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World of Spectrum
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Lee Fogarty, Preston and the Vega+ testing scandal
The Spectrum retro gaming community has seen a massive split in recent years, and the Vega+ has added a huge amount of fuel to the fire. In one camp are a growing number of people concerned at how Retro Computers Ltd are treating Vega+ backers, and in the other corner are a small number of incredibly vocal pro-RCL supporters.
Over the past fortnight, the link between Lee Fogarty (spokesman for RCL) and Preston Thomas (creator of the Spectrum4Ever Facebook group) was established, when Preston admitted to being offered a free Vega+ for testing.
I have been led to believe the testing offer came the day before Lee magically became the admin of the Spectrum4Ever Facebook group.
Lee then used the platform to push his agenda with Preston's blessing.
Rumour in the retro community has it that as part of the free Vega+ testing offer, Preston was to alert Lee about any rumblings, and on April 12th, 2017, a post was made in the Spectrum35 group warning others that Lee's involvement in the Spectrum 35th birthday event would do more harm than good:
The entire thread has since been deleted, and another post was made several hours later saying "Housekeeping done..."
During the heated conversation with George Cropper, Preston alerted Lee Fogarty:
The exchange between Preston and George went on for more than 300 posts, and even involved a charity boxing offer between the pair (or a nominated stand-in for George since he is wheelchair-bound).
Eventually Preston admitted to the Vega+ testing deal he had organised with Lee:
This was a bad thing to do on his part and very ill considered, and he seems to have lost a lot of friends over it. I feel Lee Fogarty's "Vega+ testing in return for Facebook admin rights" deal has really hurt him. Lee's track record of bending the truth is widely known, and perhaps Lee never intended to honour the Vega+ testing unit in the first place. Lee was confirmed as an RCL spokesman by Gareth Corfield of The Register, which Lee later did a 180 degree turn on.
In a rival Facebook group, Paul Andrews offered to bring people to the Spectrum 35th birthday event and it started a panic. A large number of people that had not even posted on Spectrum35 were unable to join, and Lee admitted to blocking a number of people. The Spectrum35 group has even bragged about "flushing the dregs and turds":
Both the "flushing the dregs and turds" comments have since been deleted.
Another post suggests that all the "troublemakers" have been removed from the group:
However the memberlist shows otherwise:
Lee Fogarty also claims that the group was spammed, yet the only people that seem to have been removed were vocal in their concerns of the Vega+ campaign:
Preston was offered the chance to comment regarding this matter, but he chose not to. Preston (using his alias QAOPM) followed me on Twitter on April 15:
He then blocked me from viewing his Twitter profile:
It seems Preston wants to see what I post, but he doesn't want me to see what he is posting. He has also blocked me on Facebook. Which makes contacting him slightly tricky.
To offer Preston the chance to explain his side of the story, I had to contact his wife Tamara who viewed the preview of this article, and she passed it to Preston straight away. Tamara then sent messages back and forth implying it wasn't her job to contact Preston and that "he doesn't know about it". When asked if she had actually forwarded it to Preston, she showed the same vagueness as when she was asked in the "democracy" group if either of them were Vega+ backers. (For the record, neither of them are backers).
I had anticipated this might happen, so was monitoring the number of active sessions viewing the preview page. A second web session was created from 2 different computers within a couple of minutes, proving that Preston had indeed read the article.
A couple of days after the original post was made, I was anonymously sent a screenshot that appears to show Lee slagging off Preston to someone else. I put the screenshot up on the page to see what Preston made of it, figuring he probably already knew about it.
I waited a few more days, and still got no reply from Tamara or Preston. Since the screenshot did not include anything other than Lee's reply, I asked the original sender for more of the prior conversation to see what led to that comment and took the image down. I will post the full conversation here when I receive it. As Lee said regarding the Nick Roper fiasco, "trolls captured it".
Preston has been critical of Lee and RCL in private messages:
I cannot offer an insight into why Preston would sell out his Facebook group. Quite clearly Preston was willing for anything to be written by Lee Fogarty as long as he got his free Vega+ unit. I was quite willing to include Preston's reponse verbatim, but I guess the silence speaks volumes.
And seeing as Lee Fogarty has clearly read the preview article (because he has posted screenshots of it in at least one other facebook group), it's obvious that Preston passed it on to Lee too. Since Lee has been so keen to spread the image on facebook, I have included the image he posted:
Interestingly the screenshot Lee posted shows 8981 unread emails in his account!
Lee has posted on the World of Spectrum facebook group claiming that it's from a fake account:
"No - there is a fake account set up in my name - I've seen several conversations recently I'm supposed to have had."
If you search Facebook for "Lee Fogarty", there is only one account with Lee's matching photo. Is Lee trying to have us believe that someone has setup a duplicate Lee Fogarty account, contacted all his facebook friends asking them to re-add him as a friend, then sent messages to them from him to capture them? And not one of his friends wondered why there's suddenly 2 Lee Fogarty's in their friends list and contacted Lee? It does not make any sense.
He has also asked "people he doesn't frequently message" to send him any messages from this fake account. I can't even begin to understand this comment. I am guessing he wants his friends that have these 2 Lee Fogarty profiles in their friends list to immediately forward him all the messages from the second Lee Fogarty account. This is just fantasy stuff from Lee.
Many people feel it's hard to believe anything from Lee Fogarty:
- 27th April, 2016: Posts on World of Spectrum that the Vega+ is in production. Tells George that he saw them "rolling off the production line".
- 1st September, 2016: Tells George Cropper "they are still on track for shipping to backers end of sept" and that a lot of people "will have egg on their faces at the end of the month"
- 1st October, 2016: Posts "Busy few months ahead. Vega+ moved from production to manufacturing"
- 11th October, 2016: Posts that it is the final day to have your name added to the honour roll.
- 7th January, 2017: Caught shilling as "Nick Roper", a lifelong friend he suposedly put onto the honour roll.
- 6th February, 2017: Lifelong friend Nick Roper now turns out to have been dead for 20 years, his daughter hounded off facebook.
- February 11th 2017: Claims trolls captured the "Nick Roper" comment within seconds, despite screenshot 20 hours later still showing "Nick Roper".
- February 2017: Backer Peeto finds a bug allowing comments on Indiegogo but Lee posts "Paul Andrews posted a loophole in the indiegogo software and encouraged a few friends to post to wind up the backers."
- 3rd March, 2017: Sends a private message saying "Roll of honour emails to be sent out tonight and Manuals to appear on website at the weekend"
- 10th March, 2017: Claims no direct link to the shop on the website
- 17th March, 2017: Claims he had a 30 second call with Gareth Corfield for a newspaper article. Gareth has a 30 minute recording of the call.
And the list goes on and on. Unfortunately for Lee, he cannot be trusted as a reputable source of information so perhaps he just posted this "fake account" stuff to try and garner sympathy from the community.
Bear in mind that this is a man who will say one thing to one person and deny it, then say something completely the opposite to another. Can we trust a thing he says? What's his agenda here?
Latest Funky Spectrum RCL Video
Finally Lee bites the hand that feeds him with a sensational series of online tirades against his former masters.
"Our Indiegogo campaign is to raise funds to manufacture the first 2,500 or more units of the Vega+ in the UK, and to prepare us for the second production run."
— RCL (15/02/2016)
- All refunds processed: ✘
- Roll of honour email: ✘
- Address confirmation: ✘
- Battery specification: ✘
- PEGI certification: ✘
- Final specs released: ✘
- Games list released: ✘
- Finished box design: ✘
- Manual released: ✘
- Working website: ✘
- Final devices made: 0 ✘
- Prototypes made: 20-30 ✔