The following compromises quotes, paraphrasing and attachments from a rep’s deposition. I will refer to the rep as Rep X to protect their privacy. This Rep X was deposed as part of Tim Darnell/Advantage Conferences frivolous suit against the Better Business Bureau. The judge, as we all know, laughed Timmy boy out of court with a one page decision granting the BBB’s Motion for Summary Judgment.
Mr. David Myers, outstanding attorney for the Better Business Bureau, questions Rep X for the first third of this lengthy deposition. Rep X heard about Advantage Conferences through an e-mail from an acquaintance. The acquaintance then phoned and said, “Rep X, look at it. It sounds familiar and it sounds great. It’s a Christian company.”
Rep X gets on a conference call with Tim Darnell. Timmy says, “Do anything that you can to get the money together, because even if it’s a credit card, I did it on three credit cards to start my business. Get it together anywhere you can….at the end of the month you will get the money back.”
The Rep was led to believe that it was a Christian company and one could make money with the program and was repeatedly pushed to do whatever was necessary to get the money together. The rep believed the focus would be learning about starting a business and what it takes to be in business.
Rep X told the enroller that flying would not be an option. Rep X was told a DVD or CD might be available as reps from Europe will not fly over for a one or two day seminar. The first conference was in Dallas.
Rep X signs up as an MMC I (basically the rep has paid to attend one of six 90 minute “intensives” with supposed millionaire mentors and of course sell the opportunity.) The acquaintance’s upline Jim McHugh received $500 of the $1000 Rep X paid as the enroller wasn’t yet qualified.
Jim McHugh had a niece and sister he had signed up. They were MMC Is. He convinces Rep X to spend another $1000 and upgrade to an MMC II ($2000.00)
Jim McHugh then cons Rep X into upgrading to an MMC IV (purchase ticket to attend all six sessions with the supposed millionaire mentors at the two day conference---the highest level) Rep X had been promised that if the $10,000 upgrade was paid for then Jim’s sister or niece would be placed under them in the matrix and upgraded to the MMC IV so that Rep X will get qualifying sales. Rep X has to use money from a home refinance that was needed for home repairs to make the upgrade to the $10,000 level.
Jim McHugh promises he will place the 2 relatives of his under Rep X and that help that rep. Jim got the $500 commissions from each $1000 sale to his niece and sister and then he got another $6500.00 for a total of $7000.00 from Rep X. So, Jim McHugh was the only one that benefited from that deal.
Mr. Myers again has the rep confirm that the thousands of dollars spent to upgrade to an MMC IV came from refinancing and taking the money that was needed for home repairs. Rep X was told by Tim (as one can see in early AC Ads also) that one can add a zero to their monthly income--$4000.00 to $40,000.00 was Tim’s example--- and expect to make that monthly. One would get their money back at the end of the first month he promised, but that didn’t happen either. Tim even quipped that one could add a couple of zeroes and that is what you can expect a month. The Christian aspect made Tim believable.
Tim Darnell told reps to step out of the box and do whatever one can to get the money as Rep X tells him the refinanced home is about to be foreclosed and lost. Rep X managed to refinance yet again in a desperate effort to save the home. Rep X tells Tim things can’t go on like this. Tim again says the rep will have the money to pay it back. Rep X requests a refund of the $10,000 from Tim.
We learn that the Rep has done pay per click advertising. Rep X sees that $200 a month for that garners no response. Jack Weinzierl spending $8-10,000, by his own admission, was the only one getting recruits. “Jack is, not the little guy.” He encouraged the reps to use it. Rep X paid for the advertising with money from Social Security checks. This rep went hungry to pay for the pay per click ads. Tim and Jack knew this rep wasn’t eating.
We learn there are three groups. Tim, Jack and Jim Wald are at the top of the pyramid. Jack also convinced Rep X to give him $600.00 for a postcard mailing to potential recruits. That resulted in no response. Jim McHugh ran a lead generation business and gives Rep X 400 names. Rep X paid for the postage for more postcards and again there is no response.
Rep X was told travel was not necessary, but the enroller hysterically begged Rep X to go with him to Hawaii. Hawaii never happened. Rep X was told there were quarterly—4 conferences a year. We have seen that Tim is barely managing 2 scamferences a year at this point.
Rep X describes the laughable alternative marketing that AC pushed. Jack covered his Hummer in AC ads and suggests Rep X do the same. Rep X is told to put stickers on cars and fliers on doors. All this to locate other people to participate in the income opportunity, Rep X confirms. There has never been a retail conference sale.
Rep X is giving up food, but Jack is happy to hit up this rep for $25 cash, which is all the cash Rep X had, for a birthday gift for scammer Tim. We again see that Rep X is desperate for a ten grand refund. This doesn’t include “the thousands dollars spent in advertising, eating beans, doing what I asked to do.” This rep got one check for $500 because of a friend that Rep X recruited at the MMC I level.
Mr. Myers then puts up an e-mail from Timmy that says Member of the Better Business Bureau in the signature block. Rep X said that enhanced the credibility of Advantage Conferences. Rep X hears from a prospect that it is a lie. Rep X discovers Tim’s deception as he is not a member and learns that he has claimed copyrights and trademarks he didn’t have and hadn’t even applied for. Rep X “felt as a Christian I can no longer work with him.” Rep X called Timmy and asks him how he can claim to be a member when he is not. That is not Christian to Rep X. It is a matter of trust.
Rep X became aware of the misleading advertising. Rep X believed that as the bible says one shouldn’t boast, and Tim’s ads with folks holding up $7000.00 checks delivered by the FedEx truck were wrong. Rep X couldn’t afford to renew with AC. Rep X consulted a CPA who said AC was a waste of money and what Tim was doing was wrong. Rep X tells Tim that and is answered by Jack with the following e-mail.
To: Rep X
Subject: RE: Update & Request
Date: Thu, 15 Dec 2005 5:19 PM
Rep X, and you will also and you will also be billed for my time and most recently I billed out at $300.00 an hour. I wish you the very best Rep X.
To Your Success,
Jack M. Weinzierl
Advantage Conferences, LLC
Rep X couldn’t imagine why Jack would be threatening to charge, when the issues were between the rep and Tim Darnell. The AC literature led the rep to believe privacy would be respected, but Tim apparently can’t make a decision without Jack.
Tim sends a cease and desist letter.
To: Rep X
Subject: CEASE AND DESIST FORMAL NOTICE
1/19/2006 9:52:58 AM
To: Rep X
This notice serves as official notice to CEASE AND DESIST regarding all libelous statements to anyone whatsoever, and especially Advantage Conferences Reps and/or prospects.
For your own good, you should think very carefully about making, speaking, and/or sending out libelous letters or statements. It only takes one instance of libel to be indicted and the penalties are harsh and severe. By your threat, you have or are planning to send hundreds of letters of libel – a very bad idea. The last person who did that to me was issued a court mandated legal penalty of $405,000.00, the settlement of which they are now paying on a monthly basis for 20 plus years of their life.
If you insist on involving yourself in this type of activity, our Attorneys are poised to uncover the hard evidence of your libel against me personally and against our company, Advantage Conferences, and will act immediately. I advised them of your mental situation and that I have compassion for you personally; but that we are now in a position to not stand for any further ill-advised, adversarial and tortuous interference with our Company.
This is an OFFICIAL NOTICE PUBLISHED ON JANUARY 19, 2006 and will be retained as official documentation for possible court proceedings.
Tim accused anyone who criticized him or AC of having mental problems. Any rep that asked questions had mental problems according to Tim. Tim and company made many lawsuit threats.
The deposition continues with Tim’s attorney Ciarochi questioning Rep X. Ciarochi gets into the President’s Interview and Rep X points out that the oral and written version are different. We find again that Tim and Ciarochi have failed to produce a number of requested documents. At that point Ciarochi starts pages of questions about the fine points of the incomprehensible compensation plan. Our very sharp and tenacious Rep X makes Ciarochi look like a complete buffoon. Ciarochi whines that the Reps answers are non-responsive and tries endlessly and unsuccessfully to get answers struck from the record. The truth about AC is much stranger than any fiction.
Mr. Myers frequently objects to the form of these endless questions about the compensation plan.
“Mr. Darnell explained that the $59 was only, quote, to satisfy the government, whatever the agency that controls multilevel marketing. That’s only a legal matter, that’s why the $59 was put in. if he had not put the $59 in, it was not a legal document, a legal multilevel marketing,” Rep X shares.
Ciarochi asks, “Do you understand there are certain regulations involving independent conractors and what you need for tax purposes to have a 1040 versus a 1099 tax filing?”
Rep X answers, “Yes, I asked Tim Darnell and he says it was up to me, its not up to him to send it to me. I called the IRS. The IRS says, ‘Yes, you need to have that one sent by the company.’ Tim Darnell claimed that Rep X had to produce the 1099, not AC.
Ciarochi rambles on “I was trying to stay on subject and see if we could have a common understanding as to why a business might want to charge $59.95 for its sales reps so that they could have a document for the governments purposes, for the government to understand when an individual is an independent contractor versus when an individual for tax purposes is considered an employee of an organization. Do you understand the difference between when someone is a 1099 or an independent contractor versus when someone is a 1040 or an employee of that company?...So do you agree that there might be other reasons related to whether someone is labeled legally you’re an employee or not as to why someone may want to enter a contract with someone so that that person can instead be an independent contractor? ”
Rep S responds intelligently “I don’t understand what you’re saying” and Ciarochi jumps back to the tired subject of the compensation plan. We return to the President’s Interview and Rep X says the question about whether one is a whiner is none of AC’s business. Then once again the compensation plan is front and center. Rep X tells Ciarochi that an attorney looked it over and couldn’t understand it. Ciarochi would have done himself and Tim a great favor if he had just sat down and kept his mouth shut.
Ciarochi has Rep X discussing at length that Tim had Member of the Better Business Bureau in his signature line. Ciarochi asks if Tim told the rep that. The rep responds it is on his e-mails. We again are dragged through the details of Rep X being told by a prospect that Tim was not a bureau member.
Rep X’s church declares what Tim is doing is wrong. Rep X does not want to work with someone that can’t be trusted. A church said, “Yes, as a Christian company, he is wrong.” Rep X says, “Therefore my trust is gone. I can no longer work with him.”
Ciarochi then wants to argue about how many and what dates the e-mails contained Timmy’s boldfaced lie. Ciarochi wants to know if the rep would be surprised to know Timmy had been a member with another business previously. We readers all know he is referring to the bankrupt All-Star Entrepreneur, which was a member and Tim is infuriated because the BBB linked the All-Star page on the AC page. So, why Ciarochi would bring that up I can’t imagine! Ciarochi tries to get the rep to say if Timmy applied than he should be able to claim membership despite the fact he was never approved. As Ciarochi continues to hammer on this until the rep tells him that one church instructed that information should be given to Tim’s own church’s council because what he did was wrong.
Ciarochi then lectures the rep on how no purchase is required. Ciarochi, Tim and Jack all seem to think that no purchase being required guarantees that it is all legal. Rep X correctly points out that one will not be able to sell something that one is not willing to purchase themselves. “You have to get the conference in order for you to sell it.” Rep X was told by Timmy that if one quits money, time and contacts would be lost and that “he did not make the rules---God made the rules.”
Ciarochi goes through every detail of the enrollment form. Rep X says the information on the form is not the issue. The three day right to cancel in Texas may have passed, but the issue according to the rep was what Timmy was doing after the rep was enrolled. Rep X reiterates that the refund was requested after the rep was told and read that Timmy lied about the BBB membership and other advertising material. Ciarochi asks again if Tim or anyone verbally stated AC was a member of the Bureau. The rep repeats for the millionth time it was in Tim’s signature.
Ciarochi reminds Rep X that there were Jim McHugh’s 2 relatives and Rep X’s friend plus Rep X’s MMC IV $10,000 purchase, so he wants to know if Rep X is unhappy about the $500 check received from AC. Rep X says firmly that is was the way it was handled. Rep X just lined the pocket of the lying Jim McHugh. “He knew it was enhancement of him.”
Ciarochi asks Rep X about the BBB posting about Advantage Conferences. The rep read it after prospects complained. “I think it was wrong for Tim Darnell to do it, and it was right for the Better Business Bureau to inform the people about what the company is and what is not.” Ciarochi asks if the rep considered AC a pyramid after reading the BBB site and a resounding yes is the answer. The rep felt that everything on the BBB was true. Ciarochi ask the rep if the BBB has a good reputation and the rep says yes. He also asks if the BBB is believable and the rep again responds in the affirmative. Ciarochi asks, “did Jack Weinzierl write to you and say he believed that you were affected by what you read at the Better Business Bureau and that affected your impression of Advantage Conferences?”
The following e-mail is referenced.
Rep X, we need to talk
Date: 11/2/05 7:38:03 P.M. Pacific Standard Time
To: Rep X
Sent from the Internet (Details)
Rep X, we need to talk. It appears that you were affected from some irresponsible posting on a local BBB site. I thought that we have built a level of trust and I am concerned with your reaction here. They asked for Tim response by 11-1, and then they stabbed him in the back by posting irresponsibly before receiving what they requested of him. I have never been more committed or excited about what we are doing here.
I am sorry that you were not here to experience the MMC in Dallas as you would not have any question of value. Call me tomorrow. I hold you and your business up in my prayers.
To Your Success,
Jack M. Weinzierl
Advantage Conferences, LLC
817.205.9513 Direct Phone
RE: Can anyone please follow up
1/30/06 8:48:48 P.M. Pacific Standard Time
Sent from the Internet (Details)
Success is imminent for those who don’t quit, Rep X. Each Rep’s timing is unique, but with consistency, success happens for each one.
We have proven the BBB was totally inaccurate in their postings and will win our lawsuit against them. A major governmental agency has agreed that they were inaccurate in their posting regarding their “pyramid” reference. Truth and our integrity is vindicated once again and will always be.
Ciarochi has the rep describe forwarding many e-mails to the Better Business Bureau. When Ciarochi again asks why the complaint was filed Rep X responds, “The difference is because Tim Darnell misled me. Tim Darnell told a lie, and I cannot as a Christian work with a Christian company that lies; and everybody will back me up on that including the church council, that he is wrong.”
The fraudulent trademarks were on cards sent out and e-mails and prospects told Rep X about the BBB site. Ciarochi tries to paint it as trademarks can be improperly used if, for example, someone selling a dark beverage called it Coca-cola. That would be stealing Ciarochi claims, but Timmy didn’t steal those marks, so apparently to lie about them being protected is alright in Ciarochi’s book.
Ciarochi, in another moment of brilliance questions the rep about the testimonial that was written. The testimonial was written one month before Rep X learned of Tim’s decptions. Jack Weinzierl instructed the rep on what to write. No negative and only positive was the caveat.
Mr. Myers has the rep explain the testimonial was written before learning anything about AC/Tim Darnell. Mr. Myers wraps up the questions with a discussion of what the rep was told by the DSA (Direct Selling Association.)
The rep wanted to know the difference between multilevel marketing and direct sales.
After hearing about Advantage conferences, the DSA representative said it sounds like a scam. The DSA rep said it was definitely multilevel and “he said it soulds like it’s a scam because he had never heard of anybody paying $7000.00 for something that people do not do anything for it; he thinks that it’s not a product, it’s not a resellable product. They felt you enroll people instead of a product.”
That wrapped up a very long deposition.