When I decided to live for a year without using money, at least some of my decision was based on the last gig that I had. Through an ad on LinkedIn, I ended up doing some research work for a guy named Andrew Badolato, who had a venture capital firm called White Knights and Vultures, LLC located on Main Street. After a couple weeks of work, I was offered a job making 500$ a week, but I turned it down.
When I met Badolato, he told me that he was starting a company that was going to target “preppers” and sell them sustainable products, like solar panels, rain barrels, wind turbines, and other things I happen to think that more people should own. So I was researching various products as well as “prepper” influencers who might be able to help him share his message.
Impressed with my work, Badolato offered me a job. However, that would require me to actually spend time in his office, and that idea was not ideal for me. So I told him that I was appreciative, but I didn’t want a job. I just wanted some work.
When he’d found out about my background in film and video, he boasted about his role in the documentary about Sarah Palin, which did little to impress me, and although I didn’t give voice to them, it was obvious that we were diametrically opposed on the political level. Plus, the office sort of reeked of the Copenhagen juice he was constantly spitting into various containers. And, of course, the air conditioning did not work well for my wardrobe of shorts and flip-flops.
But although he agreed to keep me off the books and pay me cash, Badolato didn’t want me just doing work. He wanted me working for him. I decided to work toward something bigger, and within the month, I’d decided to embark on my new lifestyle challenge of living for a year without money.
Imagine my surprise when, years later, I see Badolato in the newspaper as the guy who let Steve Bannon use his address so that he could register to vote in Sarasota County. Even more surprising was that I had already met another conservative named Bill who’d sought me out to consult on tiny houses and confided in me that he was the guy who let Steve Bannon use his address. Do these people really have that many shady deals that they can’t keep track of which crimes they’ve actually committed?
Well, thankfully, years before that, in 2001, when I’d returned to Sarasota after finishing film school and working in North Carolina for a little while, I met a guy named Daniel Hopsicker who has recently helped me sort the story out a bit. When I met him, Hopsicker was working on a documentary based upon his book Barry’s Boys about organized crime. He has since documented quite a bit about Badolato. Small world, huh?
“The Herald-Tribune described his past as one littered with lawsuits, IRS liens filed against him, business deals he has made with people previously convicted of felonious stock-related fraud, association with an alleged money-laundering Costa Rican business and multiple sexual assault allegations.”
Needless to say, I’m glad that I’m sometimes a good judge of character and know when to turn down a job.