Thursday, December 20, 2007
Many of you have received the following notice from Detective Jeff Buskirk of the Martinsville, Indiana police department. If you haven't, I am sending it to you so you can take the proper action. Please see my note at the end.
This is to inform you I have talked to Carl Lau this date. He has closed down. However, he and his attorney has assured me that if I provide them with a list of items to be returned, they will make them available to return disks, galleys, books etc. Carl told me he has 60,000 books in his facility, of which he owns only about 10,000 of. The rest is yours and others who have published with him. When he receives an authors permission, he is donating books to Goodwill.
Here is what I need from each of you. I need a list of any items you want returned to you in a separate email sent directly to me. This email will be given to the attorney, so please only list what you are needing from the company. You may also indicate how much you feel they owe each of you, so that that can be recorded by the attorney too. Please keep the negative comments to another day, as we are trying to get each of you what we can get as we can get it. I will also need to know if you are willing to pay for shipping as I don't believe there will be funds to ship anything out from Airleaf and probably not from our agency. If you want to drive to Martinsville, please indicate this and I will try to set up a time in January to have a day or two where we can get this accomplished.
This does not stop the criminal investigation. Some of you have also asked about the class action or civil suit. You will have to talk to Bonnie Kaye about that issue as I have no involvement in civil matters at this time.
Finally, this is my last day of working this year, but I will be available thru email. Starting January 1, 2008 I will be working the streets and no longer a detective. Political change. As of today, I have continued to inquire as to how this case will be handled or if I will be allowed to continue this investigation, but the new Chief and administration has chosen to keep me in the dark. Therefore, I will just say I will do everything in my power to make sure this case is not forgotten nor ignored. Hopefully, I will be allowed to continue to work on this case as I change positions.
Thank you all for your assistance in this matter and I will be looking forward to hearing from all 150+ of you in the next couple of days as to what you need from Airleaf and what to do about your books if they have them.
Finally, in a total unofficial matter, I am on the Board of directors of the Boys/Girls Clubs of Morgan County which serves Martinsville and Mooresville communities. We currently have two clubs which are up and operational. If any of you have books which are appropriate for children ages 6-18 and wish to donate them to us, you can do so my sending them to me at the PD address. This is not a demand by any means, it's just a way for us to build up our libraries which we are just now putting together.
Capt. Jeffrey C Buskirk
% Martinsville Police Dept
PO Box 1415
Martinsville, Indiana 46151
765-342-6614 Office 765-342-6725 FAX
It is with deep regret that Detective Buskirk is leaving his job. I had an extensive conversation with him this afternoon expressing our concerns for when he is reassigned. He has requested that he be allowed to finish up the investigation with Airleaf, but depending on the new mayor who starts after January 1, this will be determined later. We may need to write to the new mayor to express our concerns at that time, but I will keep you posted.
Although this isn't the final victory for us, it is a major victory. Authors will be able to get their valuable work back as well as books. Airleaf is out of business so that Carl Lau can't hurt anyone else like he has done to us. Although Lau is pointing the finger in my direction, I hope you all know that this fraudulence was taking place long before my Airleaf Victims campaign. I was not the cause of his fraudulence--he has to take the responsibility on himself.
We must continue our campaign with renewed energies after the New Year in order to see what money can be returned to authors as well as making sure that criminal charges are pressed against the man who was in charge of collecting our money. I will update you with more information on Saturday.
With love and hope,
Authors and friends,
We need you to continue blogging and sharing your stories so that justice can continue to all those parties involved in this horrific scandal.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Dear Airleaf Victims and Supporters,
Welcome to our new members which brings our group to 262. As authors tried to call Airleaf this week pleading for their “before Christmas books” promises only to find the phone disconnected, there was a large number of people who looked on the Internet for information and found our group listed on the Google search engine through the Google advertising link and the high ranking of our stories on that search engine.
For all intents and purposes, Airleaf has shut down its doors. The sign has been removed from the door, the website is no longer functioning, the phone has been shut off, and the employees are gone.
There has been much speculation as to whether or not this is the final drag-out death of Airleaf or if it will be bouncing up again under a different name. Carl Lau has claimed that he has investors that are going to bail him out. Not to sound cynical, but I say “No Way.” Now that the fraudulence has been exposed, any investor who has an ounce of sense would see the major legal, criminal, and civil woes facing Lau.
Even when everything was falling down around Airleaf, people were still getting letters as of Friday, December 14, from Dawn Rogers asking them to buy their books at a special reduced rate of $1.50 plus shipping. All they had to do was give her their credit card to make the purchase of buying back their own books. Go figure!
I started receiving a slew of email from new authors when the Airleaf phones went down. People panicked about their promised Christmas deliveries that were assured by Dawn as recently as three days ago. One author told me that Dawn just promised to turn her book into a DVD, and production would begin in April through Lite Stone Entertainment. Too bad that victim didn’t have a chance to read our update last week when Al Smith, President of Lite Stone, disassociated himself with Airleaf. And incidentally, he did take down his site—it is still under construction. Thank you, Mr. Smith.
Two authors wrote to me concerned because they won’t be able to sell books on Amazon or similar outlets anymore. A former employee told me that Airleaf had not been sending any books to Amazon for a while. Amazon keeps a few books in stock of your titles, but when they are sold out, there is a posting of “out of stock.” On the bright side, if you have copies of your book, this gives you the opportunity to sell them yourself through Amazon which is a definite good thing. You can charge whatever you want for the book—including the full price—and Amazon only takes a couple of dollars. If you need help in learning how to do this, please contact me.
But the question remains of what you are going to do now that Airleaf isn’t publishing anymore. I wrote to expert Victoria Strauss who has been helping us through this ordeal. I asked her:
Question: If Airleaf is out of business, does the printer still send copies to Amazon etc. when books are ordered? How would the printer get paid if Airleaf isn't paying them?
Response: It's up to the individual printer, but I should think that if Airleaf owes them money, they're not going to print books that are ordered. Whether the books are listed on Amazon as being available is a different issue, and the fact of the publisher being out of business may not make a difference. It's hard for me to make guesses about that, since I don't know Airleaf's procedure for getting its books listed. If a publisher uses Lightning Source, for instance, its books are listed at Amazon through the Ingram catalog. To get them de-listed, the publisher would have to cancel the book with Lightning Source. Publishers that aren't in the Ingram catalog may sell via Amazon's Advantage program--again, to get a book removed from the program, the publisher would have to cancel it.
I think if it were me, I think I'd contact Amazon directly and try to get it to de-list my book, or at least to show it as unavailable. This may not work, but it could be worth a try. At least you might be able to discover the source of the book's Amazon listing.
Another issue: Amazon lists books even if copies are only available through its Amazon Marketplace listings. Unfortunately, Marketplace sellers often list books for sale even if they don't actually have them, in order to draw orders.
Based on this lead, yesterday I called Lightning Source. I had a lengthy conversation with the representative. She informed me that Airleaf did not use Lightning Source as a printing source. What was very interesting to learn is that any one of us can become our own publisher through Lightning Source. Of course, you have to submit the book to them in ready-to-print form. You have to have the cover designed. Even if you have a disk from Airleaf, you would have to have the name removed before you publish it yourself. The representative suggested you could have it formatted at a store like Kinko’s. You can then submit your book to Lightning Source for printing, and they work with Ingram to get your book on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. You still have to give these outlets a 55% discount, but theoretically, if you had a 6 x 9 200 page book, and you had a $20.00 price tag on it, you would pay less than $4.00 plus shipping to buy your own copies. If it sold on Amazon or Barnes and Noble, you would make approximately $5.00 off of each sale. And guess what? They actually pay YOU!
There are a number of small set up charges including the title setting and the proofing, but the cost seemed pretty minimal—under $200.00. So for ambitious people, you may want to consider this as your way to go.
Here is the link to Lightning Source where you can read all of the information:
Airleaf was certainly in the Martinsville news this week. It appears as if Carl Lau is having a hard time sleeping. Umm. He keeps blaming me and Brien Jones for the Airleaf problems. As stated to all of you in an earlier email, I am not working with Brien Jones. I am working with all of you. Brien is not my issue—Carl Lau is my issue. He may be the issue for some of our authors, but this is the forum to end the fraudulence at Airleaf under the ownership of Carl Lau. To set the story straight, I did contact Brien Jones last spring in my frustration after he left Airleaf. I never knew him during his time at Airleaf. He was not my representative—Krystal Hatfield was. When I couldn’t get a response from Airleaf after numerous attempts, I was willing to talk to anyone who could give me answers. Former employees seemed to be a good place to start. And there were many of them I spoke to as the months progressed in order to find out what was really going on at Airleaf. The irony is that Brien Jones did not support my Airleaf Victims campaign nor did he encourage it. I personally didn’t care because I was fighting for myself—and as each day passed, for you. And yet, I have been described by Carl Lau as Brien Jones’ “puppet.” It’s sad he thinks that I would allow anyone to pull my strings. He obviously doesn’t know me at all.
There were two very interesting statements in the latest story published about Airleaf by the Reporter on Friday. This was the story when Lau claimed he’s not out of business—yet. The next day, his phone was disconnected as I reported to Ron Hawkins.
When Ron questioned him about why the sign was taken off the door, this was his response:
Lau said he took the sign down because of "the crazies out there. I have to protect our employees."
Now, I find that statement amusing. What criminal offense have I committed against his business? What can the law enforcement agencies take action against me for? Organizing the people scammed by Airleaf? I guess that’s why he is unable to get them to take action. Oh well!
Here’s the link to the updated story where you can once again, post your comments to Lau’s pity party:
The one thing that I can commiserate with Carl Lau about is the lack of being able to get the law enforcement agencies to take action. The wheels of justice in Indiana are moving very, very slowly. Some of you received this response back from the Governor’s office this week after you sent Mitch Daniels a complaint:
Thank you for your e-mail to Governor Daniels. The Governor is grateful for the time you took to share your thoughts with him. However, with the information you have provided, we believe this to be a Federal issue.
As such, for your convenience, we are including Senator Lugar's contact information with this e-mail and would suggest forwarding your comments to the Senator's office. Again, we would like to thank you for your correspondence, and wish you the best of luck in addressing this matter.
If you have any additional questions or concerns, please be sure to contact Governor Daniels in the future.
Amanda Lewis Constituent Services Office of the Governor
Senator Richard Lugar (317) 226-5555
As soon as those notes starting coming to me, I immediately called Senator Richard Lugar’s office. I gave the story to the assistant answering the phone. He promised me that someone would call me back later on Wednesday morning. There was no call. On Thursday morning, I called again. He informed me that the Senator’s office was looking in to the complaint and would get back to me as soon as they had all of the information. So, I am asking you, our Airleaf victims, to please send a note to Senator Lugar at his email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any trouble with that address, here’s the direct link to his website where you can hit into the “contact” information.
Link to Senator Lugar:
This is the note that I sent to him on Friday:
Dear Senator Lugar,
I represent a group of over 250 victimized authors throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia. We have been victimized by a company called Airleaf Publishing in Martinsville, Indiana. Our website is at www.AirleafVictims.com where you can read some of the stories first hand.
Senator Lugar, please understand that we are all very frustrated at the moment. People have lost thousands of dollars of their hard earned money to a scam that promised numerous services but never delivered. The Attorney General's office has been very uncooperative with us. I contacted the Governor's office this past week, but they have put this in your court and said to contact you.
I contacted your office on Wednesday, but they have not been very cooperative as far as getting back to me. Could you please have someone from your office contact me as soon as possible with some answers about who can help us? This will become a national news story within the next few weeks, and I would be happy to say that your office was responsive to our pain and suffering. At the moment, I can't say that about the AG or Governor's office.
Bonnie Kaye, M.Ed., Organizer
"post your opinions and comments"
If you would prefer to call his office rather than email him, please feel free to do so and let me know what the response was.
For those people who haven’t contacted the FBI yet, please try to do so as soon as possible. If you prefer to call instead of filling out the link, call your local FBI office and tell them you want to report “wire fraud.” If you have any difficulty, please let me know.
As I mentioned earlier, Airleaf had its website shut down last week. They started constructing this one under a new domain name, www.novelfilmco.com. It will be interesting to see what happens in the days ahead as far as this site being developed to scam new authors. We’ll be watching, and I’ll be keeping you informed.
Although the wheels of justice are turning very slowly for us, please keep in mind the great accomplishment we have made in just a few short months.
Thank you all for your continued support, friendship, and information. Please keep me informed whenever you are contacted by Airleaf or receive a response to an email so I can track the continued fraudulence.
I would just like to share with you one last statement Carl Lau made in the article on Thursday:
Lau said many of the other claims by critics of Airleaf are false as well.
Amazing—isn’t it! I guess many of us are liars! Let’s keep the heat moving. In the end, justice will prevail.
With love and hope,
Continue posting your opinions and comments to our blog to show others that were not alone. Our voices in print matter. I look forward to reading all your posts...