Employment Relationship With Clifford Kirk - Dubai
This memo outlines the problematic employment relationship between Clifford Kirk and IIG Management, Inc. (IIG). Clifford Kirk flew into Atlanta to meet with Jerome Hoffman, managing partner of IIG, and other top management on December 16th through December 18th of 2007. During that time frame, Mr. Kirk was offered a position with IIG, which he accepted, commencing on January 2, 2008. Moreover, in a good faith gesture, Mr. Hoffman agreed to pay Mr. Kirk for his time in Atlanta in December, even though his employment did not commence until January. Additionally, the company paid all of his expenses, including all of his meals, and put him up in a first class hotel at company expense. In his position, he would be overseeing, along with Alan Nichols in the United States, the construction of the Financial News Network, which would be based in Dubai. Allowing for the vast geographical distance between Atlanta, Georgia and Dubai, complete and accurate disclosures of all matters was essential to establish a very high level of trust to enact the business plan according to the wishes of IIG management and its investors.
At the initial meeting in Atlanta, a rough budget was compiled, primarily from Mr. Kirks input and direction. This budget included a staff of 225 people at the main studio, an initial marketing budget of $5,000,000, with temporary offices being located at Emirate Towers, a very expensive and exclusive office space. As the budget was reviewed and scrutinized for thoroughness and accuracy, it was discovered that the head count to run the main studio was only approximately one half of the head count that Mr. Kirk recommended. Additionally, there was no detail or backup for the $5,000,000 marketing budget other than for entertaining. In compiling the equipment list and related costs for the equipment, Mr. Kirk specifically requested obtaining the equipment through British leasing companies with whom he was familiar, and stated that he did not want to obtain competitive bids. The lack of obtaining competitive bids is contrary to sound business practices and can increase the possibility of fraudulent activity, including kickbacks. Upon reviewing the equipment prices provided by Mr. Kirk and comparing them to prices for like equipment in the United States, we confirmed the prices quoted by Mr. Kirk were at least 30% higher, confirming our concerns about the lack of obtaining competitive bids. Through the budget review process, the necessary details to support Mr. Kirks numbers were sketchy and incomplete. Even his requests for personal computers and peripheral equipment such as printers were both excessive in amount and unnecessary in terms of caliber of equipment.
A trip to Dubai was made on January 11, 2008 by Jerome Hoffman, managing partner, Brian Holloway, CFO, and Alan Nichols, senior engineer. The purpose of this trip was to follow up on the work that Mr. Kirk had done and meet with important governmental, legal, marketing, and equipment agencies and companies to continue the development of the network.
The schedule of the meetings that were to take place was Mr. Kirks responsibility. In the time frame leading up to the trip, the schedule that was outlined was unclear and incomplete, with a great deal of travel involved while in Dubai. Only after much discussion and finally a specific directive given to Mr. Kirk was the schedule revised to meet all necessary agencies and companies and at locations much more convenient to completing the objectives of the trip. And even despite all of the effort to revise the schedule to meet the demands of the trip, Mr. Kirk cancelled an important meeting, without notice, that effectively lost a full days worth of meetings.
In the travel in Dubai to review locations for the main studio, we were impressed with the number of options, both private and governmental, that were available to us. We were also impressed with the willingness and enthusiasm of the local government to work with us to implement our business plan. This was contrary to the impression given to us by Mr. Kirk prior to arriving in Dubai. Specifically, working with a broker with whom Mr. Kirk had a very close relationship, we were told that our only option was to lease two separate facilities at a certain location for the main studio, when, in fact, there were a number of locations with different configurations to choose from. Additionally, many of the challenges to implementing our business plan as represented by Mr. Kirk were not nearly as difficult as represented.
The environment of a startup company requires senior management to work long hours, including weekends, to get the project off the ground. In traveling to Dubai, the traveling party worked long hours without a single day off, despite being there over two weekends. On Friday, Mr. Kirk informed us, without previous discussion, that he had other things to do and could not join us that day, despite being on our payroll. This was unacceptable.
At the conclusion of the Dubai trip, it was necessary for Mr. Kirk to travel to the United States to continue work on the network. Mr. Kirk said he could not travel because the government held his passport. We offered to advance him the 500 A.E.D. needed to obtain his passport, which would allow him to travel to the United States. Mr. Kirk was told by Jerome Hoffman that, if he could not travel to the United States, his employment with IIG would be terminated. Mr. Kirk did not travel to the United States and he has not spoken to Mr. Hoffman since then.
In summary, it is critical that a business team work closely with open and candid discussion that generates a high level of trust. Based on the activities described in this memo, Mr. Kirk has not given us the information necessary to implement our business plan. Consequently, Mr. Kirk is no longer an employee of IIG Management, Inc. As Mr. Kirk has signed a confidentiality agreement, it is the companys expectation that this agreement will be honored and enforced if necessary.
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