The European Summer Program on Rationality is an EA-aligned organization that got 107 million crowns (~4,5 million dollar) from FTX which was largely used to buy a chateau:

The server got some interesting information this week iRozhlas.cz. According to his findings, the FTX Foundation sent 107 million crowns to the Czech Republic for the purchase and operation of a chateau in Hostačov, a small village in the Havlíčkobrod region. This happened just four months before the FTX crash.

The castle was bought by Irena Kotíková, respectively the association European Summer Program on Rationality. Mrs. Kotíková claims that she applied to FTX for a grant for an international education center and simply received it. On the first attempt. So far, she says she is not afraid that the collapse of FTX could also affect her project at the castle, but she is ready to return the money if she is called upon to do so.

This story is corroborated by two EAF members.

The purchase was handled by Irena Kotíková who was a chairperson at the Czech Association for Effective Altruism. While she seems like a wonderful person I would urge her and ESPR, in light of recent information, to return the money. We already have a controversial estate purchase and it seems SBF admitted to fraud in this interview. He admitted to knowingly commingling funds in a way that directly violates the terms of service, and he admitted that was their general business practice. I don't think we should profit off this.

I also couldn't find this chateau on any website:

[EDIT removed addresses at request of Irena. The larger point is that the addresses on the websites of ESPR, The Czech Association for Effective Altruisms and EA Prague don't include this chateau.]

I also couldn't find it on LW, this forum or on the facebook page.

Given the recent controversy surrounding a lack of purchasing transparency, I think that going forward purchases of this size should be disclosed on the website/forum.

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Comments7
Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 1:22 AM

Multiple claims in this post are misleading, incomplete or false.

I'm writing a longer response to a similar comment of the same author under different post, and hope to post it reasonably soon.

Posted here.

Bob Jacobs
6mo2513

Thank you for your detailed addition of context, I will upvote the comment but am honestly left slightly disappointed.

You accuse me of making false claims yet this response doesn't say which claims in either my post or my comment are false. In fact, you don't even quote my writing at all, and the comment is mainly about why you think this project is a good idea.

You say:

I am not trying to prevent people expressing their opinions, but would ask that any speculation (or, for example, digging for the physical addresses of vaguely related entities)

For the people who got the impression I digged through obscure messages for people's private addresses, I didn't. They are the addresses that are publicly listed on the respective websites contact pages. I did this initially to defend these organizations against the claim that they were buying a castle and this was a way to show concrete evidence that they weren't castles. I only later discovered the purchase of this chateau.

You write:

The implication "you got a grant from a foundation that was sponsored by FTX" => "what you are doing is suspicious" is nonsense. [...]

1. Suggestive framing like "they got a grant not long before bankruptcy". The implication is that grantees should have done – in addition to basic due diligence about the FTX Foundation being a legitimate entity and usual anti-money laundering – some sort of brilliant investigation to discover that FTX was going to go bankrupt in a few months because of fraud inside it.

But neither my comment nor my post made this claim. In fact I even wrote:

While she seems like a wonderful person I would urge her and ESPR, in light of recent information, to return the money. We already have a controversial estate purchase and it seems SBF admitted to fraud in this interview. [emphasis added]

It is the recent information about SBF and Oxford that makes it pernicious.
You write:

2. Ignoring causality. For example, Irena was working on the discussed project for years. It isn't the case the SBF conceived this.

I never claimed SBF conceived of this, in fact I explicitly wrote:

Mrs. Kotíková claims that she applied to FTX for a grant for an international education center and simply received it. On the first attempt.

You continue:

Liability. Both the law and commonsense protect you if you took an action in good faith, as the grantees did. Mens rea is there for a reason: to hold off optics-based kneejerk judgments.

I never claimed nor implied that you did anything illegal. You write:

Buying a venue of this size takes time. In this case, it involved multiple checks by lawyers, accountants, and technicians. The grant agreement was signed in July, the transaction was not actually completed and visible in the registry until mid-October. It would have been odd to announce the purchase before the transaction was complete.

Even if you don't want to talk about the project before the purchase, I still feel it could've been disclosed in October, November or December.

You write:

…also, to reiterate, contrary to rumour, the property is not owned by Irena Kotíková or Czech EA association or "EA Prague". Also it's probably worth understanding for people involved, the project is mostly a lot of work, not some sort of leisure spending. 

I never claimed that it was leisure spending and I didn't claim it was owned by Irena, Czech EA or EA Prague, the title of this post is "ESPR should return the FTX-funded chateau" and thats what my post talks about.
 

Still forthcoming?

Jason
6mo107

That's about 4.5MM USD or EUR, right? If so, might be helpful to add that in brackets to aid non-Czech readers.

Good idea, I have now done so.