A Brief Introduction to this Page's Purpose

Not Another Dime! is dedicated to documenting the assorted, and sometimes wild, details of Mr. Ken Whitman's business dealings within the Role Playing Game (RPG) industry. This place is NOT intended to be a medium of discussion about Mr. Whitman, pro or con, but instead be a "jumping off" point to enable the reader to make their own informed decision about Mr. Whitman's history and business character.

Whenever possible, links to the original source material will be provided, but in many cases that information may have been deleted or secured behind restricted-access (like a private Facebook page) accounts.

Anything posted here is the opinion of the retrospective author and any content shown is to be considered "fair use" and posted for educational purposes only.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

2007.03.20 Setting the Record Straight: Ken Whitman Rips Off a CCG

2007.03.20 Setting the Record Straight: Ken Whitman Rips Off a CCG
I had heard of a Ken Whitman story where he screwed over one of his customers hard and the resulting backlash is referred to by Ken Whitman as a loss on his side of the story, even though the numbers don't quite match up ($18K becomes $20K, etc., read the second screen shot in this story).

The story I got, and this is just a story, but it does fit the narrative, is that Ken Whitman was making collectible card game cards as a contracted printer, but was making a bunch of cards and selling them discount on the side, which if you know anything about CCGs, really screws with the whole concept of rarity, tournaments, everything. The licensed owner of the CCG, one Mike Sager, often portrayed in similar light as Ken Whitman (sorry, but I only have time for one crusade), allegedly spied on the RapidPOD operation and caught Ken Whitman red-handed.

This was Mr. Sager's public attempt to set the record straight. It is obvious he was fearful of being sued, or at least it was to me:

Setting The Record Straight

"There have been a lot of rumors floating around this last week. I will not get into accusations of who crashed the HighlanderTCG website, or who owes me money, or who is a backstabbing SOB, or who sold product on the side and took people’s money and never sent out the product, or who produced product and sold it out the backdoor and failed to report it, or who caused terrible collation problems with the set and never fixed it, or who was not competent enough to meet deadlines that he set himself, or who out of shame and embarrassment refused to answer the phone or return a phone call for over two months, or who refused to answer email or phone calls to fix some of these problems, or who is evidently mad as hell because I no longer feel he is competent to produce my game or who uses lies and half truths to mislead and exploit fans for which I hold the highest respect and admiration and would do anything to insure they have as much fun with Highlander as I do."

Without having to research all the alleged issues pointed out in this forum post I do have to say that the actions attributed to Ken Whitman do seem in line with everything I've heard and tried to post to this blog so far. This all seems to fit Ken Whitman's MO...

Non-Authorized Promo CardAbout this same time this near-perfect "promo card" for a game store called the Danger Room pops up. Now the guy who runs/owns this spot is a buddy of Ken Whitman, by his own admission (later in this post) and while the veracity of the card, for tournament/game play is being hotly debated, some take the time to really inspect the card....

Inspection of cards (emphasis mine):
"Ok I went over the crystals finely comparing them against my S1 & S2 crystals. What I noticed is:
*The foiled S2 Crystals are of a better quality than the foiled S1 crystals.
*I found the foilless (marked S2) crystals not to be noticeably different from my foiled S2 crystals, but (naturally) superior to the S1 crystals
*Very tellingly I found a distinctive set of scratch marks on the back of both a foiled S2 and foilless S2

I would conclude due to the distinctive scratches that there is commonality in aspects of the manufacturing, from one to all of:
Card Stock
Card Cutting Equipment
Printing Equipment

Which leads me to my final conclusion that these cards have an official source, despite their lack of foil."

The Owner's Take on the Promo Cards

Mike Sager's Take on the Danger Room Card:
"I have seen a danger room card and I can verify they were printed on Ken's printer. The distinctive scratches or marks on some of the cards are from one of his printers that needs a new fuser.

The reason no one wants to fess up is they are in a conspiracy to sell unlicensed product. Sooner or later someone will come to me with the right evidence, I will reward them with piles of cool cards, and then you will have the whole story."

Proxied ResponseKen, through a proxy, deliver's his response:
"Tony is a good retail friend and comes to my hotel about 4 times a year. Last time he was here with his family, he went into my garbage dumpster and picked out boxes of Highlander cards I had thrown away. As far as I was concerned, once I threw them away, they were not my problem. 

As for Tony's Bootleg Cards... 
Until your e-mail I had no clue what you were talking about. When he visited, I explained to Tony how one could make their own cards at Kinkos. I believed he wanted to make his own card game - not Highlander fakes. Those cards have nothing to do with me. As far as Tony Lakas goes that is Mike's problem, not mine...

Also, if Mike would have paid me my rightful share when he said he would, I would have NEVER gone after the license, and NEVER thrown away any product that some opportunistic retailer then took out of my dumpster. Everything that is happening to Sager is a consequence of his own actions."

So.....Ken Whitman admits to not safeguarding stock imprinted with someone else's licensed IP and then directing someone else how to forge cards with said stock? Oh, and then after admitting what he's done Ken Whitman has the gall to try to misplace the blame?

Classic Ken Whitman....classic.

Now I mentioned that my sources told me that Mr. Sager suspected that Ken Whitman had been making and selling these cards for "backdoor sales". Evidently on a visit to RapidPOD Mr. Sager saw 15 or so full boxes/cartons of cards and when he asked for four of them he required (they were his product after all) he was told that RapidPOD didn't have any cards in stock. They weren't shipped to Mr. Sager, but instead shipped out the back door......

We All Know What You Did

"He does not want to call because he knows I know what he did. He stopped returning calls the moment I inquired about product being sold out his back door. That was months ago and three months before he started telling people I owe him money."


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