Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1   Report Post  
Old September 26th 05, 03:33 AM
 
Posts: n/a
Default ChessCafe blackmailing USCF?


CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE OR PRUDENT STEWARDSHIP?

A source, who was not anonymous but of unproven
veracity, contacted me about 24 hours ago. Here is
the story that I was told.

As we all know, the USCF's Book and Equipment
business was outsourced to Hanon Russell's Chess Cafe.
The latter undertook to provide a minimum annual
commission of $350,000 or 13.5% on sales,
whichever proved greater.

The current claimed amount owed by the Cafe is $180,000.

However, this debt figure of $180,000 included
monies only up to April 2005, according to my source.
Mr. Russell, I am told, has not provided sales figures
for several months and, says the source, the estimated
debt has skyrocketted to $250,000 -- and, of course, growing
daily, in this version of events.

I am told that there is now a cash flow problem
at the USCF, which if true, comes three to four months
after my prediction earlier this year for April or May.

This source says that the USCF has yet to issue
a default of contract notice on Mr. Russell because of
Board majority sympathetic to him. The issue thereby
becomes one of possible criminal negligence in failing
to protect USCF interests by pursuing legal recourse or
one of prudent stewardship by a Board majority that feels
this moment is the wrong one to lay down an ultimatum.

According to my source, Bill Goichberg relayed
an ultimatum from Mr. Russell to the EB with two
demands:

1. The 13.5% commission rate be lowered;

2. He will only pay what he owes if the Federation EXTENDS HIS
CONTROL OVER B & E UNTIL THE YEAR 2012.

My source states that Mr. Russell's demands
were defeated by the Board and that a compromise
proposal passed. It was apparently rejected by Mr.
Russell. I do not know the terms of this compromise.

IS THE USCF BEING BLACKMAILED BY HANON RUSSELL?

My source, who may be speaking on behalf of
interested chess book and equipment dealers, believes
it is "certain" that "the USCF is being blackmailed and
faces losing the entire B&E business."

Mr. Russell, states my source, "is a lawyer and now
he has all the customer information. Someone should
be asking the question why is the USCF not getting its
money??? And why is the Board submitting to blackmail?"

That is the situation which comes from one
source of as yet unproven veracity -- a new source
among my stable.

  #2   Report Post  
Old September 26th 05, 03:47 AM
Matt Nemmers
 
Posts: n/a
Default

wrote in message
ups.com...

CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE OR PRUDENT STEWARDSHIP?

A source, who was not anonymous but of unproven
veracity, contacted me about 24 hours ago. Here is
the story that I was told.

However, this debt figure of $180,000 included
monies only up to April 2005, according to my source.
Mr. Russell, I am told, has not provided sales figures
for several months and, says the source,

This source says that the USCF has yet to issue
a default of contract notice on Mr. Russell because of
Board majority sympathetic to him.

My source states that Mr. Russell's demands
were defeated by the Board and that a compromise
proposal passed.

My source, who may be speaking on behalf of
interested chess book and equipment dealers, believes
it is "certain" that "the USCF is being blackmailed and
faces losing the entire B&E business."

Mr. Russell, states my source, "is a lawyer and now
he has all the customer information. Someone should
be asking the question why is the USCF not getting its
money??? And why is the Board submitting to blackmail?"


Anyone wanna bet that Liarry's source is none other than 1900-rated but
self-proclaimed 2200+ ELO Mack Truck NM Sam Sloan? And speaking on behalf
of Eric Schiller, no doubt....


  #3   Report Post  
Old September 26th 05, 04:43 AM
Mike Murray
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On Mon, 26 Sep 2005 02:47:49 GMT, "Matt Nemmers"
wrote:

However, this debt figure of $180,000 included
monies only up to April 2005, according to my source.
Mr. Russell, I am told, has not provided sales figures
for several months and, says the source,


Anyone wanna bet that Liarry's source is none other than 1900-rated but
self-proclaimed 2200+ ELO Mack Truck NM Sam Sloan? And speaking on behalf
of Eric Schiller, no doubt....


Parr's had some solid hits in the last year or so, e.g., the initial
fee for the architect at Crossville, actual estimated construction
cost of the building, etc. And many here were skeptical of the Chess
Cafe deal from the inception.

Prices at Chess Cafe are generally not competitive with those at
Amazon, especially when you factor in the latter's consortium of used
book dealers.

For example, at Chess Cafe, Benko's revision of Fine's BCE is $23.95
with the member discount. It's 16.47 at Amazon, with some used ones
in good condition at $8.95.

The highly regarded "Pal Benko: My Life, Games and Compositions" is
$42.95, again with members discount, at Chess Cafe, while at Amazon
it's $27.90.

Nimzovich's "Chess Praxis" -- Chess Cafe: $16.95. Amazon is $17.95
for this "21st Century Edition", but it has the older edition
available for two bucks.

Watson's "Chess Strategy in Action -- Chess Cafe: 23.95. Amazon
$16.47 with used copies for 14.49.

I didn't cherry pick these examples. I just looked up some recent
books as I thought of 'em. I realize that Chess Cafe probably has
titles not available at Amazon. I could not quickly find if Chess
Cafe has anything comparable to Amazon's free shipping with x dollar
orders.

Given that both operations are mail order, I would be surprised if
Chess Cafe weren't in some trouble.


  #4   Report Post  
Old September 26th 05, 04:53 AM
The Historian
 
Posts: n/a
Default


Mike Murray wrote:
I realize that Chess Cafe probably has
titles not available at Amazon.


For example, the Quarterly for Chess History and other publications by
Moravian.

  #5   Report Post  
Old September 26th 05, 05:39 AM
Mike Murray
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On 25 Sep 2005 20:53:52 -0700, "The Historian"
wrote:

Mike Murray wrote:
I realize that Chess Cafe probably has
titles not available at Amazon.


For example, the Quarterly for Chess History and other publications by
Moravian.


Yup.

And if both stores were brick-and-mortar, folks browsing in ChessCafe
for the more esoteric and specialized stuff would be tempted to pick
up the more mainstream titles while they were in the store.

But, with a couple of mouse clicks, one can be in both Internet stores
simultaneously and it's minimal work to comparison shop for any given
title. So Amazon (or Barnes and Noble) can skim the cream.

Factoring in E-bay, and it's even tougher. I was on a nostalgia trip
not long ago and wanted to pick up one of the Windsor Castle chess
sets (a wood reproduction of a popular 1950s plastic set). Chess Cafe
had 'em on sale for $130 versus a "list price" of $160. I picked one
up on E-bay (new, from House of Staunton) for about $50, including
shipping and handling. A friend of mine got a new chess clock at
similar savings.


  #6   Report Post  
Old September 26th 05, 07:33 AM
 
Posts: n/a
Default

I'LL TAKE THAT BET!

Anyone wanna bet that Liarry's source is none other than 1900-rated but self-proclaimed 2200+ ELO Mack Truck NM Sam Sloan? -- Matt Nemmers


Translation of Matt Nemmers' argument: above all else, try to
black out what is happening re the ChessCafe deal.

I provided a report with plenty of caveats about my source, who
is known by name but who is not yet known to be reliable.

I have a hunch, which I hope is wrong, that the current Board
will try to kill my report with silence in the hope that I will not
receive further information.

If my source is substantially accurate, then any deal handing B
&E another seven years to ChessCafe will mean the effective end of the
USCF as a
company that can market products.

To grant such a contract without Delegate approval would be as
irresponsible as Beatriz Marinello's decision to relegate the
Federation to a methamphetamine
capital known as Crossville.

  #7   Report Post  
Old September 26th 05, 01:03 PM
Chess One
 
Posts: n/a
Default


wrote in message
ups.com...
I'LL TAKE THAT BET!

Anyone wanna bet that Liarry's source is none other than 1900-rated but
self-proclaimed 2200+ ELO Mack Truck NM Sam Sloan? -- Matt Nemmers


Translation of Matt Nemmers' argument: above all else, try to
black out what is happening re the ChessCafe deal.

I provided a report with plenty of caveats about my source, who
is known by name but who is not yet known to be reliable.


News of the debt has been out for what, 5 months? No one had any idea how
chesscafe could actually pay it and continue.

The last bit of information leaking out of the basement was that there would
be a negotiation downward of the owed sum, together with a gigantic
reduction of future guaranteed income. Fears were that chesscafe would dump
it completely. Then we'd be in Crossville without a paddle.

I have a hunch, which I hope is wrong, that the current Board
will try to kill my report with silence in the hope that I will not
receive further information.

If my source is substantially accurate, then any deal handing B
&E another seven years to ChessCafe will mean the effective end of the
USCF as a
company that can market products.


This was the 'discussion item' at the beginning of the deal. But all was
blue-skys then, and my suggestion to the proposer of the deal, VP Sgt.
Hanke, that there was no 'plan B' to the current deal was scorned, since
making a nice income for several years was 'guaranteed'! Right.

To grant such a contract without Delegate approval would be as
irresponsible as Beatriz Marinello's decision to relegate the
Federation to a methamphetamine
capital known as Crossville.


I seem to have different spies than you - in the recent open session the
board spent 2 hours discussing if the scholastic membership fee could be
raised by ... 2 bucks a year. They ignored a comment from the floor that
scholastic parents often spend $200 on a weekend tourney.

In the corridors the conversation turned to income - and a whaddawedonow?
series of conversations, because costs are higher than were supposed and the
guaranteed income stream to support running costs has evaporated - and
perhaps inevitably, the conversation turned to staffing levels, the high
cost of, these days...

But other comments should be contributed to the 'moderated forum' thread,
since even George John agreed that more not less light and air were
necessary at USCF, and that any admitted current ills were less likely to
occur if plans were aired and made [remember 'transparent'?] than hatched in
the dark basement of some old church down thair...

Phil Innes


  #8   Report Post  
Old September 26th 05, 02:57 PM
Tom Martinak
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Chess One wrote:

This was the 'discussion item' at the beginning of the deal. But all was
blue-skys then, and my suggestion to the proposer of the deal, VP Sgt.
Hanke, that there was no 'plan B' to the current deal was scorned, since
making a nice income for several years was 'guaranteed'! Right.


You have the facts backwards. Hanke preferred a deal with a different
vendor which didn't have a 'guaranteed' value. At the time, he even
expressed the opinion that he was worried about the guarantee and
didn't want to include it in the USCF budget. He eventually went along
with the majority, but the prime advocate of the current deal was the
then Executive Director Bill Goichberg. You might want to take a look
at:
http://www.checkmate.us/report.htm
under the heading "Book and Equipment Sales Outsourcing" for more
details from Bill's campaign including:

"They were considering a proposal with no minimum guarantee to USCF.
Instead, there was a clause giving USCF the right to cancel the
contract after a year if annual sales were less than $1.8 million.
Hanke seemed to think this was just as good, but the right to cancel
wouldn't have produced any revenue, only allowed us to start the
bidding over again under less favorable conditions (poor sales do not
promote good bids) after a year of inadequate revenue. I argued that we
should insist on a substantial minimum guarantee and that we could
obtain one.
I suggested that I be put in charge of the negotiations and
allowed to contact any potential bidder, telling the Board I was sure I
could do much better than the bid they were considering. There was
strong resistence, but finally they agreed."

- Tom Martinak

  #9   Report Post  
Old September 26th 05, 03:30 PM
 
Posts: n/a
Default

I am enough of a man not to argue with Larry just for argument's sake.
He makes some good points, even if it is in his usual muckraking style.

I don't understand enough of the ChessCafe deal to discuss it with any
intelligence, but I wonder why we didn't consider "outsourcing" to
Amazon, as many folks do with a link to Amazon from their webpage. Some
friends of mine who are part-time chess authors, and publish mostly
specialty books, have found that this has increased their sales
tremendously, and they also receive a commission back from Amazon as
well.

ChessCafe has great stuff, great customer service, but I only order the
odd stuff from them, as they are way too expensive. So I will ask: Why
not Amazon as a partner with a link from the USCF website? Could we do
any worse? Wouldn't it be great advertising for both USCF and Amazon?

  #10   Report Post  
Old September 26th 05, 03:49 PM
Sam Sloan
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On 26 Sep 2005 07:30:06 -0700, "
wrote:

I am enough of a man not to argue with Larry just for argument's sake.
He makes some good points, even if it is in his usual muckraking style.

I don't understand enough of the ChessCafe deal to discuss it with any
intelligence, but I wonder why we didn't consider "outsourcing" to
Amazon, as many folks do with a link to Amazon from their webpage. Some
friends of mine who are part-time chess authors, and publish mostly
specialty books, have found that this has increased their sales
tremendously, and they also receive a commission back from Amazon as
well.

ChessCafe has great stuff, great customer service, but I only order the
odd stuff from them, as they are way too expensive. So I will ask: Why
not Amazon as a partner with a link from the USCF website? Could we do
any worse? Wouldn't it be great advertising for both USCF and Amazon?

Your idea is silly. The USCF is not a book publisher. The USCF had a
retail sales operation with sales of $3.5 million per year. The
operation was first gutted by Redman, then rebuilt under Niro and
finally outsourced under Marinello. So, the $3.5 million we used to
get we no longer get.

I get checks of $200 per year from Amazon. How much more than $200
would Amazon be willing to pay the USCF?

At least ChessCafe did pay $177,000 for the first year, which is a lot
better than nothing, and a lot more than Amazon would pay.

Sam Sloan
Reply
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules

Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Reply to Affidavit of Leroy Dubeck Sam Sloan rec.games.chess.misc (Chess General) 22 March 29th 05 04:44 PM
Dear Taylor Kingston Chess One rec.games.chess.misc (Chess General) 74 November 18th 04 01:23 AM
4 EB members intimidated by attorney letter WPraeder rec.games.chess.politics (Chess Politics) 1 October 24th 04 11:07 AM
Message from Yasser Seirawan about drug testing Tim Hanke rec.games.chess.politics (Chess Politics) 60 December 17th 03 07:04 PM
B&E Biz Outsourcing Scott rec.games.chess.politics (Chess Politics) 174 September 17th 03 11:17 AM


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 02:05 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright 2004-2019 ChessBanter.
The comments are property of their posters.
 

About Us

"It's about Chess"

 

Copyright © 2017