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Monday, September 04, 2006

“Just stick your head in the sand”

A few weeks ago, I wrote a rant concerning the inconsistent off-track antics of the ‘Southern Gentleman’, Elliott Sadler. This has sparked much debate and even ‘hate mail’ my way, so maybe it is time to set the record straight. There was a common theme with the negative comments and hate mail, and that was one of ‘who are you to judge’. That answer is simple, I am one to judge because I live in a country that allows me to do so. More importantly, as I have seen the inconstant nature of the way the ‘Southern Gentleman’ has handled his off-track persona for 8+ years now. That is something that not one of the email flamers can say, in fact one such flamer’s comments from Austin only validates my feeling. She commented that I must have ‘been some sort of insider’, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. For those who knew me over the past 8 years would know that I was just a fan of Sadler, I didn’t think he was ‘soooo cute’, and could have cared less about the plethora of ‘drool photos’ that would spring up on the fan club site on an almost daily basis. Simply put, I was a fan of the on-track Sadler, nothing more, nothing less.

But after a few years, one can begin to see through the facade of the “Southern Gentleman’s” motive and just how he considers a ‘fan’, a fan as long as he/she is a paying customer. I first noticed this with the very late change of 'Sadler fan day' even after phone calls were made in order for fans who live far away could make travel arrangements, this was simply a lack of consideration. I have been told that I have ‘an axe to grind’, when actually I am simply exposing the truth. You may choose to bury your head in the sand, (I did it for quite some time), but I refuse to do it any longer. I wish the ‘Southern Gentleman’ all the best on the track, but the buck has to stop somewhere. More impotantly, this is not a commentary of Sadler Fans, but naiveness should no longer be an excuse.

That being said, lets begin with a newer Sadler fan from Austin and her comments concerning the ‘auction’, and what I should do or have done about it.
She wrote:

“The last time I checked, a Business Manager is an individual who manages business so the driver doesn’t have to. If you have a beef with his Manager about a flaky shirt auction – take it up with the manager, and if you have proof of an illegal act – notify the proper authorities who can resolve such an issue. The general public is not the proper authority (unless you have an alternate agenda)!”

No agenda here, other than telling the truth, something that the Southern Gentleman and his handlers have issues with. Susan recommended that I:

1) Take up ‘my beef’ with his manager. CHECK
2) ‘Notify’ the proper authorities CHECK

Like any shaky deal, yes Susan, the general public does need to know what goes on behind close doors in Emporia, its called accountability and checks and balances. This multi part rant will tell a side of the story and just why it was questioned in the first place, and the responses from Sadler’s handlers.

Mistake number 1:
Ebay item is publicly advertised on both the SFC forum and SFC website. While that is not a major problem, the problem is the person who first posted this on the SFC Forum. The new webmaster/moderator used his own “personal” ID without notifying his true identity. “NCSW1” raised many eyebrows to begin with, as the general public had no clue who he was at the time. His responses to these questions from posters.

NCSW1
Registered User
Posts: 8
(2/23/06 10:35 pm)
New Post Re: Ebay item from Daytona yes, some of it is going to charity. This is our first one so we have not figured out everything yet. I am hopefully going to get word tomm on the actual % that is going and whatnot and will update it as soon as I can.

NCSW1
Registered User
Posts: 9
(2/24/06 8:49 am)
New Post Re: Ebay item from Daytona Yes, this is my regular account on the message boards. I am helping with the website and other things and I am also doing the ebay item. A portion of the amount will go to Elliott's Charity

Note the obligatory ‘a portion will go to Elliott’s charity’ and ‘we have not figured everything out yet’. More importantly, this whole mess could have been squelched had Sean simply followed through with his claim of “get word tomm on the actual % that is going and whatnot”. But as we will see, that will never happen.


My direct response to Sean’s posts after repeated questions of the actual percentages going to the Foundation had been ignored.

(3/16/06 9:30 am)
“The reason why I asked these questions is that because of where I live and have been living since Aug, “charity fraud” is a sore subject. The original question was asked by others, and the Webmaster responded vaguely with “yes, some of it is going to charity” and “hopefully going to get word tomorrow on the actual % that is going and what not and will update it as soon as I can.”. That word appears to have never been conveyed.

Considering this is not the first time there has been problems with Sadler items being auctioned on Ebay by official representatives/employees of Elliott, and that this particular item did not follow numerous Ebay guidelines (charitable donations, shill bidding), fuels some of the skepticism I maybe having and know more about just wsince there are plans for more of these items that I might be interested in, I would like tohere more “charitable donation” goes, and what programs that Foundation sponsors. Those are basic questions someone might be asked when the ruse of charity is given.

I certainly would not donate the amount of money that item was auctioned for, to anyone or anything if I did not fully understand where and how much of that money is going. To not understand this fully is foolish. After seeing first hand how some have taken advantage of Hurricane Katrina victims, questioning this in the same public forum that the item was solicited in the first place is not unreasonable or out of line. Trying to understand more about the Foundation and its Trustees is more of a legal matter depending on where one lives and IRS deductions. Before I would feel comfortable bidding on any future items as I’m guessing since I’m a fan of the Sadlers I would have some interest in bidding on them, I’d like some answers to questions being posed. If everything is on the up and up, it shouldn’t be a big deal.

Had I been bidding on this item and later found out that someone directly involved with the selling of this item was also shill bidding to drive up the price, I would have major problems with it. I am sure the winner of the item feels foolish that they had been duped into winning an item that had been shill bided.”

So what do we think the “Southern Gentleman’s handler’s” answer was?

Thread locked, closed and edited
*EDIT* If you have any questions regarding the foundations, do not post them on the message board. Please contact the webmaster.

Thank you

Edited by: SFC Webmaster at: 3/17/06 3:58 pm

"POOF', like it never happened, like sweeping the dirt under the carpet.

Now if that is not an interesting way to handle things and one that would raise suspicion, I don’t know what is. The “Southern Gentleman’s” handlers want to use the forum as a vehicle to promote their auction, but when questions come up that they clearly want to avoid, now the message board is not the place to ask them. Fair enough, it is off to email the SFC Webmaster:


email by ****** to SFC webmaster (March 17th, 2006)
Sean,
My questions were on the thread that was edited and that were not answered before. I really don't understand the aloofness of all of this, as the actions only seem to fuel any skeptism one might have. I was simply using the very forum that you used to promote the item, I cannot think of a more appropriate place to ask them. The questions that not only I asked but others did as well are not uncommon questions when 'donations' are being made.

The more specific questions I asked basically came directly from the Federal Trade Commission warnings concerning charity donations and I mainly did it because promises of more information were made, but as far as I could tell, not followed through.

I am not trying to be a jerk about this, but like I said, from the outside, this auction has numerous anomalies. Since you stated that there would be more of this auctions and I am interested in bidding on such items, these questions are not abnormal. Let I said, I would like to have a good conscious in knowing where and how much of my donation dollars are going to.

Feel free to answer the questions on the edited thread and if you cannot pull them up because they were edited, I can re-submit them.

Thanks for your time


Again, all that is asked here are answers to a few simple questions.

So now the PR/Spotter gets into to act as obviously Sean is overwhelmed by accountability.

Response for Brett Griffin (via SFC webmaster) march 18th

I am sending you some information:

A portion of the proceeds from all of the online auctions pertaining to Elliott's memorabilia utilized under the name DriversChoice38 will be given to the Elliott and Hermie Sadler Foundation. If you are a supporter of Elliott and Hermie then you know what the foundation supports. We are in the process of forming a web site for the foundation. These items will be offered as very unique items and the winning bid will receive the item(s). This is the FIRST auction on ebay that any of Elliott's representatives have managed and we have not had any problems! Drivers Choice is a motorsports marketing company and will pay the Elliott and Hermie Sadler Foundation a portion of the proceeds. Thank you for your interest.

Brett Griffin
Business Manager, Elliott Sadler Enterprises

Thank you,

Sean

Call my crazy, but Brett states this is their first auction (it maybe Brett’s first auction, but not the first time there have been issues with other auctions by Sadler PR people). He also mentions ‘DriversChoice’ and by doing that has now indirectly implicated Dale Jarrett (a partner in Driver’s Choice Motorsports Marketing Group). Then there is the “. If you are a supporter of Elliott and Hermie then you know what the foundation supports.” Statement. This just goes to show how out of touch Brett is with Sadler’s fans, as there have been people who came over from RYR and still really don’t have an earthly idea what the darn foundation does and further more, was this auction only limited to 'Sadler Fans'? Sure we get bits and pieces of info now and then pertaining to Hermie’s Daughter, but the days of helping the Faison School for Autism are long gone as well as the "Race for Hope".

And lastly, we see Brett’s first attempt to deflect and ignore the questions at hand with the claim “we have not had any problems”. Just the questions alone by multiple people addressed at him, is in indication of said problems.


Also, what is very important to note, is that the auction had ended over 2 weeks prior and the winner of the auction had already made the exchange of $820 at a private meeting with Sean at the Mooresville Cracker-barrel on March 13th. Since this transaction was completed, why would there be any problems of knowing the exact percentages of the $820 going to the Foundation? It is really not a hard question to answer, and one that ANY charitable marketing group should be expected to by asked of them.

I’ll stop here, and next week I’ll submit the direct email exchange from the “Southern Gentleman’s” Spotter/PR person and the actions that followed.

to be continued............

15 comments:

Jeff said...

This doesn't paint a very pretty picture of Sadler and his PR person.

Anonymous said...

I am waiting with baited breath... do we have to wait until next week??? Damn Phil, you're nailing this RIGHT ON. Don't let the panting, drooling puppy parade slow you down -- there are intelligent grown-ups out here who are sick and tired of Elliott Sadler and Brett Griffin's high school antics and the little girls who pat them on the hands and tell them how CUTE they are. It's too bad the only place they seem to be held accountable is in a blog, but then again, that's the beauty of blogs ain't it! Rock on dude.

Greta said...

I remember the eBay auction. I also remembering emailing Sean questions about which charities would be receiving a portion of the proceeds. I never got any sort of response from Sean whatsoever.

I also remember at the exact same time that Tony Stewart's PR people were auctioning off his sweaty towel from the same race. On that particular eBay auction they said how much was going to Victory Junction Gang Camp, which I believe was 100%. Shortly after folks started asking questions about the auction the pictures of Elliott signing the shirt appeared on the eBay site. But that still did not answer my questions. I did not question if Elliott acutally signed the shirt or not. I wanted to know what charities my dollars were going to support. If it is a non-profit whose values I don't agree with, then I'm not going to direct my dollars there.

I'm not so sure why Brett took such offense to the questions that were asked, because they were the type of questions that any average person bidding on anything on eBay might ask.

I think one of Elliott's biggest mistake is having his best friend and cousin (that's how he has described Brett) as his business manager. Elliott needs a business manager who is not emotionally connected to him like Brett is. And probably somebody who has at least a masters in business. Elliott has been steered down the wrong path and is taking a number of nice people with him which is a shame.

Anonymous said...

"I'm not so sure why Brett took such offense to the questions that were asked, because they were the type of questions that any average person bidding on anything on eBay might ask."

I don't think there can be any question as to why Brett took offense........he was guilty as sin. I seriously doubt any of the proceeds went to charity!!

I didn't email Sean about my concerns, I contacted Brett and the sponsors of Elliott directly, and boy did I get a response (almost immediate in fact) from Hermie directly and from Brett (practically quoting exactly what Hermie had said in his email-guess he can't think for himself either) AND I also got a response from Elliotts sponsor( which I didn't expect), although from Hermie and Brett I got absolutely no answers on the ebay auction, charities etc. What I got from Hermie was "a threat", that I really should be careful of the people I contact regarding these issues, or suffer the consequences!! Since I had done nothing wrong, I wrote Hermie's ramblings off as the garble it was.....idiotic stuff. NOW, the reaction from the sponsor was a little more intense with concern, mostly because of the issues I had raised and how they were addressed by the principles involved.....I was told Hermie was OUT OF LINE, with his comments, and that he would be contacted in regards to his words, and I assume he was........I never heard from him again, although I did hear from the puppetmaster Brett a few more times.....useless waste of time reading his grammatically incorrect crap. (I'm surprised he got out of grade school).

It is pretty evident to me anyway, that the Sadlers are an organization motivated by making a dollar, whether it be by legal or(suspected) illegal means. They won't answer simple questions about charities and how much goes where, they make fans pay a fee to access their message board, they charge outrageous prices to get an autograph at a party (tip here: you can get it free at the track, if you really want it?) Money seems to be uppermost in their minds these days, fans can go to hell in a handbasket for all they care, and they seem to think they are above the law . Although it does make you wonder if they actually NEED THE MONEY, sounds to me like they are broke, or maybe it is to fund Hermie and all his broken down attempts at racing-always in his brother's shadow (the poor thing).

As for the puppy parade, they need to go find another tree to bark up, this one is taken by the truthsayers, the ones who can see that something is wrong, the ones who ask questions and expect answers, the ones who don't care how Elliott looks from the front or the back....you all just take your "toys" (I use that term lightly) and go home or over to Sadler land , where they hand out those rose-colored glasses for you all.

Bring it on Phil, I will be waiting :)

Anonymous said...

I'm not so sure why Brett took such offense to the questions that were asked, because they were the type of questions that any average person bidding on anything on eBay might ask.

Defensive because of guilt? Because he realized that someone had figured out who "Spotter38" was in the bidder's list?

And as far as Hermie, he is another one who is not nearly as nice as he appears. I overheard a comment he made to a fan about what he thinks of the message board and how they should be happy they still have a board. The fan had the most stunned,'caught in the headlights' look on her face! It was really funny!

Anonymous said...

Goatfish? What in the heck is a Goatfish?

Greta said...

And that is my point...asking specificially what charities the Sadler Foundation, or whatever its name is - I forget, support is not a vitrolic nor an accusing question. It is a question plain and simple. One that many people who are asked to contribute to any foundation will ask. But the responses, or lack there of, that we all seemed to have gotten did paint the auction as something less than above board.

I know that Tony Stewart's people have set up the Foundation section of his website so that you can easily find information. (If you'd like to see for yourself to to: http://msn.foxsports.com/story/1754140)It has the hallmark of being set up, or at least advised, by professional fundraising counsel. And that is the difference between having only your family involved and bringing in professional assistance. Those professionals know the laws that govern non-profits.

Kasey Kahne's foundation lists the charities he supports in the mission statement as well. (http://www.kaseykahnefoundation.com/)

I never called into question the leaglity of Elliott's auction, until I got no answers and read about the answers others did receive. Then I did become a bit suspicious. I mean just because the auction may have not been the best planned out thing is nothing to be ashamed of. Pull the auction, get more info, distribute that info and start over. I'm sure the girl in Charlotte who won the shirt would still have bid until she won.

But that's been my concern this past season for Elliott, he refuses to have anybody guiding him other than his family and friends. Not a wise move, IMO.

Anonymous said...

I dont have my head in the SAND and look what I found....

Elliott, Hermie and the Sadler family hosted 1,000 Sadler fans at the Sadler Barn on Thursday evening prior to the race at Richmond International Raceway. Elliott and Hermie were joined by special guests Blake Shelton and Dale Jarrett. The agenda for the evening included bologna burgers, autographs, photo opportunities, viewing of Elliott's famous hunting dogs and a concert by country music artist Blake Shelton. The Sadler Fan Club Barn Party raised over $30,000 for the Elliott and Hermie Sadler Foundation

rick said...

What I find odd is that in less than 24 hours a press release is presented making some claim of amount of money raised to the Foundation, yet it has been over 8 months to get the same answer for a $820 auction.

And you think that you don't have your head buried in the sand? Anyone can make a bold claim in a press release, actually backing that claim up with legal documentation is another thing. Can't wait to hear the rest of this story Phil.

Anonymous said...

Now, isn't that special! Awwww! If I had known ahead of time, that a portion of the proceeds would go to charity, I would have gone myself.

Phil, you must be getting to them. They are starting to change the way they are doing business.

Anonymous said...

Omited from all of this, is the timing. Looks to me like someone got their plane fare paid for to some place like Las Vegas or something like that.

Perhaps Seanboy got to hang out with Elliott, Brett and the other strippers in Sin City?

Anonymous said...

I would feel so much more warm and fuzzy about Elliott if I could believe he was really doing this for the fans or for the foundation.

I guess I was a fan of his for too long. I see too many patterns here.

Marla said...

In my opinion, this donation is a publicity stunt! If it were not, there would have been an announcement ahead of time. He does not walk the talk! Look at drivers like the Newmans, they are consistently active with their charity. Harvick almost always has a charity raffle going on at his site/message board. Dale JR frequently meets with the Make a Wish kids, and now for the Boys and Girls Clubs. Hamlin visits hospitals almost everywhere he goes. Stewart and his donations to the VJGC are well documented. Hendrick drivers are all very generous to the Marrow program. Shoot, even in the Truck Series, you have Brendan Gaughan who for every every race has a decal of a military unit from Nellis Air Force Base. Most of the other drivers are consistently donating, and not skipping a year or two. The Sadler Foundation must have needed a certain amount of funds moving around to keep their charity status.

Anonymous said...

In response to Rick, how naive must you be to just blindly follow some anonymous guy with a blog, And they wonder how stupid people start cults! Oh wait, you know his name is Phil so that must make it ALL TRUE!!!!

Anonymous said...

In response to Rick, how naive must you be to just blindly follow some anonymous guy with a blog, And they wonder how stupid people start cults! Oh wait, you know his name is Phil so that must make it ALL TRUE!!!!"

Let see......change that around, and you get....

In response to Rick, how naive must you be to just blindly follow some driver, And they wonder how stupid people start cults! Oh wait, you know his name is Elliott so that must make it ALL TRUE!!!!"