Thursday, December 13, 2007

Publishing company still conducting business. Workforce feduced to three.

Dear Friends,

This is from the Martinsville paper today. Please see my post, and please feel free to post your own comments.

I want to make one issue very clear. I am going to blame or defend Brien Jones because my issues are with Airleaf. Carl Lau blames all of the Airleaf problems on Brien who left there nearly a year ago. Much of the fraudulence, including mine, had nothing to do with him. I never dealt with him at Airleaf and had never heard of him until after he left and Airleaf sent out notices to authors.

I started this campaign because I was victimized by Airleaf. I tried every legal measure to have them give me my money, including having a high profile law company request the money owed to me. When they refused to respond, I decided to start this campaign. At that point, I already knew some of the other horror stories. As the weeks went on, I started finding more of you, and you started finding me.

Airleaf did try to pay me off, but I refused to allow them to do so because I felt I had a mission--to help all of you get back what you had lost. There will always be "detractors" trying to throw us off base by discrediting my motivations or accusing me of working with Brien Jones, but we know the truth. Together, we will make sure that the truth prevails, and the criminals find justice.

More on Saturday.
Love, Bonnie Kaye

Publishing company still conducting business. Workforce reduced to three
By Ronald Hawkins
rhawkins@reportert.com Thursday December 13, 2007

Martinsville

Embattled Airleaf Publishing and Book Selling has not gone out of business, owner Carl Lau says.
"We're still here working," Lau said Wednesday.

The name of the business was removed Friday from the door of the company's home at 35 Industrial Drive and from a sign in front of the building listing its tenants.

Additionally, two of the company's five full time workers and one part-time worker have been laid off, leaving the company with three employees. The remaining workers include Lau, the business' accountant and an outside production coordinator.
"I laid them off because I can't afford them," Lau said.

Lau said he took the sign down because of "the crazies out there. I have to protect our employees."

The Indiana Attorney General's office, the Martinsville Police Department and Better Business Bureau of Central Indiana have all received complaints about the company's alleged failure to pay royalties, publish books and deliver other promised services. Airleaf is a vanity publishing and marketing firm that started 5-1/2 years ago as Bookman Marketing in Martinsville.
The business has financial problems, but Lau said the remaining employees are working on its commitments.

Asked if the firm would fulfill all of those commitments, Lau said, "I don't know. We'll do the best we can. We're trying. ... I'll do all I can until I run out of money."

Philadelphia-based author and counselor Bonnie Kaye launched a Web site, www.airleafvictims.com, as a network for people who've had problems with the company.
Lau said the company has been hurt by "lies" about the company. He said a report that two people had lost their homes because of the money they paid Airleaf for publishing and marketing expenses was untrue.

Kaye said at least two people who sent Airleaf money lost their homes. One invested $10,000 for a book and its marketing and another one $14,000, she said.
Lau disputes that saying, "Nobody lost their house over this."

He said he had "built a nice business" and that he hopes he can someday justify the company's actions.

Lau said he is planning lawsuits against Kaye and Brien Jones, his former business partner. He said there were criminal offenses committed against his business, but he has been unable to get law enforcement agencies to take action.

Martinsville Police Department Detective Jeff Buskirk, however, said he's received at least 120 individual complaints against Airleaf. He said he's trying to determine if the case is a criminal or a civil matter.

The state attorney general's office and the Better Business Bureau of Central Indiana also have received complaints about the business.

The attorney general's office in some cases has helped the authors get their money back.
"The attorney general's consumer protection division has civil authority, not criminal and will assist with criminal investigations if asked or needed," said Staci Schneider, a spokeswoman for the attorney general.

The Better Business Bureau has warned consumers about doing business with Airleaf.
"Based on BBB files, this business has an unsatisfactory rating with the BBB due to a failure to respond to complaints," according to the BBB's Web site. "This company has an Unsatisfactory Record due to a pattern of complaints. Specifically, consumers allege the contract to publish books were never fulfilled. Consumer also allege contracts to market and advertise books were not fulfilled. Files also indicate a pattern of consumer allegations that the company does not return phone calls or respond to letters or e-mails."

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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am pleased to be the first person to post on this story. Please see my post from the first article that was put out this week as this is a piggy-back to it. Please click on my website for the whole saga of my NEGATIVE experience with Airleaf and my POSITIVE experience with Brien Jones of Jones Harvest Publishing at www.kinshipministries.bravehost.com . Here are a few things to ponder regarding this story: 1. Carl Lau, as the owner/proprietor of Airleaf had special privilege because he owned the business. Sounds like he did well considering planes, boat and house people talked about in the other article's feedback. 2. Being the owner carries with it great responsibility to those from whom he collects money for a service. 3. He has a legal obligation to prove his paid services were legitimate in the "in trust" relationship or face the risk of both civil and criminal charges when he cannot prove he provided the services for which he took money. Seems to me there have been people "go down" for similar issues here in the last few years from some MAJOR corporations...why should he be above the legal system? 4. He clearly appears to be hiding something in his smokescreen by blaming, as most shady characters do, a few "former disgruntled employees." Can you spell "COWARD?" Can you smell "FEAR?" 5. If his business were on the up-and-up, he would long ago have done something to correct employees' actions...after all, there were further issues even after Brien Jones and Krystal Hatfield left...how is he responsible in absentia? 6. If he knew his employees were doing something wrong, why weren't they fired or investigated as soon as he knew something was wrong? Doesn't this sound like he personally had something to hide by opening his business up to investigation? 7. If he KNEW his authors were not getting their dues in royalties and services, why did he continue to sign people on and claim he was still offering services but never began to correct the issues with previous authors by actually PAYING them? Can you say "pocketed the money myself before everyone else gets to it?" 8. A person who is truly not guilty is quick to admit what mistakes he/she personally made, what responsibilities he/she did not fulfill, followed up with promises to make them rightand then doing it. He has no right to point any fingers until he himself accepts responsibility and submits to accountability with law enforcement and the Better Business Bureau, perhaps even, dare I say it, yes, the IRS. 9. Ask yourself these very important questions: Is Carl Lau saying all of us bilked authors are lying????? Is he saying he paid people despite their complaints that he didn't???? Perhaps it would be good for all of us to have a forum where we can all submit our stories for scrutiny and let's evaluate the character of the authors...I'll start with myself!!! I am in ministry, a Christian singing artist who founded Kinship Ministries, a nurse who volunteers and founded Faith Community Health Ministries who offers free screenings for uninsured people in an impoverished community while coordinating with various local agencies and organizations to bring health care to otherwise forgotten people, a daughter of a minister whose career spanned 40 years, a wife, a mother of three adult children, and grandmother of 2 boys and a girl and gladly has weekly overnights in order to make sure they are in church on Sunday...and an author who wrote a book about my life journey to find God despite some very difficult situations who is finally coming into my own through ministry, worship, and living life to its fullest. I don't have much. Don't need much. I'm content, and when I lie down at night, sleep peacefully because my life-goal is to help people become better, healthier people through the work I immerse myself in for the good of others. I'm not tooting my own horn to make myself look good, just reputable, because I am! 10. Are any more authors willing to stand up and be counted in this? How many of us are willing to tell the truth about what has happened? Further, how many authors has Brien Jones already helped, even publishing for free, are willing to step forward and stand up for what is right? LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD!!! RESPOND TO THIS ARTICLE.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bonnie Kaye, my name is Frank and I had published two books with Bookman and Airleaf, and have had the same run around as most previous clients of Airleaf. I am very interested in what you are doing, and wish to join the crusade against such atrocities. Please write me back (frankd0107@hotmail.com) if you get a chance, so I may explain my story further and, if necssary, what I can do to help.

Anonymous said...

Carl Lau and Brien Jones first got into publishing by working at 1st Books. When the company got bought and changed their name to AuthorHouse both Brien and Carl left the company to start BookMan marking. I worked with Carl and Brien at 1stBooks and can say without doubt they did not care about authors, only the money they could make off of them. It was no suprise when Bookman was getting accused of Fraud, so much that they had to change their name to Airleaf. Still no suprise about the fraud cases against Airleaf. Now with Airleaf gone Brien is trying again with Jones Harvest publishing. Brien, if your out there please take this advise; get out of publishing. Authors take this advis; don't give your money Brien regardless of what he calls his company.

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