January 26, 2008
Dear Airleaf Victims and Friends,
I would like to welcome the new members of Airleaf Victims. Our group now numbers 384 as of today.
This week, I did not speak to any of the government agencies. I’ll be following up next week with our contacts to date.
I did have some wonderful news from one of our authors. He received back a payment of $1,600.00 to his credit card. I asked him to share with us how this happened to inspire others to keep trying:
I wrote a check to Airleaf in October 2006. It was to pay for theproduction of two books at $800 apiece. Due to the experience ofhaving several books published previously, I knew it would not takeonly five or six weeks to produce them--twelve to fourteen months isthe norm in the industry--from beginning to end.When I wrote my check, I thought it was for the production AND theprinting of the books. However, in May 2007 Airleaf said I was wrongin this assumption, that I had only been paying for the production ofthe books. They then said they wanted to use my credit card to payfor the printing of the first book ($800).Thirty days later (June) they wanted to use my credit card again forprinting the second book (another $800). I thought it highlyirregular, but I gave them permission both times.I learned of their troubles in early September through some ex-Airleafemployees whose checks had recently bounced.I immediately sent a report to the fraud department at MasterCard,along with the evidence of their brochure to give them a better ideaof what sort of business Airleaf was. MasterCard wrote me a letterand said that they would investigate the situation.On December 27, I received a letter from MasterCard that told me thatmy claim was not valid, that the transaction took place long past the60-day agreement of my MasterCard contract. I complained to the frauddepartment, which routed me to the dispute department. They gave mean address to take my complaint to; they also said that my case wouldbe greatly helped if I had some evidence to prove my case.It was then that I learned that the documentary evidence that I hadsent them in September was not in my file. I guess the personhandling my case had either thrown it out or had misfiled it--orsomething.So with some help from Bonnie Kaye, I obtained some Airleafpromotional materials to send them once again. I sent it along with aletter that made the case that the product that Airleaf sold was aservice that took several months to produce; it was not something thatyou could find purchase satisfaction or non-satisfaction within the60-days mentioned in my contract with them. I explained thatproducing a book takes months not days--and having visited Airleaf'soffices on three occasions (before and after the initial transaction),I knew that they did not have the manpower to produce very many booksat a time.I ended my argument by stating that Airleaf never did any work on mybook. They instead used $1600 of my money to pay off their creditors.They had taken my money but produced no work--and had no intention ofdoing so. Therefore, the two $800 transactions were invalid.I sent my complaint on January 14, and on January 24 MasterCard calledme and said that they were going to reimburse me for the $1600. Theysaid that the original person handling my case had misunderstood thenature of the transaction. I was satisfied with that, and they werevery nice about it.For me, half the battle has been won. Now I hope to get the rest ofthe money back (the other $1600). An Airleaf Author
I was very excited to hear this news, and I am hearing it more often for people who are willing to fight. I have been sending out letters on behalf of our authors telling credit card companies about our plight, and that seems to help. If any of you would like my assistance, please let me know, and I’m happy to provide you with a letter.
There was some other good news from another one of our authors. A number of you were upset when iUniverse wouldn’t publish your book at the reduced “in print” price of $299.00 unless you had a letter from Airleaf stating they are releasing your book. One author wrote to me and said:
Bonnie, I've received two letters: one is from Carl Lau, granting a release to me and my book from any contractual obligation that was between Airleaf LLC and me. The other letter is from the office of the Indiana Attorney General, saying that a copy of my complaint was sent to Airleaf, and that an investigation of my complaint would be done. Hope it works!
I went on to ask the author how he was able to obtain the letter. He stated:
I sent a Letter to Mr. Lau's Greenwood address at 846 Burwick Trce, IN 46143-1910 and he responded 5 days later.
That is very exciting news for sure. If any of you would like to get a letter releasing your book, please write to Carl Lau and ask him to send you that letter. His home address is listed above.
One of our authors shared a letter she received from the Better Business Bureau last week from Carl Lau. It was sent to Diane Dove at the BBB and stated:
Airleaf LLC, is insolvent and will be closing effective at the end of the business today, December 21st 2007. We have been in the “wind down mode” since May, 2007, and have learned that a potential investor has decided against investing in Airleaf.
We have been talking to a bankruptcy attorney about filing both business and personal bankruptcy.
Carl Lau, Airleaf LLC
I did find this part interesting: “We have been in the ‘wind down mode’ since May, 2007…” I’m not sure what this means. What wound down? Surely not the attempts to take people’s money from May until December. There were numerous advertisements after those dates that most of us have received. Just to review a few for you to jog your memory:
Walk the Red Carpet with Airleaf on the Carnival Sensation
For a limited time only, Airleaf has made arrangements to secure an audience with film producer Al Smith of LiteStone Entertainment. This weekend will guarantee a one-on-one meeting with you and LiteStone Entertainment offering you the opportunity to see what the film industry is looking for and if your book has what it takes to make the red carpet.
September 27-30, hear world-class speakers and attend valuable workshops promoting book sales. Schedule your time with Airleaf Executives, including Carl Lau, to discuss national exposure and enjoy benefiting from other authors’ experiences while cruising to Nassau, Bahamas.
There are only 13 cabins available as of today and due to limited availability on board the ship, they must be reserved by Friday, June 29, 2007. Get your passports ready and call Dawn directly at 1-800-342-6068 or email email@example.com. Welcome aboard!
Of course, we all learned about the Carnival “Sensation” that was never booked even though authors paid for the cruise and never received their money back.
Here’s another classic from the “wind down time” period:
July 30, 2007
For over two years Airleaf Publishing & Book Selling has been impacting the Hollywood movie scene by connecting authors directly to decision makers in film and television. We will be walking the red carpet at the Kodak Theatre made popular by American Idol located in Hollywood, California in November 2007 with our feature film currently in production, Jessie’s Girl. We recently discovered your book and we believe it has the potential to be a feature film. Here are some exciting opportunities we have available for your true Hollywood experience!
Industry Executive $599
Introduce your book to Filmmakers and Producers in Hollywood Why spend time worrying about travel expenses to Hollywood and trying to find the connections you need to get your book in front of film and television executives? Let the Airleaf professionals do it for you! We currently have several books optioned for film and we’re prepared to get your book in the hands of movie making companies. We will prepare a full color filmmaker’s treatment and present it to industry executives and give you a status report when we return.
Present your book to Direct to DVD video producers. Present your book to the Movie industry via Direct to DVD companies. Many films are released directly to the shelves of video rental stores and movie selling specialty stores. Airleaf can get your book in front of the people who can make that happen. AND we’ll include the Industry Executive benefits with the purchase of this package!
Have a Hollywood Director review your book A producer/director will review your book and send you a comprehensive review. Have you ever wondered if your book would make a good movie? These are the industry professionals that can lead you into the world of film and television. AND we’ll include the Industry Executive and Producer level benefits with the purchase of this package!
Our goal is to put your book in front of movie goers nationwide. We can make your red carpet dreams come true. We already have many books optioned for film, two are in production and yours could be next! To participate call 1-800-342-6068 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sincerely, Dawn Duncan-Rodgers Author Consultant
This promotion truly had a powerful impact. You remember the lie I exposed to you back in the fall about Jessie’s girl, right? There was no movie in production, and here Dawn Duncan-Rodgers was sending us promotions about walking the red carpet at the Kodak Theater in November 2007 for the opening of an unproduced movie. Just in case you think we are going to have a problem proving FRAUD with Airleaf, fear not dear authors. It doesn’t get more fraudulent than that! Well, let me correct that statement—tied for first place in the fraudulence contest is the statement, “For over two years Airleaf Publishing & Book Selling has been impacting the Hollywood movie scene by connecting authors directly to decision makers in film and television.” Hmmm..impacting the Hollywood movie scene. Mind-blowing for sure!
This week I have been investigating many of your advertisements and results of the Hollywood pitch fests. I will try to get you those results shortly. You’ll find them most interesting—and at this point, most predicable.
Although the wheels of justice are turning slowly, they are turning--trust me. It is important for us to keep up the momentum and our hopes without getting discouraged. We have to look at the big picture here and realize that all of our efforts will create a major impact not only on Airleaf, but also for other companies who are setting up with the intentions of taking money from unsuspecting authors.
Have a good week—things are looking up!
With love and hope,
Bonnie Kaye :)