Travelhost publicly claims Brian Hickey is an “extortionist?” Just more propaganda, or fraud? Maybe defamation?

Travelhost either has incredibly incompetent legal counsel, or more likely, is doing what it does best…lying.

Since I’ve communicated directly with John Price, Travelhost’s attorney, I can tell you first hand that he’s not incompetent…so that leaves only one option.

Travelhost has recently proudly claimed by email to the entire network of Associate Publishers, that it has hired a “SEO specialist” to prevent the existence of my blog from being disclosed to potential investors that need it for due diligence. Furthermore, Travelhost threatens to prosecute me for extortion, in a two-page letter to its associates.

It’s interesting how the “Confidential Advisory Board Memo” on Brian Hickey, discussing many false claims about (me) was emailed to everyone in the network.

(By the way, I call that “publishing” for you legal types.)

I’m going to make this post simple and clear…unlike the two-page propaganda issued to everyone last week:

Travelhost claims this blog is full of false information, yet has NOT ONCE told me or my readers WHAT IS FALSE. If they had told me what is false, then I would have erased the false information by now…its been 9 MONTHS!

I have no other choice but to think that what is contained in this blog is TRUE.  And, since we have received not a SHRED of proof from Travelhost that it’s not true…what else can I do?

On the flip side of the coin, my claim against Travelhost is three-fold:

1. Travelhost did not live up to their contractual obligation to charge me WHOLESALE pricing. These overcharges put me at a competitive disadvantage in my marketplace, and eventually put me OUT OF BUSINESS.

2. Travelhost operated as my FRANCHISOR ,yet did not follow FTC guidelines. Had they followed the LAW, I would have never decided to embark on this 60K BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY” in the first place, due to the nearly 100% FAILURE RATE of their FRANCHISEES. (This is why I’m warning prospective investors, because Travelhost WONT.)

3. Travelhost perpetrates FRAUD on a regular basis by misrepresenting themselves to prospective investors AND their ASSOCIATE PUBLISHERS. Furthermore, they continue to misrepresent ME to this day by publishing lies!

There you have it folks. Unlike Travelhost, I substantiate my claims in my communications.

As for my request for remuneration, you’re damn right I asked for it!

I, like Jeff Loudon (from Yakima, Wa.) before me, repeatedly demanded compensation for ourselves and a drastic change in the way that Travelhost does business for the ENTIRE NETWORK OF AP’S, so as to “stop the scam” on all present, past and future targets of Travelhost’s boiler room….the Associate Publishers.  That’s right, we tried to help EVERYONE in the network.

Needless to say, that didn’t work. God forbid Travelhost do the right thing by EVERYONE.

So, what’s the next logical step?  Try and convince Travelhost to make good on their damages to me.

I have no idea of what Loudon got from Travelhost as compensation that led him to stop his blog, but I asked for a very modest amount. (At no time did I connect my blogging activity to my request for remuneration…another LIE by Travelhost.)

(Loudon did say that he wanted “mid-six figures” and I bet he got it.)

I asked Travelhost for $150k.

How do I substantiate this claim?

I take $30,000 per year x 5 years of over-charges (double-retail for printing—instead of contractually promised “wholesale pricing”) plus $150,000 for the lost value of my business on resale.

(I believe a business making $30,000 more per year (because it isn’t being ripped off) would be worth an extra $150,000 on resale, in addition to the existing 25 year operation.)

Then, I graciously divided my $300,000 total damages IN HALF for my plausible demand to also be reasonable and get quick compensation for my losses, so I can continue to support my family.

I also requested that Travelhost waive (its most-likely unenforceable) 2 year prohibition of me starting a new, profitable travel guide.

Does this sound like extortion?

TRAVELHOST put me (and many, many others) OUT OF BUSINESS!

Travelhost ripped me off, and I have a right to tell people about it.

Plain and simple.

Now we have John Price, Travelhost’s lawyer, (obviously ghost writing for Buerger) publicly accusing me of extortion!

Quoting patent bullshit about the relevance of the Federal Extortion Law, he made a public claim that I’m an extortionist in violation of federal law, specifically 18 U.S.C. 875(d).

(yes, he “published” the claim along with false accusations about me and my motives, both in the letter to the network AND publically on through his puppet David Portener.)

The facts have never gotten in Buerger’s way for the last 43 years of scamming, why start now?

The legality of my conduct has been repeatedly settled by no less than the US Federal Court of Appeals in New York, which happens to be where I live, with its interpretation of the law directly governing me and my conduct.

It involved a case where an alleged daughter asked her father, Bill Cosby, for $40 million for child support or she would publicize that she was his illegitimate daughter. At first, the court said in the lengthy opinion, that she committed extortion—-only because her claim was so high in amount that it was clearly only an attempt to buy silence and her claims did not have a “nexus” to activity being disclosed.

Here’s the law according to the Federal 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals:

“We reasoned, however, that not all threats to reputation accompanied by demands of money are inherently wrongful, see id. at 67, and we inferred that Congress meant 875(d) to criminalize only such threats as are wrongful, see id. at 67-70. We concluded that the court’s instruction “erroneously allowed the jury to find defendants guilty of violating that section on the premise that any and every threat to reputation in order to obtain money is inherently wrongful,” id. at 71-72, and that the court should instead have informed the jury of the wrongfulness element by instructing that 875(d) prohibits obtaining money or a thing of value from another by use of threats to reputation only if the defendant has no plausible claim of right to the money demanded or if there is no nexus between the threat and the defendant’s claim, see 180 F.3d at 71.”

US v Jackson 196 F3d 383 (1999), paragraph 33 and see the original opinion 180 F3d 55 United States v. Jackson

My activities of blogging (warning prospective investors) until properly compensated by Travelhost for its fraud, over-charges and cover-up (and yours if you ever choose to enforce your rights), meet BOTH the exceptions to the 875(d) extortion statute so long as your compensation demand is “plausible.”

That is why I’ve been rightfully blogging for 9 months. Travelhost’s business opportunity is a scam, in my opinion, and that of many others…including past and present employees AND associates!

I’ll blog until Travelhost makes good on the damages they’ve caused me.

Come on Buerger, just stop the scam! And if you believe Travelhost isn’t a scam, why don’t you PROVE it to us?  Tell us your success rate.  Tell us that every FRANCHISE pays the same printing prices!  Better yet, tell prospective AP’s this information, so I don’t have to!

Mr. Buerger, why dont you just retire on the millions you’ve swindled over the last four decades?

Hire your waste collector to run the company…it will be a vast improvement.

(Come to think of it YOUR waste collector must be highly talented!)

Someone once said on this blog that karma has no statute of limitations…I wholeheartedly believe that statement applies to you, Mr. Buerger.  You have a chance to do the right thing.

Take it.

Stop hiding this information from prospective investors.  They’re going to find out eventually, and Travelhost will be no better off when they do.


8 Responses to “Travelhost publicly claims Brian Hickey is an “extortionist?” Just more propaganda, or fraud? Maybe defamation?”

  1. Cynthia Says:

    Brian, first Buerger doesn’t have a pot to piss in so to speak. Look, the guy has been trying to buy his way to happiness for years. Whether it be via running for Mayor of Dallas where he got crushed, sitting on the City Council having every imaginable man toy out there (motorcylces, fast cars, million dollar house, etc.) and still remains trapped in his own skin and having to do what he does to keep up with such a pursuit of happiness.

    I can assure you this guy does not want what goes on inside the walls of Travelhost to be shared in a court of law. Given the knowledge you have, and I have as a former AP, that others have received compensation for silence makes it a no-brainer to ask for assistance. The fact that Buerger gives to some APs and not to others is pathetically unethical if not illegal. The whole operation there is screwed up.

    Stand firm Brian. An army of folks hurt by Travelhost and JIM BUERGER may be silently behind you or even next to you, but we are there ready to speak when it is time.

    Buerger, it is a fact of life that every one of us reaps what we sow. Your endless and failed pursuit of happiness would be fine if it were not for the people you have hurt so badly along the way. I’m guessing you can’t look very long in the mirror if at all.

    Brian has laid forth truths here. If what is here is untruthful, then state so and stop using SEO measures to keep this blog from potential APs. Imagine what any snookered AP will do and say once he’s in the network and then discovers all of what you’ve hidden. Just imagine.

    There is little space now for Travelhost to hide. Oh, and one other thing, what happened to Eli????

    Maybe there is room for two to hide under Buerger’s desk.


    • bdhickey Says:

      Very good points…the truth is, there are MANY past AND present AP’s AND employees that are behind me on this. This many people can’t be wrong…you should hear the stories from the “inside.”

      Eli must have realized the truth…he was helping Buerger to cover-up the FRAUD and probably realized that he too could be liable if he continued to knowingly defend Travelhost. Or, perhaps he developed a conscience and will try to get Travelhost to change? lol…I doubt it.

      And to think Buerger is a big fan of Napolean Hill…talk about being a hypocrite! His Travelhost philosophies go against everything Napolean Hill teaches!

  2. JJ Says:

    Hi Brian! Hope you’re doing well today. Can you post, on here, the internal memo Travelhost put out blaming and slandering you for revealing their conduct? Many of us think it would be a good idea to see exactly what they said. If you don’t want to or can’t because of your attorney’s advice, we understand.

    If Travelhost thought the bee’s nest good ‘ol Eli stirred up was angry, they ain’t seen nothin’ yet!!!


    • bdhickey Says:

      Hey JJ, thanks for writing in.

      Since the document is just floating around the information highway for everyone to see anyway, there’s no issue with posting here on this blog…especially since it contains false allegations about ME! I should have an opportunity to defend myself, no?

      Since we have hundreds of regular readers here at THE PUBLISHERS ADVOCATE, this blog is a good start at justifying my claims and defending the false allegations.

      JJ…unlike Mr. Buerger and Travelhost Magazine, I have no problem laying all the cards on the table. I’ll post the two page slanderous memo, and break it down point by point. I have nothing to hide.

      Seems as if Travelhost does though. They don’t substantiate a single claim in their letter…they just ramble on and on about the same old thing. (some hyped-up allegations of extortion and trademark violations.)

      Meanwhile, they haven’t changed a thing about the way they do business…and they continue to recruit new AP’s while cloaking the information these innocent investors need to know. Fraud at its best!

      I’ll also keep you guys informed about what’s in the pipeline…good stuff!



  3. MMurse Says:

    I hear you guys…the jerks at TravelHost nearly bankrupted me, I have no love for the company, and whenever I see their crap magazine I tear it up. TravelHost, What a joke!

  4. Wow - Watcher Says:

    If they are operating as an illegal franchise (which I believe they are), why hasn’t the FTC shut them down?

    • bdhickey Says:

      The FTC has been contacted by quite a few people regarding Travelhost, and I believe there’s an investigation pending…but you know how inefficiently these agencies operate sometimes. There’s not enough time in the day to investigate all claims, but since Travelhost has taken advantage of so many people, over such a long period of time, they seem somewhat interested.

      Will keep you informed. Meanwhile, you can go to my website and click the link to file a complaint if you believe they are doing something wrong.



  5. 2010 in review: The Publisher’s Advocate Blog…The Travelhost Magazine Opportunity Exposed. « Publishing Industry Practices Says:

    […] Travelhost publicly claims Brian Hickey is an “extortionist?” Just more propaganda, or fraud? Ma… June 2010 7 comments 4 […]

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