Saturday, August 8, 2015

How Does Ken Keep Getting Away With It? Bail-Outs from Industry People is How...

With a 20-year history of ripping off gamers and game industry folks, how the hell does Ken Whitman keep resurfacing every 5-6 years to stick it to folks all over again?

It starts with page one out of the Whitman Grifters' Handbook: When caught red-handed, Ken just plays the lovable doofus who can't seem to do anything right, i.e. Poor, Poor Ken. After all, a man who completely squandered over $200K in kickstarter money and personal loans with little or nothing to show for it 14 months later couldn't possibly be a career scam artist, could he? Ken's not privileged... just ask him.

But inevitably, some new well-meaning rube comes along and pulls Ken's fat ass out of the fire. This time around, it looks like it's Don Reents and Chessex to the rescue. It appears they bit on Ken's $10 offer to sell off all fulfillment responsibilities for his two Pencil Dice kickstarters.

That's understandably great news for the hundreds of backers who were otherwise going to get shafted. But it's also highly problematic, because this is exactly how Ken skates from one successful scam to another in the future. Regular followers of Kengate know what's coming next: Ken crowing loudly and publicly online that he "successfully fulfilled all his commitments to his backers." Ken is currently blocked by kickstarter from creating any new projects because he hasn't fulfilled the last six. Chessex's seemingly heroic move here undoes a portion of that and puts Ken that much closer to doing it all over again.

Let's be clear. Ken Whitman collected $46,784 in money for the two Pencil Dice kickstarters, blew the money, delivered nothing, admitted in his letter that it would only cost only $10,000 to place the order with the Chinese manufacturer, and THEN actually talked Chessex into paying him $10 for the privilege of paying that $10,000. Don, what were you thinking?

It will be interesting to see how the Pencil Dice backers react to this development. Some will be so (rightly) glad to finally be receiving the product that they paid for that this will end the matter for them. More forward-thinking backers will realize that this deal is likely fraught with potential legal problems that will never see the light of a courtroom without a pressing legal action. Kickstarter can be expected to turn a blind eye to it all. After all - they raked in 10% of the $171k Ken raked in last year, and they could well do so profitably in the future.