- Senior Partner of Gordon Rees
- Chair of Firm’s Intellectual Property Group
- National & International Clients
- Long term practice in Asia
- Certified Arbitrator
- Extensive International Experience
- Former legal executive for Lanard Toys
Now with an impressive background like Mr. Sybert has, I was somewhat perplexed when I received his certified letter. It would seem to me that an attorney with this type of professional experience would have done some due diligence himself before just assuming most of what he wrote in this letter.
This whole situation arrises from a post we did on Dubli back at the first of the month titled – Breaking Cashback News: Dubli Changes Name to Ominto Inc, Founder Michael Hansen Out As CEO And Appoints New Board And Chairman. (This original post has now been updated with additional information.)
However, it was not the post itself that seemed to raise the dander of someone at DubLi, it’s the fact some of what I wrote was quoted by Oz over at Behind MLM, and the fact someone at DubLi Inc., or their at least Mr. Richard P Sybert and his team, believe I may be leading a double life as “Oz” himself. A separate persona if you will. (Although I find it humorous that someone thinks I am Oz, I firmly believe Oz will not find it humorous at all!)
Now for anyone who has been in or around network marketing for any length of time, or who have been a part of any and all of the “Cash Back” companies who use MLM as their main marketing channel, fully know Behind MLM has covered these companies for years.
And everyone knows that although Oz and I at times agree on issues, it is few and far between. I support all he does uncovering Ponzi and Pyramid schemes worldwide, but many times have disagreed with his synopsis of some main stream direct selling companies and some issues surrounding network marketing in general.
In Mr. Sybert’s letter he accuses me of “False and defamatory conduct through your website MLMHelpDesk.com as well as in conjunction with or through (or as) “Oz” on the website BehindMLM.com.”
I wish to publicly state that I have never collaborated with Oz on any article, editorial, post, video or anything else someone might conger up in a conspiracy theory about DubLi or against DubLi or any topic, issue or red flag surrounding DubLi. All critical and positive article written about DubLi have been our exclusive reporting.
Mr. Sybert on several occasions references “Business Development Deals”, although calls it “Paying leaders”, I have never talked publicly about any BDA Dubli may or may not have entered into with any former or current field leader. Mr. Sybert’s concerns on purported Business Development Agreements seems to stem from the article at Behind MLM.
Some of the other concerns raised by Mr. Sybert, but no supporting documentation was submitted is as follows:
Dustin Mitchell – I linked to an article from Obtainer – Injunction against DubLi CEO Michael Hansen. Mr. Sybert purports this is false and that Dustin Mitchell has never been contacted to DubLi.
Sybert writes “Dustin Mitchell is a vexatious litigant who has never had a connection to DubLi. DubLi has sued him in Florida courts – The same way it will sue you — on account of his false statements about himself and the company, and Mitchell’s default has been entered in court. There has never been a restraining order.”
I wrote the following “And in late 2014, the buzz on the street was that one of the large Wall Street firms was going to invest hundreds of millions in the company. A rumor I questioned since such events have to be filed with the SEC and should never be part of a buzz campaign. I wondered if this was not some form of stock manipulation, and questioned it with top reps, financial advisors and my own personal legal advisors.”
Mr. Sybert writes “There has never been any discussion or announcement from DubLi about a “large Wall Street firm” investing. You appear to have made this up. There was never any discussion from DubLi about a large Wall Street firm investing in the company. You imply stock manipulation, which is a crime.”
Notice Mr. Sybert is very clear that “Dubli never had any discussion and didn’t make any statements.
Now notice I never wrote that DubLi had a discussion or made an announcement. However, I did make it clear what the word on the street was, which came NOT from Dubli (I could never get anyone from corporate to talk, on or off the record), but it did come from reps in the field.
I didn’t imply stock manipulation, I was very clear I was CONCERNED it could be stock manipulation! And I explained why I was concerned about it, since this type of HYPE is seen in many penny stock companies when people are screwing with other peoples lives! And I would not have brought it up if it wasn’t a crime!!!
But… At no time did I imply, allude, suggest or blatantly state it was an insider who might be manipulating the stock!
Mr. Sybert wrote “The Board did not “resign.” Had you bothered to review the DubLi SEC filings, as to which you claim to be knowledgeable, you would that their terms expired and were not renewed by the largest shareholder, all according to law.”
I wrote ” In April 2015, the whole DubLi Board of Directors (Except the Founder) “were let go” (I originally used the word resigned) leaving many to speculate what was happening.”
I incorrectly used “resigned” so I have not changed it!
Mr. Sybert seems very concerned that people might get the impression that something illegal is going on at DubLi, and I want to be perfectly clear, I have no personal knowledge of any illegal activities at DubLi Inc.
But I have had huge concerns over the year when it comes to compliance issues with the field and the lack of oversight.
Mr Sybert writes “Behind MLM quotes you “In a surprising move, which causes DubLi pundits to praise and critics to scratch their heads, DubLi hired former Chief Networking Officer (my term) Jerry Yerke from Lyoness America to head up not just North America, but Asia…”
There is nothing surprising about hiring a leader from a competitor. Your somehow twisting this into criticism or question is compelling evidence of your malign intent.”
Well, again it seems there was no due diligence done prior to Mr. Sybert or his team writing this letter and making these allegations against me.
Had Mr. Sybert done his due diligence, he would have found that Yerke was NOT “hired a leader a competitor.” Jerry Yerke is a friend, and after severing ties with Lyoness and taking a little time off with family, he called and asked if I knew of any corporate positions available. I shared with him that my friend, Michael Wiedder and founder of my client Shopping Sherlock was looking for a President and partner, and ViSalus might be looking for an additional C-Level executive or power couple to help with their current growth.
Yerke asked if I knew anyone at DubLi and what I thought of the company. I shared my insights, and told him I have a great friend who might be able to get him an audience with Michael Hansen the founder.
Through my personal contact, Yerke was able to get a meeting while Hansen was in the U.S.A., and later visited him in DubLi. Early in 2015 Yerke notified me he had been offered and accepted the position he currently holds with DubLi Inc.
So, based on this evidence which can be validated through DubLi corporate as well as 3rd party outsiders, I do not see where Mr. Sybert’s allegations of “evidence of my malign intent” is very compelling.
Mr. Sybert goes on to state that the comments generated by Oz’s article at Behind MLM somehow is connected to our article at MLMHelpDesk.com. I review of the traffic to our site .vs BehindMLM and again validates that we do not share the same community of people, and that we have not had any large uptick in traffic due to any article on DubLi.
Mr. Sybert also writes something very interesting “We also noted the buried disclosure on the website, “My firm does represent at least three clients who can be seen as direct or indirect competitors with some of all of the DubLi international business model.” This suggests that claims will also lie against you, based on the same defamatory acts and false assertions, for unfair competition.
First of all, again Mr Sybert doesn’t seem to have done much due diligence or he would know that we DO NOT bury ANY disclosures based on our agreement with the SEC!
The disclaimer Mr. Sybert is referring is found at the bottom of the article above. This is an additional disclosure that is above and beyond our standard disclosures we have on all posts, editorials, articles etc. we public on the site.
So, I would rather take my chances in court against Mr. Sybert, than deal with the FTC or SEC because I don’t over publish our disclosures!!!
Mr. Sybert goes on to directly take issue with other items from the above article I wrote and published as follows:
Headline “Dubli Changes Name To Ominto Inc, Outs Michael Hansen As CEO And Appoints New Board And Chairman.”
Mr. Hansen was not “ousted” (if that is what you mean). Rather, he close, as majority shareholder, not to continue in this position.
I do want to thank Mr. Sybert for bringing the title to my attention. I did not mean to write “ousted” but I did get a word out of order and have now corrected the title to read “Breaking Cashback News: Dubli Changes Name to Ominto Inc, Outs Michael Hansen As CEO And Appoints New Board And Chairman”
Mr. Sybert is concerned with my statement ” Since DubLi entered into the U.S.A. back in 2009, I have been concerned, very critical and at times totally amazed at how they continue to stumble and then reinvent themselves (at least on the surface.)
First they were a reverse penny auction, then a gift card seller, then a shopping platform, then an entertainment community, and now it seems they are about to move away from their questionable reputation by renaming the company Ominto, Inc (found that in a one liner inside the press release below.)
Mr. Sybert writes “DubLi has offered its shopping mall since 2009 and this has always ben an important part of the business. DubLi has always been a complete shopping site. DubLi does not have a “questionable reputation” and if it did it would be only because you created questions with your defamatory statements and articles.”
I have to respect the length Mr.Sybert goes to protect the reputation of DubLi and I am humbled that he would feel I have so much influence as to sway the whole network marketing or Wall Street community into thinking that DubLi has a questionable reputation.
However with a little due diligence, its easy to see, I was not the first and will not be the last to question some of the compliance issues that have surrounded DubLi since it’s early days in North America.
Although, DubLi may have always had a shopping platform, when they entered into the U.S.A. they pushed the Reverse Penny Auctions, then went huge into entertainment and gift cards, and are now pushing the cash back shopping and partner programs.
As for the specific concern about “questionable reputation”, many of the cash back companies using the network marketing channel have quotable reputations, just like their more traditional counterparts.
Heck, I have a questionable reputation with some… Mr. Sybert for one. Yet this doesn’t make him a bad person for questioning my motives or for protecting his client.
Just like my questioning of a company, shouldn’t make me a bad person. I want to make sure we help guide the independent professionals who look at companies to fully understand the repetitional risk involved when aligning with any company.
In closing Mr. Sybert writes “Collectively, your false, slanderous and defamatory statements and articles have damaged DubLi and raised substantial liability on your part. DubLi intends to take appropriate legal action to hold you to account for your misconduct and the damage you have caused.
In the meantime , on behalf of DubLi, we demand that you immediately take down these articles. We demand also that you issue an immediate retraction of each of the defamatory and false statements as set forth above.
We expect your response no later than close of business within five (5) business days.
Mr. Sybert please accept this as my response! And furthermore, we do not take down editorials, but we sure do correct them when info is presented that shares additional facts or corrects something we might have gotten wrong based on the resources we quote.
In this case, we will be making your letter as well as my responses to your letter a part of the original post.
I would respectfully ask, that on behalf of your client, you provide any supporting documentation refuting anything that we have written, or that others have written that you want corrected.
You can reach me directly or through my legal counsel!
Below is the letter Mr. Richard P. Sybert sent. Click To Read Original Letter