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The Fall of the House of Interplay, part deux

For those that don't know, Interplay, the once famous game developer, and my former employer after struggling for 6 six weeks unable to meet payroll, closed down. Some 18 months after it ended operations the Superior Court of California issued a judgment on my behalf for the entire amount of back due wages, unpaid vacation, and penalties. Like the others who also received judgments for Herve Cean's unwillingness to pay his former employees, I have repeatedly tried to convince this former CEO of Interplay to pay up on that legal judgment. In 18 months all offers, no matter of favorable, were rebuked.

On, 26, Oct 2005, somebody requested on an investment web site the address of Interplay, which I provided as a matter of public record. What transpired later in a series of emails between myself and Herve Cean provides interesting insight into his mind set, and in my opinion displays his unbelievable arrogance including his willingness to bankrupt the company rather than pay the court awarded judgment. I can not help but wonder, if he was so adamant about not paying, why he never showed up for any of the hearings, or even file an appeal.

His comments are in red mine in blue.

Just saw this on the Raging Bull forum:

By: corith1
26 Oct 2005, 05:05 AM EDT
Msg. 1433 of 1433
(This msg. is a reply to 1432 by middark.)
Jump to msg. #
Interplay's Address
1682 Langley Avenue
Irvine CA, 92614

Herve's residence is listed as
707 N. Rexford Drive
Beverly Hills, CA, 90210

(both were on the Notice of Entry of Judgment)

Oh, you're going to be really surprised to the depths at which I'm
Willing to go to in seeing this issue resolved to my satisfaction. I'm going use the full extent of the American legal system with its plethora of legal venues. We will be seeing a lot of each other in the various courts I intend us to visit.

My private investigator found out all sorts of little tidbits about how you are managing what is left of the company. What money you have and what money you don't. How many law suits, judgments, and legal actions exist. What franchises you have left. Don't feed the me the line about how you can't pay. We both know better.

You had your chance at negotiations. You had your chance to appeal. Now, a California court states you HAVE to pay, and I don't care anymore where That money comes from, nor does the court. Your own personal account, what money Interplay has in the bank, or even if you have to liquidate another franchise, but you have to pay that money and I fully intent to collect and enforce the will of the court, even if I have to place a lien on all corporate earnings, including those coming in from Avalon. It is no longer a matter subject to debate, you had 18 months to cut a deal, you refused.

I will not cease until I am paid the full value of the judgment for
$17,192.65, $8,296.47 of which is penalties for your arrogant refusal to take advantage of my various, and very generous, offers. The investing public needs to made aware of your level of competence as CEO. You can set that level. Its all up to you.

Joe,
Looks like 250,000 shares still changed hands today...

You and I know there is no money at the company and that I have been
managing a miraculous turnaround to get this far without using a
bankruptcy mechanism which would have meant that nobody would get paid ever...

I worked without pay for one year while in the von karman office and I am still working without pay to prove this company will shine again.
I other people were smarter, how come they drove Interplay into the ground and wasted so much money in the past? You tell me?

The legal system will not get you paid, it will just end up killing the company and all hopes to get money forever.
I lost all of my European companies and my marriage in this battle so I am ready to take on anything. Be my guest.

I reiterate my offer to settle our differences for the amount due to you for unpaid payroll and accrued vacation. If you want it can be done next
month.

Sincerely yours,
Herve

A divorce is an ugly, unpleasant, emotionally draining thing, so you do have my sympathies. It is because of that fact that I will allow you the privilege of the 30 days delay in this bill you have requested (see what happens when you communicate). Do not mistake this act of charity as weakness on my resolve to fully collect the amount the State of California says you must pay, including the penalties. If I have to bankrupt what is left of Interplay, then I will.

I expect a check from you for $17,192.65 on or before November 27, 2005.

I am not interested in your sympathies.
We will not have that kind of money. I reiterate my offer to settle for just under $10K as payment of your unpaid salary and accrued vacation.
Let me know.
Herve
Sorry Bucko, but because you need to be taught a lesson in business. You are going to get stuck paying those penalties. If I have to apply a lien, or even if I have to bankrupt the company to force you to pay the court awarded settlement, then I will. Your arrogance is just a tad to much for me to let you off the hook so easily. You need to be penalized for your arrogance, and the court awarded penalty will do nicely. You had your chance. I made you a fantastic offer on 12/28/2004.

Even now, your ego is so inflated it isn't funny. Miraculous turnaround my foot, you've done nothing but tank Interplay. I saw the lousy business deals you've cut and with whom. Everybody else saw it coming, too. People told you, but you still arrogantly believed you knew better. Well, today they were right, and the sorry state you now find yourself in proves you were wrong. Yet, you still cling to the concept that you've done a great job. Tell me, did you and former Disney exec Paul Pressler go to the same business school?

Sorry to burst that bubble of yours, but it was, in fact, your insane
actions that tanked the company. Shutting down Black Isle and let those developers with their great ideas go was bad. Your limited vision of what games would be popular crippled the company beyond comprehension. Failure put a product on store shelves for the 2003 xmas season was downright stupidity.

Do not think that just because you've still got one little office, and hired some firm to put up the web pages I wrote, and not paid any of the lawsuits on the deals you've brokered and then broke, means you accomplished a "turnaround". Liquidating intellectual franchises isn't a turn around, its strip-mining.

You had your chance to turn Interplay around, but failed to see how.
Granted, some of those mistakes might have been due to your total lack of understanding of games, gamers, and the American game industry. Your lack of knowledge of the game industry is still holding you back, and your own arrogance won't let you see it.

You claim to want to move into the MMORPG arena, but do you even know what that is or what it means? Do you even know what the competition is doing, what is coming, what is in alpha or beta testing? Do you know the complexities of the game mechanics of the games that made it and the ones that didn't. How about even the costs involved? Do you even know how long development is for a MMORPG?

Don't cry me any crocodile tears over the losses you and your brother
incurred over your European holdings. How many companies have you bankrupt and run into the ground? You have nobody to blame but yourselves.

It long since time you owned up to your incompetencies. French and American investors both know of your poor decisions and rotten deals. Interplay will never rebound, not at least with you at the helm. Your reputation proceeds you, precluding any real chance at possible investment, and your arrogant stance on so many issues isn't helping - this one included. You've been vilified in the court of public opinion, and trying to weasel out of paying a court awarded settlement time and time again, isn't helping to overturn that view. Instead of rising to challenge as a great leader and savvy
businessman, you continue to sulk in the shadows of Eron inspired executive privilege and corporate malfeasance.

Sorry, but in light your stance of refusing to pay those penalties, I guess this will have to walk down the long hard road of court battles, liens, and other such legal avenues.

You are very funny and seem to know better than me then....
If you change your mind, my offer still stands.

Why, thank you. I try to be funny, and considering the multitude of mistakes you've made, it must seem that I do know more. Regarding the game industry, I suppose I do.

So, you'd rather declare bankruptcy than pay the penalties. Wow, your arrogance knows no bounds. No wonder you've ran your companies into the ground.

You should leave the business world since you're not very good at it, and try something less complicated, like hot dog vending. The "Hot Dog on a Stick" in the Irvine Spectrum is hiring. Out of the goodness of my heart, I'd be willing to act a personal reference for you should you decide ask for an application. We'll keep the job you did at Interplay to ourselves, its best they don't know.

 

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