AIRLEAF VICTIMS UPDATE MARCH 22, 2008
Dear Airleaf Victims and Friends,
Welcome to our new members of the group. As of today, we have 423 victims in our group who are victims of the largest predatory publishing scam in American history.
I am happy to share that a meaningful investigation is proceeding for our case. I have spoken to several law officials, and I feel reassured that there will be good news in the near future. This case is moving along thanks to all of you who took the time to diligently fill out the reports and send them to the proper authorities. There is power in numbers, and that is how we will be able to win this case. This case will send out a loud message to any other company or individual that believes that defrauding innocent victims goes unpunished.
A number of you have written to me to let me know that you are receiving back your disks and books from Bob Denton. Bob has opened up his own publishing company, Mountain Valley Publishing Company in Martinsville. In the past, I incorrectly accused him of being part of Airleaf's continuing business scam after it closed. I did send out a retraction of that statement immediately after I was corrected. Bob has been very helpful to us in our attempts to free our books that are being held hostage by Carl Lau in the Airleaf building. Since he has been flooded with over 100 requests, it may take him a couple of weeks to get to your request, but he is working daily to do this. Bob wanted to let you know that he is publishing books for people who want their books in print; however, he is not doing any marketing beyond putting the books on the traditional Internet sellers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
I would also like to mention that the ladies at Fideli Publishing, Robin Surface's group where Gayla Swint is now working, are also working to get back authors' books and work. You may be getting a call from them if they have retrieved your books and/or materials.
I would like to thank all of these former Airleaf employees who have decided to "do the right thing" in helping our authors retrieve their properties. It doesn't change the facts, but it helps with some of the hardships.
Remember—if Carl Lau contacts you to "sell" you back your books, say NO loud and clear and let me know.
There is one more interesting note about Bob Denton's website. He has placed a link called Bookfinder4U which can be found at: http://www.bookfinder4u.com. I found this site most informative. It tells you where your books are being sold on the Internet. I played around with it for a while, and I learned a lot about my own books. When you click into it, put your book name in there and you can find where your books are being distributed. The bad thing is that I haven't figured out how we will get the money if our Airleaf books do sell, but I will be pursuing that investigation in the near future.
I had a little over two dozen people respond to Chris Varga's idea last week about a print-on-demand author "co-op" venture. This was the idea where we could promote each other's books and buy other each other's books supporting the group and other POD authors. If you are interested in joining this venture, please email and let me know. We have so many diversified authors in our group with so many different types of genres that there is enough material to whet anyone's reading appetite.
I want to address the issue of a "class action" law suit since I get a few requests about that each week. One of our Airleaf victims suggested that I call an attorney he recommended in the Martinsville area. This attorney was kind enough to give me nearly an hour of his time to discuss the case. He confirmed for me what I learned from other lawyers that I have spoken to regarding our plight.
Basically, any legal action that we would take would cost money. When I say money, I mean thousands and thousands of dollars. Even if we could find a lawyer who is willing to take our case on a contingency basis, he would still require thousands of dollars for filing fees and investigation fees. If Airleaf was operating and making money like it was a year or two ago, it would be worth it because we could have won a case more easily. But by the time we started our group in August, the company was in the process of downsizing due to losing money. By October or November, the production at Airleaf was shut down, and almost every printing company dealing with Airleaf was on hold because of the outstanding bills. Employees were having their checks bounced and their health insurance stopped even though they were contributing for those benefits. The money was gone. Even though Carl Lau owns personal assets, we don't know how much is really available. He has other obligations besides ours that may take priority including the loan he took out last year for $216,000.00. According to the Morgan County courthouse, Airleaf has 12 tax issues on their records as well.
If we could be assured that investing money into a legal fund would guarantee us money in return, I'd be the first to participate and chip in; however, my fear is that we will all invest MORE money into Airleaf and still end up on the short end of the stick.
So, I think our best bet is to rely on the government agencies that are working on our case that will discover what there is as far as any assets visible or hidden. When the Attorney General's office files a civil case on our behalf, this will be requesting money for our losses. Bottom line—the lawyer agreed with me that with the complexities of this case and the lack of viable cash, we are taking the right route. If you have any further thoughts on this, please let me know.
Happy Easter to all of our Easter Airleaf Victims!
With love and hope,