Continuation of Part 1, The Man Behind the Curtain
Give Me What I Want, Right Now
February 11, 2010, I receive an email from Mr. Jones of Minton Jones Company, a GOPD customer. (Exhibit09)
The subject of Jones’ email is: “GOPD offer”
Jones gets right to the point and reveals what he is really after. “I want to talk to you about the possibility of a change in ownership for GOPD.”
Jones claims: “the only solution that I can see may work is if you sell out.”
Could it get any clearer?
“Under the circumstances” (that Jones orchestrated) he is “willing to step in and buy one of the owners out.” Yeah, but he’s only sending this email to one of the owners: me.
Just in case I missed Jones’ attempt at self-martyrdom, he repeats “I am willing to step in and do what I can to remedy, even if I have to buy one of you out myself.”
To make super-duper sure I get where Jones is coming from, he repeats “I am serious about this as an offer, and would like to talk to you ASAP.”
This is only 20 days out from his original lawyer letter, and Jones is clearly getting anxious to gain control of GOPD, ASAP.
Taping Phone Calls
February 12, 2010, the next day, I receive another email from Mr. Jones of Minton Jones Company, a GOPD customer. (Exhibit10) In this email Mr. Jones wants to set up a phone call to talk about something unrelated to GOPD.
I accepted and called Mr. Jones. The call quickly turns to Jones grilling me about GOPD and Snyder.
This phone call was recorded by Jones without my knowledge or permission. This taped phone call recording was then shared with Snyder.
Looking back, it’s clear that Jones was trying to entrap me into saying something he and Snyder could use against me.
Paranoia Sets In
It’s been two months since Jones’ first lawyer letter and things are not going according to plan. Paranoia is starting to set in. Time to send more threats.
On March 11, 2010, Jones ramps up the threatening emails. (Exhibit12)
In his email Jones states: “we (the dealers that have figured this out) are setting up a meeting to talk on a teleconference to discuss what is going on.”
Don’t you mean the dealers you have told it’s all Marlette’s fault? Because that is how I read this threat.
“For God’s sake…” “I am concerned to the point that I will have to go to ECI within one week just to remain stable.”
This ridiculous exaggeration by Jones turns prophetic when Jones actually does go to ECI, but for a completely different reason.
“I do no [sic] more about it but can’t write about it.”
This entire email can be boiled down to: me and my secret little hen-party are saying bad things about you so you better kiss my ass and give me what I want.
Jones ends his email with the warning: “you too absolutely cannot escape being tarnished in this.”
This I agree with. Jones and cohorts in fact absolutely did do everything possible to tarnish me, and they still are.
Now It’s an Obsession
March 12, 2010, just one day after the threatening and paranoid email, Jones sends another email stating: “I drove to your house.” (Exhibit13)
Jones concocts a ruse to explain his actions claiming he is having a problem with his GOPD site. GOPD has a support department. Why wouldn’t this be Jones’ first contact?
Jones is driving to my house, uninvited, and doesn’t even bother to call first. He has both my office and cell numbers.
Jones goes on to say in his email that he has a remedy to the situation, and again, unsurprisingly, it is him buying someone out.
Jones’ now obsessive behavior is becoming very worrisome to myself and my wife.
Jones Loses It
It only takes two more days for Jones to go off the deep end after I, in so many words, told Jones to piss-off, stay the hell out of my business and to leave me and my family alone.
March 14, 2010, Jones emails me a manifesto full of threats and warnings of what he is going to do if I don’t cooperate with him. (Exhibit14)
After several paragraphs whining and moaning about me telling him to F-off, Jones is right back to his main objective: “buying out one party or the other is the Right way to go forward.”
Then the threats start.
“I told you about the 10 dealers,” he states. “They are very upset,” he claims.
“They all believe it is you [Marlette] that is holding back. I know everything that is going on,” claims Jones.
“I don’t believe you [Marlette] are aware of how much I do know about this situation,” Jones states in the email.
“Rick [Marlette] these dealers are not dumb. They will see the truth,” says Jones.
Then Jones turns to finances. I had told Jones that Snyder had, as threatened, stopped distributing to me the royalties for sales of my software. And that Snyder was making unrealistic demands of me and my time, after firing my only helper, my brother Terry. I told Jones it was mismanagement for what I thought at the time was financial difficulties.
Jones reassures me that everything will be just fine, if I will only “come to the table.” That would be the sell out to Jones table, in case you are behind.
“GOPD is not in financial difficulty,” Jones claimed. “I can attest because the books are now being done by Melinda.”
The Melinda now doing the GOPD books, is a Minton Jones employee and reports directly to Jones.
Jones is admitting that it is now him controlling the books, controlling the revenues, controlling the company, controlling GOPD.
It is Jones that is making sure I do not get my royalties, to soften me up for the takedown, banking on his scheme for me to sell-out to him on the cheap.
It was Jones’ lawyer letters that demanded I do my job, while inferring they would cry foul and sue if they caught me actually doing my job.
It is Jones behind the firing of my only help, so he can manufacture his story that Marlette is not doing his job, spreading rumors and innuendos that all of his and Snyder’s failings are Marlette’s fault.
After Jones and Snyder sent their first lawyer letter, from that day forward, every step I took, every communication between myself and GOPD, every last login and change, had to go through and be thoroughly approved and documented by my attorneys. Not the fastest way to get things done I’ll admit.
As I recently confirmed, the GOPD accounting is still being done today by B. J. Thomas under Jones’ watchful hands and eyes at his office supply business in Norcross, GA. Jones, a potential competitor to many of the GOPD dealers, likely has access to all of the GOPD dealers’ sales and customer data.
Any problems and delays that trickled down to the GOPD customers throughout Jones’ plan were all of his own making.
Why Didn’t I Sell Out?
In a nutshell, here’s how that went:
Their Offer: We’ll offer you (insert low-ball number here) for your 1/3 of GOPD.
My Reply: No thanks, but I will pay each of you (same low-ball number) for each of your 1/3 shares.
Their Response: We don’t believe you have the money. (I mean, after all, we have cut off your revenue source)
I did have the money, but they never accepted or rejected my counter offer. They went completely silent on the subject.
In my opinion, this was a one way deal from the get-go. Jones and company were never going to deal fairly or in the best interest of anyone except themselves.
Software Company For Sale
I will eventually learn that Snyder had engaged industry consultant Tom Buxton to broker a deal to sell GOPD to ECI.
Buxton contacted Ron Books at ECI on behalf of a friend who had a company for sale. At this point in time, Books, being very familiar with these kinds of schemes, had apparently already picked up on what Snyder and her cohort were up to. Books immediately identified Buxton’s friend as Snyder.
Snyder then revealed herself approaching Books directly to set up a phone conversation.
I don’t know what happened after that, but I suspect that Snyder and her cohort vastly overvalued what they had to offer and their ability to pull off such a deal.
Snyder, Jones and the entire OP industry were well aware that I was vehemently opposed to selling out to ECI.
The Big Picture
My opinion, and based on the since revealed facts, is that Jones and Snyder concocted a plan to force me out on the cheap so they could puff-up GOPD in order to sell it out to ECI.
They knew I would never go along with selling out the GOPD dealers to ECI, so I had to go.
The plan backfired because the ECI deal obviously fell through.
These events occurred around a time when ECI had been paying top dollar, millions of dollars in some cases, for office products software companies like GOPD. Those days are long gone.
Despite this, there is every indication that the alleged owners of GOPD, LLC remain to this day fixated on their pie-in-the-sky delusion of instant riches from selling out the GOPD dealers.
Part 3, Conclusion