| Subject: RW98 update
Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 15:59:11 EST
From: ROBOT WARS <ROBOTWARS@aol.com>
Dear Robot Warriors,
As you have noticed I have had problems in providing the information and material that you have been requesting since August of last year. Many, many requests for entry forms for RW98 have been received by me and the forms have still not been sent out. And, as most of you know the web site robotwars.com has not been updated since before RW97.
You are entitled to know why.
Most of you no doubt are aware of the difficulties that I had with my partner in moving forward with RW97, specifically the law suit which he brought to try and stop the event from taking place. After RW97, Judge Batts (the federal judge who is in charge of Profile's lawsuit) ordered a mediation between me and my partner, and in December of last year, I thought that my partner and I had a handshake deal resolving the disputes in a manner that retains for me the creative and production control with respect to the San Francisco Bay Area annual event plus one other annual event in the US. Now Profile is demanding that I sign documents which will give Profile control of everything, thereby nullifying that which we agreed to.
We are still trying to come to an agreement, but Profile has refused to allow me to move forward with the event unless the final documents are signed. That arrangement continues to be unacceptable to me due to the number of unresolved issues and the time required to resolve them . . . if they can be resolved. And, besides, no one benefits by the cancellation of the event in any case. I have worked far too hard and too long and at far to much personal sacrifice to be bullied into submission by a wealthy businessman and his clever attorneys. Also, I am not one to succumb to tactics of coercion and intimidation. Thankfully, few have suggested that I do. And, fortunately a few individuals have helped me in ways that simple gratitude cannot address.
You, the participants, represent the content of Robot Wars events. You offer your creativity, time, energy and expense to build these amazing robots that are now the delight of a huge number of fans here in the US and worldwide. I had hoped that the stormy clouds that have surrounded Robot Wars since late 1995 would have cleared by now. Certainly it is not for lack of motivation or effort on my part as the stakes are extremely high, namely, the future direction and potential rewards associated with "the sport of the future".
You are also entitled to know how this situation came about.
It is common in business where ideas and money come together that at a certain point the money tries to control the idea i.e. the business that grew out of the idea. In 1992 I dreamed up the Robot Wars concept and by 1994 I was set to go but had no money till I formed a partnership with Profile Records in New York, which is owned by Steve Plotnicki.
In exchange for putting up the money for the business and the RW events I agreed to an equal partnership with him. I would be the creative energy and he would be the "wallet." Although the joint venture was never without its problems, RW was progressing until fall 1996 when my partner began to hold the annual event and the business in general hostage to terms of an agreement that would give him control of Robot Wars; terms that continue to be unacceptable to me due to my lack of trust in him. In spite of all this and with huge personal sacrifice I managed to overcome the obstacles presented and did, amazingly, produce RW97.
For my part I have few resources except determination and the willingness to sacrifice what time I have and money I can borrow. I believe that his strategy is as follows: He knows that the bigger RW gets the higher the value becomes and the more difficult it will be for him to get control. He might not ever get control if RW were financially prosperous. So lately he has been doing all he can to avoid deals and opportunities and is generally withholding approval for everything including RW 98. He has some hollow excuses but the reality is as obvious as an elephant in a kitchen.
So where are things now?
I feel it is both early enough and late enough in regards to RW98 that I have an obligation to inform you that my partner who has equal approval rights to mine continues to refuse all my requests for approval to go forward with RW98.
Be assured that I continue with my efforts to produce RW98 and I will do everything I can to keep it on track. . .though time is running out. Last year at this time I was much farther along in the planning.
Because of the lack of progress to a final settlement, and my belief that further progress will not move fast enough for the viability of RW98, my attorney submitted a motion to show cause to the federal judge asking that the event be allowed to go forward on a similar basis as last year while the negotiations continue between myself and Profile. She has denied the motion without even considering it.
What can you do?
Many of you may have thoughts and feelings about the possibility of RW98 being canceled and no doubt want to express yourself regarding the issue. Feel free to email me at email@example.com or fax me at 415-453-4453. Or, if you like you may write directly to Federal Judge Deborah Batts, US District Court House, 500 Pearl St., NY, NY 10038. If you do write to Judge Batts in the beginning of the letter refer to case titled: Profile Records v. Thorpe 97Civ5536(DAB). Please send me a copy if you write to her.
I will be keeping you informed on matters concerning RW98 as they progress.
Keep the faith! You build. . . I'll fight.