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Trudeau to Anxious Players: Trust Me, the Money's Coming
Oct 20, 2006, 11:41 AM

Worried members of the International Pool Tour have been watching their mailboxes and bank statements for the six weeks since the IPT’s World 8-Ball Open for their share of the event’s $3 million in prize money.

Instead, they have received several e-mails from IPT founder Kevin Trudeau assuring them that the money will be coming — “very soon,” as typically stated — just as soon as the tour finalizes its sale to Asian billionaire and gambling magnate Stanley Ho.

The six-week delay has Internet chat rooms and the billiard rumor mill buzzing, and has prompted some worried IPT members to begin losing confidence in the fledgling multimillion-dollar 8-ball tour — especially with the lack of definitive information on the payout schedule.

“For sure, their credibility has been damaged. It’ll take a couple years to repair the damage that this controversy has done,” said tour member Monica Webb. “I think it has been handled very poorly.”

While grateful for the giant prize funds offered by the IPT, some players were critical of the payout delay and left to speculate on the future of the tour.

“It scares everyone that the tour might not continue, that this might all be a cover-up to end the tour — cut their losses and run,” said Shawn Putnam.

Rodney Morris, who earned $150,000 with his second-place finish at the Open, cited his anxiety over the prize money delay as the reason for poor performances at the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships in September and a recent Florida Pro Tour event.

“I can’t even concentrate,” he said. “I can’t even get my mind on the game.”

Here’s a record of Trudeau’s correspondence to players, from Oct. 2-24, regarding the delay in payouts from the 200-player World 8-Ball Open, which took place Sept. 2-10 in Reno, Nev., and the pending acquisition of the tour by Ho’s online gaming interest Ho Interactive.



October 2, 2006
Dear IPT Player,

Thank you all for participating in the IPT World Open. It was truly the greatest tournament in the history of billiards. I would like to express my sincere apology for the delay in sending you your tournament winnings checks. This delay has been unavoidable due to a multitude of factors most notably the finalization of the IPT acquisition by Ho Interactive. I want to assure you that your checks will be issued very soon and simultaneously we will be formally announcing the exciting merger/acquisition with Ho Interactive. I want to especially apologize to the 30 players who stayed at the Reno tournament to pick up their checks.

The IPT is a new major business enterprise. In building the IPT business starting from nothing, the IPT like all new fast-growing businesses has and will experience growing pains. Your support and patience is important as the IPT develops and grows. As with all new businesses, challenges, changes, adjustments, and modifications will occur as the business grows and matures. The IPT is solid and is committed to growing. The Ho Interactive corporate merger is a massive and complex business transaction which will give the IPT world-wide credibility and financial stability more quickly than having the IPT stand alone. This deal will also provide IPT players, as well as IPT supporters, additional financial opportunities as our intention is to go public with the enterprise.

All new businesses have naysayers. The IPT from its inception has had its share of people who enjoy spreading false negative gossip about the IPT. These prophets of doom look for anything that they can point to as negative. The fact is the IPT in a little more than a year has been more successful than virtually all other billiard tournament promoters and associations combined. To date, we have paid out more than $3.5 million dollars in added prize money to players. We have Prime Time television coverage on a major network with a weekly timeslot. We have heavy promotion via our broadcast partners that is unprecedented. Our tournaments are broadcast live on Eurosport with repeat airings in Prime Time. The IPT has attracted major sponsors including Vonage, Dish Network, Emerson, with more in negotiation now. We have produced a world-class website with the highest quality live broadcasting of tournaments as well as on-demand viewing of dozens of matches. We have treated the players with more respect than they have ever received before. In the last two tournaments, we have provided free food, massage therapists, and other amenities at a cost to the IPT of over $700,000. We have listened to the players and continue to improve each tournament based on your suggestions and recommendations.

The IPT is poised for a spectacular event in Chicago as well as our 2007 Tour Card Tournament and the King of the Hill Tournament. We are currently planning and organizing the 2007 & 2008 tournament schedule. Your continued support and patience is needed and appreciated.

I am looking forward to seeing you all again in Chicago for another exciting tournament. Thank you again for your understanding and alliance.

Very truly yours,

Kevin Trudeau, Founder IPT


October 13, 2006
Dear IPT Players,

This is to update you on player payouts for the World Open, the Ho Casino.com acquisition, and the Masters Tournament in Chicago.

First, and most important is player payouts from the World Open. All players will be paid within the shortest amount of time! We are in final negotiations and planning on executing documents relating to the Ho Interactive acquisition of the IPT. I deeply regret that the player payouts have had to be put on hold until this acquisition has been officiall completed. I totally understand and acknowledge your frustration and concern. Please be aware that unfortunately this was an unavoidable situation due to many factors that are extremely complex in relation to the enormous nature of this deal. This short-term annoyance and inconvenience is a one-time situation. Your patience and understanding is needed and appreciated. We are working around the clock and all weekend to finalize the transaction. I will communicate with you again on Tuesday with what I hope to be the announcement that the deal is done and checks are being sent out! Please know that over 30 lawyers and accountants in the U.S., London, Hong Kong, and several other countries are involved in this transaction. There are over 1000 pages of contracts and documents that are being negotiated and reviewed. Tax implications, international treaties, securities issues, and several other factors involving publicly traded corporations etc. all are involved and implicated in this type of business transaction. I wish it were as easy as me paying players myself, but this is legally unacceptable at this time. We are 100% committed to getting this done which will be best for the long-term future of the IPT. Our goal is to complete the acquisition and get all players paid immediately so that we can focus on the Chicago tournament and the future. Our plans are to bring the company public in January. Because of this hiccup and delay in paying players, I am working out something where all players who played in IPT events will be gifted something very special when the business goes public! Your patience will be rewarded. Remember, I have personally invested over $10 million dollars of my own money into this venture. I am 100% committed to its success.

Thank you all for your understanding during this time.

Sincerely,

Kevin Trudeau,
Founder, IPT


October 17, 2006
Dear IPT Players,

I promised that I would update you today on the acquisition of the IPT by Ho Interactive. Even more importantly to you I promised to update you on the payment from the World Open. First though, I would like to thank you for your generous patience and understanding thus far. I ask that you please continue to be patient during this short, but difficult period. Final documents should be executed in the next few days! Immediately upon signing the documents, there will be world-wide press releases announcing this monumental merger solidifying a long future for the IPT! Additionally, upon signing the documents, the funding for the IPT will then be finalized within a few shorts weeks or even sooner. This means that player checks will be sent and we will have dealt with this hiccup in the business. Again, I deeply apologize for the delay. The U.S. Government's new law outlawing online casino gaming presented an unavoidable temporary bump in the road for the IPT. I will update you again on Friday with more details. At this point, I feel very good that my future updates will contain positive news for you! Remember this tour has and will continue to put you, the players, first. It is also our intention to make all players partners in this venture with many ways to benefit financially beyond just tournament winnings. More good news is coming soon. I will write to you again on Friday and I am looking forward to seeing you in Chicago!

All the best,

Kevin Trudeau, Founder
International Pool Tour

(Editor’s note: The first two letters were supplied to BD by the IPT, and the third, dated Oct. 17, was supplied by an IPT player. BD is awaiting confirmation of its verity by the IPT.)

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