More Google Search Results On Travelhost Magazine…”Scam?”

It’s kind of sad when a company has to purchase Google AdWords including “scam” after it’s name…isn’t it?

(OK: Update from Dave Portener (CMO of Travelhost), they didn’t “purchase” it, evidently it comes up automatically every time Travelhost is “googled.”  It’s still a PAID AD SEARCH.  However, point taken, Dave…you didn’t SPECIFICALLY BUY THE WORD “SCAM.” 

(I can admit when I’ve made a mistake!  Dave should do the same, since he lies to the people of this Associate Publisher network just about every time he sends out an email…it’s dispicable!)

(By the way Dave, you still haven’t proven that anything on my blog is FALSE.)  Now back to our regularly scheduled program…

When you Google “Travelhost Magazine Scam,” they have a paid text ad that pops up in the sponsored category!  Does that mean that Travelhost actually finally acknowledges that it is a SCAM?

Perhaps we DO have some progress here!

A couple of pages into the search, you’ll find yet another snipet from a court case where Travelhost had to defend itself against another Associate Publisher for FRAUD.

And, in their usual corporate bullying style, Travelhost motions for a change of venue apparently in an attempt to cause the AP to spend more money by having to go to TEXAS for court.  This is AFTER they probably caused said AP to go broke by overcharging them for the magazine…if history repeats itself, which it tends to do.

It seems that this time, their plans were foiled…and Travelhost was forced to defend themselves in Nevada.  This particular document only talks about the motion for change of venue, not the entire case…but it sounds as if it’s the same old story.


This took place in 1985.  Why do so many people claim that Travelhost has committed FRAUD against them?  Are all these people crazy?

Or, could there be some merit to the numerous claims of FRAUD against Travelhost?

This information was taken from:

See below:



  Docket Number available at
  Citation Number available at
  March 8, 1985PETER E. GALLI and KAREN HUNTER, Plaintiffs,
TRAVELHOST, INC., a Texas corporation, et al., Defendant
Paul D. Elcano, Reno, Nevada, for Plaintiff. , Phillip W. Bartlett, Reno, Nevada, for Defendant.

Reed, Jr.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: REED, JR.


Plaintiffs originally filed their complaint in this case in the Washoe County District Court, Nevada, on August 17, 1984. Defendant removed the action to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ? 1441. The complaint


Federal procedure provides that “for the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice, a district court may transfer any civil action to any other district or division where it might have been brought.” 28 U.S.C. ? 1404(a). Consistent with this, a decision to transfer is committed to the sound discretion of the trial court. See Commodity Futures Trading Com’n v. Savage, 611 F.2d 270, 279 (9th Cir. 1979).

The relevant factors for consideration whether to transfer a case are: the convenience of the parties and witnesses, the relative ease of access to sources of proof, the availability of process to compel the presence of unwilling witnesses, the practical problems indicating that the case can be tried more expeditiously and inexpensively elsewhere, and the interests of justice. See Gulf Oil Corporation v. Gilbert, 330 U.S. 501, 508-509, 91 L. Ed. 1055, 67 S. Ct. 839 (1947).

The burden is on defendant in this case to establish that there should be a change of venue. It is not enough, without more, to merely shift the inconvenience from one party to another. See Van Dusen v. Barrack, 376 U.S. 612, 645-646, 11 L. Ed. 2d 945, 84 S. Ct. 805 (1964).

If the plaintiffs were forced to travel to Texas with the several witnesses that are listed in Peter Galli’s affidavit accompanying the opposition to the motion of transfer, plaintiffs would be seriously inconvenienced. Coupled with the additional cost of litigation outside their home state, it may force plaintiffs to decide that the cost of bringing the lawsuit no longer supports its feasibility. It cannot be said that Texas is the more convenient forum for plaintiffs.

Further, in evaluating a ? 1404(a) motion, the citizen plaintiff’s choice of a proper forum is entitled to “paramount consideration,” and the moving party must show that a balancing of interests weighs heavily in favor of transfer. See Piper Aircraft Co. v. Reyno, 454 U.S. 235, 255, 70 L. Ed. 2d 419, 102 S. Ct. 252 (1981). Defendant in this case has not met its burden. First, defendant actively seeks out and does business nationally. The contract at issue in this case was negotiated, signed, and executed in Reno, Nevada. Also, defendant fails to positively identify any witnesses which would potentially be beyond the jurisdiction of this Court. The simple assertion that the necessary witnesses probably reside in a certain forum does not justify granting a ? 1404(a) motion. This Court finds that the defendant has not met the burden of establishing that the transferee forum is more appropriate for this action.

Accordingly, the motion to transfer based upon 28 U.S.C. ? 1404(a) is denied.

In this case analysis does not stop, however, with a finding that transfer is inappropriate under ? 1404(a). As defendant asserts, there is a forum selection clause at issue in this case.

A copy of the contract is attached to defendant’s motion as Exhibit A. The agreement is a three-page document entitled “APPLICATION FOR DISTRIBUTORSHIP AND AGREEMENT.” There are blanks for the date, names of the parties,


“18. This Agreement is to be governed by and construed according to the laws of the State of Texas and venue for all purposes shall be in the State of Texas.”

Analysis of the validity of the forum-selection clause must begin with The Bremen v. Zapata Off-Shore Co., 407 U.S. 1, 32 L. Ed. 2d 513, 92 S. Ct. 1907 (1972). That case concerned a contract between Zapata, an American corporation based in Texas, and Unterweser, a German corporation, for Unterweser to tow a Zapata oil rig from Louisiana to a point in the Adriatic Sea off Ravenna, Italy. The contract provided that “any dispute arising must be treated before the London Court of Justice”. Id. at 2. The rig was damaged while in the Gulf of Mexico, and Zapata instituted suit in a district court in Florida. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of a motion by Unterweser to dismiss. The Supreme Court reversed. Repudiating earlier decisions adverse to forum-selection clauses, the Court held that there were compelling factors in that case why such a clause, “unaffected by fraud, undue influence, or overweening bargaining power . . . should be given full effect.” Id. at 12-13. Among these factors was the extraordinary nature of the transaction in that case, involving as it did the towing of a drilling barge from the Louisiana coast to the Adriatic Sea. The forum-selection clause also had the effect of providing a neutral, specified forum for the adjudication of disputes, thereby eliminating any uncertainties. The Court further stated:

“There is strong evidence that the forum clause was a vital part of the agreement, and it would be unrealistic to think that the parties did not conduct their negotiations including fixing the monetary terms, with the consequences of the forum clause figuring prominently in their calculations.”

None of the factors mentioned by the Supreme Court are present in this case. This transaction is not extraordinary, nor is there any intimation that the parties need to ensure a neutral forum for the adjudication of the disputes between them. This Court should constitute a neutral forum, no different from the district court in Texas.

There is no indication on the face of the contract that the forum selection clause was freely bargained for between the parties. Nor was the Court presented with any evidence that the parties engaged in any specific bargaining over the clause.

Further, defendant did not provide competent evidence to support the argument that the clause was a “most-significant” part of the contract. At the time the contract in issue was negotiated and signed, the president of Travelhost was Robert E. Thomas. However, the affidavit submitted in support of the argument is by the current president of Travelhost, James E. Buerger. Mr. Buerger states in paragraph 4, page 2, that the “venue selection” paragraph has always been considered to be a “most-significant part of [Travelhost’s] entire Distributorship Agreement arrangement.” The Court has difficulty according much weight to this self-serving statement.

A forum selection clause does not oust this Court’s jurisdiction. There will always be open to either party the opportunity to present whatever evidence will move a court in the particular circumstances not to decline to exercise its undoubted jurisdiction. See LFC Lessors, Inc., v. Pacific Sewer Maintenance Corp., 739 F.2d 4, 6 (1st Cir. 1984) (quoting Central Contracting Co. v. Maryland Casualty Co., 367 F.2d 341, 345 (3d Cir. 1966)). This Court’s subject matter jurisdiction is properly based on diversity of citizenship. Venue is proper in the district of Nevada under 28 U.S.C. ? 1391(a).

IT IS, THEREFORE, HEREBY ORDERED that the motion for change of venue is DENIED.

19850308 <!–plsfield:

© 1992-2004 VersusLaw Inc.

Mr. Buerger was not a party to the contract, nor was he president of Travelhost at the time of the contract. It is the finding of this Court that the forum-selection clause is in the contract for the convenience of the defendant, and for no other reason.their addresses, number of copies per week of the publication, designated area for distribution, amount the distributor is paying defendant, and three additional paragraphs added on to the form contract. All of the above mentioned was initialled by the three signatories to the contract, Peter Galli, Karen Hunter, and Robert E. Thomas. The remaining paragraphs are not initialled. The venue selection paragraph is found at paragraph 18 of the 23 paragraph document. That paragraph of the contract reads:alleges in the first cause of action intentional misrepresentation and in the second cause of action negligent misrepresentation.

11 Responses to “More Google Search Results On Travelhost Magazine…”Scam?””

  1. David Portener Says:


    Actually, it’s sad when a looser like you has the ability to publish false information and get away with it. TRAVELHOST has never paid to buy the Google key word “scam”. Furthermore, citing information from more than twenty years ago is both irrelevant and sad. Nice job of taking a successful business TRAVELHOST of Westchester) and driving it into the ground. You should be ashamed of yourself. While hundreds of people (like myself) have worked hard to build up our businesses with TRAVELHOST, you waste our time by tearing it down. Now by replying, I have given you more credibility, page ranking and hits. sad.
    David B. Portener
    Associate Publisher
    TRAVELHOST of Palm Springs
    (The BEST job I’ve ever had!!)

    • Concerned, long-time AP Says:

      You’re the loser, Dave. And it’s spelled with one “o,” not two.

      It’s amazing how you’re nothing more than a Yes Man, fulfilling the stereotype of everyone in Dallas. That means you’re part of the corruption, in case you needed that explained to you.

      Let’s think about this: Travelhost, if you ask them, is still in “more than 100 markets.” That couldn’t be further from the truth. Try somewhere in the 60s, and dropping rapidly. They’ll be done, and I mean done, within four years. I’ve heard this from many former APs who have looked into the slide.

      Let’s look at the big markets: NYC, DC, Atlanta, Miami, Houston, St. Louis, Kansas City, Cincinnati San Diego, LA, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Philly, Boston, just to name a few. What’s the common denominator? Oh yeah, Travelhost isn’t in any of them. I’m sure there’s more, but I don’t care to look. They can’t hack it against the competition.

      42 years of lies, fraud and taking people’s hard-earned money. It’s time they pay for their misdeeds (including firing the only solid asset they had — Mike Peterson).

      Well done, Brian. And as for Dave, I’m shocked you even replied to this. You should be ashamed of yourself. I’ll bet this blog gets more hits than that website you wasted a million bucks on.

      Hope you can sleep at night, Dave, nestled up next to Buerger like you all are.

  2. bdhickey Says:


    Even though I said I’d never talk to you again, after lying to me and everyone else in the network about Mike Peterson not being FIRED, I’m going to adress a few things.

    1. Travelhost drove my business into the ground, by overcharging me by 200%, when I’m contractually entitled to “wholesale pricing.”
    2. Why does 2/3 of the AP network agree with me, if I’m wrong?
    3. Why can’t anyone prove that what I’m saying is actually FALSE?
    4. The relevance of mentioning a 20 year old court case is simple…the Travelhost FRAUD spans 43 years! The same things people are complaining about today, happened 20 years ago, proving Travelhost has NO INTENTION of changing it’s ways, and doing the right thing.
    5. You couldn’t give me more credibility if you had an 18 wheeler full of it, as you’d need the whole trailer full for yourself. No one trusts you.

    Dave, I’m not going to resort to calling you names…that, in itself, is pretty pathetic.

    And BTW, it’s loser, not looser.

  3. Gary Zweig Says:

    Thanks for posting your blog and information. It saved me from contacting them and learning the hard way. If it quacks like a duck, it must be a duck. It does not matter how long ago the court case was to make a point. Good luck with this fight.

  4. More Of The Missing Travelhost Magazine Puzzle Pieces? « Publishing Industry Practices Says:

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  5. another AP teetering Says:

    Brian and Dave –

    Thank you, Brian, to listening to the concerned AP network and daring to make our collective voice heard. Unfortunately, TravelHost corporate has no ears! It seems their favorite answer is, “You just need to sell more,” or better yet, “Mr. Buerger has made his decision.” I have also checked into “commercial” printers who specialize in magazine printing. One of the larger printers charges approx $8,000 for 20,000 copies of a 48-page magazine. TravelHost charges $17,252. Ouch! And plans for the “new” website (now about three years in the making) is… well, probably the slowest website development on the planet. I’m still trying to figure out what value I am receiving for that additional $8,000 each time a magazine is printed.

    And, Dave, your response is beyond unprofessional. As a marketing and PR professional you would never ever take the low road in the game. I’m afraid your response only furthers the unfavorable opinions of TravelHost in Dallas. Too bad.

    TravelHost Bummer

  6. Former Employee Says:

    Confirming AP teetering’s claim of “You just need to sell more.” In a meeting many years ago one of us voiced a concern from an AP that the national pages, which they received very little if any revenue from, cost them a small fortune in shipping. A good concern, we thought. The response was shocking! The lady questioned exploded! “You just tell so-and-so to get out there and start selling more ads! They shouldn’t be spending all their time worry about things like this!” That ended the questioning, as it was designed to do. I was observing this whole thing and my confused look got her attention but I decided to leave it alone. I knew many years before that that I was dealing with a well-oiled machine and the machine would not be tampered with. That question never came up again from any of us. Case closed.

    And why do you pay more to print with Travelhost? It’s simple. Headquarters believes that you are paying premium because you’re paying a publishing price and not a printing price. (I will almost bet that your price quote for $8000 does not include typesetting/layout/proofing — etc., all the things that go into getting to plates. I’m not sure it would double your price, though, but it might add to it a bit.) You’re also, according to HQ, paying to be a part of the Nation’s Number One Travel Publication. It’s like selling a hamburger vs. selling a McDonald’s hamburger — name recognition, high value, national exposure — the whole package that comes with the distributorship. While this may be true in theory the question is: Does the Travelhost name bring good value? In some parts of the country, it absolutely does, and in others, it does not. It is up to the AP to decide if it brings good value to them and if it is worth paying for.

    So sorry to hear another AP is teetering. Very sad, really. This is really like watching a building crumble and fall. I hope the best for you.

  7. another AP teetering Says:

    Thank you, Former Employee, for your perspective. It’s quite sad to hear this “well-oiled machine” has been handling the one group of people who are responsible for TravelHost’s existence with such disrespect. The associate publishers have invested their hard-earned dollars to associate themselves with a national brand with a positive perception. As it seems, the national perception and reputation is being tarnished, barring a few select markets. If corporate actions devalue the brand name, do the APs have any recourse? Quite frankly, I don’t think advertisers really care what name is on the cover – they care about the distribution and if the publication looks appealing. (and that’s a topic for another time!)

    As for the “publishing” discussion, I would argue TravelHost does not “publish” at all, just pre-press and printing. Having been in the newspaper business previously, publishing typically includes gathering content, selling space to advertisers, printing and distributing. TravelHost does not collect content for any of the local markets, nor does it sell advertising for local markets. And their distribution is limited to putting the magazines on a truck. The APs distribute. So I think they are a printer. Printers have pre-press departments that can provide proofs, make corrections, etc. I would also venture to guess that many/most associate publishers do not rely on TravelHost designers to design any of their ads. While a very likeable group, their talents are in production and not creative graphic design. Another argument for “printer”. I would bet there are a few APs who use their own designer to lay out their publications and submit final packages to TravelHost for printing. So where is their discount for not using corporate for these services?

    And, one step beyond, TravelHost recently announced that some APs have started using Publication Builder. No layout, no typesetting needed by TravelHost, the self-proclaimed “Publisher”. Did those APs get a discount? It seems TravelHost’s “publishing” days are drawing to a clear end, only to be left as a mere “printer”. What then…

  8. Former Employee Says:

    AP Teetering, you are absolutely right. In my previous post I was writing what I was told at Travelhost, that the AP’s pay a publishing price not a printing price. The absense from actual publishing at TH was disappointing to many of us. The majority of work there is production. TH does provide the cover art (which I never actually cared for, as it rarely said anything about travel), the basic format (which is all right, I guess, but hardly cutting edge) but other than that the work printed is what has been sent in. Actually there is one market that I know of that does their own layout (which I won’t mention who in case that’s a no-no, and I would hate to cause any problems) and they actually tweek it from time to time and it comes out looking a bit better than the regular format. Many APs send in various pages from time to time, and a majority of ads are already done through ad agencies and the like, and ready to place on the page. As for a discount for them? You would think there should be one but I couldn’t tell you that as I don’t know.

    Publication Builder sounds interesting but that must have been installed after I left. It’s a good idea for them, as they can save a bundle on expensive staff salaries and benefits, but it does take away from the publishing, as you said.

    I have never doubted that the folks at TH HQ have great respect for the APs, and I’m sure have great appreciation for you and your work. I have heard those high up many times say that the production staff need to continually strive to produce a excellent product as the AP’s work very hard to sell each ad and keep their businesses going. I had tremendous respect for each AP I knew, and must confess was even a bit envious in their professional freedom. This is why the response to the comment about selling more ads that I mentioned in the previous post was disappointing to me, as I thought such a concern deserved a good answer, and perhaps even a simple solution. This cold response we received in the meeting that I mentioned was disrespectful to that AP but I don’t want to give the impression that this was the norm. When it came to the day to day dealings with APs everyone from the top down strived to help and assist quickly and timely to nearly every concern.

    I want to be careful in my postings that I share accurately what I witnessed at TH, both the good and the questionable. I respect Mr. Hickey’s efforts on this blog to bring out the truth so some may avoid an investment that will not work for them, and I will chime in from time to time, but what I hope for is that all of this makes Travelhost better, not destroy it. I’m just hoping that it’s not too late.

  9. Another bait and switch? « Marty's Monday JSWT Says:

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  10. 2010 in review: The Publisher’s Advocate Blog…The Travelhost Magazine Opportunity Exposed. « Publishing Industry Practices Says:

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