Complaint Review: SDGLN - San Diego California
SDGLN San Diego Gay and l*****n News Hale Media used a fake media site to tarnish Latham Staples, promote their own agenda, which caused our company to close. San Diego California
*REBUTTAL Owner of company: The Tawdry Past of A. Latham Staples
*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Wanted to offer my two cents too as I worked for the company.
*UPDATE EX-employee responds: More
*Author of original report: Adding links as the links included in the article above didn't work.
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San Diego Gay & l*****n News (SDGLN) isn't a "news" site. SDGLN is actually an online outlet owned by Hale Media and Johnathan Hale for the purpose of trashing people he doesn't like and to further his and his partner's agenda for money and power. His partner is Carl DeMaio, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor and congress when his own San Diego community turned their backs to him. Most of SDGLN's content is not original, meaning that it's copied from other sources, some other news sites do this too, but most of their own written content are pieces used to hurt others or promote themselves. Most of the disparaging information is petty nonsense, but I worked for a company called EXUSMED, that SDGLN destroyed because they didn't like the CEO, Latham Staples. And yeah, I'm just another voice in what people could claim is a he said/she said story. So I will includes links to court testimony and documents proving that SDGLN and those involved lied and set out ot harm Latham, and in turn all of us. Feel free to take what I'm writing with a grain of salt, but court documents are available for the public to view. There are hundreds of them so I'll include just a few relating to pertinent matters in this post (see links included below).
SDGLN had a sports writer, Roman Jimenez, who was friends with Latham's ex. Latham had turned in his ex-fiance (Thomas Guerra) to the police after Latham discovered Thomas was engaging in illegal behavior. Roman Jimenez, Johnathan Hale, Thomas Guerra and a few others teamed up to try to destroy Latham. They didn't only hurt him, but they put our company out of business, harming hundreds of people and our business partners.
They published a piece calling Latham a scam artist, and as the headline states, was based on "annonymous sources", claiming Latham was stealing company funds. This wasn't true. Many of us reached out to SDGLN, Roman, and Ken Williams (SDGLN's editor) to tell them the information wasn't factual. For the few of us that they did respond to they said, "well we just resported what annonymous people told us". This isn't right and isn't responsible. Any site that calls itself a media outlet should fact check its sources, and they should have reached out to the board members and executive team that were calling them to tell them the truth. We even offered to provide them with the financials and other documentation but they didn't care to return our calls, nor did they come view the information when we offered it. We now know though that the "annonymous sources" were Latham's ex-fiance, Thomas Guerra, and Thomas's associates. We all lost the opportunity to make millions, and more importantly, an underserved population within the LGBT community lost access to what was a great product that Latham had developed because of their lies. Many people's lives were impacted because of their lack of responsible journalism. In this era of false news being used to spread agendas I guess I shouldn't be surprised.
My former colleague included an online post which details the crazy situation as the entire saga is a bit hard to follow, so I'm going to borrow a bit of that. It's kind of a crazy Lifetime movie plot so I will try to make it as simple to follow as possible. I think Johnathan Hale, Roman Jimenez, and Thomas Guerra, relied upon that confusion so that people would just read the headline, calling him a scam artist, as the article itself is long rant of a bunch of nonsense.
Before I address each individual and their involvement I will point out a few lies in the article posted by SDGLN.
- The article claims that Latham made up our corporate partnerships. This was false. Latham did a great job of garnering these relationships and we had signed contracts in place which SDGLN could have viewed, and which we still have. One such example referenced in the article is our partnership with University of California Health System. Roman and SDGLN claimed there was no working relationship. Well, here is an email from court documents showing proof of our partnership: https://dochub.com/badingsly/1yQ9Mv/ucsd-partnership?dt=exao1melqftgweo7. We have numerous photos with all of our business partners at our office and some at theirs, and also from the company party too we held too.
- No, Latham never lived in Austin, Texas. A real journalist could have found this out by checking public information, running his credit, checking his tax returns, or diving into his social media history. So the claim he lived in Austin and stole $500,000 from investors in a separate scheme is false. Those people would have surely sued him and pressed charges had he done so anyway, which obviously never happened. Latham was putting his own money into our company to help build it, and he was living in a friend's home so that he could save funds. Many of us worked from that house on numerous occassions. Latham didn't even have a car at the time. Latham surely didn't have the life of someone the article claimed had stolen hundreds of thousands or millions from people. By the way, Latham was also a victim and lead witness in his ex's criminal trial (Thomas Guerra, see below) which started this whole mess. He spent coutnless hours with detectives and the city attorney's office as they built their case against Latham's ex-fiance. They were aware of this article and they had to make sure Latham was a credible witness, which they deemed him to be after doing their own investigation into Latham and finding no wrongdoing.
- It's alluded to in the article that because Latham goes by his middle name it's his way of trying to scam people. His name is Andrew Latham Staples. A lot of people go by their middle names though. According to his family he has gone by Latham his entire life. Not sure why this is an issue.
- In the article it's claimed that Latham makes up his associations with prominenent individuals. I've known him for 10 years and have never known this to be the case, nor has he ever discusesd anything of the sort other than when we were strategizing on who we could partner with for the company. Yes, he worked for Michael Dell, at Dell in Tennessee and Oklahoma. And he was right to have reached out to Dell with regard to our business for a potential partnership. Any good businessman would have. And we did reach out to Facebook (Zuckerburg) and had contacts with Carlos Slim of Mexico through a business partnership at D4C Product Development, and at Docomo in Tokyo. None of this was a lie. Latham also reached out to Barbara Bush, the daughter of the former U.S. president. Latham and she are fellows together at Echoing Green in NYC. She's the CEO of a healthcare company and we were in the same space so it made sense. None of this is a lie. By the way, I've seen Latham in a photo with Barbara Bush, taken at a club in NYC.
- Latham never worked for a company called Smart Circle International. Where all of this erroneous information is company from is beyond me. But a simple call to the human resources department would have uncovered that. I was curious so I called. It took me 5 min. Roman Jimenez should have called them, just like he should have reached out to us. It's clear his intent wasn't to get at the truth as he claims, but to use false information to slander Latham.
- And, by the way, all of this discpreancy over missing funds was over roughly $2,000. When Latham was initially questioned he asked the board and executive team to conduct an audit of the company's finances (see court declarations linked in the below paragraphs). Of all the corporation's monies only roughly $2,000 couldn't be accounted for, which could have been monies used during corporate travel on miscellaneous items, petty cash stuff....who knows. But SDGLN wrote this entire article claiming he was stealing money for lavish trips, homes, it's been reported that he bought cars for his ex's. It just isn't true. And not only was there one audit but two were conducted. One internal by the Board and the chief financial officer, and an outside audit, conducted by a CFO of a Fortune 100 company in conjuction with one of her accountants. If there was any wrongdoing we would have known. The board also reviewed financials each month too during the operations of the company. No complaints were ever raised.
Anyway, I won't go on about each individual item claimed in SDGLN's piece, but as you can see most of it seems to be pulled out of the air, is conjecture or flat out lies to harm Latham, and in turn harmed the rest of us.
So who are the people involved in harming Latham and our company? I'll list each one with their particular history against Latham and their associations with each other. It's interesting that the majority of them have criminal convictions and go by multiple names. By the way, Latham has never been in trouble with the law.
1) Thomas Guerra (a.k.a., Ashton Chavez & Tomii Guerra) is a landscape architect in California. He used to date Latham and they had what seemed to be a perfect relationship until August, 2014, when Latham uncovered information that he felt showed Thomas intentionally infecting people with HIV. By the way, we knew Thomas as Ashton Chavez then, didn't learn till later that his birth name was Thomas Guerra. Latham went to the police and turned over the information he had uncovered. Thomas didn't seem to care though and he laughed about infecting others with HIV. Here is just one of the text messages used as evidence in Thomas' criminal trial, and that has been widely reported by thousands of media outlets. The evidence Latham turned over eventually led to Thomas' conviction in May, 2015. Between the public learning of charges brought against Guerra in August, 2014 and his conviction in May, 2015, Guerra turned against Latham and he set out to destroy him by teaming up with Roman Jimenez, SDGLN (led by publsher Johnathan Hale and editor Ken Williams), and Lisa Kove, in order to push the above referenced false "scam artist" story, in order to tarnish Latham and to turn the story from himself. We all knew the story was coming as people were telling us for weeks that they were getting threating calls from Roman, Thomas and Thomas' associates. Thomas had obtained the contact information for all of Staples' past and present business partners, investors, family and friends when they were dating by syncing his iPhone with Latham's computer. Not only were these people harrassed constantly, but we each stated the information they were seeking about fraud as claimed by Thomas and his associates just wasn't factual. Here is an email from George Schwartz, our company's chairman, to a member of the media stating the information was false. Many also testifed in San Diego Superior Court that Latham hadn't done anything wrong, and that Thomas and his asscociates were the ones involved in illicit behavior. Here are just a few of the court declarations and testimony as given by: George Schwarz, EXUSMED Chairman, Robert Ray, EXUSMED Chief Financial Officer, Michael Sauceda, Nichole Shounder, EXUSMED investor, email to San Diego City Attorney, Alex Leloux, former assistant to Latham, John Staples, Larry Chaney, former EXUSMED employee. Thomas was smart though in that he approached those who didn't like Latham (Jimenez/SDGLN/Hale) to have them run with the false story as he was going through his legal trial. Nothing like knowing your loved one's enemies and then using them to inflict pain - the enemy of my enermy is my friend I guess? I'm not going to expand further about Thomas' trial, but some video of various news outlets discussing it can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_wHVSHJ70c. Also, as reported by ABC News, Thomas posted online a sex tape he had taken of he and Latham, without Latham's consent. He and his associates sent the link to Latham's friends, family and business partners to further harm him. San Diego Superior Court judge Michael Groch ordered Thomas to take down the post (shown in this restraining order that was granted against Thomas to protect Latham). Thomas waited to take down the sextape post until 1 minute prior to the deadline to do so. Thomas continued to violate the restraining order though and he continued to reach out to Latham in various way, including via social media.
Thomas Guerra ReCap:
- multiple names,
- convictions (willfull intent to infect others with a communicable disease - HIV),
- restraining order against Thomas Guerra.
2) Roman Jimenez calls himself a freelance journalist and he founded The Media Prose, a now defunt media consulting company. He used to also be the assistant commissioner of the America's Finest City Softball League, where he first managed the team Latham's ex played for and where he first met Latham. Since 2010 Roman has also been a contributing sports writer for Johnathan Hale and SDGLN. Roman has a sordid past, having been convicted for corporate theft (hum...that's odd, someone stating Latham did something that they themselves actually did.). Roman has for whatever reason had it out for Latham since they initially met. Latham had complained of sexual harassment by Roman during a softball trip to Columbus, Ohio, that Latham went on to support his ex. And Facebook messages and emails between Roman and Latham's friends dating all the way back to 2010 show Roman was trying to sabatoge Latham's relationships even back then (These are available in the court filings, but given the other parties are private individuals I won't disclose them now). When Latham broke up with his ex prior to Thomas, Brent Kostelecky, Roman was telling everyone it was because Latham had cheated on Brent. In reality though, Brent was the one in a months-long relationship with Justin Webb, another member of the softball team - the reason for the dissolution of their marriage. Latham had been the team's biggest cheerleader and he was even financially supporting another softball team in the league at Roman's request at the time, which he quickly ceased when he learned of the affair, nad that Roman and other members of the softball leagure had been hiding Brent's affair from Latham. Roman then attacked Latham for not giving the rest of the money he had committed to the team. Hello? You all let him believe he was a valued member of the organization, while all along you hid that his husband was sleeping with another member of the team. Nice! So anyway, Roman has been slandering Latham since 2010. This went on for years and Roman inspired other members of the softhall league to harass Latham. In 2012 Latham filed harassment charges against Joshua Tucker and Michael Stewart (a.k.a., Little Michael) (San Diego Superior Court Case # 37-2012-00103153-CU-HR-CTL, https://dochub.com/badingsly/N9r7DD/tucker?dt=ui7ir81f33qafta4. Court documents show that Tucker and Stewart were sending threatening messages to Latham via Facebook, in one message Joshua Tucker tells Latham he would "beat him". In another he says "I will make you disappear". The judge was going to rule against Joshua and Michael, but the judge informed all parties duruing the trial that should he render his decision the outcome may impact the future livelihoods of Joshua and Michael who had no previous convictions. Latham authorized the judge to finalize the case in private court-ordered mediation as the judge stated it would have the same impact to protect Latham without a conviction being listed under the names of Joshua and Michael. Hum...sad that Latham was nice enough to look after their futures though they didn't care about his. It didn't end there though, Roman has harassed Latham's associates via Facebook over the years since. He would routinely messaged members of our company about Latham, including myself. And he would threaten family members of Latham's friends, family members that Latham had never met. One example is from 2015 when Latham briefly dated Deximus (Dex) Starr, a popular California dancer and the brand manager for Stoli Vodka. Though Latham had never met Dex's family Roman harrassed them. Dex has said this behavior by Roman continued for some time. Roman also illegally disclosed Latham's HIV status in the article and subsequent posts and stated in one article that he had confirmed with San Diego police that Latham wasn't a victim so he couldt disclose it. He obviously lied once again, as is shown via this court filing showing SDPD had classified Latham as a victim of domestic violence/sexual assault. As Roman didn't seem to care about the disclosure of Latham's protected information, Latham reached out via email to SDGLN editor Ken Williams, but he Ken never responded.
Roman Jimenez ReCap:
- convictions (felony theft conviction for corporate theft from his previous employer. Roman served his sentence but he is still paying restitution in excess of $100,000).
- No known harassment charges filed against him, but he's clearly been harassing people.
3) Johnathan Hale (a.k.a., Johnathan T. Hackett, Jr., & John T. Wyckoff) is the founder and publisher of SDGLN, owned by Hale Media which he is the CEO of. Hale also runs SDPix, a local circuit boy publication which promotes the gay party scene in San Diego. Carl DeMaio, the husband of Johnathan Hale, ran unsuccessfully for San Diego mayor and U.S. congress. During Carl DeMaio's campaigns the public learned that Johnathan Hale was originally named John Theodore Wyckoff, Jr. and he later legally changed his name to Johnathan T. Hackett, Jr., before picking Hale as his newest last name. Why the multiple name changes? Well it turns out Hale/Hackett/Wyckoff was convicted for felonies relating to theft from the company he then worked for in Arkansas (hum...once again, isn't this what SDGLN accused Staples of? - pot calling kettle black!). Anyway, two former roommates also filed seprarate restraining orders against Johnathan. One man claimed in his restraining order that Johnathan choked him and that Johnathan was stalking him and harassing his employer (hum....he, Roman and their associates did the same to Latham's former employer). The other former roommate said in his restraining order hearing that he feared for his life. Interestingly, Latham filed his own restraining order against Johnathan back on November 30, 2011. According to court documents (Case # 37-2011-00101778-CU-HR-CTL, https://dochub.com/badingsly/rZN4PB/hale?dt=cwks3pcah8p4pmmf) Latham feared for his own safety and he said Johnathan would not stop spreading false informtaion about him. There is more I could go into regarding Johnathan but it has nothing to do with Latham or our company which impacted my livelihood so I will leave it alone for now. Feel free to read up on Johnathan Hale here: http://lgbtweekly.com/2012/05/24/why-the-background-of-the-mayors-partner-is-relevant/ or http://lgbtweekly.com/2012/05/17/tweets-ignite-questions-about-checkered-past-of-demaios-life-partner/, or here http://sdcitybeat.com/news-and-opinion/spin-cycle/johnathan-hale-hillcrest-s-drama-king/.
Johnathan Hale ReCap:
- multiple names,
- convictions (felony theft conviction after stealing from the company he worked for),
- multiple restraining orders against Johnathan Hale.
4) Lisa Sue Kove (a.k.a., Ali Sue, Jerry D. Belloit) a San Diego activist was the company's original chairperson. She had been friends with Latham and she remains friends with Thomas Guerra. In August, 2014 when the news broke the story of Thomas' arrest Lisa abruptly resigned from the company citing "health issues" (referenced in George Schwartz's testimony). George Schwartz, who had been involved with the company prior to Staples' and Lisa's arrival, was named her successor as Chairman. Though board meetings were held each month prior to our staff meetings, and though we saw her at nearly each one, she claimed to Roman Jimenez and SDGLN she was unaware of the company's financials. This is bogus as Latham was fully transparent, more so in some cases then he should have been, about everything going on with the start-up. He knew were were all excited about the company's future and he kept us aprised. During each monthly meeting financials were reviewed by the board with the chief financial officer. Lisa never had a complaint before Latham and Thomas split up. What's even worse about Lisa is that Latham had literally saved her life and then she lied about him. In July, 2013 Lisa's house burned nearly to the ground. Here is an actual pic of the house on fire as well as Latham, covered in smoke, being thanked after for saving the individuals. Latham and another individual, Sally Hall, were outside when they noticed flames coming out of the windows and they both rushed in to save everyone. Latham ran upstairs past flames and heavy smoke to rescue her and her children. She then lied to fire investigators and committed insurance fraud by telling authorities the fire was an electrical fire, though we all knew her austic son, who though he's in his 20's and has the mental capacity of someone much younger, had intentionally started the fire because he was upset with his mother as she wouldn't let him attend ComicCon. Her son stated to everyone he had done it, but she asked us all to not tell anyone the real reason. So once again, another person who is claiming Staples is the fraud, though she is. She also continued to harass Staples until he filed a harrassment suit againts her (Case # 37-2014-00029853-CU-HR-CTL, https://dochub.com/badingsly/aNqmJy/lisa?dt=mr8sqyc7h676n27v). Various individuals associated with the company testified in court to her unethical behavior, including George Schwartz and Robert Ray.
Lisa Kove ReCap:
- multiple names,
- lied to fire investigators and committed insurance fraud.
In conclusion, Thomas Guerra, a semingly sociopathic individual, later convicted of his crime, sought to tarnish Latham for turning him into the police. He sought the assistance of shaddy individuals, Roman Jimenez, Johnathan Hale and Lisa Kove to spread false information. And they used their grievances with Latham to further an agenda to harm him when Thomas presented them with the opportunity. And they fell for it, from the con man himself - Thomas M. Guerra. In doing so they not only harmed Latham, but destroyed the company that many of us were excited about. Their actions impacted our livelihoods, cost our investors money, and harmed our business partners and all of the future health care clients who would have benefited from the product Latham had come up with. They hurt many, many people, and all because you didn't take the time to verify information because you wanted so bad to hurt Latham so badly.
Even after all of this came out Latham offered to tender his resignation so that he could separate the drama from the company, but the shareholders and investors voted by a vote of 80% to retain Latham as CEO, and the board voted unanimously to retain him. Why? Because we knew the truth.
And the saddest thing about all is that no one took into account what Latham was going through at the time. He chose to help others he felt may be victims of his ex-fiance by going to the police, and he gave up his relationship, because, as he told us, it was the moral thing to do. Anyone who knew Latham then knew how much he loved Thomas. It wasn't an easy thing for him to do. He was also going through a cancer scare at the time, something that he rarely talked about as he wanted us to stay focused on the company. And the saddest thing is SDGLN painted Latham as someone hungry for money but that is totally contrary to the reality of the situation. At the time Latham had directed Alex Leloux, his personal assistant, to reach out to hundreds of individuals to gather their personal information. Latham had asked this because he was gifting the majority of his corporate shares to people he cared about, having given up his majority ownership in the company so that he could give to others. The executive team and board thought he was crazy for doing this but it's what he wanted to do. He saw the company as an opportunity for him to share the wealth, not take it.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 01/20/2018 12:05 PM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/sdgln/san-diego-california-92104/sdgln-san-diego-gay-and-lesbian-newshale-media-used-a-fake-media-site-to-tarnish-latham-1424197. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content
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