Everyone's beating up on Wkipedia founder Jimmy Wales for his shady dealings. But evidence has now arisen that if he's a money-grubber, he's not a particularly skilled one. When Wales turned in receipts for $30,000 in expenses charged to the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikipedia's nonprofit parent, among them was a $1,300 dinner at a steakhouse in Tampa. In attendance: Marc Bodnick, another Elevation Partners cofounder. Bodnick later introduced Wales to Bono. (His sister-in-law Sheryl Sandberg, then a Google exec, now Facebook's COO, helped connect Bodnick and Bono, a contact from her Washington days.) The foundation's board ultimately turned down Wales's request to get paid back for the dinner.
If only the board had known what would become of that dinner. Bodnick and Bono's colleague Roger McNamee later gave $300,000 to the Wikipedia organization personally and helped arrange another $1 million in donations. Let's see: $1,300 for $1.3 million. Leaving aside what Elevation Partners hoped to get for that money, that seems like a pretty good return. Jimbo, have you thought about resubmitting the dinner tab?