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
firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday December 13, 2007
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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