After failing to get any response from Linspire as to why they are not holding annual shareholder meetings, I asked them publicly to do so in my last blog, in a hopes that pressure from customers, partners and shareholders would encourage them to do the right thing. I hold a fairly large amount of Linspire stock, but I remain in a minority position with about 100 other shareholders. Not only has Linspire not held a shareholders meeting, but to this day, they have not even responded to my inquiries with so much as a "we'll get back to you on that." Their lack of responsiveness only heightens my concern with Linspire's present management and the company's future prospects.
During the discussion that took place in the thread of my last blog, someone quoted Ron Paul's statement "Truth is treason in the Empire of Lies." I don't believe this quote was originated by Ron Paul, but it was recently popularized by him in his book The Revolution: A Manifesto. I found this quote very profound in light of my experiences over the last 8 months since resigning from Linspire. The message conveyed in this quote has pushed me over the edge to start the process of going public with details and facts about Michael Robertson, Larry Kettler, and Linspire since my resignation there.
I resigned from Linspire on July 31, 2007. On that day I believed Linspire still had a promising future, so much so in fact, that I personally tried to put together a multi-million dollar acquisition of the company within days of my resignation. To this day, that offer remains unanswered by Michael Robertson. I find it incompetent for Linspire's management to have not even responded to this Bona Fide offer, and I'm confident, had the offer been accepted, that I, Linspire customers, desktop Linux, and the other Linspire shareholders would be in a much better place today.
When I resigned from Linspire, my intentions were, of course, given my large number of Linspire shares, to do everything I could to help Linspire succeed. Unfortunately, in the eight months following my resignation, I have witnessed some of the worst management decisions I have seen in my 25+ years as a business professional. Actions taken by Linspire's Chairman, Michael Robertson, and their CEO, Larry Kettler, are, in my opinion, destroying the company. Not only do I feel that Linspire's current management is squandering Linspire's assets, but soon after my resignation, Michael Robertson as Chairman, and Larry Kettler as CEO, levied criminal allegations against six past Linspire employees: the CEO, CFO, Controller, two Vice Presidents, and the OS Team Lead. This group constituted two thirds of Linspire's then management team.
I resigned from Linspire, but the other five employees were laid off in good standing, with four to twelve months of severance for their many years of committed, quality work, culminating in a very profitable year. These employees who were laid off had worked for many years at Linspire, most from nearly the very beginning, six years ago. Some had employment agreements. I would hire any one of these employees today, and am honored to count them among my friends. They are some of the best people I know. Honest, smart, hard-working people of high character and morals. Fortunately, all of these employees have moved on to exciting futures and opportunities, and for those companies who now employ some of them, they will be blessed by these employee's talents and integrity.
Michael Robertson and Larry Kettler levied their criminal allegations at these six people in an unsuccessful, greedy attempt to retrieve the severance payments made to the five employees who had been laid off by me, the CEO, duly appointed by Linspire's Board of Directors. I had always, as CEO, made the decisions as to hiring, firing and severance amounts. (I never asked for, or received, any severance from Linspire since I willfully resigned, yet I too was named in their allegations.)
For the six individuals wrongly accused by Linspire, it has been difficult to try and individually find everyone who has been told of these accusations and tell the full story to clear our names. Indeed, "truth is treason" to those who have only heard one side of the story from "the Empire of Lies." It is time to go public with ALL the true facts.
As a shareholder, seeing Linspire's new management making what I believe are destructive decisions, gives me great concern and reason to suggest changes should be made. Likewise, as a friend and associate with these five good people, seeing Linspire's management trying to destroy their good names and reputations, is not something I can stand by and not publicly defend.
As hard as I have tried over the past 8 months to keep the full story private, Linspire management insists on continuing to spread their allegations, and I can no longer remain silent.
I am working on Part II of this blog which will outline the facts as to what Linspire has done since my resignation. The goal with this document will be threefold:
1. Make the argument to Linspire partners, customers and shareholders that Michael Robertson should resign or be forced to step down as Chairman from Linspire, as should Larry Kettler as CEO. I believe the actions of these two individuals over the past 8 months are destroying the company and squandering the assets of the corporation. I believe a change needs to be made immediately, before all the assets of the corporation are depleted. Linspire still has a bright future, IF a new Chairman and CEO are put into place quickly. I have a plan that I believe could turn Linspire around and make it once again profitable very quickly, but that plan would not be possible with Michael Robertson and Larry Kettler still at Linspire. Michael holds controlling shares of Linspire, so it's unlikely he would step down as Chairman without pressure from Linspire customers, partners and shareholders, or a class action law suit by the minority shareholders.
2. Defend the good name of the six former employees accused of criminal activity by Linspire by sharing facts and evidence as to the false nature of these claims. Linspire has spread their allegations to numerous individuals, government agencies, former and current Linspire employees, and others. I will present the facts, and each can judge for themselves if these allegations are, as I believe them to be, false and slanderous. It is my hope that just by publishing the facts, it will be sufficient to clear the name and reputation of the good people involved. As a means of clearing their names, there needs to be a published document, with the facts on record, that those who have been accused can point people to who have heard the allegations.
3. Let facts come to light about Michael Robertson. Many people "know of" Michael Robertson, but only a small percentage of those people actually "know" him personally. I have known Michael for ten years and worked closely with Michael Robertson for six, and I have witnessed first-hand events which bring insight into his ethics, morals, beliefs, and management style. I have seen first hand how he interacts with customers, partners, shareholders, and employees, as well as his family and friends. Michael holds financial power over many of the people who know him, and he has a understandable reputation as being litigious, so it's rare that someone will share facts as to his true nature. Michael holds no such power over me, and I'm not one to be intimidated by a lawsuit if I know I'm in the right and speaking the truth with facts, backed up by tangible evidence and witness collaboration. In the past several years I have often found myself questioning Michael's character, but his actions in the past eight months I personally find to be reprehensible, and it may be helpful for others to know the same truths I know, and judge for themselves if this is someone they want to be involved with.
One time Michael Robertson wrote a "Facts Sheet" about Bill Gates, which he publicly published and even had his employees (most were quite embarrassed to do so) pass out to audience members attending a meeting where Bill Gates was speaking. Since Michael felt it was important for everyone to know some facts about Bill Gates, I'm sure he won't find objection to me sharing some facts about himself and Linspire, allowing others to then decide for themselves how to interpret those facts.
I see Linspire failing, customers being ignored, and good people being wrongly accused. I've tried to obtain information directly from Linspire and have been unsuccessful, so going public with facts to customers, partners and shareholders is the only action I see to try and reverse this unfortunate trend.
What I have shared here is but the tip of the iceberg. The full story includes facts that lead me to believe Linspire has attempted to defraud a federally-insured bank, filed false documents with the IRS, knowingly filed a false report with the San Diego Police Department, and perpetrated deceit upon other federal and state government agencies. Look for my Linspire "facts sheet" and story in Part II of this blog in the near future.