What appears to have been a palace coup in the affiliate business triggered an upsurge in online gambling forum activity Monday as the major shareholders involved posted their versions of what appeared to be a serious split between partners.
Already at the centre of a growing controversy over the CardSpike and Absolute Slots issues which themselves recently dredged up a wave of past complaints and bannings involving the affiliate community website, the latest very public arguments by the top executives at Casino Affiliate Programs, Affiliate Media Inc and Effective Media Group seem to be heading in only one direction – the courts – as accusation and counter accusation is posted.
Casino Affiliate Programs.com founder and claimed major shareholder Lou Fabiano, who posts under the nickname "Professor" has accused partner Warren Jolly of effectively taking over the company, removing his email privileges and signing passwords, syphoning money away from the corporate bank accounts and banning his posts from the company forum. He also lays the blame for most of CAP's recent controversial decisions regarding CardSpike, a poker room which he claims is owned by Jolly.
The first broadside was fired Monday afternoon by Fabiano, who addressed the following communication to CAP programs and affiliates:
Dear Certified Partners and CAP Members
It is with my deepest regret that I must send the following information today as a warning to anyone contemplating working with Warren Jolly or who has been a certified partner of CAP. Please read the letter I received below my statement so you understand why I feel forced to act now. Prior to reading that let me state:
1. I am the founder of CAP and majority shareholder in Affiliate Media Inc. I owned CasinoAffiliatePrograms.com long before I ever met Warren Jolly.
2. When House Winnings failed as a master affiliate for Tradal I was approached by Warren Jolly and his partner at House Winnings and asked if I would allow them to help monetize CAP and handle sales. Prior to that we did NOT charge a fee for programs to be listed at CAP [a point of public controversy- ed.] so there was little revenue coming in, but that wasnt my focus in creating this community.
3. Once I agreed to help out Warren and his partner, who were only 18 at the time and had no prior experience or degree, we formed Affiliate Programs Inc. which later became Affiliate Media Inc.
4. Warren Jolly was given a minority shareholder position and seat on the new company board. His task was to increase reveneus at CAP and join in the growth of that venture.
5. During the first few years with the new company Warren performed admirably and acted as a real asset to us and our industry. Unfortunately as time went on he become bolder and less receptive to any input regarding sales or operation of our retail division.
6. He has repeatedly boosted the certifications fees far beyond any level he was authorized too. I had asked that a maximum increase of 20% per year be honored and he agreed verbally then went on to charge whatever he felt the client would bear [another point of public controversy – ed.]. This damaged many relationships we have or had with our certified partners. He stressed that we had every right to charge whatever he could get and [for Fabiano] to stay out of sales. I bit my lip and went on focusing on the things I enjoyed which were the community and member relations.
7. Last year Warren told me he wanted to open a poker room [a reference to the controversial CardSpike venture, which the two partners have previously denied owning – ed.]. I was opposed to the idea but he went ahead and signed a contract with a provider under a false name and informed me after the fact we were now in the poker business. He asked if I would manage the project and also handle a legitmate client that wanted to re-enter the casino business. I was hesitant, but was backed into a corner as we couldnt do these sort of things under the Affiliate Media banner as it would be a conflict of interest with what CAP did. That is why we formed Effective Media Group. I didnt see any workable alternative so I went along with Warren yet again. For this I owe everyone an apology. I should have put my foot down then and I didnt.
8. Moving forward its my intention to regain control of my comapny and to have Warren Jolly removed from any managemnt position within our company or restricted from doing any further damage to CAP or Affiliate Media Inc. When that occurs I will lower all certification fees to a more reasonable level and work towards repairing any damaged relationships we have with our present and former certified partners.
9. The staff at Affiliate Media is top notch and I do intend to retain everyone in their current postions. The only change I am seeking is to remove Warren Jolly from day to day management of our California Offices as I believe he has been mismanaging our affairs and has most likely been syphoning monies off without the knowledge of myself or the other shareholder.
10. The event team and the publishing arm of CAP are also top notch performers and will be retained and remain unchanged.
10. Please read what I receievd (sic) via email today which has prompted this action. Over the weekend Warren removed me from his skype contacts and phone mail and last week I was informed he was hiring an Admin named Greg to replace "The Professor" [Fabiano] in managing the community and our forums so I have to act now to prevent this rogue from effectively stealing my own company:
From: Gambling Ananymous (sic) [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Sunday, February 22, 2009 2:32 PM
Subject: Warren Jolly
I speak on behalf of many here – we as a group of affiliate managers are disatisfied with your business partner's actions over the past number of years and we hope to see you stand your ground and continue managing cap.
You should be aware that he's been taking money from a number of affiliate programs, for ‘consutling services' and puting it into several of his personal/company bank accounts. We can provide more information if need be to assist you with your case.
We thought you should also know that your ‘so-called' partner is going to announce stepping down from Effective Media this week, and he's going to put the blame on the past months events on to you, including the cardspike fiasco.
The bottom line is that we will not allow warren to take over the cap business affairs.
The actual shareholding in the CAP, AFI and EMG groups is not entirely clear; some reports claim that Jolly and his brother Arjun own 60 percent, and Fabiano 40 percent, implying that the Jolly brothers have effective control, but Fabiano claims that he remains the majority shareholder.
However, de facto control appears for the present at least to rest in the hands of Jolly, who has been calling the shots on allegedly illegal bank withdrawals that may amount to as much as $2 million, changing bank passwords, appointing new staff and responsibilities and cutting off Fabiano's communication channels within the company.
Fabiano told InfoPowa this week: " Warren Jolly was the contract signator with Cake Poker for CardSpike.com. I was vehemently opposed to this but he acted anyway and I got swept into it with him as we do own equal shares in Effective Media Group and we do have a legitimate client in Absolute Slots.
"I also wanted to make it clear that the astronomical prices increases for CAP certification were done by Mr. Jolly without my authorization and despite my strict instructions that there be a cap of 20% yearly on any increases.
"He used the additional funds to buy himself a Mercedes S Class and His Brother a Porsche Carrera S along with numerous other investments which he has concealed under a variety of names and companies.
"My attorney and accountants will be performing a full audit to determine the exact amount stolen by Warren Jolly. In the mean time I think it’s imperative to let everyone know he is a rogue minority share holder in Affiliate Media Inc. and as Majority shareholder and founder I will be seeking legal assistance in removing him from our company."
Banned from his own site, Fabiano took the fight to the public forums at Casinomeister and other sites, posting: "Warren not only wants to steal control of our company. Now he has stolen my voice. Problem is he can't ban me everywhere. 95% of the negative stuff thats happened over the past few years was because I am physically located in Florida and our company offices are in California. Also I have a family to support and I was trying to avoid a long drawn out legal battle if I tried to rein Warren in."
Using the CAP forum at http://www.casinoaffiliateprograms.c…347#post198347, Jolly blasted back at Fabiano's original emailed accusations: "I'm sure many of you have seen the recent post made by the Professor (Louis Fabiano), which came as a shock to all of the staff and shareholders at CAP. It is a move out of sheer desperation to shift the blame over all of these years for heinous actions that were NEVER approved or favored by the rest of the CAP team. Many of the respectable industry leaders were waiting for this man to fall off the deep end and he finally did. Do not believe or fall for the lies.
We will soon be posting the REAL truth (surely you can understand the legal implications here of making emotional, hot-headed posts…which coincidentially enough you will not see anymore!). In the meanwhile, now that the Professor has been banned for his lies, expect to see a LOT of positive change here at CAP. I will post updates as soon as possible on both matters."
In answer to questions from other Casinomeister posters regarding CardSpike, Fabiano posted: "Warren is full owner of Cardspike. He always was. EMG was retained as a consultant for Cardspike and again due to the situation I had little choice but to do what was necessary to try to protect CAP and AMI."
Much will now depend on who – if either one – the affiliates and the major affiliate programs certified by AFI and CAP will continue to support with their business, and the questions of control, authority and ownership look destined to be resolved through legal action rather than the court of public opinion, which has been the main battleground thus far.