trains future Olympians


Former Olympic wrestler Ken Chertow grew up in Huntington.

Back in the ‘80′s, he won just about every state title, and broke a lot of records along the way.

This summer, he returned to town to train future Olympians. Chertow says he enjoys coming back to where his career began.

Chertow’s journey is on display on the walls of Huntington High School and in the wrestling room at school.

The two-time sate champion went on to become a three-time All American at Penn State before making the 1988 United States Olympic team in Seoul, South Korea. Chertow was representing the United States at the age on 21.

He’s been training the next generation of Olympic hopefuls ever since. Chertow runs a wrestling club in Pennsylvania, but finds time to put on camps.

Copyright 2021 WSAZ. All rights reserved.

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First annual Avon Lake Summer Classic brings current and future Avon Lake baseball and softball players together – Morning Journal

The next generation of Avon Lake baseball and softball players took to the fields at Weiss Field on July 21 as a part of the first annual Avon Lake Summer Classic.

The idea came from Avon Lake head baseball coach Andrew Means, who said it popped into his head while he was driving. Means then reached out to the city’s recreation department and Avon Lake softball coach Jana Peachman who helped make the idea a reality.

“I was trying to think what we could do to bring all of the kids in Avon Lake together, whether they’re on a travel team or a rec team,” Means said. “I let the city know what I was thinking and they were fully supportive of the idea.”

According to Means, the event had over 140 signups. Attendees were split up into teams based on grade level and those teams were coached by current — and former — Avon Lake baseball and softball players.

The player-coaches ranged from recent Avon Lake graduates to incoming freshmen baseball players. Means and Peachman gave them guidelines like practice plans, but for the most part, the players were responsible for running their players through drills.

“I put together a general practice plan for each team and each level, but I told the guys it’s their team. I want them to go out there and have fun and that’s the most important thing, I just want everyone to have fun.”

Players at the Avon Lake Summer Classic play catch on July 21

Means hopes that the event inspires both his current and future players to be role models.

“It gives them a unique opportunity to be a coach of a team and be around the kids,” Means said. “These kids look up to the high school players so it was a pretty good combination and they seem to be having fun with it and the little kids like it.

“I remember being a kid and looking up to the high school athletes. It was special, it’s a special connection between high school players and the youth. It just helps bring the community together.”

Kiley Boutin helped coach one of the softball teams at the event with the help of Peachman and her assistants. Boutin was a multi-sport athlete for the Shoregals, playing softball and basketball. She was joined by Mallory McLellan, another former Avon Lake softballer.

The Avon Lake graduate was happy to give back to her community and hopes she’ll be able to participate again in the future.

“It’s been super fun and it really reminds me how much I love the sport and it reminds me of why I started playing softball,” she said. “It’s great to see how many girls are out here having fun.”

For Peachman it was rewarding to see her former players help inspire the next generation of Avon Lake players.

“It really kind of warms your heart to see this,” Peachman said. “I’m very encouraged. I’ve talked with some of the parents and they seem so into what we’re doing here in the city with this program. They’ve had great feedback for us, they love to see this and what we’re doing for the community.

“For our program, if I can start the interest in the game of softball at this level it’s just going to help my program at the high school level so much.”

Through the first two days of the event, both Means and Peachman were encouraged by what they saw from their current and future players. Both expect the camp to continue in the future based on what they’ve heard from participants.

Avon Lake baseball player Owen Boolish stands with an assistant coach at the Avon Lake Summer Classic on July 21.

“This is just the beginning, I think it’s been going pretty well for it being the first time and it’s absolutely something we foresee being a yearly thing for us,” Means said.

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Discussing the future of the space programs over the next 20-30 years –

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – American billionaires have been spending their riches on trips to space as of late.

Blue Origin, SpaceX, Richard Branson, and of course, NASA, all have their sites set on the final frontier.

James G. Kidrick, President and Chief Executive Officer of the San Diego Air & Space Museum, joined KUSI’s Logan Byrnes on Good Evening San Diego to discuss the future of space travel for the next 20-30 years.

Kidrick emphasized that the next few years are going to be extremely exciting for space travel and encouraged anyone who is interested in it to get involved in a variety of ways by engaging in the STEM fields, talking to your children about joining robotics clubs, joining the museum for Space Day next May, and much more.

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