Thursday, December 18, 2008

"IM NOT A CROOK"



So the day has come. Actual legal filings have been posted on line at PBReserve.com that show who Shawn Walker really is. I knew I was going to take some heat for publicly calling Shawn Walker a thief without having any tangible evidence at first, but I also knew that regardless of if there ever actually was any proof available that people would accept, that I had to let people know the truth about what he had done so that he wouldn't be able to do it again. Of course, in true Walker fashion, he has already begun spinning a new web of lies in a few interviews and even in a written statement of his own on 68caliber.com. It seems just when you think you have finally shed light on the matter, his magical smoke screen appears and it lays a fog over his otherwise transparent character. It baffles the mind at how someone who possesses such an uncanny ability to get people to believe in and follow him, would continually use it in such an unethical way. It's not like this is his first bull-shit ride in the screw you rodeo, it's just the first time he was publicly caught. He has a track record of screwing people over, but that uncanny ability he has, always sprung into action and somehow managed to cover everything up in the past. He is like a hybrid, idiot savant. I shouldn't say that, it actually takes a bit of quick thinking and memory retention to be able to tell such intriguing and believable lies.

Unfortunately and fortunately, too much emphasis has been put on the money Shawn stole. I pressed that issue at first so that people would know his true character, I was not trying say that, that was the only reason PP filed chapter 7. There was obviously many mistakes made along the way that caused that company to fail. It wasn't just the thieving that put the squeeze on the company. People NEED to realize that, but they also need to understand that it was ALL Shawn's fault in the end. Shawn blew tons of money on bad decisions and his ego during his time there. We are easily talking hundreds of thousands of dollars. People also need to realize that Pacific Paintball was in COMPLETE control of Shawn Walker (up until the last few months when Scott came in). That means that no matter how much you don't want to believe that one person could be responsible for the collapse of a multi million dollar backed company.......he can be. Shawn did the hiring, he set the salaries, he approved the spending on anything related to the events, he chose the venues, he set the budgets, he worked the sponsor contracts, he worked the hotel contracts etc. He oversaw or personally did everything himself. He honestly and literally had to answer to NO ONE. Now if you want to blame other people, then sure, you can. You can blame Bruce for not seeing who Shawn was in the beginning. You could blame him for giving Shawn complete control of his company. You can blame him for not checking up on Shawn with the finances. You can blame him for not listening at first to the people who came to him and told him that Shawn was up to no good and mishandling his company. You can blame the employees for not speaking up sooner. You can blame the few that helped cover up his actions in the beginning. You can blame the investors for not coming back for the next year. You can blame the economy for making it hard to find new investors to back the company when it was in need of a bailout. You can push the blame all over the place, but no matter how hard you try, it still all comes back to Shawn. Shawn duped Bruce. Shawn used the total control of the company to feed his ego and use it to his advantage. Shawn lied to Bruce and kept him thinking that all the spending was normal and everything was fine, which kept Bruce at bay and believing that Shawn was still the right guy for the job. Shawn hired the people who kept their mouth shut about what he was doing and strong armed the ones that seemed like threats, by firing others and or threatening to fire them. Shawn stole and mismanaged funds in such a way that investors no longer were comfortable putting money into a sinking ship. The only thing that can't be blamed on Shawn is the state of the economy.

Besides some of the smaller things like always getting the largest fully loaded SUV rental car during events, while Scott the CEO, would drive in economy compacts, or always having to have a suite during events instead of sleeping in a less expensive room like the rest of the staff and company executives did. (just to be fair, SOME were given to him by the hotels because the league was getting so many rooms, but that wasn't always the case), Shawn would take the staff out on extravagant outings and blow thousands of dollars at each of them. I went to one. It was a laser tag outing for the staff. The company paid for the games, the food, the drinks, everything. That bill was over $2,000. In Huntington Beach, he took out some of the staff to an upscale hotel restaurant where they ordered all the most expensive food. Everything from lobster, to steak and fancy deserts. The bill was over $3,000. Shawn constantly blew money like it was growing on trees. Up until about the middle of this year, Shawn was responsible for all the petty cash at events, both the XPSL (approx. $5,000 - $7,500) and the NPPL (approx. $10,000). That money was for the store register, registration, per diems, cash for supplies like Kinkos, Home Depot, etc. and every event when the money was reconciled at the end of the event, nothing added up when he was in charge of the money. Money was always missing. After Bruce and Scott took away the money from him and put my girlfriend Ashley in charge of it, everything besides a few mis-entered register inputs here and there, in the store, was accounted for down to mere pennies every event from then on.

One event last year, Shawn ordered around 20 extra portable tower lights after his event manager told him not to (an event manager he later fired due to "incompetence"). At $100 (average rental price) a day for approx. four days, that's $8,000 dollars wasted. I say wasted, because those extra lights never made it out of the bone-yard, where all the equipment is stored on site during events. Hotel contracts were done by Shawn in the beginning. (the league would enter contracts with hotels for discount rates for its staff and for players/teams with the understanding that the league was responsible to fill up a certain number of rooms, and if not, the league would have to pay a certain fee or penalty i.e, an attrition clause) Shawn signed a bad contract one time and when rooms didn't fill up, it ended up costing the company $40,000 in attrition contract penalties.

As for this recent web of lies he has told concerning how his personal money was tied up along with company money in the form of credit cards, lets look at some small and mostly insignificant things first before we look into the reality of that statement. First, for a guy who said over the PA system at Huntington beach the first year he took over, that this was going to be a new start for the league, one where the president (him) wasn't going to be paying himself six figures and driving around in fancy cars like he was insinuating was done in the past, he sure does have a lot of free money floating around to cover so much of the companies expenses. (Edit: and how good is his credit and how high was his pay to be able to even put $200k on a CREDIT CARD?) Oh, and don't go getting all freaky about how he got paid for the XPSL so that must be where his money came from. When he and Bruce worked out the deal for the league, Shawn had outstanding debts that needed to be paid, and in fact, Bruce paid off those debts and wanted Shawn to pay it back to him. It was never paid back. So Shawn never actually got a large sum of money for the buyout/merger of his XPSL and the NPPL. Which is maybe where some of that money went. Maybe Shawn felt he should have been paid for his league, so he just took what he felt he was owed from PP. He did that when he worked for Paintball Junkies and Mr. Paintball.

Also, again these are small and mainly insignificant but still interesting things to consider. Let's say we buy his story of the intertwining of his money with the companies. How do you explain the unauthorized company checks he wrote to his church, or to himself. He wrote an unauthorized company check for the turf in his back yard, which was brought up to him the day he was fired. His answer to the question, "What is this check for Shawn", was. "Oh, it looks like the company paid for my turf". What about that unauthorized, company paid for, compressor gift for his friends field. What about the many sponsor given products (given to PACIFIC PAINTBALL, not Shawn) that constantly came up short. 18 guns donated and sent to Shawn would turn out to be only 10 given. Happened numerous times.

Now lets actually get into these credit card claims. First of all, he was told NOT to use his personal card for anything the company needed, several times. He was told to use the COMPANY CARD which his name was on. He claims, "how can you over reimburse yourself for things that have to be approved?" Well, that's easy when you are the one in control of the petty cash at events and you use your card to purchase things, then pay yourself back with cash from the petty cash, and THEN turn in your expense receipts to the accountant to be RE-reimbursed. Why do you think the petty cash never could be properly reconciled at the end of events when he was in control of it. After that responsibility was taken away from him and given to Ashley, the receipts ALWAYS added up at the end of events.

Shawn Walker is solely responsible for the demise of Pacific Paintball. He is a liar, a thief, a manipulator, and a power hungry egomaniac. The fact that he went out and found this golden egg (Bruce and Co.) to invest in paintball, only to completely and single handedly fail at every attempt of making positive progress is nothing short of pure greed and stupidity. I have said this time and time again. He never intended to make positive changes. When Shawn took over the NPPL/Pacific Paintball (PP), he went out and hired a whole staff of people to work specific areas of the league. He hired someone to take over registration, someone to look for league sponsors, someone to take care of vendors at events, and so on. All of these new people came from his church, and none of them had any experience, not only in paintball, but in the actual position/area in which they would be working. Now I'm not saying that those people are bad, or even that they did a bad job, because this article isn't about them.....it's about Shawn. So if you've just been given pretty much the most influential power position in paintball, and you were backed with "all the money in the world" to run it, wouldn't it make complete sense to go out and find the industries best people to get on board to make that company the best it could be. Of course that would make sense.....IF, you actually were as strong of a leader as you sold yourself to be. You see, if Shawn went out and hired the industries best, or even just the best he could get for the money he was offering, then not only would he be exposed as the complete fumbling idiot that he is, but he wouldn't be able to stay in control of the power seat which allowed him to take financial advantage of being the president. By having people from his church, with no paintball experience or industry connections other than himself, no one would question his moves. No one would challenge his "authority", and that's exactly what he wanted. They wouldn't know any better. He never wanted to actually staff the most qualified, he wanted to staff the most likely to do what he said. Trust me, it is that simple.
Myself, Matty Marshall, Chris Corcino and many, many, many others all went to Shawn at one time or another after personally being asked to meet with him to go over certain areas of the league that were in need of help. I met with him about the reffing issues after what happened in Kansas City, Matt met with him about the web cast and media in general, and Chris met with him about overall branding and marketing strategies. All of us at the time had no idea that the others had met with him. Being friends and playing and working in the same industry, obviously, we eventually talked and got on the subject of the industry and what was going on in it. After talking we all figured out that one another had talked with Shawn and everyone of us had been treated exactly the same and all received pretty much the same outcome. We had all been told after meeting with him, to write up something formal about our idea and submit it to him and he would look it over and contact us. We all did so, and Chris and I were both left hanging without a response for over a month. After eventually getting back to us and telling us that there was no need for any of our ideas, and that financially the company was in no position to implement any of them, he then went out and worked those same ideas with other people and somehow miraculously found the money to fund those ideas. What are the chances that he would do that three times, that WE knew of, without it just being his MO. Shawn doesn't like being told that his ideas are no good, or that they are flawed. He also doesn't like having people around him that are out spoken and intelligent. Those are threats to him. Now if you want to try and say, well maybe he just didn't think you were good enough to do the job you had the ideas for, then I would say.......Ok, fine, I will accept that maybe he thought I had absolutely no business working the reffing problem, but why pass up Matty. Not only did he NEVER get back to Matty, but he completely ignored him at events when they crossed paths, and just blew him off through emails. Matty is the same guy who just did the PSP web cast with Patrick from Monkey With a Gun. I think we can all agree that their web cast was absolutely the best web cast ever produced for paintball. The real reason Shawn didn't want to work with us is because all three of us are strongwilled, outspoken people who he knew wouldn't just go along with all his ridiculousness. He couldn't control us.

I don't want people to think this is just a bash on Shawn Walker blog, or that I have a personal grudge with him because my girlfriend Ashely (and many others) is now out of a job because of him. There is so much more to all of this. Read my earlier postings and you will see that I have a goal in all of this and it's to help get this paintball train back on track. I have a problem with ALL of the things that are hurting this industry, not just with Shawn Walker. But there is one important thing about all of this Shawn Walker business that needs to paid close attention to. It's the very thing that has lead us all here to this place we are, in paintball. If we continue to let people control our sport who obviously don't have our best interest in mind, then we are all going to be stuck here with the same puppeteers pulling our strings. Shawn loves to talk about how people should be part of the solution and not the problem. Well people like him are the problem and anyone who doesn't see that or chooses not to, can never be a part of the solution. Shawn Walker and people like him are cancers to paintball, and they should be removed. The reason I am so animate about all of this is because not only did he absolutely, unequivocally, single handedly ruin one of the staples of this industry in the NPPL and set us all back, but he is now moving on, telling more lies and trying to brainwash more people into thinking he is a good guy and that all these people are just liars who are looking for a scapegoat. What is more believable? The word of someone who has stolen from a league, stolen from the teams, and stolen from the paintball world in general, or the words of the many people who have nothing to gain from telling the truth about a person who has ruined so many lives. You can't honestly think, all these people, including myself, are so petty as to take it upon ourselves and risk our own good names, just to pass the blame on to an "undeserving, good person". If we are EVER to move forward and create an industry that is what we all want it to be, we CAN NOT let people like this just walk away from a burning building, free from any responsibility for lighting the fire.

Do not support Shawn, and do not support the RPL. Don't become lazy and just give into the league because it is in operation and somewhere to play. There are plenty of other options already, and more on the way. None of you have a right to bitch about how bad things are if your just going to continue to feed into all the problems.


6 comments:

Crotchety Old Fan said...

Brandon,

certainly a nice write up. and thanks for mentioning the 'interview' up on 68caliber.

I just wanted to cover bases and make sure that you - and your readers - understand that our contacting Shawn and giving him and opportunity to have his say is not an endorsement of his position - nor is our running some of the bankruptcy filing information an endorsement of the claims against Shawn that were made in them.

Over on 68Caliber 2.0 I'm free to express my opinion (which I'm holding back on because the NPPL was obviously something near and dear to me) but over on 68Caliber the website, we've got to maintain that neutrality and give everyone a chance to have their say.

I'll be linking to your blog from 68 2.0 later today as your viewpoint is certainly interesting and something for folks to think about.

Brandon Lambertson 909 said...

Crotchety,

I completely respect the fact that 68caliber.com is reporting in a neutral way, and I am still an avid follower of the site, and will continue to be. I'm glad Shawn wrote what he did and that you posted it. Myself and many others believe that by writing that, he only sank himself further into the hole he has dug.

At the end of the day, people need to know the truth. No matter how bad some may want to believe in his word or believe that if found innocent in court then he must be innocent, the fact remains that too many things are amiss here for their not to be truth in all of it. I know your position there must be neutral. Mine however, does not ;). Thank you so much for reading and posting and for linking the blog. I will also link your site here as well.

Take care.

Rainman33 said...

I heard there were shady things going on, but I didn't want to believe it. However, as a player and a lover of the sport I can only believe what Brandon Lambertson says. I have heard in the past that Shawn was up to no good, but I wanted to believe everything he fed us about putting us on national television. In such a world today who can you believe? Shawn Walker, a man with a short history in paintball and a man out to make a dollar or Brandon Lambertson, a former player and lover of the sport. I'm out raged that Shawn Walker would dismiss the opinion or help of a man like Matty Marshall. Not only is Matty a world champion and lover of the sport, he is also a well educated, intelligent and well spoken individual. People like Matty are what we need to promote our sport. It is a shame to see an outside sponsor come and go, but hopefully we will find another one. If or when that time comes, I can only hope that someone with the best interest of the sport is put in charge. I can say that I will also not promote the PRL league. I also ask, that every inspiring paintball player out there do the same.

Raney Stanczak
Team San Diego Aftermath

In the know said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
npplrefsam said...

Brandon,
I know me and u arnt on good terms steaming back from splatfactory when I reffed there, but I whould like to thank u for sheading a light on this matter, it has helped a lot of us see both side of the story and to see the actual truth! I will be posting a link to this on our new web site www.pbrefs.com once again thank you for this article! I wish our sport luck in moving on beyond this crook!!!!

Black&Blue said...

Being from the players "movement" from 2004-2007 and getting to know the industry as it is & was, Shawn is nothing more than a waste of flesh. I had more & more people tell me that he was "for the player", "give him a chance". Well, after being in that "web" of lies, I have come to figure out that there are more people involved with Mr. Walker than most know of. Mainly in the Nor Cal area. People are fasinated by power. And those who have it, flaunt it. They also take advantage of those that don't have it or are trusting.

This is a BIG statement in it self. No knock on Planet Eclipse as a company because they have been fooled as well, but this particlure company and persons are in Walkers web (major Nor Cal & west coast supplier of Eclipse and other equipment/paintball company). So much so, that they have "dooped" (sp?) many teams in many events and also signed on as a "major sponsor" for the RPL. Please, stay away from them, for what it's worth. Until everything comes into light, go somewhere else, bargin with someone else. I just don't want to see someone put into the postion that I was put into.

Stay AWAY from the RPL and the people and companies that are involved with RPL. You will be greatfull later down the line.

Thank you Brandon for shedding more light into this matter. There are more involved that are willing to admit it or come foreword. Once the ship goes down, more & more companies will jump it and say they had no idea! This is going to be a very intersting 2009!