August 9, 2009
Dear Airleaf Victims and Friends,
I am writing this last correspondence to you to let you know that I am wrapping up my efforts on the Airleaf case. At this point of time, I have gone as far as I can go, and it’s time to let go. All of the petitions that many of you were kind enough to sign will be sent to the U.S. Attorney Timothy Morrison this week. If by some miracle he changes his mind after reading them, I will notify you immediately.
I wanted to make sure that I explored every possible course of action, but I have to accept that I have come to a dead end. As so many of you have told me, it’s time to let go. From my point of view, there has been no justice for the Airleaf Victims. The fact that Airleaf closed down was due to our efforts in stopping their cash flow—not government efforts to stop the fraudulence. Airleaf was run by con men. They were experts in making people believe that we could become famous authors through a series of publicity efforts, which in almost every case, never happened. There were no European book fairs, no Bowker reviews, no Carnival cruise, or no Hollywood movies. There was just continued scamming of good people who worked long and hard at becoming authors.
Should you be angry? Of course you should. Most of you were taken for your hard work and hard earned money while others profited off of your innocence with airplanes, boats, trips to Hollywood where sordid affairs took place, and a plush life style built off of your suffering. In addition to the thieves who took your money so willingly but refused to provide you with the promised services, we had the State of Indiana to contend with. Its lack of concern for thieves in their State will always be my greatest reminder of how government doesn’t care about its people.
This has been a wonderful experience for me because it has given me the unique opportunity to get to know so many of you. I have developed life-time friendships with some of the most wonderful people I have ever met. I have read the words of some of the most prolific and profound writers imaginable. I had the fortune of meeting a number of you in my travels and in yours. So every moment that I put into this effort was well rewarded with new friendships that have enriched my life.
Although most of you don’t know much about me, I will share some things with you at this time. In the 1970’s, I spent nearly ten years of my life as an activist for a cause I believed in. I learned a lot in those days about organizing people and using the media to our advantage. I tried to take those skills and use them in our Airleaf campaign. Now with the advent of the Internet, it was easier in many ways. It allowed me to put up websites to alert people, send out press releases to the media, and stay in touch with many of you via email. In the past when I was in my 20’s, I went up against some of the most worthy opponents—and won--including the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in my battle to have Nazi War Criminals removed from this country, the New York Federal Court who did not allow people to view the deportation of a Nazi War Criminal, the City of Chicago (stopping neo-Nazi marches in Skokie, Illinois), the Russian government demanding the release of Russian Jews, and many others who were quite offensive to many people. I may not have won the war, but I certainly did win many battles.
Because of my younger years as an activist, I thought the Airleaf battle would be a piece of cake. It seemed so easy—people being robbed of their money. This was criminal—or so I thought. Little did I know that it wasn’t a crime to take people’s money under false pretenses in the State of Indiana. Silly me. I thought that robbing hundreds if not thousands of people would truly be against the law in any state in this country. It seemed so very cut and clear.
Sadly, at this point of time, I have come to realize that robbing people of millions of dollars is not a crime in Indiana—rather it is what they call “bad business.” Wow, I wish I was a crook. I know where I would relocate to. Indiana would be calling my name loud and clear. As I have told all of the officials that I have tried to convince to be on our side, I could set up a business selling dreams to people at $500.00 a shot, and if they didn’t come true, well, I could say at least I tried. Ha ha. No one there seemed to disagree with me.
The real culprits here are not just Carl Lau and Brien Jones. It’s the government of Indiana. In May of 2007, Airleaf was given an order through the Attorney General’s office stating that they would not conduct any more bad business with customers after having to pay out $12,000.00 to two authors and being issued an AVC order. When our first complaints started going to the AG’s office back in August when I sent the first of hundreds to come, nothing happened. Well, almost nothing. Actually, the Assistant AG at that time, Terry Tolliver, went with our police detective Jeff Buskirk to raid the Airleaf computers in October. This made me feel optimistic. But that was the end of the road. Nothing more came from that. When the new assistant AG took over, Tom Irons, he went to battle for us and a judgment was handed down five months after Airleaf closed. The problem was that the case stopped there. It was a “good will” gesture with no results. Carl Lau lost his home to the IRS, and supposedly his boat wasn’t worth going after. His partial ownership in the airplane wasn’t worth it either I suppose.
I believe that if anyone is guilty, it’s the government of Indiana that could have acted months before Airleaf shut down to demand that our money be returned, but they didn’t. And the final blow was when the U.S. Attorney, Timothy Morrison, refused to consider our case “criminal.”
I have pursued every possible course of action including writing to government officials in Washington, the President, every state representative and state senator in Indiana, the congressmen of the state, and the senators of the state. Heck, I even wrote to the governor’s wife pleading for help. Only one in over 80 representatives that I wrote to responded telling me that it wasn’t a State issue. So what’s new? I already figured that out with the overwhelming mounds of rejection that came my way in the form of silence.
I recently spoke to the lawyer of one of our victims who said we could pursue the case if we put up money. It would take lots of money—thousands of dollars. Then there is no guarantee that we would see anything. After all, Carl Lau lost his home and his business. What will we be able to take from? However, if a group of you would like to spend money pursuing this, please let me know.
So let me share some final thoughts with you.
Last year, a group of us began an author’s co-op, Books of Excellence. It’s a way for people to have a site they can refer people to if they don’t have their own website. We were overly ambitious in hoping people would buy five books a year from other authors. Some did; others did not. The majority of us decided this year just to pay yearly due for upkeep and publicity. I will be starting a new internet radio show in September with our authors one hour a week. This way, authors can promote their books via the computer radio stations and generate some business. We would be happy to have you join us. The cost to join is $60.00 for the first year which gives you a place on the front page of the website as well as your own page where you can advertise you and your books. After the first year, the dues are $25.00 a year. You can visit our site at www.BooksOfExcellence.com.
Many of you came to me with questions about republishing. There are three publishers that I feel confident in recommending to you. The first is my own publisher, CCB Publishing. Several dozen of us have republished there. You can read our testimonials on the website at www.CCBPublishing.com. The price is excellent, the service superb, and in a few weeks, your book is out in the market. Paul Rabinowitz, my publishing hero, works closely with each and every author day and night. He has all books distributed through not only local channels including Amazon and Barnes and Noble, but also the European channels, e-books, and his newest venture, The Expresso Book Machine. Here is some information about EBM:
CCB Publishing is pleased to announce a new distribution channel for its authors’ books. Placed primarily in bookstores and libraries, the Espresso Book Machine® (the “EBM”), a Time Magazine “Best Invention of 2007,” is essentially an ATM for books. The EBM automatically prints, binds and trims on demand at point of sale perfect-bound library-quality paperback books with full-color covers that are indistinguishable from most books on a bookstore shelf. The EBM can manufacture a 300-page book in less than 4 minutes while the customer waits. Books with black and white interiors will be universally available, while books with color interiors will only be available from certain sites. In addition to Time Magazine, this revolutionary new technology has been featured by The New York Times, Newsweek, Fortune, CNN and NPR.
Other participating publishers of note include John Wiley & Sons, Hachette Book Group, McGraw-Hill, Simon & Schuster, Clements Publishing, Information Age Publishing, Macmillan, University of California Press and W.W. Norton.
In addition to being featured at the Book Fair in London, England and at BookExpo America in New York City, there have been 16 EBM installations to date with many more planned. In addition to the following locations, current plans for 2009 include new installations in the United Kingdom through the Blackwell Ltd. chain of bookstores, in Australia through the Angus & Robertson chain and related bookstores, as well as in multiple locations at universities, bookstores and other retailers in North America and around the world.
• World Bank InfoShop, Washington, D.C., USA
• New York Public Library, New York, NY, USA
• New Orleans Public Library, New Orleans, LA, USA
• Internet Archive, San Francisco, CA, USA
• University of Michigan Library, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
• Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT, USA
• Brigham Young University Bookstore, Provo, UT, USA
• University of Alberta Bookstore, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
• McMaster University Bookstore, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
• University of Waterloo Bookstore, Ontario, Canada
• McGill University Library, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
• Newsstand UK, London, England
• Blackwell’s Bookstore, London, England
• Angus & Robertson Bookstore, Melbourne, Australia
• University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
• Library of Alexandria, Alexandria, Egypt
Paul delivers what he promises—and everything is included in his one price of $750.00. This also includes 20 FREE BOOKS. If you would like to have your book listed as “returnable” for book store book signings, CCB can do this for the low cost of $100.00 for one year. If you check with other companies like Authorhouse, you’ll see that they charge $599.00 for this service. (Of course they are located in Indiana too, so don’t try to fight it!) You can also buy your books from Paul at $2.00 over the cost of printing plus shipping and handling.
The second publisher that I would like to recommend is Mountain Valley Publishing, owned by Bob Denton. I have come to know, care about, and appreciate Bob over the past year and a half. I wasn’t very nice to him in our early days, accusing him of working with Airleaf to hurt writers. I was wrong, and I know I’ve said it before—and I’ll say it again. Bob was used and manipulated by Airleaf as many other well-meaning employees were, and he did quit when he realized that there was no hope and authors were being screwed two months before the closing of Airleaf. He did try hard for authors, especially once Airleaf closed down. Bob was able—and is still able and willing-- to retrieve authors’ disks, and for many of them before the flood, their books that were sitting in the Airleaf offices. Sadly, once the flood came, Airleaf was flooded out along with nearly 50,000 books—and of course, no flood insurance.
Bob has republished books for many Airleaf authors. I have spoken with a number of them and they are always thrilled by his quickness, quality, and customer service. I have not heard one complaint yet from anyone using Mountain Valley Publishing—only words of praise. Bob does everything for authors from cover design, ISBN number, and bar code to Internet distribution. He has a special deal for Airleaf authors to republish your Airleaf book for $750.00 which includes 25 copies for free. If you want to buy your books, he only charges for the cost of printing plus shipping and handling which is an excellent deal. If authors have a new book, Bob will publish that for $995.00 and give authors 25 copies of the book which is still an excellent deal. You can write to Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will find his contact information if you want to chat with him. You can also see his website at: www.MoutainValleyPublishing.com. Please read his list of testimonials from happy authors if you would like to become one of them.
One other publisher that I have heard wonderful things about is Helen Compton from Artship Publishing. Helen is a sponsor at our Books of Excellence co-op. Several of our victims are republishing with her and have the kindest words to say about their experiences with Helen. She gives tremendous thought and help with putting books together, designing the covers, and taking it through the publishing process. You can feel free to visit her site and get her contact information by visiting: http://www.galleryartship.com/ebook.html
On a side issue, I received a letter last week from a woman in Indiana. She wrote:
My name is Linda and I have been following the Airleaf story with your group. I think you have a great group of writers there and I wondered if they would want to participate in a fundraiser to help raise money for cancer research. My relay for life team is going to have a celebrity auction and we're looking for writers willing to donate an autograph book or photo. If anyone would want to participate they can send them to
309 E South St
Martinsville, IN 46151
This auction is in memory of two friends who lost their own battles with cancer; Rita Greenwood and Brenda Wisman. Thank you for your time.
If you would be willing to donate a book or two to this worthy cause, know that it will go for something positive in life. Please send your books to Linda at the above address.
Finally, I would like to thank all of you who put your faith in me. The battle of Airleaf Victims started for me during the year that I lost my beloved son, Jason, at the age of 23 due to his rare illness that was misdiagnosed in his final battle to live. Three years earlier, I had lost my daughter, Jennifer, age 22. My life was in a dark place when this battle began. I felt that life had robbed me of my greatest treasures, and now, once again, I was being robbed. I knew I couldn’t save my children—that was out of my control. But I didn’t want to feel like a victim. I always taught my children to stand up for something you believe in. I taught them that there are always hands reaching out to you—some to pull you up; other to drag you down. It’s my “Misery loves Company” theory of why people look to drag you down. I extended my hand with kindness in the hopes of pulling all of us out of the darkness that entered our lives when men with dishonorable intentions were lurking in our midst. Nearly 600 of you reached back and made this battle your battle so that you wouldn’t remain a victim—but rather a victor.
As I said earlier, I have met some of the finest people imaginable through this battle. I have relived your horrors story after story of how you were fooled and tricked into throwing your hard earned money out the window. There were many nights I cried myself to sleep thinking about your pain, and I made it my pain. Then I went through this horror all over again when some of our victims told me how they were being “re-victimized” by Brien Jones in his new company, Jones Harvest. Again I sent out notices to people to stop paying for services that will never happen. I gave Mr. Jones a run for his money, but he runs faster than me. I have over 80 letters from victims of his, but once again, the government of Indiana is impotent about making this a crime. At this point, I’m ending my battle against him as well. Too much negative energy is being wasted on one pathetic man. If authors aren’t willing to believe all the warnings put in front of them, well, so be it. Let their money be taken from them once again.
I would like to thank my predatory publishing guru Victoria Strauss for helping me through this maze and mess. Victoria was a constant source of inspiration, who helped me during some of my darkest moments when I kept feeling like throwing in the towel. Victoria and her partner, Ann Crispin, are the true fighters for the cause of predatory publishing. They have made this their life’s mission through their website Writer Beware. You can view their site at http://www.sfwa.org/beware/. Put that site in your favorites to keep referring back to because it will be a continued source of inspiration. Anytime you’re not sure about a company, check there first. Ask the experts who keep on top of this daily.
I would also like to thank Detective Jeff Buskirk from the Martinsville, Indiana police department. He made a hero’s effort to put this case together for us. He worked diligently day and night—and there were many nights—helping us present our proof of criminal action. Sadly, all of his efforts were also ignored. Jeff Buskirk helped me believe in the kindness of strangers. He could have said this wasn’t a case for him, but he never did that. He really needs to be commended for his good deeds in trying his best to “do the right thing.” I wish he lived in Philadelphia near me. He would truly be recognized for his good work.
Know that in moving ahead, I am always here for anyone who wants advice or for me to check out something for you. Please email me anytime at Bonkaye@aol.com. Many of you are my friends; some of you have become my extended family. We will always be linked through our tragedy, but we are survivors and have put life back together in spite of this.
Learn from this lesson, and hold your heads up high. You are receiving this email because you refused to walk away and chose to stand up and fight. For that reason alone, you are no longer a victim, but a victor.
Love, Bonnie Kaye