A Congratulations Is In Order, And Then Another Notice…

First off, I’d like to congratulate Dave Portener, Chief Marketing Officer of Travelhost, for promptly quitting his job last Friday after reading my blog post two days earlier

By abruptly quitting Travelhost as CMO last Friday, before he accomplished anything he set out to do, or telling us who his replacement is…Dave is (IMHO), without a doubt feeling guilty for watching Travelhost defraud people for the last year an a half while he was CMO.

It seems rather obvious to me that David Portener is denouncing Travelhost for what they’re doing!

Dave has taken the first step toward redemption, and limiting his jail time. He must have consulted an attorney, and I commend him for that…I’m sure it wasn’t an easy step for him.

There is another problem, however, other than the people who are paid to work the Travelhost “scheme.” These people apparently continue to “volunteer” to support the Travelhost fraud even after the “cat has been let out of the bag.”

Dear Travelhost Advisory Board members,

Don’t you think that the Travelhost Advisory Board at this point is just putting a “cloak of legitimacy” on Jim Buerger’s Travelhost swindle?

In my experience as a member of the Travelhost Advisory Board, it was a total waste of time listening to Jim Buerger’s rambling about the same B.S. every time, so as to not even allow any real time for meaningful discussion. This must be continuing, or even worse now that Travelhost has no executive staff (with any real publishing experience) to talk at the meetings!

Guess what Travelhost Advisory Board members?

This “waste of time” could make you personally liable for the Travelhost franchise violations, and plain old fraud that is perpetrated on so many people that come in contact with this network!

Don’t you think Buerger will point his finger at you when he goes down?

He’ll probably say that you helped him, and encouraged him, and that it was all your fault!

If you don’t think so, you better think again…we’re talking about a guy who has been scamming for decades.  Wait until you read a future posting on his political career as a councilman and as a candidate for mayor in Dallas!

The bottom line is you have been on an “Advisory Board,” advising Jim Buerger on how to do business at Travelhost.

This can very easily translate to personal liability for you, and at worst, Jim Buerger blaming it all on you.

Your only defense previous to this information being made public:

“We didn’t know what Buerger was doing, nor could we do anything about it.”

Well, you all know what he is doing NOW! You know about the fraud, franchise violations, and overcharges.

Dave Portener seems to have figured it all out, finally, and he left…perhaps the Advisory Board ought to do the same?

In my opinion, you should all leave the Advisory Board and WARN new investors being suckered into taking over these Travelhost markets that have repeatedly failed because of Travelhost over-charges.

You should join Dave Portener in publically showing his disgust for what Travelhost is doing to it’s AP’s and prospective Franchisees.

(Hint to Dave and The AB…Don’t sign one of Buerger’s patented “Gag Agreements,” so you continue to help him with this scam.)

Members of the Travelhost Advisory Board should either force Travelhost to obey the law, or you ought to publicly quit…because you too, can be held personally liable for what Travelhost is doing.

You’ve now been warned…TALK TO YOUR OWN ATTORNEYS! As usual, I only suggest that you look into this with your own lawyer. Don’t take my word for it.

Note:  Dave Portener took a critical first step toward exonerating himself by quitting last Friday.  Hopefully his attorney will advise him to go public with the Travelhost Fraud as well…because by not warning people, he’s just furthering the cause.  He’s not off the hook just because he quit, he should now tell the world what’s going on in Dallas!

(The AB members might be safe to stay on the Advisory Board if you would be willing to force Travelhost to change…NOW….not in 20 years…which I bet is as long as Travelhost is willing to wait for this whole storm to clear up.)

And, it’s also as long as this AP network is willing to fight Travelhost, until they finally do the right thing.




A note about the way I see things on The Travelhost Advisory Board:

Keep in mind that the Travelhost Advisory Board is constructed of what they perceive to be the most successful APs in the country. The Travelhost system was created so that the new people (who invest and go broke every year) SUBSIDIZE the people who are actually making money with the current business model.

Make no mistake, this is not capitalism at work here, it’s Travelhost fraud. I guess you could call it a PONZI SCHEME of sorts…and they’re not playing by the rules.

These AP’s who are making a couple of bucks with this model seemingly have every reason to support the status quo, where Travelhost makes it’s money by churning and over-charging new APs, rather than charging a royalty of 10% of ad revenues. (as Travelhost contractually has every right to do!)

Meaning, the AB members (and a few others) directly benefit from the way Travelhost does business, so they might not be so quick to want Travelhost to change. With a normal system in place, they would end up paying more in royalties!

Of course these people don’t have much incentive to rock the boat…the scam works for them! But, does this stature make these Advisory Board members more liable?

How about their repeated testimonials that help Travelhost “sell” new markets to unsuspecting investors?

(Especially when they know that 90% of new AP’s FAIL, and Travelhost doesn’t disclose that?)

What about the AB members that were privy to the “satisfaction and financial survey” that the AB did a year ago? That survey had incredibly dismal results, yet they go on misleading potential investors with testimonials???

Travelhost Advisory Board members must know that they are unrepresentative of the AP network as a whole? No???

How can the AB members, and other people in the Testimonials, attach their name and face (and credibility) to the Travelhost business model, when they know that 90% of all new AP’s will be recruited without any kind of disclosure…and eventually go broke from overcharges?  Why do you help Travelhost with the FRAUD?

Doesn’t anyone there have a conscience, or at least feel the obligation to report the “rape” that’s being committed?

One Response to “A Congratulations Is In Order, And Then Another Notice…”

  1. Joe Cilek Says:

    I just happened across this website today. I read through it, took the survey, and felt I had to respond to the information provided and add my own Travelhost thoughts and experiences.

    As a former TH Associate Publisher my story is probably pretty typical of many former AP’s, but just in case you wanted to know;
    – My initial investment to TH was $50,000 ($25,000 for the “distribution” rights & $25,000 for the first two issues of the magazine.
    – I published over 15 issues (every other month, was not told I could or should publish quarterly. Quarterly might have saved my business)
    – I produced four TH maps during the course of my business.
    – Total sales amounted to $268,500. My costs ran approx. $250,000
    – After 1 1/2 years publishing I had run out of money. I called TH in desperation to see if maybe they might be able to offer suggestions or any type of help to get the business on its feet. Up until that point I had heard from the business development folks only twice. I talked to a gentleman who promised me a world of help and would guide me “step by step” through this process. He said he would look over my ad count, expenses etc. and get back to me. I never heard back. After a week or so I called again and he said he had looked over everything and he was ready to talk about my business but was busy at that moment and asked if he could call me back. I agreed and never heard back. I called a couple more times each time leaving a message. I never heard back from him.
    – I decided to keep the business going and robbed my 401K because the business was making money but not enough to live on, but felt the business was close to breaking through. I published eight more issues and burned through more than $60,000 of my retirement and all the savings of my family (more than $30,000 additional dollars).
    – I called TH again a little over a year after the first set of calls and told them I was again out of money and done with the magazine. I talked to a new executive who listened and offered to lower my publishing costs, in half, and help me through this period. He said I had the ad base and count to succeed and just needed to keep trying a little while longer (it didn’t matter, I was putting my family at to much risk). I said no that I was out of money and I asked to be released. They agreed.
    – Total lost in opportunity costs and investment, easily over $300,000.
    – We (my family) had to sell our house to get out from under most of the debt I had incurred. I ended up moving to another city to find work leaving my family behind.
    – I found work similar to what I did prior to TH but have had to find another job at night to help pay off credit card bills.
    – We will never financially recover from the experience.

    However, I readily acknowledge that I signed the contract, I paid the money and published the magazine. I don’t think I have any basis to sue and I try not to be bitter over the experience.

    Former TH AP

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