Friday August 17, 2012 : WHO REALLY GENERATED FULL TILT POKER INFORMATION?
After months of silence, former spokespersons are pointing fingers and denying culpability
Now that the FTP-Pokerstars acquisition deal has been signed off, the finger-pointing has begun on who was responsible for disseminating FTP publicity statements that were controversial to say the least (some would bluntly say false) during the crisis that occurred in the wake of the Black Friday shut downs.
First up was an individual called Shyam Markus, who described himself as an FTP poker manager and is presumably based in Dublin and still retained by the new owners.
Markus, apparently intent on cementing his continued employment with FTP, came out this week after months of discreet silence to reveal that until 2008 he and a co-worker had posted as "FTPDoug", a company insider who gave message board players various bits and pieces of information and reassured them as to the safety of their account balances.
After 2008 Markus carried the posting ball on his own, but now claims that he was simply told what to say – presumably by the FTP Management at that time – and he did it. He had no personal knowledge of the true financial state of the company, it appears. The time-worn "I was only following orders' defence.
"It was devastating when I eventually found out that the company didn't have the funds to cover player balances and I'm truly sorry for anything I posted that turned out to not be true," he said this week.
The manner in which FTP communicated with its publics could be described as curious; there was FTPDoug posting away on the message boards; lawyers making ‘off the record' statements; and, seemingly operating in an independent role, an outsourced PR person issuing company press releases.
Michele Clayborne, the erstwhile PR consultant employed by the company in its heyday but conspicuous by her absence since, also surfaced this week, perhaps emboldened by the real FTPDoug coming forward.
Clayborne wrote to PokerNews over the weekend, refuting previous speculation that she had been the person behind the FTPDoug monicker.
"The revelation of the true identity of FTPDoug was long overdue," Clayborne wrote. "Until this announcement, I too was not aware of this person's identity, although I asked for clarification on numerous occasions due to the fact that some unreliable and misleading poker press deemed FTPDoug to be me with 100 percent certainty."
After having a go at online media and its reportage on FTP, Clayborne also took the "just following orders" line, explaining that although she issued FTP press material, she was not aware of the true picture of the company's finances or the conduct of its management.
"I was also not informed about any of the intricate details of the financial inner workings of the FTP organization, nor should I have been. I was not an employee of the company, nor is investor relations, finances, or accounting my area of expertise," Clayborne notes.
"I would never intentionally mislead the public. Any PR statements I have ever released were under my own name and all information for my press releases was both provided and expressly approved by FTP."
All of which begs the question of who was telling fibs or gilding the lily in the information given to these minions to distribute.