IN THE BEGINNING|
Our company, "The Surfboard - Internet Web Site Design & Hosting", is a small two man operation based in Eagan, Minnesota. We have designed web sites for more than forty-five clients over the past several years, and also provide hosting, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) services, upkeep and maintenance, and much more.
We were introduced to Jo Coddington by a mutual friend who explained that street rod designer, automotive industry legend and star of the Discovery Channel series "American Hot Rod" Boyd Coddington had met an untimely and sudden death, there was no will in place, and that his widow, Jo Coddington, was in need of someone to migrate, repair and rebuild their "BoydCoddington.com" web site. The web site was important to both preserve and promote the legacy and reputation of Boyd Coddington, as well as to maintain, rebuild and expand his various business associations.
Jo Coddington's previous web site designer had been charging her usurious rates and had now walked away from the project. It was easy for us to quote Ms. Coddington a monthly fee that was less than one-fourth of what she had been paying and we were excited about working on a web site for such an illustrious client. But there was a great deal of work to be done and hundreds of pages to build and repair that would require a huge investment of time, effort, and money over the first six months, and so we asked for and Jo Coddington agreed to a one year contract, which we both signed.
THE PLOT THICKENS
We soon learned that Jo's three stepsons, Chris, Boyd Jr., and Gregg Coddington, were competing with Jo to keep the legacy of their father alive and to rebuild and expand some of his various business operations, based off a new web site and domain, called "SonsofBoyd.com" and a couple of existing domains, particularly "BilletWheel.com". We never understood why more than a year after Boyd's death four attorneys working for Jo Coddington and one or more retained by the "SonsofBoyd.com" could not resolve a single issue dealing with probate issues for Boyd Coddington's estate. We even made an unsolicited offer to try and mediate between Jo and her stepsons, but nobody was interested.
THE BEGINNING OF THE END
With the death of her husband and the loss of business and income since that time, Jo was struggling to make ends meet. Her first and second quarter payments were both late in arriving, but were nevertheless eventually paid in full. We continued working long hours to rebuild the BoydCoddington.com site, since we both saw the potential business and income expansion that might be possible through this domain. We even worked with Jo and our mutual friend to try and build an affiliated events promotion business, using a web site called "PromorEvents.com". Extensive work was done and many hours were invested in attempting to get this new business off the ground, for which Jo was never billed.
The third quarter payment was due on April 1st and conversations with and e-mails from Jo Coddington made us wonder if any of the money agreed to in our previously signed contract would be forthcoming.
Her e-mails would say that:
It was curious that Jo and her son were suddenly interested in password access to our servers at this point in time. We were very willing to add the Google "AdSense" coding to the BoydCoddington.com web site and did so as soon as we got the relevant information. But now she wanted to put her son Tom to work and to have him do some of the work that our company was NOT being paid to do for her. Passwords and user names soon became a frequent topic of Jo's e-mails.
It seems strange that Jo has taken such a sudden interest in user names and passwords for our servers. They have the user name and password for their registrar and their domain name host, as they should have. But they have no real reason or need to access the web site servers directly, unless...
No sign of a payment and three weeks late - but they sure want that password! Could they be up to something they're not telling us?