Jan 17, 2014
Here's the full "Hello World" story from the Detroit Free Press.
And, I didn't publish this before but here's the scoop on the "frivolous lawsuit" and when it was dismissed: Crain's Detroit
I tried to get in on the suit but was told by the lawyer in charge that they weren't interested in including other plaintiffs at the time (probably because I have such an ax to grind about ePrize).
I'm still stuck with a big tax bill on a paltry amount of money from what probably should have been beaucoup bucks in stocks. Thanks, Josh, Dan, et al. Something tells me that you made out like bandits.
May 17, 2013
Shortly after being fired from ePrize I received a call from Robb Lippitt telling me that there was a screw up in the paperwork and that I had to pay taxes on my profits from the sale. 50% of the amount netted was due! Rather than paying, I've been allowing the interest from the amount in escrow.
Every year since then I've gotten a statement saying that I was just a little closer to paying off that insane tax bill and claiming the net of what I sold.
This year, however, I got a very strange email. Rather than my usual statement I got a cryptic email that talked about all of ePrize's stock being sold off and that I'd get a payout but that there could be another huge amount taken out in taxes.
I hadn't heard about ePrize being sold last August. Despite being a stock holder, I guess I don't need to know these things. According to Xconomy, "the company’s backers, including Quicken Loans' Dan Gilbert, scored a healthy return on their investments."
However, those healthy returns don't seem to be "trickling down" to those who hold stock options in the company. Instead, we seem to be getting the shit end of the stick. I just read that there's a lawsuit against ePrize by my fellow disgruntled employees.
According to Crains:
Suing are former ePrize Executive Vice President of Business Development Ivan Frank, former Senior Vice President of Production Jeffrey Dwoskin, former Senior Vice President of Product Development Phil Jacokes, former associate creative director James Brunk, former controller Blake Atler, former sales associate Matt Kovaleski, Roy Krauthammer and Frank's investment company, IJF Holdings LLC.
Most worked at ePrize more than four years ago, according to employment histories at LinkedIn. The lawsuit alleges they each owned shares of ePrize and received nothing for them in the sale, though the company allegedly issued recent Schedule K-1 statements to them for tax purposes, indicating they'd received a distribution from the sale.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages above $25,000, along with a full accounting of the sale transaction plus attorney fees and "recoupment of all sums ill-gotten" by ePrize and the other defendants.
Linkner and Hermelin said in a statement: "There is zero merit to the claims made by these former ePrize employees, most of whom are disgruntled about being terminated years ago. The sale of ePrize was completed according to the letter of the law. We intend to fight this frivolous suit with all available resources afforded under the law."
Meanwhile, Dan Gilbert doesn't seem to be taking the lawsuit well. In The Detroit Free Press he's quoted as saying:
"This is a just a frivolous lawsuit by disgruntled ex-employees who are trying to take a shot and hoping somebody writes a check to them and goes away," Gilbert said in an interview. "It's not going to happen because we never settle, ever, if we're right."
"I don't think it's news," he added. "Lawsuits get filed all the time."
I'm going to call on Monday to see if I can take part in this suit. Wish me luck.
Apr 1, 2011
I'm proud to announce that the ePrize: No Limits blog has been nominated for Best Cultural Blog by the Webby Awards (www.webbyawards.com). The official announcement comes out on April 12 but I wanted to let folks know now so they can spread the word when it comes to voting. I know that I've got a lot of enthusiastic readers here and that everyone loves the blog so be sure to vote early and often! In the past the Best Cultural Blog has gone to behemoth blogs like Mashable and 1000 Awesome Things. I know it's cliche but I'm just honored that ePrize: No Limits has been nominated! Thanks to everyone who nominated us!
Feb 18, 2011
Jan 18, 2011
Maybe you haven't been keeping up on current events but we just got our asses kicked, pal!
It's like Sweepstakes Express but smarter... I'm talking about the Wildfire Promotion Builder that looks and acts like Caffeine on caffeine. The best part? It's all about the Facebook, baby. This is a definite game-changer.
Okay, ePrize... what'cha got?
Aug 19, 2010
Thanks to a reader of the blog who tipped me off to the TruTV show, Hardcore Pawn. It stars none other than Ashley Gold who's known in some circles as Ashley Gold-Broad. As in Jordan Broad--as in his wife. Maybe Jordan will have a cameo on the show sometime. We can only hope.
May 13, 2010
Looks like our new ePrize CEO Matt Wise proved his namesake when he finally lowered the boom on ePrize EVP of Delivery, Jordan Broad, yesterday. This was one of a few firings and a couple of demotions yesterday -- all of them at the top of the house from where most of the company's problems stem.
I don't know what ePrize will do without Jordan. His input and work has been an invaluable part of the last decade at the company with all of the things he did such as... well... um... scoping out pictures of his female coworkers on FaceBook? And, um.... looking important in his office? And then there was this one time when... wait... what the hell did Jordan do for the last ten years at ePrize other than collect a fairly fat paycheck?
Keep up the good work, Matt. That was probably the best first step you could have taken.
Apr 8, 2010
This was pointed out to me today. The Qatar diplomat who just grounded a flight because he had to catch a smoke sure looks familiar...
Mar 11, 2010
ePrize is featured in an article about "cool companies" in metromode. Oddly, what metromode calls out as "cool" is what I found the most annoying at ePrize: "Multiple floors all done up in greens and purples, with a contemporary design and an open floor plan conducive to conversation and paper football.".
Despite rumors of a real management cleanup at ePrize, Jordan Broad is still listed as Executive Vice President, Delivery on the ePrize website. The title is as nebulous as the work he does.
Feb 8, 2010
Mirror mirror on the wall... is Josh Linkner the greatest CEO of all?
Josh, you are fair, 'tis true, but there is another fairer than you.
Today Josh Linkner announced officially that he's stepping down as the CEO of ePrize, LLC. His replacement, Matt Wise is coming in from Chicago's Q Interactive to take over the reigns. Though Josh will stay on as "chairman" -- focusing on innovation and sales -- it'll be interesting to see how he interacts with Wise. Will he chafe under Wise's "full operational control" or will he take a back seat? Or will he only he be a figurehead? The details of the deal Linkner made with the Board of Directors has yet to be revealed.
I find it very difficult to believe that Linkner went to the Board and humbly told them that the mirror told him he couldn't cut it as the CEO of the company he wanted ePrize to be. I find it much easier to swallow the the Board finally put an end to his rampant spending and maybe even curtailed the skirt-chasing.
Despite the claim that only one offer had been made for the CEO position, inside sources say that a big baller from the East Coast, George Russel, was the first person to whom the CEO offer was extended. Brian Hermelin (CEO of Active Aero in Belleville) and Gary Shiffman (CEO of Southfield-based Sun Communities) begged Russel to take the job. His response? "There's no value in trying to save this company." Zing!
Apparently, Wise must feel that there's still life in the old Purple, Red and Green monster. He'll be officially taking over on March 1st, the start of ePrize's eleventh year. Good luck, Matt, you'll need it!
Feb 2, 2010
The rumors have been confirmed, long time leader of ePrize, Josh Linkner, has been asked to step aside by the company's board of directors.
There has already been one offer made to a potential CEO (who subsequently turned down the position -- perhaps after scrutinizing just how poorly the company has been run in the last few years) and another set of negotiations ongoing with a new suitor.
With any luck, Josh will stick around until March 1, 2010 to see the eleventh anniversary of the company he founded before strapping on his golden parachute and taking a giant leap out of ePrize.
In related news, Ivan Frank recently turned in his resignation. This has been a long time coming. It was always a puzzler how Frank got into his position and maintained it for so long.
This only leaves Jordan Broad as the Questionable Employee of the Decade. Working with Broad never fails to leave people flailing to figure out just what he does at ePrize other than take up space.
More news to come.
Jan 30, 2010
At least at ePrize the upper management did their evaluations via emailed spreadsheets - not public boards. I mean, it's deplorable, just not as much so.
Oct 20, 2009
Big ups to Josh Linkner for being named the Detroit Executives Association's Executive of the Year.
In other news, the sinking ship of ePrize continues to bleed out talented employees into the Detroit market. The churn rate climbs with the Interface Developers taking a major loss recently of one of their longest-term developers.
Oct 6, 2009
To answer my recent question of "What's up at ePrize?" the "ePrize Tattler" sent me a missive from the perspective of the inner sanctum.
According to "Tattler," there's some major dissent amongst the ranks with much of that stemming from problems at the very top of the house. The problems began around 2006 or 2007, when things started falling apart at ePrize. Lying to customers and taking on work that never should have been done, just to put money in the bank. This stopped being sustainable and ePrize experienced the first real growing pains, that led to "Project Gold Medal." This dismal failure brought about a change of regime and the addition of Gerry Miller to the ePrize "team."
At one point there was discussion of turning the reigns over to Miller completely. Unfortunately, this golden boy was quickly tarnished. He did the unthinkable; insisting on results rather than lavish spending. Monies went to a book, parties, conferences, etc. The total spent estimated at $100 million, resulting in some close calls getting emergency funding for inconsequential stuff like, um, payroll. "Yes, the champagne is paid for but the employees are not..."
Sales numbers slipped and the Board of Directors turned off the money faucet. Miller stepped into the role of sacrificial lamb. As per the usual at ePrize, all blame was heaped at the door of the person who left (or was fired) last. You could be the best employee in the world but your reputation goes in the shitter once your feet hit the bricks.
And when Miller could no longer be blamed for ePrize's failures, the economy "fortunately" turned, giving "Leadership" a song to sing from the hymnal. Forget poor salesmanship and so-called leadership. Tattler writes, "We are being out-planned [...] by stronger, better companies. We're being beaten at our own game."
Add to all of this some other dirty laundry like extramarital affairs, sexual harassment, drug use (?!?), unchecked egos, and other unwise investments and it sounds like ePrize is in need of a shake-up... all the way up to the top. Until then, more people are going to continue to be thrown under buses as a diversion for mismanagement.
Oct 4, 2009
Things have been fairly quiet on the blog, that's because there's been little information coming out of ePrize of late. No word about the big decade anniversary, no further firings, nada. The only thing that seems to be coming out of ePrize these days are resumes; folks looking for new employment. Keep those resumes coming folks. There are a lot of links on the right side of the page to other Detroit agencies, contract houses, etc. where you're sure to be better appreciated and paid a lot more.