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What's going on over at FriendFinder Networks, née Penthouse Media Group? Apparently the effort to migrate into an online publishing and social networking powerhouse is being hampered by developers dissatisfied with working conditions and an inability to hire new staff — even though supervisor Anthony Previte threatened he could replace the disgruntled employees at a whim, according to a tipster. An internal email obtained by Valleywag features Previte scolding the mutineers for disappearing from work early and being insubordinate. This news might put off the investors necessary to bankroll the company taking itself public — assuming the rumor that the big money has already demurred, delaying the planned $250 million IPO, isn't true.

First, one anonymous tipster provides some background:

I heard that after friendfinder moved from palo alto, the executives managed to upset the whole operations team by seating them into a crappy fishbowl (semi-official name for the room). It is just a matter of time when the whole team leaves the company. Consdering their convoluted infrastructure, this will most likely hurt the operations and site availability a lot . They have been trying to hire new senior sys admins for months without success (see craigslist postings) and latest took months to ramp up at work. Mostly the issue was Tony Previtt's reluctance to hear the employee issues and comment about being able to replace the whole team in short notice.

That was followed shortly by a second source who sent us this email — which, eventually, the first forwarded as well, serving to corroborate their access to information. Sneakily, Previte only notified employees of the morning meeting the night before, and after business hours:

From: "Anthony L. Previte" <********>
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2008 21:24:23 -0400
Subject: Several Issues
To: **
CC: Natalie Cedeno <*******>,
Carmela Monti <******>
Precedence: bulk
Thread-Topic: Several Issues

1) I noticed there were only two people in the operations center after 5:00 today. I also observed that several of you leave the building for long stretches of time, in some cases for three hours. I would like each of you to email Jourdan and me with your current working hours. Also, if you are going to leave the building for more than an hour during the day, please get either Jourdan or my permission in writing.

2) There is a mandatory meeting tomorrow at 10:30 AM PST tomorrow. I am going to have a discussion about workplace ethics and attitude. I have a zero tolerance for violation of company policy and insubordination. I want to make sure everyone is crystal clear about this.

3) I would like everyone to update the project board with what you are working on..