Author Archives: rickmarlette

The GOPD Story, Part 3

Continuation of Part 2, The Big Picture

The Company That Wasn’t

Going back to the original lawyer letter (Exhibit05), notice the first sentence where the attorney is claiming to represent “POE Systems, Inc.” and “Solutions 4 Business, Inc.” and that each of these companies “are owned by Donna Snyder and Jack Duncan, respectively.” The letter continues “POE and S4B each own 33% of GOPD, LLC.

Both Snyder and Duncan live, transact business, and operate these companies in the State of Georgia. GOPD, LLC despite being formed in Delaware, also bases its operations and transacts business in the State of Georgia. That makes GOPD, LLC a “Foreign Limited Liability Company” under the laws of the State of Georgia.

If you go to the Georgia Secretary of State website, and do a company search for GOPD, LLC. It shows that GOPD, LLC was formed on 4/28/2016, over SIX YEARS AFTER the date on the lawyer’s letter. (ExhibitG1)

So what about POE Systems? POE Systems was Administratively Dissolved on 09/10/2010, after not paying the registration fees since 2008, as required by Georgia law. (ExhibitG2)

Searching for “Solutions 4 Business” on the Georgia Secretary of State site turns up two unrelated companies. (ExhibitG3) Apparently, Snyder’s Solutions 4 Business has never operated legally in the State of Georgia.

I was a software developer, I created software when I was associated with GOPD. I engaged other people to sell, support and provide accounting services. It is 100% my fault for taking others at their word and not properly vetting their qualifications and supervising their actions and claims.

My company, Prop Solutions, the other 1/3 alleged owner of GOPD, LLC has always been compliant with the law since I took over sole ownership in 2000.

At the time of the first lawyer letter, not a single one of the entities the attorney is claiming to represent were conducting business within the law. Some are still not.

It Gets Worse

Back to the lawyer letter (Exhibit05), the attorney admits, “We are not aware of any written limited liability company agreement.

If you are a GOPD customer, do you have any protection, any guarantees, any assurances that someone is not going to just walk in and pull the plug? Is there a succession plan? We know how that went with the tragic death of the original DDMS owners. Are there any asset protection provisions in place? Is there any clear-cut ownership, any, anything?

This is really, really, simple and basic stuff you have to do to run a legit business, yet none of it was done.

After learning the totality of the sad state of affairs that was GOPD, LLC, the advice from my attorney was crystal clear: “Get away from these people as fast as possible.

As you can see, six years after my departure, they still didn’t care about legitimizing GOPD or abiding by the law.

Dot Not

Why do you get an Error when you try to go to GOPD.COM, a prized 4-letter .COM domain name currently registered to GOPD, LLC?  Any legitimate company would kill for a 4-letter domain name, especially if those 4-letters were also your company name.

Not surprising, typing GOPDLLC.COM into a browser results in a blank page. You have to type in the full GOPDLLC.COM/GO/HOME.ASP to get to the GOPD home page. And when you finally get there, it has a date of 2008 at the bottom of the page. Need I remind you that it’s now 2018?

Ask yourself “does this look like a company that wants to be found?” Visit any other legitimate industry software provider’s website, Dealer Commander, EvolutionLogicblock, SSI, any legitimate industry software provider’s website and you’ll see demo links, about us, detailed product overviews, customer showcases, detailed contact us information and much, much more.

On the ten year old GOPD site, you get none of that. You do however get a fax number, from a company that is allegedly providing the nowaday critical internet presence for office supply dealers.

If you read Part 2, then you know it wasn’t supposed to take this long. GOPD should have been sold and long gone by this point.

Nothing to See Here

If your goal is to operate incognito, to pull off a quickie under-the-table deal away from the prying eyes of the industry (heaven forbid a pesky-[insert your favorite slander here] that might eventually figure out what you did), then you don’t want outside people looking into your business.

GOPD and company went to enormous efforts to make sure I could not find out what they were doing, including permanently blocking huge quantities of IP addresses, much to the detriment of their own customers.

But, they went the extra step to deceive.

(Exhibit31) Shows the message you receive when a website is blocking your IP address. The site in the example happens to be a Canadian site that is quick to block US traffic. The message is clear “Access Denied.

(Exhibit32) Shows the message you eventually receive when visiting the GOPD, LLC Home Page from one of my IP addresses. The message here is also clear “This site can’t be reached.

The cursor spins and spins and eventually displays the message. This message and elaborate fakery is intentionally and purposely designed to make it look like the site is down, or does not exist.

Change my IP address and look at that, the site pops right up. For about an hour, until they block the new IP address. There is no telling how many dealer’s customers are also blocked from placing orders.

Tick-tock, tick-tock. Hiding from Marlette turned into full-scale paranoia at GOPD that cost them several customers.

Jill

I tried to keep this factual and to remove as much personal feelings as possible, but one thing I cannot let go.

My wife Jill has been undergoing very aggressive cancer treatments for several years. Everyone at GOPD knows this. My wife Jill had absolutely nothing to do with GOPD, nothing.

Yet this did not stop GOPD from sending a process server to our house with a subpoena to depose Jill, including the explicit instruction “Deliver before Christmas.

None of the attacks on my wife started until they learned she had cancer. Because they all knew, Jill had absolutely nothing to do with GOPD, absolutely nothing.

Now, all you have to do is sit back and watch them in action.

Whether sending her threatening text messages from spoofed phone numbers, right before her deposition, in a supposed effort to alter her testimony:

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To spewing their vitriolic hatred on Twitter:

JillHate

My wife always gets targeted, always gets dragged into their loathsome attacks.

Of course they only do this in hopes of causing her even more pain and suffering. These are morally bankrupt individuals without a shred of decency.

Conclusion

Why launch the GOPD Cart site? Why take the time to write all of this?

The few GOPD dealers I have told this story to said I had an obligation to tell what I know. If the current operators of GOPD, LLC run this company straight into the ground, and I knew all of this, and I didn’t warn, and try to help dealers, then it would all be on me.

You can call me names, you can say I’m a disgruntled ex-partner, you can say anything you want, but you won’t be able to say I didn’t warn the dealers and give them the facts as I know them, so they could decide for themselves.

The GOPD Story, Part 2

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.

The Takeover

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

The GOPD Story, Part 1

This is the story of my exit from GOPD, LLC in 2010. Why am I telling this story now? Because of the following December 28, 2017 Tweet to my Twitter account from Chip Jones, an integral player in my 2010 ousting from GOPD.

Jones, of Minton Jones Company in Norcross, GA, is once again tossing thinly-veiled threats at me, just as he did back in 2010.

This time, Jones will not go unchallenged

In 2010, while these original events were occurring, I was confused by the sudden onslaught from Jones and his cohort. I did not fully understand everything that was happening. It was not until 2016, when I laboriously constructed a 20-year timeline of emails and events, that the complete “big picture” emerged.

Return of the Threats

JonesTweet

This December, 2017 response from Jones is in reply to my Tweet announcing the launch of my GOPD Cart site. It is a site where I offer to assist, absolutely for free, any current GOPD dealer wishing to transition to a new system. More on why that site was launched later.

The Threats of 2010

The threats and claims of malicious activities against me in 2010 came from Donna Snyder of GOPD, LLC and Chip Jones of Minton Jones Company. The reason for Snyder’s and Jones’ claims of malicious actions being perpetrated by me are twofold. One, as a way to coerce me into going along with their scheme to oust me from the GOPD relationship, and two, to make sure that none of the GOPD customers would listen to me or cooperate with me.

Jones’ and Snyder’s claims of malicious actions being perpetrated by me occurred suddenly and out of nowhere.

The First Lawyer Letter

On January 22, 2010 attorney Edward Brown sent me a letter claiming to represent POE Systems, Inc. and Solutions 4 Business, 2/3 owners of GOPD, LLC. (Exhibit05) At the time, I did not know Mr. Brown and knew nothing about his firm, Burr-Forman.

In this letter, Mr. Brown states that “Ms. Snyder is of the opinion” that I am “harming the business of GOPD” and the relationship “must terminate.” There were no facts or any evidence provided for this alleged harm, just Ms. Snyder’s opinion.

Brown continued by claiming he has many examples of emails containing abusive, unprofessional and slanderous statements by me. Nothing in this statement has ever been demonstrated to be factual.

In this same letter, I am threatened with “immediate legal action” if I in any way harm the business of GOPD. Brown goes as far as including “intentional sabotage” to the long list of implied accusations being set up in this letter. But, it’s “not intended as a threat,” claimed Brown.

No facts, no evidence, no credible substantiations of any kind have ever been produced that I have caused any harm, or have any intentions on causing any harm, to the business or customers of GOPD.

The fear and uncertainty, combined with the full knowledge of the underhandedness of what they are about to do, is now painfully obvious when I read this letter.

The Interloper

On January 31, 2010, 9 days after the Brown lawyer letter went unanswered by me, GOPD customer Chip Jones of Minton Jones Company sends me, Snyder and Duncan an email. (Exhibit06) This will begin a series of communications between myself and Jones regarding GOPD.

In this email, Jones is immediately jumping to “buyout” and “sellout.” Jones appears worried about some secretive plan becoming exposed and states, “This entire situation must remain unknown to the industry. To leak it out could spell disaster.

Do the right thing and sell” says Jones in this email. “One of you may actually want to be bought out.” These statements from Jones, and the many more to come, will expose the true motives of Jones and his partner.

As will also become the pattern, Jones begins his insertion of ill-concealed threatening statements in his emails to me: “Consider whatever you do from this point could affect your reputation.

Also noteworthy in this email, Jones starts off all innocent claiming he is confused and in the dark, just wanting to help a friend out. Then he turns around showing he is involved up to his eyeballs and knows everything that is going on: “I also know now that there may be attorneys involved.

Looking back, it’s easy to see that Jones has inadvertently admitted collusion has occurred behind the scenes from the very beginning.

The Second Lawyer Letter

The day following Jones’ email, February 1, 2010, I receive a second letter from attorney Edward Brown. (Exhibit07) Again, threats are being made.

This letter claims I entered the company’s systems and manipulated information. That’s my job description. That’s what I am supposed to do. The letter goes on to say, “You need to immediately act to perform your duties,” which by definition is “entering the company’s systems and manipulating information.

The letter threatens, “You need to immediately act to perform your duties” while at the same time threatening, “It is important that no actions are taken that would in any way change or alter any information contained in the systems

The letter also in essence states, unless you cooperate and do exactly as we say, we are no longer going to pay you for the sales of your software.

This is intentionally setting up a no-win situation for me. Damned if I do, and damned if I don’t. Jones and Snyder will later make good use of their manufactured catch-22.

The Man Behind the Curtain

I will eventually learn that attorney Edward Brown is the registered agent of Jones’ office supply company, Minton Jones (Exhibit11).

Both of the threatening and demanding lawyer letters, instigating the breakup of GOPD, LLC, came from Jones’ own personal business attorney, Edward Brown.

Part 2, The Big Picture

Cooking The Goose

iStock_000017259425SmallHere is a fact you won’t see on any company’s forward looking statements: “Nearly half of Americans would have trouble finding $400 to pay for an emergency

If you are an owner or stockholder in any company, this should terrify you.

The entire premise of capitalism is based on a strong middle class capable of purchasing goods and services.

The facts are clear: the middle classes around the world are under severe pressure and, here in America, $400 away from disappearing completely.

Meanwhile, Big Business continues an all-out effort to get that last $400 as if nothing was wrong.

It’s no coincidence that Big Business ranks very low on American’s confidence scale while Small Business ranks very high:

BigBusiness

We can argue all day about who is at fault, but that’s not going to change the outcome. The system is spiraling out of control, meanwhile Big Business is allowed to pay legal bribes to politicians to make sure there are even less controls and even more tax breaks for them.

This unchecked system has allowed behemoths like Amazon and WalMart to monopolize vast portions of our economy, suffocating the goose that laid the golden egg. Enjoy it while you can, because the end is only $400 away.

GOPD Drops Software Ownership Claims

On April 15, 2016, Prop Solutions filed a Federal Copyright Complaint against GOPD and others claiming that Prop Solutions was the sole owner of software GOPD was distributing to independent office supply dealers.

On May 17, 2016, GOPD filed a Counterclaim asserting they were the sole owner of the software, or in the alternative, that GOPD was a joint owner in the software.

The case then entered the discovery phase where documents and testimony were produced.

On March 3, 2017, GOPD filed a Motion for Voluntary Dismissal of the May, 2016 counterclaims that GOPD owns all, or even some of the software.

GOPD has given up on trying to get a court to declare that GOPD owns all or even some of the software currently being distributed to independent office supply dealers.

Is buying from Amazon always a good deal?

amazon2016-1My business monitors prices across the office, janitorial, food service, safety and industrial markets in the United States and Canada. Every week I review the rejects from the latest pricing scan of the Amazon site. Every week I encounter a fresh batch of wildly misrepresented, contradictorily described and confusingly packaged products on the Amazon site. These are not bizarre products, but everyday common supply type items.

The most common problem is the ever changing unit of sale. On some items, the quantity you receive for your selected item depends on the seller you choose. On other items, the quantity is just deceptively wrong and unless you bother to read the reviews you can get taken to the cleaners.amazon2016-2

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Poor Ms. Satterfield is blaming herself for Amazon’s misleading data. This is understandable considering the harsh consequences for daring to question Amazon. There have been multiple high profile stories regarding individuals being “banned for life” from Amazon for simply returning products. No one knows exactly what triggers this “lifelong ban” but the fear is real for those who feel they cannot live without Amazon. These ill-informed people continue to pour their hard earned money into the Amazon void.

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amazon2016-5-pngThen there are just the out-and-out scams. Apple recently sued an Amazon supplier over fake iPhone chargers, claiming that 90% of the products Apple bought undercover were counterfeits. Apple goes on to say Amazon.COM directly sold counterfeit products.

It’s not just the obvious scams and phony Apple products either. Do you really believe you are getting a genuine top quality $400 HP toner for $25?

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Don’t think that Amazon Business customers fare any better. The same data is shared between the two supposedly separate sites.

Regular office supplies can cost you an arm and a leg on Amazon Business! These “Amazon Prime” eraser caps list price at $1.25 and are commonly sold for a dollar or less. Amazon Business customers pay SEVEN TIMES this everyday price!

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The poor Amazon customers have become so accustom to getting ripped off, they now just accept it as “okay.”

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Well it’s not okay. Getting taken is not inevitable. While Amazon may be suitable for some purchases and can offer some great deals, it’s the notion that *EVERYTHING* is a great deal on Amazon that can get you into serious trouble.

These are just a few examples of the hundreds of issues with Amazon data that I have personally found. These examples were taken from one day’s scan, and they only took a few minutes to find. If you are a business customer buying on Amazon, you have a choice. Waste time and money by constantly being on guard for fraud, scams, rip-offs and overcharging, or bypass the headaches and hassles and just choose to buy from a reputable source.

My name is Rick Marlette. I have worked in and around the office and supply industry for over 40 years and have been employed as an independent pricing consultant to the supply industry for the last 18 years.