06 April 2012

Update: The Tony Robbins and Tony Berkman Deal That Is Now a Lawsuit Battle

It now seems that the Tony Robbins vs Tony Berkman tale has taken another twist.

Tony Berkman, the owner of Blogcatalog, who has a love of hitting people, myself included, with cease and desist letters and threats of lawsuits has now been hit with a lawsuit by lifestyle coach Tony Robbins (pictured left) over software ownership. Berkman has finally found out what it’s like to be slapped with a lawsuit.

The original article on this blog, Blog Owners Silencing Writers with Threats of Lawsuits details the many times Tony Berkman and his business partner Angie Alaniz have used these threats to bully writers into silence and to frighten others into giving up any claims on software created in partnership with Berkman, as happened to Selina Eckersall. It seems this time Berkman may have met his match.

I first reported on the Robbins deal that cost Berkman $200,000 back in November but now things have taken a step further. A report in the San Antonio Express-News by Patrick Danner states that Robbins’ firm sued first and then Berkman hit back with a breach of contract lawsuit of his own. The full report can be read here: S.A. firm squares off with Tony Robbins.

The news report states that Berkman's suit claims, “Angry when he (Robbins) could not bully his way into getting what he wanted, he unlawfully misappropriated and obtained possession of the goods and services owned and developed.” Anyone who has read the blog posting below on Berkman or indeed anyone who has been unlucky enough to have business dealings with the man and dared to air an opposing opinion against him will be under no doubt of the ironic nature of the above claim in the lawsuit, especially where bullying is concerned.

Berkman had previously claimed that he lost £200,000 of investors' money during this deal, and by all accounts it was Berkman’s insistence on trying to avoid contracts that lost him the deal. During one email with Tony Robbins, Berkman wrote, “Hey Tony isn't it more important that we agree in principal on this. If it were up to me we wouldn't even have a contract. We'd just shake. So instead of getting the attorneys enmeshed in more stuff can we nail down a summary of the specs with an understanding of the ultimate outcome?” When Berkman was presented with the contract he replied to Robbins that, “he wouldn't let his kids sign the contract.” Although Berkman states in one email when discussing the software creation, “we spent $200,000 plus 1,000s of hours, he didn’t spend nearly as much and the contract is horrible” Robbins claims that Berkman’s company NBA demanded $900,000 from Robbins’ firm for the rights to the software application created by NBA.

According to the news report, “Robbins' firm loaned $20,000 to offset development costs, and NBA raised additional monies from investors.”

Berkman previously stated that, “I will do my best to close the deal and make sure it’s the best deal that has ever been done by anyone with Tony Robbins,” adding that, “though underlying that is the fact that the longer this goes on I get to turn Blogcatalog around." Berkman had also stated, when the deal wasn't panning out the way he had planned, "I don't care very much anymore except to get more investor money so that I can continue to pay my employees."

When the "best deal that has ever been done by anyone with Tony Robbins" didn't come to fruition, it looks like court action was the next step.

Blogcatalog Owners Silencing Writers With Threats of Lawsuits


Julian Gallo said...

Well done, Garry. And you're right - I find this whole thing incredibly ironic! :-)

Garry Crystal said...

Julian, I think I should have called the article "The Two Tonys Slapdown..contenders ready."

Jen and Tonic said...

I cannot wait to see how this one pans out. I find the accusation of Tony Robbins and his team being thugs downright ridiculous. Tony Robbins has built an empire-- I think the guy knows a thing or two on how to get stuff done. Having been on Berkman's sites I can honestly say that he was most likely not equipped to handle the type of work Robbins needed.

Small fish shouldn't get in the pond with big fish. They get eaten alive.

Garry Crystal said...

Small fish can get in the pond but if they immediately act as if they own the pond, treat everyone else as cretins and assume others fall hook, line and sinker over every word they say then they will get turfed back in the goldfish bowl. I think I went overboard with the fish/pond analogies.

Judie said...

Gary, I can't really comment on the BlogCatalog fiasco, even though I do have a profile there. I have heard from some friends that the current situation is pretty nasty, though.

Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment on my post.

Garry Crystal said...

Thanks for commenting Judie. Berkman and Alaniz are pretty much small fish who long to be bigger. Unfortunately the only way they see fit to achieve this is to screw writers and throw lawsuits about. Alaniz's latest effort on Broowaha, an attack on ex Broo writers in the form of a truly childish poem, shows why she is editor in name only - there was much laughter when that one was read today. Her plea that 'silence is enlightening' was ironic given this poem....plus we all know why they want people to be silent about them. But of course no one is permitted to comment on her ramblings unless they are in favour of her. Plenty of people unhappy with this pairs business tactics, and the bad publicity on them has been spreading on the net for a while now. I do have sympathy for them though, you have to when they keep kicking themselves in the ass and asking "who did that?"