The two brothers that have been squatting on an Airbnb rental since May have a history of exploiting peer-to-peer startups. Before exploiting California tenant laws to secure months of free rent, they managed to milk nearly $40,000 out of gullible Kickstarter donors. And they're pleased with their racket, saying they "would squat again."
The brothers, identified as Maksym and Denys Pashanin by neighbors of the squatted Palm Springs condo, are also the alleged pair behind two suspicious Kickstarter campaigns, one of which has notably failed to deliver its promised product.
Maksym Pashanin launched a Kickstarter campaign for Confederate Express in the fall of 2013, hoping to raise $10,000 towards the creation of a pixel-art RPG video game. The campaign was ultimately a success, reaping praise from PC Gamer and $39,739 from 2,386 backers.
Pashanin originally estimated the game would be released in this June. However, that release date came and went without comment from the developers. Then, on July 16th—days before the Airbnb squatting story broke—Pashanin announced that his company, Kilobite, had undergone corporate restructuring and the release of Confederate Express would be delayed. However, he also took the opportunity to alert his original backers a new project: Knuckle Club.
After a long wait, we are very excited to finally reveal the sister project we've been working on: Knuckle Club! [...]
Unfortunately due to recent restructuring of Kilobite, the development of Confederate Express have been postponed, but as an upside it has received a graphical overhaul and now it fully supports FALSE 2D API. As an apology for the delays, we are offering every backer of Confederate Express a free reward pack from Knuckle Club! The reward pack chosen will be the closest to backer's pledge.
Of course, the Knuckle Club announcement also linked to a Kickstarter—this time, attempting to raise $25,000. But Confederate Express's backers immediately knew they had been taken, with one writing "apparently you are people who specialize in making gifs."
According to Polygon, the Pashanin brothers are unreachable. Even their alleged "team member" thinks the donor-funded video game company is "a bit fishy."
Reached for comment Thursday afternoon, Andreas Inghe, who is listed as a team member on Confederate Express on the Kickstarter page, said he too hasn't heard from the brothers.
"I have had no real connection with the 'team' besides making one track for their game demo (and a few unreleased ones) that is up on the Kickstarter-page," he wrote. "I have been waiting for months for an update on when I could start making more music for them, considering that they had officially put me on the Kickstarter page. I am still waiting (have been waiting for almost a year), but I don't know what to think anymore. It all seems a bit fishy. But I could be pleasantly suprised in the end, or not. I hope it will go as planned!"
Maksym Pashanin, who has been called a "professional scammer" by his Airbnb host, also has a history of going after landlords. According to court documents, Pashanin sued his landlord in October, 2012 when he was living near Balboa Park in San Francisco. Pashanin demanded $10,000 from his landlord for "nuisance [caused] by ongoing construction in [Pashanin's] backyard." The case was later dismissed by the court.
Pashanin seems to be aware that he has been exposed, and has begun flaunting the success of his exploits publicly. Over the weekend, he commented on the Confederate Express Kickstarter page, saying that the squatting experience has been a "10/10" and he "would squat again."
The Daily Mail reports the Pashanin brothers are continuing to occupy their Palm Springs rental. Recently, their Airbnb host attempted to serve them an eviction notice, but one of the brothers answered the door with their face covered by a hood and scarf, refusing to accept the notice.
Screenshot: Maksym Pashanin