Page 2 of 5 FirstFirst 1234 ... LastLast
Results 26 to 50 of 112
Like Tree5Likes

Thread: EarthQuest Institute Fraud Continues / Don Allen Holbrook CEO

  1. #26
    Soapboxmom's Avatar
    Soapboxmom is offline Administrator
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Mars
    Posts
    7,995
    Blog Entries
    3

    re: Trey White Fake Multi-billionaire / Marlin Atlantis / EarthQuest Park / Don Holbrook of IEDC

    The HAIF forum clown in action:
    Mister X


    • Full Member
    • 741 posts



    Posted Today at 09:04AM
    The EarthQuest Institute is a not-for-profit organization, NOWHERE has it ever claimed to be a charity. There is a difference - just like there is a difference between reporting facts and reporting opinion.

    The Institute (if it ever gets back on track) will employ people and pay salaries. Don't expect them to ask for soapmoxmom's approval when contracts are negotiated.
    Edited by Mister X, Today at 09:15AM.

    Soapboxmom


    • Full Member
    • 70 posts


    • Location:Texas


    Quote
    Are all nonprofit organizations public charities?
    Public charities represent a substantial portion of the nonprofit sector, but not all nonprofit organizations are public charities. Public charities receive their tax-exemption under subsection (3) of Section 501©. This privileged status allows donors to make tax-deductible contributions to the organization. The IRS defines these organizations as "charitable" because they serve broad public purposes, including educational, religious, scientific, and the literary activities, among others, as well as the relief of poverty and other public benefit actions.


    The Earthquest Institute is a 501 © 3, which is a charitable organization. They are under the Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division.
    Mister X


    • Full Member
    • 741 posts



    Posted 30 minutes ago
    I have never seen one thing written by the EarthQuest Institute that said it was anything other than a Not-for-profit.

    "Charities and not-for-profit organisations are not the same things."

    http://www.hmrc.gov....s/vat/intro.htm

    Even still, charities also employ people for their services. Holbrook committed no crime by accepting a job from EQI.
    Edited by Mister X, 21 minutes ago.



    ...he started it.

    #625 Soapboxmom


    • Full Member
    • 71 posts


    • Location:Texas



    The EQI is not in England. What do the British VAT taxes have to do with anything in Texas??? The IRS has received complaints and they or the Texas Attorney General's office will make any determinations about how funds were used.

  2. #27
    Don Lessem is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    3

    Re: Trey White Fake Multi-billionaire / Marlin Atlantis / EarthQuest Park / Don Holbrook of IEDC

    Hey, all. As the founder of EarthQuest concept for theme park and nonprofit conservation institute, and a former journalist, I have many reasons for supporting your and others efforts to bring to the light of day all that has blocked the progress and wasted taxpayer money, and my own, on the project. All that's gone wrong is a huge disappointment to me too, but I hope people will not throw out the healthy baby with the dirty bathwater. A lot of good development work was done on EarthQuest planning it and demonstrating how it's a good investment, even though the public money spent should have produced even more. It's still a viable project, especially now without the deceptive, perhaps criminal, leadership of Marlin/Atlantis. Under new ownership and management, here is still a reasonable chance the project can succeed. If so, I think it will do a great deal of good for Montgomery County in education, entertainment, and revenue.
    Also, I am hopeful that people will truly do their homework and be specific in their allegations. There is some serious wrongdoing here, not to be confused with ineptness or plain old greed. I think it's important to look at the distinctions. Personally, I am not happy with stone-walling going on now by many involved, and EMCID definitely didn't do its proper homework before getting themselves, and me, into bed with Marlin Atlantis. And I think the nonprofit was poorly managed by its board (including me) and not well managed by Holbrook. But I don't see where EMCID or Holbrook for that matter are guilty of any crimes. In fact, much as he might self-promote, Holbrook actually did his job quite well for the for-profit theme park, which was to interest EMCID in the project and get state benefits for the project. One could certainly take exception to the style or the expenses involved in all paid people's work on this project, but I do want to make clear the distinction between EMCID and Holbrook's conduct, and that of the developers which may have been outright illegal if they misrepresented their ownership of the land.

  3. #28
    Soapboxmom's Avatar
    Soapboxmom is offline Administrator
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Mars
    Posts
    7,995
    Blog Entries
    3

    re: Don Allen Holbrook IEDC International Economic Development Council Rogue Member


    Don Holbrook

    The Next America: Moving Beyond a Fragile Economy at Author
    Las Vegas, Nevada Area Capital Markets
    Current



    see less

    Past
    • Consultant at EMCID
    • Senior Project Director at The Institute EarthQuest
    • President/CEO at Professional Economic Development Organizations

    Education
    • University of Phoenix
    • Wright State University
    • Wright State University

    Recommendations 10 people have recommended Don
    Connections 500+ connections
    Websites

    Twitter 9thTemplar
    Public Profile Don Holbrook | LinkedIn




    Expanded profile views are available only to premium account holders. Upgrade your account.

    Summary


    My professional practice asists both businesses in need of capitalization for their operations and/or in search of a new location for relocation or expansion of new business opportunities and market expansion. We discover the most advantageous business climate and location, recommend the short-list of possible facilities or sites, and negotiate public incentives and inducements that lower the upfront costs of such investments and increase the equity and thus ROI to the ownership.

    We also work with communities to recommend the creation of incentive and capitalization strategies and tools that will increase their ability to attract investment into their locales. Our focus is on deals that create quality jobs, significant investment and improve the quality of life for residents of our community clients. typically this helps the community economic development organization diversify their economy and improve their outcomes to their communities.
    Specialties

    Site Location Analysis, Business capitalization, Hybrid capitalization using special economic development tools, public policy such as incentive strategies tied to ROI, deal negotiations for public incentives and investment inducements
    Holbrook says he is out of the Earthquest debacle. That means this clunker is a failed project for Holbrook plain and simple! The taxpayers are left holding the bag and cleaning up the mess he made!

  4. #29
    Soapboxmom's Avatar
    Soapboxmom is offline Administrator
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Mars
    Posts
    7,995
    Blog Entries
    3

    Re: Trey White Fake Multi-billionaire / Marlin Atlantis / EarthQuest Park / Don Holbrook of IEDC

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Lessem View Post
    Hey, all. As the founder of EarthQuest concept for theme park and nonprofit conservation institute, and a former journalist, I have many reasons for supporting your and others efforts to bring to the light of day all that has blocked the progress and wasted taxpayer money, and my own, on the project. All that's gone wrong is a huge disappointment to me too, but I hope people will not throw out the healthy baby with the dirty bathwater. A lot of good development work was done on EarthQuest planning it and demonstrating how it's a good investment, even though the public money spent should have produced even more. It's still a viable project, especially now without the deceptive, perhaps criminal, leadership of Marlin/Atlantis. Under new ownership and management, here is still a reasonable chance the project can succeed. If so, I think it will do a great deal of good for Montgomery County in education, entertainment, and revenue.
    Also, I am hopeful that people will truly do their homework and be specific in their allegations. There is some serious wrongdoing here, not to be confused with ineptness or plain old greed. I think it's important to look at the distinctions. Personally, I am not happy with stone-walling going on now by many involved, and EMCID definitely didn't do its proper homework before getting themselves, and me, into bed with Marlin Atlantis. And I think the nonprofit was poorly managed by its board (including me) and not well managed by Holbrook. But I don't see where EMCID or Holbrook for that matter are guilty of any crimes. In fact, much as he might self-promote, Holbrook actually did his job quite well for the for-profit theme park, which was to interest EMCID in the project and get state benefits for the project. One could certainly take exception to the style or the expenses involved in all paid people's work on this project, but I do want to make clear the distinction between EMCID and Holbrook's conduct, and that of the developers which may have been outright illegal if they misrepresented their ownership of the land.
    A big hearty Texas Welcome! We are very honored you took the time to share with us here on RS.
    "His profession is about professional bullshitting," Lessem says.
    This was the cutest comment in the Houston Press article. It nicely illustrates some of the issues I have with Holbrook as this thread shows.

    Getting rid of John Marlin, Trey White and their gang is a huge step in the right direction. They had the Earthquest property up for sale in 2006 I believe and it appears it may have been up for grabs the whole time the project was being planned for that specific property. I, of course, had a field day questioning why Marlin Atlantis White didn't just buy the property outright and fund the project since Trey White was in MLMers' videos and promotions (sometimes hamming it up for the cameras) being introduced as a multi-billionaire.

    I am so looking forward to updates about the project. I thank you again for taking the time to set the facts straight!

    Soapboxmom

  5. #30
    Soapboxmom's Avatar
    Soapboxmom is offline Administrator
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Mars
    Posts
    7,995
    Blog Entries
    3

    re: Don Allen Holbrook IEDC International Economic Development Council Rogue Member

    Lots more questions are headed Holbrook's way. Is anyone surprised to learn that Holbrook was the Executive Vice President of a fundraising company before he hooked up with Frank McCrady? That leads to some interesting questions. The Earthquest Institute spent $600,000,000.00 on professional services according to its filings with the IRS. I would hazard a guess that much of that was for fundraising efforts. Much of the money that landed in Earthquest's coffers and was paid to Holbrook came from the EMCID and was tax dollars. How much was raised by the professional fundraisers Holbrook had in his Earthquest album?

    I have been told that professional fundraising like what Earthquest probably had could run $20,000.00 - $25,000.00 per month on something like a two year contract typically. How much was spent and just how much money was raised for the now defunct Institute?

    Frequently Asked Questions - Earth Quest Adventure Zone
    When will construction start?
    Frank McGrady has estimated construction will begin in the fall of 2009. Mr. McGrady stated that he does not anticipate any foreseeable delay in construction plans as a result of the recent slowdown in the economy. The key players involved in this project were well positioned financially and do not interpret the current economic climate as an obstacle.

    On the non-profit side of things, representatives from Sage Fundraising Solutions have established potential contributors and have received a warm welcome so far. Sage will be making full presentations in early 2009 regarding the EarthQuest Institute and museum and do not anticipate any major difficulties.
    Did Holbrook get a cut of the fundraising action as well? He has had his hand in lots of other pies. I think the economy was a minor issue at best as McCrady says. This gargantuan project might have never been fundable for a number of other reasons.

    I spoke with a fundraising professional about this:
    Court gives EarthQuest developer time to raise money, save project - Tuesday, February 07, 2012 - Copyright 2007 Ourtribune.com
    For example, the contract executed with Pahrump, Nevada, to determine if it was a good candidate for a major theme park, was initially presented to the public as a $154,000 agreement. The primary thrust of the initial contract was for Holbrook and Contour to conduct a survey and see if Pahrump was a suitable site. Not surprisingly, the search (conducted by Contour & Holbrook) did conclude that Pahrump was a viable venue.


    In later town hall meetings it was disclosed to the general public that the contract was not a single-purpose document, but an on-going, multi-phase commitment, with those future phases triggered by specific events. Those future phases will commit the city to almost $900,000 in total fees as additional phases are completed. Furthermore, the contract provides for “Success Fees” should the project be constructed. Contour and Holbrook will receive 1 percent of all investor money raised, and 3 percent of all public funding committed to the project. On a $500 million project, the approximate cost of the EarthQuest park, that stipulation could generate a fee as high as $10 million+ to the developers.

    That individual pointed me to this from the Association of Fundraising Professionals:
    Code of Ethical Principles and Standards - Enforcement Procedures - Ethics - AFP
    AFP members both individual and business aspire to:


    • practice their profession with integrity, honesty, truthfulness and adherence to the absolute obligation to safeguard the public trust
    • act according to the highest goals and visions of their organizations, professions, clients and consciences
    • put philanthropic mission above personal gain;
    • inspire others through their own sense of dedication and high purpose
    • improve their professional knowledge and skills, so that their performance will better serve others
    • demonstrate concern for the interests and well-being of individuals affected by their actions
    • value the privacy, freedom of choice and interests of all those affected by their actions
    • foster cultural diversity and pluralistic values and treat all people with dignity and respect
    • affirm, through personal giving, a commitment to philanthropy and its role in society.....



    Compensation and Contracts
    21. Members shall not accept compensation or enter into a contract that is based on a percentage of contributions; nor shall members accept finder’s fees or contingent fees. Business members must refrain from receiving compensation from third parties derived from products or services for a client without disclosing that third-party compensation to the client (for example, volume rebates from vendors to business members).
    Holbrook and Contour, who are milking Pahrump for a percentage of the take, are not members of this professional organization. All this explains why Holbrook is illegally refusing to turn over documents related to the charity, the Earthquest Institute. Holbrook's relationship with Sage needs to be investigated. An honest accounting of the charity's numbers should be coming from its president and CEO Don Holbrook.

    Soapboxmom

  6. #31
    Soapboxmom's Avatar
    Soapboxmom is offline Administrator
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Mars
    Posts
    7,995
    Blog Entries
    3

    re: Don Allen Holbrook IEDC International Economic Development Council Rogue Member

    EarthQuest 2009 bond sale: where did tax dollars go - Monday, April 30, 2012 - Copyright 2007 Ourtribune.com
    Last, but certainly not least, is “Dino” Don Lessem. It was Lessem that ignited the flame of inspiration for the EarthQuest Institute in 2006. But his dreams were incinerated by the raging fire of EarthQuest’s implosion.


    In a recent letter to The Tribune, Lessem openly regretted many of the decisions he and others made regarding EarthQuest, especially as those decisions pertained to money matters. He lamented the waste and excessive salaries paid to Holbrook and others. He was appalled at the lack of interest that Leon Cubillas and the EMCID board took in regards to the Institute. He rued the complete lack of accountability on the part of almost everyone involved in the EarthQuest project.

    Surprisingly, he commended the articles of The Tribune as being “very thorough” and did not dispute any assertions that have been set forth by The Tribune. Clearly concerned about the possible demise of EarthQuest and all the money that has been lost, he nevertheless stated that “[he] is not a squanderer of public or private funds, nor a deceiver of anyone” and that he “was not paid a dime” as for efforts related to the Institute.

    If Lessem thought the articles were "very thorough" and did not dispute any of the facts therein, why is Holbrook having a total online meltdown?

  7. #32
    Soapboxmom's Avatar
    Soapboxmom is offline Administrator
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Mars
    Posts
    7,995
    Blog Entries
    3

    re: Don Allen Holbrook IEDC International Economic Development Council Rogue Member

    Don Holbrook's attorney demanded copies of reports I was making to the authorities. This is on its way to the Department of Justice, USTP.Bankruptcy.Fraud@usdoj.gov. I encourage everyone with knowledge related to the Holbrook's income and spending to come forward as well.
    United States Bankruptcy Court:

    District of Nevada
    Case 11-27072-lbr

    Don Holbrook
    Laurie Holbrook

    9200 Dalmahoy Place
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ___________
    1. Income from employment or operation of business
    State the gross amount of income the debtor has received from employment, trade, or profession, or from operation of the debtor's business, including
    part-time activities either as an employee or in independent trade or business, from the beginning of this calendar year to the date this case was
    commenced. State also the gross amounts received during the two years immediately preceding this calendar year. (A debtor that maintains, or has
    maintained, financial records on the basis of a fiscal rather than a calendar year may report fiscal year income. Identify the beginning and ending dates of
    the debtor's fiscal year.) If a joint petition is filed, state income for each spouse separately. (Married debtors filing under chapter 12 or chapter 13 must
    state income of both spouses whether or not a joint petition is filed, unless the spouses are separated and a joint petition is not filed.)
    None
    AMOUNT SOURCE
    Year to date: $74,997.00 East Montgomery County Improvement Distric
    Last Year: $99,996.00 EMCID
    Year before: $90,000.00


    So that equates to:
    $90,000.00 for 2009
    $99,996.00 for 2010
    $74,997.00 for 2011 up to the filing date????
    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _______________________
    EarthQuest 2009 bond sale: where did tax dollars go - Monday, April 30, 2012 - Copyright 2007 Ourtribune.com
    EarthQuest 2009 bond sale: where did tax dollars go……
    Third, Don Holbrook, consultant, was paid an eye-popping $773,963.43 out of the bond proceeds. Holbrook is truly a consultant extraordinaire, capable of walking on both sides of one street at the same time. That is, despite the obvious conflict of interests, he represented both EMCID and the Developer Group as their respective consultants on EarthQuest.
    In an email dated April 18, 2012, McCrady acknowledged to The Tribune that EMCID had retained, and paid Holbrook, as its consultant, the sums of $27,000 and $277,000. Out of the 2009 bond proceeds, Holbrook was paid $273,963.43 by EMCID for work on tax incentive and legislative matters. EMCID subsequently paid him an additional $500,000 (as the Developer’s consultant) as a finder’s fee for the EarthQuest site.
    Consequently, Holbrook has been paid more than $800,000 by EMCID, presuming the $277,000 and the $273,963.43 mentioned above refer to the same fee. Furthermore, while Holbrook was carting off EMCID’s bank vault, he and his merry band of minions were also plundering the EarthQuest Institute for every dime it had received. Under the auspices of EMCID, Holbrook alone stripped out at least $328,255.00 from the Institute. (For details, see The Tribune article dated April 4, 2012). Altogether, it appears that Holbrook received, from EMCID and the Institute, upwards o $1,200,000 for his various, if not nefarious, EarthQuest activities.
    The level of compensation paid to Holbrook is beyond any rational explanation, let alone comprehension. What possible justification can the EMCID leadership and board make to its constituents that Holbrook was deserving of these unwarranted, outrageous, indeed, unbelievable sums of money?
    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _________________________
    EarthQuest Institute: a betrayal of the public's trust? - Monday, April 02, 2012 - Copyright 2007 Ourtribune.com
    EarthQuest Institute: a betrayal of the public's trust?
    A diligent review of those records has produced a sordid tale of unbridled avarice; a story that will shock even the most cynical individual. Consider the following facts, all of which are taken directly from the federal tax returns of the Institute for the three-year period of 2008 – 2010:
    The Institute received contributions totaling $996,667.
    Don Holbrook, president of the Institute (and a consultant for EMCID and EarthQuest), received total compensation of $328,255.

    The Vercitas Group
    Partner · Sep 2001 to present · Las Vegas, Nevada
    Site Location and Strategic Economic Development consulting services

    • Australia Christmas Island Destination Tourism Projectwith Simon Millcock
      2011 to present
      Creating a real sense of exotic locale to bring tourists primarily from the Northern Gateway of Malaysia, Asia and Korea to the island with high per capita expenditurres
    • Pahrump Destination Tourism Attractionwith Al Balloqui
      Jun 2010 to present
      Working on creating a unique tourism project that will allow Pahrump to capitalize on the tourism driven economy created by Las Vegas.
    • EarthQuest Institute and EarthQuest Adventure Theme Parkwith Frank McCrady and Matthew Gardner
      Oct 2004 to present
      Working on building the worlds first green and sustainable influenced Theme Park designed from the ground up with clean technologies as a foundation.
    • __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _______________
    • Here are his speaking engagements. He charges $2,500 -$5,000 plus expenses:

    About Me

    Where's Don A. Holbrook?

    About Me


    • January 29, 2010
      Alberta's Industrial Heartland Annual Luncheon
      Keynote Speaker
      Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta

      April 23-25, 2010
      National Wind Energy Association Event
      Meeting with leading experts regarding wind energy projects
      Dallas, TX

      April 26-27, 2010
      International Council of Shopping Centers
      Client meetings regarding destination retail projects
      Las Vegas, NV

      May 13, 2010
      Western Australia Chapter of Economic Development Australia
      Keynote Speaker
      Northbridge Plaza Community Building, 7:45-9:00 AM
      Perth, Australia

      May 13-15, 2010
      Christmas Island Commerce Dinner
      Speaker
      Christmas Island, Australia

      June 2, 2010
      EarthQuest Institute Fundraising Event
      Speaker
      Historic Heights Theater, Houston, TX

      June 10-13, 2010
      Sovereign Military Order of the Temple Jerusalem
      Postulant Knight Investiture
      West Point, NY

      July 11-13, 2010
      National Rural Economic Developers Association
      Keynote Speaker: Annual Conference
      Portland, OR

      September 26-29, 2010
      IEDC Annual Conference
      Moderator
      Columbus, OH

      October 7, 2010
      Native Nations National Event
      Keynote Speaker, "The Art of the Deal Today"
      M Resort, Las Vegas, NV

      October 26-27, 2010
      Australian Economic Developers Association
      Keynote Speaker
      Sydney, Australia

      November 7-9, 2010
      Business Facilities LiveXchange
      Speaker, The Art of the Deal Today
      Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans' French Quarter

      November 10-12, 2010
      Charleston Southern Port Summit
      Charleston, SC.

      November 15-18, 2010
      International Amusement Park & Attractions Conference
      Orlando, FL

      December 2, 2010
      North Houston Association
      Lone Star Community College
      Keynote speaker
      Greenspoint Center, Houston, TX


    TCI Network
    [IMG]file:///C:%5CUsers%5CHeather%5CAppData%5CLocal%5CTemp%5Cms ohtmlclip1%5C01%5Cclip_image002.jpg[/IMG]
    Stephen Chapple ACEcD Chairman of Economic Development Australia and National Board member Simon Millcock ACEcD will be presenting at this year's International Economic Development Council's Conference on September 18 - 21 Charlotte, North Carolina. The IEDC conference will focus on discussing how economic developers are adapting to the new normal and rewriting the rules for economic development. Their session is titled Developing Successful International Partnerships and will be facilitated by Don Holbrook CEcD IEDC 2011 Board of Directors.

    Stephen, Simon and Don are keen to expand their knowledge in the field of economic development internationally and are planning a 3-4 day study tour following the conference. The concept being developed is to meet with local and or regional development bodies whilst undertaking site visit to explore, listen, learn and impart some of their own knowledge. The current plan is to leave from Charlotte N.C. and travel via vehicle/s (depending on the numbers) no more than a couple of hours each day before meeting up with various communities.
    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _________________
    DaytonDailyNews: Dayton, Ohio, news and information
    More than a business
    [IMG]file:///C:%5CUsers%5CHeather%5CAppData%5CLocal%5CTemp%5Cms ohtmlclip1%5C01%5Cclip_image003.jpg[/IMG]
    Don Holbrook and his wife Laurie
    Don Holbrook, a Butler Twp. native and 1979 graduate of Butler High School in Vandalia, is co-owner of the Red Zeppelin winery in Paso Robles, Calif. His wife Laurie, a Minneapolis native, is more involved in the winery than he is, Holbrook said. “I just like to drink wine,” he said.
    A developer, he has plenty of other business interests that form the bulk of his professional career, but the wine industry “just kind of sucked me in,” said Holbrook, whose parents still live in Butler Twp. Holbrook and his wife now live in Las Vegas, but he found an opportunity to invest in Red Zeppelin — which is transitioning to simply the Zeppelin winery — irresistible.
    “At first, I looked at this as purely a financial transaction,” Holbrook said. “But it was evolved into much more than that.”
    When reached earlier this week, Holbrook and his wife had just arrived in southern Australia, where they toured vineyards and visited wineries in the Barossa Valley wine country.
    “I love everything about this industry,” Holbrook said. “And we get invited everywhere.”
    (Each photo was contributed by the subjects.)
    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ____________________
    http://www.halledit.com.au/conferenc...gistration.pdf
    International speakers
    • Don Holbrook, Economic Development Economist &
    Author
    •_________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _____________________________
    __ http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...HEG_Z7Jfk_Here Holbrook claims to have done 100s of projects worth billions of dollars_that created 50,000 jobs. __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ____



    http://www.realscam.com/f11/iedc-int...240/#post19590
    Our tax dollars and Earthquest Institute charity dollars hard at work. Holbrook was being paid $144,893.00 by the EarthQuest Insitute in 2009 for working 15 hours a week (that's $185.00 an hour) according to the IRS filing when he wasn't on his grand European vacation that is.

    Attachment 645Attachment 646Attachment 644Attachment 647Attachment 648
    [IMG]file:///C:%5CUsers%5CHeather%5CAppData%5CLocal%5CTemp%5Cms ohtmlclip1%5C01%5Cclip_image008.png[/IMG]
    Attached Thumbnails [IMG]file:///C:%5CUsers%5CHeather%5CAppData%5CLocal%5CTemp%5Cms ohtmlclip1%5C01%5Cclip_image010.jpg[/IMG] [IMG]file:///C:%5CUsers%5CHeather%5CAppData%5CLocal%5CTemp%5Cms ohtmlclip1%5C01%5Cclip_image012.jpg[/IMG] [IMG]file:///C:%5CUsers%5CHeather%5CAppData%5CLocal%5CTemp%5Cms ohtmlclip1%5C01%5Cclip_image014.jpg[/IMG] [IMG]file:///C:%5CUsers%5CHeather%5CAppData%5CLocal%5CTemp%5Cms ohtmlclip1%5C01%5Cclip_image016.jpg[/IMG] [IMG]file:///C:%5CUsers%5CHeather%5CAppData%5CLocal%5CTemp%5Cms ohtmlclip1%5C01%5Cclip_image018.jpg[/IMG] __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _________________
    Concerning the proceeds from his book sales that are apparently not reported:
    Town board chair announces run for open Assembly seat | Pahrump Valley Times
    Holbrook speaking about himself says:
    And Mike Darny questions Holbrook’s accomplishments. These projects have created over 50,000 living wage jobs for hard working Americans and won Holbrook the Fellow Member award by his peers, the highest honor in his industry for lifetime achievements. On top of all this he wrote 3 books telling others how to accomplish similar results and encouraging his peers to strive to make a difference. This has made him the #1 author in his industry and Amazon ranked him as the #1 author in his genre in 2011.


    COMMUNITY VIEWPOINT: Background on Mr. Holbrook: ‘The Music Man
    The town board has already paid Holbrook and Contours Entertainment $151,000 toward this scam to date, but in the very near future another $244,000 will be considered for the next phase of Mr. Harley Kulkin’s pipe dream…… Well, Mr. Kulkin, Mr. Kohbarger and the town board have committed the town to paying Mr. Holbrook over $950,000.

    http://www.realscam.com/f11/iedc-int...html#post20397
    Page 23 item # 17 on the original filing says "Describe any increase or decrease in income reasonably anticipated to occur within the year following the filing of this document." Holbrook had Pahrump on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars in coming payments and was working on the initial part of putting together a deal with Huber Heights, Ohio when he filed. He has since been paid $53,800.

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ____________
    This complaint was prepared by:
    Heather Dobrott
    Soapboxmom Administrator for www.realscam.com

  8. #33
    Soapboxmom's Avatar
    Soapboxmom is offline Administrator
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Mars
    Posts
    7,995
    Blog Entries
    3

    re: Don Allen Holbrook IEDC International Economic Development Council Rogue Member

    Don Holbrook

    The Next America: Moving Beyond a Fragile Economy at Author
    Las Vegas, Nevada Area Capital Markets
    Current







    see less

    Past

    • Consultant at EMCID
    • Senior Project Director at The Institute EarthQuest
    • President/CEO at Professional Economic Development Organizations


    Education

    • University of Phoenix
    • Wright State University
    • Wright State University


    Recommendations 10 people have recommended Don
    Connections 500+ connections
    Websites



    Twitter 9thTemplar
    Public Profile Don Holbrook | LinkedIn

    Expanded profile views are available only to premium account holders. Upgrade your account.

    Summary


    My professional practice asists both businesses in need of capitalization for their operations and/or in search of a new location for relocation or expansion of new business opportunities and market expansion. We discover the most advantageous business climate and location, recommend the short-list of possible facilities or sites, and negotiate public incentives and inducements that lower the upfront costs of such investments and increase the equity and thus ROI to the ownership.

    We also work with communities to recommend the creation of incentive and capitalization strategies and tools that will increase their ability to attract investment into their locales. Our focus is on deals that create quality jobs, significant investment and improve the quality of life for residents of our community clients. typically this helps the community economic development organization diversify their economy and improve their outcomes to their communities.
    Specialties

    Site Location Analysis, Business capitalization, Hybrid capitalization using special economic development tools, public policy such as incentive strategies tied to ROI, deal negotiations for public incentives and investment inducements
    That was his LinkedIn page until just recently. Today I notice:






    3rd Don Holbrook

    Author/Keynote Speaker/Public Policy Business Incentives-Site Location Consultant
    Las Vegas, Nevada Capital Markets
    Current
    • The Next America: Moving Beyond a Fragile Economy at Author and Keynote Speaker
    • Interim President & CEO (acting on pro-bono basis currently) at The EarthQuest Institute
    • Author at Knights Templar Fictional Book Project



    So, now all of a sudden he is back working for the EMCID? Earthquest is extinct and I vigorously object to any more tax dollars being paid to Holbrook. He was part of the deception where the taxpayers were kept in the dark about the bankruptcy and given totally unrealistic starting dates when the financing was not firmly in place. Hotels and other businesses have gone under and people have lost their life savings due to these shenanigans. Lessem formally bailed in November 2011 as he knew this Titanic was going done.

    Holbrook is now in the middle of a lawsuit with Ohio. And, most egregiously, he is waging a vicious attack on the people of Texas who dare to speak out about him and his involvement in Earthquest. The EMCID office doesn't know if Holbrook is still a consultant or being paid???? Why would they have any association with a liar who is threatening ligation against any Texan who wishes to discuss how their taxpayer dollars are spent on Earthquest? Law enforcement needs to step in and investigate what is going on in that office and just where tax money is going!

    Frank McCrady needs to be terminated immediately for not stepping up to the plate and putting a stop to Holbrook's shenanigans. McCrady brought Holbrook in and he should not be standing by while he viciously attacks Texans who absolutely have the right to be discussing Earthquest and related topics. Disgusting!!!

    Soapboxmom

  9. #34
    Soapboxmom's Avatar
    Soapboxmom is offline Administrator
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Mars
    Posts
    7,995
    Blog Entries
    3

    re: Don Allen Holbrook IEDC International Economic Development Council Rogue Member

    Consultant

    EMCID



    October 2006 – Present (5 years 8 months) East Montgomery County Texas
    I have been a working project director under a consulting agreement to help create EMCID as the largest central time zone tourism destination in the US. It is anchored by the EarthQuest Theme Park & Resort, but we have expanded the concept to focus on ancillary and stand alone additional destination tourism concepts and opportunities to build the district's over-all tourism capacity even greater.
    Now that Earthquest is a toilet flush, he is claiming there are ancillary projects. The shooting range nonsense he wants to bring in I imagine. I called again after giving the EMCID time to check records and I was told Holbrook was not under contract with them any longer, so what is he babbling about. Good grief!
    Interim President & CEO (acting on pro-bono basis currently)

    The EarthQuest Institute
    Nonprofit Organization Management industry


    2009 – Present (3 years) East Montgomery County Texas
    I helped to found and organize the non-profite and developed the mission and objectives. I later negotiated for their acquisition of their future site for the construction of their public demonstration facility and showcase pavilion for green strategies and products that will raise consumer awareness. Currently EQI is not soliciting funds as they are awaiting the announcement of the new theme park developer by EMCID and the expected official business relationship that EQI desires to have with the new developer. At that time I expect the new board will hire a new President/CEO for renewed and sustained operations going forward. I am still a major supporter of this concept and believe in it's purpose greatly!
    What a load of dung. If that is the case he needs to immediately make available the records required by the IRS and the Texas Non-profit Corporation Act to be available. After 1.4 million being blown, much of which was tax dollars funneled in through the EMCID and the donors money being completely wasted, I seriously doubt this thing will go forward. If Matthew Gardner and Don Lessem could get some experienced and honest people to manage it while they focused on their true talents in the science end, then it might be possible to resuscitate the thing. Holbrook with his $185.00 an hour salary expected needs to be sent packing!

    Remember what Lessem said in the Houston Press:

    Although EarthQuest was going to be built on land owned by White's empire, he preferred to focus on Evolv, leaving the hands-on stuff to his partner, John Marlin. When Lessem's idea of a nonprofit was incorporated as the EarthQuest Institute, White sat back and let Marlin take the reins. But Marlin and Lessem clashed, as Marlin's hands-on activities allegedly included screaming in Lessem's face for no discernible reason.


    When asked if Lessem felt that Marlin pressured him into resigning from the board, Lessem puts it like this: "He walks into a board meeting and says, 'I don't like the way you run the organization, you have to quit.'...I sensed a certain pressure in there, subtly...But ultimately, I felt I had to go along with it, because his support of the entire project was at that point vital." (Marlin could not be reached for comment; multiple calls to multiple extensions at Marlin Atlantis's office went straight to voice mail. The Press left messages with two of Marlin's bankruptcy attorneys, as well as his wife, who for some reason was surprised to hear that no one ever answers the phone at her husband's office.)


    Lessem outlined his concern in a few letters to the EarthQuest Institute board. In one he wrote, "Not one person among us has significant national or local contacts among the business and personal philanthropic communities. None of us has the right kind of board experience for leading what was chartered as an international educational effort. None of us has been able to set this organization on the right course...We all need to remember that this is an organization we SERVE, not our fiefdom to control."......But it seems there was plenty of bullshitting to go around, with much of it spewed by both McCrady and his dubious consultant, Don Holbrook. With Lessem out of the picture, EarthQuest's destiny seemed to be largely in their hands.
    With all the money wasted and deluge of negative publicity, why is the board allowing Don Holbrook to have any involvement in this? He is viciously attacking anyone who asks questions or speaks out. Possibly some of those same Texans who have donated to the Earthquest Institute I might add. Does that a make Holbrook a good candidate for the head of a non-profit that will depend on public support for its thrivival??? Unbelievable!

    Soapboxmom

  10. #35
    Soapboxmom's Avatar
    Soapboxmom is offline Administrator
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Mars
    Posts
    7,995
    Blog Entries
    3

    re: Don Allen Holbrook IEDC International Economic Development Council Rogue Member

    Chris Brown acting like they just started looking for financing for Earthquest is laughable. In 2009 Don Holbrook was paying his cohorts at Sage fundraising to gather funds for the non-profit Earthqueset Institute which lined his pockets quite handsomely that year I might add. Numerous groundbreaking dates have been announced over the years as if the money were already secured. Heck, that liar Holbrook wrote Pahrump an e-mail claiming Earthquest would break ground in December 2011 or early 2012. He also claimed in May 2011 that Contour is buying (present tense) the land that is now in bankruptcy. Smoke, mirrors, lies and subterfuge. All we have to show for those clowns coming is pretty drawings, a model and hundreds of thousands of dollars wasted on the lifestyle of the rich and famous travel program that made stops all across the globe at Holbrook's behest.

    I like the way Brown refused to go into Holbrook being sued in Ohio. Brown also ignored the comment about Holbrook in the press. Holbrook, with his online attacks and nasty attitude toward the taxpayers, has made himself unwelcome everywhere. I did suggest a new career for him given his fascination with polls, or is that poles.

    Soapboxmom

  11. #36
    Soapboxmom's Avatar
    Soapboxmom is offline Administrator
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Mars
    Posts
    7,995
    Blog Entries
    3

    re: Don Allen Holbrook IEDC International Economic Development Council Rogue Member

    Hobrook is out in Pahrump.

    Theme park second phase up for vote | Pahrump Valley Times
    Posted on23 May 2012.

    By Selwyn Harris
    The Pahrump town board will decide whether to move forward with the second phase of a proposed tourist destination without the man who was initially hired to conduct a feasibility study for the project.
    Don Holbrook was the subcontractor for Contour Entertainment Inc., and the Vercitas Group.
    Both companies were given the green light by the board to embark on the project last June.
    The second phase of the project will cost the town $207,000.
    Pahrump Town Manager Bill Kohbarger said on Monday that Holbrook is no longer involved with the project.
    He also noted that Holbrook’s departure will also save the town money.
    “He’s not in phase two. We have cut most of what he was doing out of the picture and that is going to be picked up by the town or county if the county decides to. I felt that it was a good time that the town can move forward with the expertise that is currently within the staff. We didn’t need an individual like Mr. Holbrook to assist us in that category, so I asked Contour to take that section out and it was $287,000, now it’s $207,000,” he said.
    So far, the town has already paid more than $160,000 for the first phase of the project.
    Kohbarger said the board is sensitive of the costs.
    He also noted that the town will not be in breach of contract if it decides not to move ahead with the next phase of the project.
    “It’s a lot of money and I know it is weighing heavily on them. I have all the confidence in the world that this town board will make the appropriate decision whether it be no or yes. There is an out clause,” he said.
    Aside from the $207,000, for the second phase, Holbrook and Contour requested an additional $13,000 for travel expenses and $40,000 to hire a lobbyist for the project.
    Kohbarger said that he has already addressed that matter with Contour officials.
    “I’ve talked to Contour and that figure is going to be paired down greatly because I have told them that most of these meetings don’t need to be face to face. It can be done over the Internet either via Skype, or Go to Meeting. It could be cut down 80 percent or even more. Once the town board decides to either go for or not go for it, I’ll bring that back to the table with Contour. I’ve laid everything out and we must use the technology that is out there so we can save on costs,” he said.
    On the issue of hiring a lobbyist, Kohbarger said the action could be a benefit to the town if the project were to continue.
    “If we do something, we want to do it right. We want to create some zones that will be able to bring tax increment districts in and maybe sales tax districts so that this can pay for itself and we won’t have to put it on the taxpayers. When we go out to the private sector, we are going to have some bait to dangle in front of the private sector,” he said.
    Holbrook’s previous business dealings have been under scrutiny as of late.
    A project in Texas called “EarthQuest,” slated to open this year, is mired in bankruptcy litigation.
    EarthQuest was proposed as a 500-acre dinosaur themed entertainment and educational project in New Caney, Texas, which is roughly 40 minutes from downtown Houston.
    Another project in Huber Heights, Ohio is also in litigation.
    The Huber Heights City Council is suing Holbrook for allegedly performing substandard work on an economic analysis for the city located northwest of Dayton.
    The city entered into a $66,000 contract with Holbrook, who was hired to create an economic development business case and conduct a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threat analysis.
    The city paid $53,800 prior to receiving Holbrook’s finished product, which was described by the city council as a report that failed to conform to the terms of the contract and did not conform to industry standards.
    According to the lawsuit, the city withheld its final payment to Holbrook and demanded a full refund.
    Holbrook’s attorney Sue Seeberger responded with an email regarding the lawsuit.
    “This matter with the city of Huber Heights, Ohio and Don Holbrook, LLC., is now in litigation. Needless to say, we dispute each and everyone of their claims. Don Holbrook completed its contract with the City of Huber Heights and did not breach its agreement in any way. The city’s claims for conversion, fraudulent inducement, and negligent misrepresentation lack any basis in fact and are not grounded under Ohio law. The city’s claim for unjust enrichment is another way to sue for breach of contract and is likewise baseless,” the statement read.
    Holbrook also provided his thoughts on the matter in a separate email to the Pahrump Valley Times.
    “My team did our contractual mission and without any previous knowledge of dissatisfaction, they decided to breach our contract and did not disclose to us officially for what reason nor allow us the ability to address any reasonable concerns with a possible remedy or contractual cure. We obviously reported to the City Manager on our project for direction and scope of work due diligence management for the final report.
    “The City Manager not once indicated there was any dissatisfaction with our work and only on the day of final report delivery his last official day of work , he said they had some questions about more detail on the size and scope descriptions for the next steps,” Holbrook’s email stated.
    Kohbarger, meanwhile, suggested that he would prefer to have Holbrook settle his other business at hand, without being distracted by the Pahrump project.
    “Right now there’s just too many clouds hanging out there and we want a clear sky when and if we proceed. I feel that the county staff, and the town staff can do what it was Mr. Holbrook was going to do, therefore I told Contour that we do not need his services,” he said.
    Board member Harley Kulkin made his feelings known about the status of the project.
    Kulkin who initially supported the idea said he is disappointed with the outcome up to this point.
    “As I sit here at the moment, I am not satisfied with phase one. I could not support sending any more money for whatever they are proposing for phase two. I feel that in order to move forward, the people of Pahrump have to support the project. I’m just not satisfied with everything. At this moment I could not support moving forward and spending any more money until I am happy with the first phase,” he said.
    Due to timing restraints, results from Tuesday’s town board meeting action items will appear in Friday’s edition of the Pahrump Valley Times.
    Officials doubt theme park doable

    Posted on23 May 2012.

    By Mark Waite
    Chris Brown didn’t get any support from Nye County commissioners Monday for the Contour Phase II project, the theme park they already pitched to the Pahrump town board titled Adventure Springs.
    Brown said the first phase, an economic feasibility study, suggested the county and state could be approached to support the theme park, along with private sector financing to mitigate risk. State legislation to create an economic improvement zone was suggested during a presentation before the board.
    The project is designed to accelerate tourism in the Pahrump area, he said, attracting tourists traveling from Las Vegas to Death Valley, or Spring Mountain Motor Sports Ranch, Front Sight Firearms Training Institute and other area attractions.
    Developers envision a theme park with a town center, restaurants, cinema, visitor center, and an attraction that can’t be replicated in Las Vegas. A western themed village, water park, even an alien theme park, were some of the suggestions.
    Pahrump Town Board members last June voted 4-1 to pay $154,600 for the first phase of the theme park project, or its feasibility study. The money came out of the town’s $950,000 tourism fund. The second phase would cost $207,000, which would identify financial support, he said.
    The second phase will include creation of a package to use in discussions with town, county and state representatives, Brown said.
    A lobbyist would be hired by the town of Pahrump to ask the state Legislature to approve a special economic improvement zone for the project, Brown said.
    Legislation would also have to be changed at the federal level to lift restrictions on the 1998 congressional allocation transferring the 427 acres from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to the town of Pahrump.
    Brown said he was asked to appear at the county commission meeting by Pahrump Town Manager Bill Kohbarger. No backup information on the project was available for the meeting, but Commissioner Dan Schinhofen had enough concerns reading about it in the media to give it a thumbs down.
    Schinhofen wanted to know how many projects Contour Entertainment brought to fruition that are now operating. Brown said his company didn’t have any.
    “We had property given for a fairgrounds. I understand you’re saying that’s not necessarily the property that you would use for this, but what I read in that first phase $187,000, I think we got shorted by about $137,000. I have no inclination to support this project at all, especially considering the past performance,” Schinhofen said.
    Brown told town board members last year that Contour Entertainment included former executives of Disney Corp; Brown said he spent 17 years with the company himself. But Commissioner Joni Eastley Monday had questions about Vercitas Corp and Don Holbrook’s role in the project.
    “Vercitas was a subcontractor we used in a prior phase. That’s basically a gentleman named Don Holbrook, he was and would be our economic development subcontractor relative to this type of work,” Brown said.
    But Holbrook wouldn’t represent Vercitas, he said.
    “He would leave the Vercitas umbrella and kind of strike out on his own?” Eastley asked.
    Brown said Holbrook incorporated another company called Economic Developer LLC, a Nevada corporation to incorporate the type of services he offers as a professional in the industry.
    “We worked with him in other locations on a number of occasions and have a professional relationship with him,” Brown said.
    Eastley referred to action taken by the Huber Heights, Ohio City Council in March to sue Holbrook, for which the city already paid a significant amount of money on a project. Holbrooks’ role has been significantly decreased with Adventure Springs, Brown said.
    But Eastley said a social netwoking website with a page authored by former Pahrump Economic Development Director Al Balloqui listed Holbrook as a former employer.
    “How many projects have you worked on with Mr. Holbrook and how many have come to fruition and are currently operating?” Eastley asked.
    Brown said he met Holbrook on a project in Houston four years ago that’s still ongoing and Contour Entertainment has taken over as the primary developer.
    That project is entering into a capital raise phase, he said. The prior developer failed to raise capital in 2008-2009 and had a lot of problems, Brown said. The developer stepped aside and the local improvement district asked his company to step up and take control. Brown said an East Montgomery County Improvement District is funding the development project, which is paid off by taxes as it is consummated.
    Brown said Holbrook’s scope in the Pahrump theme park project has been significantly curtailed.
    Eastley wanted more information about whether it would be a full blown theme park. Brown said he envisions something that cannot be replicated in Las Vegas.
    “Fundamentally, that avenue boils down to things that take land that would not be financially or commercially viable in Las Vegas or things that are not allowed, due to city laws or ordinances, etc. These involved concepts like the think tank, which involves a tank experience which is land intensive and requires special accommodations,” Brown said.
    Brown said the theme park still includes constructing ball parks, which will bring players to town for tournaments. Eastley thought that was a good idea.
    Brown said the company recommended not to invest in designing the project until they find out what is economically feasible.
    County Commissioner Butch Borasky had concerns about deviating from the original fairgrounds plan.
    “You’re going to go lobby Washington to allow them for a public-private partnership, which is actually forbidden the way the deed was given on that property?” Borasky asked.
    Brown said he won’t be the lobbyist. He suggested the town could move on to other properties, which the Pahrump town board has endorsed.
    “We’re not restricted to that site, there’s certainly other land around we could use for this development,” Brown said.
    The initial pro forma suggested a $35 million to $50 million development, Brown said. There would be investor solicitation, he said. A deliverable project of this second phase is to deliver an opinion on private sector financing, which Brown said would outweigh public sector financing.
    “There are projects that could be done immediately with private sector financing on a smaller scale,” Brown said.
    “That was a core anchor concept. This was developed as a structure that could grow over time,” he said.
    Phase II was shrunk back to see what support is reasonable that developers could expect, he said.
    Nye County earmarked a $181,000 grant for an irrigation well at the fairgrounds site, a grant that expires in September, County Manager Pam Webster said.
    The other county commissioners didn’t have any comments to make during the presentation.
    Don Holbrook Nye County Commissioner Joni Eastley



    « Theme park second phase up for vote

    Leave a Reply

    The taxpayers have to be satisfied with and support the project, Holbrook, and you threatening them just ended your welcome there and probably everywhere else!

    Soapboxmom

  12. #37
    Soapboxmom's Avatar
    Soapboxmom is offline Administrator
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Mars
    Posts
    7,995
    Blog Entries
    3

    re: Don Allen Holbrook IEDC International Economic Development Council Rogue Member

    • The Vercitas Group
      Partner · Jan 2006 to present · Las Vegas, Nevada
      Site Location and Strategic Economic Development consulting services
      • Australia Christmas Island Destination Tourism Projectwith Simon Millcock
        2011 to present
        Creating a real sense of exotic locale to bring tourists primarily from the Northern Gateway of Malaysia, Asia and Korea to the island with high per capita expenditurres
      • Pahrump Destination Tourism Attractionwith Al Balloqui
        Jun 2010 to present
        Working on creating a unique tourism project that will allow Pahrump to capitalize on the tourism driven economy created by Las Vegas.
      • EarthQuest Institute and EarthQuest Adventure Theme Parkwith Matthew Gardner
        Oct 2004 to present
        Working on building the worlds first green and sustainable influenced Theme Park designed from the ground up with clean technologies as a foundation.


    • Public speaking
      keynote speaking at major functions · Jan 2006 to present
      I am a professional public speaker for keynote addresses at major paid functions. I focus on the economy and how things can be turned around, fearless leadership during chaotic times, and rebooting local economies during the transitional turbulent global economic times.
    • Tudor Wines
      Zeppelin Wines
      Dan Tudor friend of Stillman Brown and the Holbrook's is one of the other extraordinaire wine makers of California! His Pinot Noir's are some of Don's favorite. You can see his wine everywhere under the label RadDog!
      • Zeppelin Winery & Vineyardswith Stillman Brown
        2009 to present
        The genius creation of Stillman Brown in a quiet and strategic business relationship with the Holbrook's to create the most premier wines in the world with the best wine maker in the world. Stillman supplies the the winemaking genius touch, Don's give financial and corporate structure guidance and Laurie just promotes the wine everywhere to get Stillman out in the public. The winery has contracts with grape growers and Stillman attends to some long-term plantings that have turned out the Super Award Winner- The Black Zeppelin label. All in all a great wine only available to our customer list. Stillman tries to keep the production down to about 3,000 to 4,000 case per year. He also rents a wine cave for the aging and storage of some of our best wines.





    Grad School

    College

    High School



    Simon Millcock







    Simon Millcock (Indian Ocean Territories) is the Economic Development Officer for Australia's Indian Ocean Territories (Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands) he is employed by the Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department. He has a long history in youth, community and economic development in regional South Australia. Simon is also a 2005 graduate of the South Australian Governors Leadership Foundation. __________________________________________________ ____________
    All BS. Matthew Gardner has not been involved in the Earthquest debacle for over a year. Pahrump sent him packing and Al Balloqui exited stage left on that one a long time ago. I can't find any mention of any destination tourism project he is working on in Christmas island anywhere. Jeff Finkle will probably think all this deserves an IEDC award.

    Soapboxmom

  13. #38
    Soapboxmom's Avatar
    Soapboxmom is offline Administrator
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Mars
    Posts
    7,995
    Blog Entries
    3

    re: Don Allen Holbrook IEDC International Economic Development Council Rogue Member

    EMCID tells EarthQuest founder, 'No action at this time' - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - Copyright 2007 Ourtribune.com
    EMCID tells EarthQuest founder, 'No action at this time'
    Wednesday, May 30, 2012
    Geoffrey Geiger
    The recent news coverage of the controversial EarthQuest project in New Caney and spending by the East Montgomery County Improvement District (EMCID) prompted a visit from the project’s founder Don Lessem.

    After all half a dozen years, I think I’ve lent my concepts out long enough. I am, however, still committed to bringing the big park to the area, given the appeal of the area for tourism and the patient support of the community despite all the wrong steps taken,” Lessem told The Tribune.

    Lessem traveled from his home in Pennsylvania but this trip did not produce the result Lessem wanted, though it publicly ensured the continuously stalled eco-resort and theme park project was still “moving forward” under Contour Entertainment.

    Lessem had three requests of the EMCID board:a reversion of the intellectual property rights to him after 2013, permission to market EarthQuest 500 miles from Texas with Contour still on the project and a 2.5 percent finders fee for the money he brought in for the district. The rights are currently held through Contour. Lessem said the project is still viable under Contour’s leadership. The details of the two-hour executive session between Lessem and the board are not available, but the board declined to take any official action on Lessem’s requests. Publicly, EMCID President Frank McCrady said that Chris Brown of Contour would not agree to the terms, would but assured Lessem there might be a viable option in the future.

    Lessem told The Tribune he was disappointed with the decision, but said, “I do understand that they felt it their best chance to repay taxpayer money was to retain this intellectual property. I gave what little I still had (the name itself) to EMCID recently for two reasons: to get back about $30,000 in expenses three years overdue, and to give Chris Brown of Contour Entertainment free rein to try and sell the project - as he is now the option-holder to develop the property. While he’s not a financial person, he is well-versed and honest and we all hope he will succeed. If he can’t in the next year, I think he’ll withdraw and then I think EMCID should return my concept to me - after nearly seven years without any benefit to me.”
    EarthQuest 2009 bond sale: where did tax dollars go - Monday, April 30, 2012 - Copyright 2007 Ourtribune.com
    First, Contour Entertainment was paid $1,726,978.37 out of the bond proceeds. Originally employed by the Developer as the lead designer and planner for EarthQuest, it is their work that largely constitutes the “intellectual property” often referred to by Frank McCrady, president of EMCID.



    Contour’s work product is an essential component of EarthQuest, provided the project is built as originally conceived (i.e. a dinosaur-themed park). But due to the thematic nature of those plans, it is doubtful that work product would hold any value to a another party if EarthQuest isn’t built. Therefore, repeated assurances by EMCID officials as to the value of the intellectual property must be qualified. That is, any perceived value of the intellectual property is wholly dependent upon EarthQuest being built as originally planned.

    Comment by: Don Holbrook on Mar. 9th, 2012
    With regard to all the rumors and unjust comments about EMCID and Frank McCrady, I can truly say this about the entire situation:

    Just because John Marlin as the original developer failed to perform does not mean he did so with malicious intent. I believe we experienced and most Americans still are experiencing one of the worst global financial crisis in most of our lifetimes. He simply was trying to do this and did not know the economy would tank and thus his investors ran for cover as did thousands of other projects across the globe... Almost every city, town and region has faced this same scenario. Many with no hope of turning their plight around.

    But not EMCID, led by Mr. McCrady. EMCID looked at it strategically and said if we are to improve our local economy we have to focus on being a destination in our region. They diversified and began working on more than just EarthQuest to build visitor draw and ancillary and complimentary tourism projects that employ people, fill hotel rooms, buy gas, food and other things. These efforts diversified their risk and made them not so dependent on just the success of EarthQuest. Those actions are now bearing fruit... Wake Boarding is hugely popular and will attract residents from all over Houston to EMCID territory to spend money and guess what employ people. Then they attract the worlds #1 Firearms Training Institute to build their new $25M plus state of the art world headquarters to EMCID besting out San Antonio for the project, which attracts over 25,000 trainees from around the world on NV and they expect to do over 60,000 in Texas. Those create nearly 300,000 room nights, consume food & beverages and buy gas and other retail items while in EMCID territory.

    Not a bad outcome considering the great economic transition we are in. But I'm not skipping EarthQuest. EMCID once Marlin made them award he couldn't perform began making plans for how to mitigate Marlins lack of performance. They did not sulk or stick their head in the sand. They asked Chris Brown, one of the worlds foremost theme park designers to consider becoming the developer. He accepted the challenge and began planning the mitigation. He began by updating the business model so it would be valid in the post 2008 economic meltdown. Then he started building an astute board of advisors from the theme park industry and raising capital so that he could do the most important first step, regain site control once the Bankruptcy Court and the Bank were willing to allow such actions. This was controlled not by EMCID or Chris Brown but our judicial system.

    Meanwhile EMCID strategically made all the right moves to protect the project so it could move forward. They positioned their interest in the land at no additional cost so they could provide Brown the new developer with an option to purchase the land from the BK proceedings. They clawed back all intellectual rights to the project and wrote a new and much stronger new development agreement requiring the new developer to license the Intellectual Property for a fee that would be enough to pay off the public investment in the project.

    Most important they remembered that Marlins failure did not mean the project was not viable. Three different world renowned theme park experts all agreed Houston is the best market in the central time zone for a major Theme Park. So EMCID made sure the project would continue to move towards successful opening even if the developer failed. In my opinion EMCID and McCrady did their job excellent and because of their actions, someday soon Greater Houston will have one of the greatest theme park attractions in America. EMCID's strategic vision and perseverance will prove to have been strategically well executed and produce exceptional economic outcomes for their constituents. I feel so sad that these good people have endure such horrible abuse from some in the general public while doing their peers such a great outcome. Now that the Marlin scenario is beginning to settle out EMCID is moving forward just as it appears the economy is beginning to invest again. I know they will do excellent. I also believe Chris Brown deserves our full support as he works hard to get a great project back on track.
    A Disneyland for gun lovers - Monday, February 20, 2012 - Copyright 2007 Ourtribune.com
    As with EarthQuest, McCrady is assuring taxpayers that the development will not cost them a penny. EarthQuest developers received millions of dollars from EMCID; taxpayers were given assurance that parking fees at EarthQuest and intellectual property rights will make up for the EarthQuest costs estimated to be as high as $10-15 million (The Tribune has made numerous requests of EMCID for the total number of dollars spent to date on the EarthQuest project but no answers have been provided). McCrady said the incentives given to Front Sight will come from rebates of sales taxes and other revenues generated by the new business itself.
    EMCID claims EarthQuest project still in progress despite several setbacks - Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - Copyright 2007 Ourtribune.com
    McCrady emphasized that a stall in the 500-acre eco-project stemmed from dire economic vicissitudes beginning in 2008. In 2010, a redesign of the park was ordered after failing to secure several million dollars in funding. John Marlin, of Marlin-Atlantis, the original developer of EarthQuest said that $500 million could be difficult to secure so a redesign was conducted for $307 million. Whitestone Houston Land, Ltd., the affiliate through Marlin-Atlantis, of Dallas, filed for bankruptcy in August of 2011.

    National homebuilder D. R. Horton proposed a $10.7 million bid for a portion of the property on March 5, with a hearing scheduled for April. According to McCrady, if Horton is able to purchase the portion, then the new project developter, Contour Entertainment, can begin working more extensively after June.

    "We are ecstatic," McCrady said of the bid. "We feel that [Horton] brings a great deal of stability to the transaction."

    Contour was originally the park designer, and is now hoping to secure more than $500 million. McCrady said that if Contour could not secure the funding, then other interested developers could step in. McCrady did not disclose those other interested developers. EMCID has committed more than $2 million to the project along with a $7.8 million bond issue.

    However, McCrady stated, "Following the April hearing, we [EMCID] will post updates to our website."

    The public concerns have reached county and state officials as well. State Senator Tommy Williams (R-4) said the issue raised some serious questions.

    "It is important this matter has a thorough investigation. It is important that the improvement district will allow an investigation. The public has a faith in the district to uphold their fiduciary duty to the taxpayers, and it is very important that the full light of day shine on this matter. I am certain it will happen," Williams said.

    This follows recent district financial revelations documented by The Tribune and sources that include several hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on consulting fees for the project. The Tribune also secured cash flow and expense report statements that outlined other EMCID expenses which have raised questions by district residents. Expense examples include more than $21,000 in sporting tickets and several hundreds of thousands on meals and trips internationally. However, McCrady and EMCID Chairman Leon Cubillas insisted to the forum attendees that every expense is "legitimate" and approved as the expenses act as incentives for business relocation to the district. More than $300,000 was budgeted for 2011-2012 alone.

    "Dealing with economic development is a very complex thing. You have to take into account how competitive and how cut throat it is. This requires a greater effort to ensure business comes to east Montgomery County," McCrady said.
    This project is in serious trouble. Don Holbrook claims EMCID has the intellectual property rights. Don Lessem is wanting them back. Contour appears have the intellectual property rights as of today, so Frank McCrady claiming, "if Contour could not secure the funding, then other interested developers could step in" is complete bunk. How can anyone else step in if they don't have the rights to the ideas that are the core of the project.

    With the property rights a bone of contention, no investor will touch this with a ten foot pole. I would not be at all surprised to see this end up in protracted litigation. For this to go forward the party that possesses the intellectual property rights must be clearly established! Another dino disaster in the making.

    Soapboxmom

  14. #39
    Soapboxmom's Avatar
    Soapboxmom is offline Administrator
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Mars
    Posts
    7,995
    Blog Entries
    3

    re: Don Allen Holbrook IEDC International Economic Development Council Rogue Member




    Who Moved My Smokestack? [Kindle Edition]

    Don A. Holbrook (Author)
    5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review) | Like (0)

    Digital List Price: $9.99 What's this?
    Print List Price: $19.98
    Kindle Price: $8.39 includes free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
    You Save: $11.59 (58%)





    Book Description

    Publication Date: September 22, 2008
    America's failure to protect our jobs and stop the erosion of the American Dream. The greatest travesty of the 21st century is the impact of globalization, Petrolism, and monetized special interest driven politics. Rebuilding our American Dream should be the utmost priority for all Americans and those who serve us in this century. This is a blueprint for shifting todays paradigm from the perspective of economic development at the local level.




    Editorial Reviews

    About the Author

    Don A. Holbrook, Certified Economic Developer, (CEcD) Don Holbrook is a private practitioner involved in the major elements of site location analysis for major private sector investment projects. He specializes in public backed inducements and incentives that reduce the risk of new business investments. He has worked on over 100 projects representing over 1 billion dollars in public capital investment generating more than 50,000 jobs in his 17 years in the profession. Don has specialized in creating customized incentive policies to increase equity and reduce operational costs. He is considered a foremost thought leader on what is referred to as Hybridized Public Capital Investments. Don's approach is simple in deals there must be equilibrium that makes both parties feel satisfactory in their support for key business decisions to investment capital. He negotiates agreements that establish reasonable parameters for such investments to occur and removes the red-tape in order to establish an acceptable deal. He believes the process of developing world class communities is a paradigm shift in their mindset and not determined by their geographic location or population rather by the quality and vision of their local leadership. He advocates a seven step process to achieve such world class community mindsets.




    Product Details



    Customer Reviews


    (1)
    5.0 out of 5 stars


    5 star

    1

    4 star

    0

    3 star

    0

    2 star

    0

    1 star

    0



    See the customer review
    Share your thoughts with other customers

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
    Global meltdown and how to rebuild local economies July 24, 2010
    By Don Holbrook
    Format:Kindle Edition
    Hi everyone, this book was designed to let folks know of the coming economic meltdown now referred to as the "Perfect Storm" the "Great Recession" and by my friend Richard Florida as the "Great Reboot." I think you will find that this book offers over 50 different approaches as to how local economies, community leaders, corporate citizens and even us as individuals can be prepared to climb out of this economic malaise... and shift our paradigms. I hope you enjoy it, I had fun writing it.

    Comment |
    Was this review helpful to you?








    See the customer review






    More About the Author

    Visit Amazon's Don Allen Holbrook Page




    Biography

    As a professional economist and certified economic developer, Don Allen Holbrook has instructive views on how economic development can transform America and assist her in regaining her global competitive edge. He has over 20 years experience in the industry and is a fellow member of the prestigious International Economic Development Council. Holbrook is the consummate thought leader amongst his peers and is a renowned international public speaker on the subject of transforming local economies to lead communities to world class status no matter their geographic location, population and/or natural resources. Holbrook believes world class communities are determined by the mindset of the communities leaders and how they embrace change in a proactive manner. Holbrook consults for companies on how to select the most cost-effective location for their new or expanding business and negotiates local & state economic development business incentives to lower the cost of such new investments and increase his clients ROI. He designed the first electronic site location system via the world wide web that profiled communities by their measured business climate and quality of life indices. He is considered a pioneer and one the worlds foremost site location consultants and is one of America's top public policy experts on attracting business investments and foreign direct investments into local economies.

    Show Less







    New Caney

    An unincorporated area in southeastern Montgomery County, Teas, New Caney grew rapidly during the 1980s and 1990s with an estimated population of 8,000 in 1980 and 17,189 by 2000. The primary factor driving population growth is its proximity to the Houston metropolitan area. In 1997, New Caney’s community leaders established their own improvement district, the East Montgomery County improvement District or EMCID. Its sole purpose was to carve out a niche for economic development within the surrounding high-growth sprawl of greater Houston.

    In order to achieve this purpose, two goals were defined: first, traditional economic development through the creation of shovel-ready sites capable of supporting high-quality jobs along with robust infrastructure that would make them competitive; and second, EMCID’s sponsoring of a new state-of-the-art community center that includes community college offices, a library, EMCID’s offices, and the East Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce.

    Once these goals were agreed upon, EMCID’s board applied for initial financing to the Texas Legislature in 2007 for approval of additional taxing authority under a provision known as Request for Allocation of Sales Tax Funding that allows successful applicants to levy additional half-cent sales taxes to use for development projects. By this stage EMCID’s board had also decided to extend its development commitments to Earthquest, a private sector-driven combination theme park and museum and/or institute and to designate it as EMCID’s primary investment project.

    When completed, the new five-hundred-acre complex will house a full-scale “green” theme park and “dinosaur city” institute styled along the lines of a modern paleontological research center. The EMCID board is projecting growth of more than $1 billion annually and ten thousand jobs. Frank McCrady, EMCID’s president, fully appreciated the risks involved but thinks the potential gains are so significant that even partial success will guarantee ample rewards.

    The story behind EMCID and New Caney’s success is one of taking the decade –old statewide Texas local sales tax proposition to heart. This sales tax provision, approved by the Texas Legiislature in the mid-1990s, is designed so that local development entities such as EMCID may apply to the state for authorization to levy 4(a) and 4(b) additional half-cent sales taxes. These new taxes are authorized specifically to fund local development projects. The laborious approval process can take months from inception to completion, and since the Texas Legislature meets only once every year, this can further delay getting the green light.

    EMCID’s board conducted its own research and then went a step further, successfully lobbying the legislature for passage of its uniques hybrid version of the enabling legislation, HB 4015, which received approval in the 2007 legislative session. This bill allows EMCID to focus additional sales taxes and ad valorem taxes within the development district on special economic projects. Each project, in turn, creates a special tax zone from which can be imposed additional food and beverage, hotel occupancy, ticket admissions, and property taxes, leading to the funding of development projects such as Earthquest.

    According to Karin Richmond of Austin’s Intelligent Incentives Inc., this legislation gave EMCID the most powerful economic-development tools in the state. By the time its proposal reached the statehouse door, EMCID had already performed some traditional economic-development work so that its campaign to get the proposal passed had a leg up from the beginning because of an established track record, including its well-received Earthquest presentation.

    In decision-making on exactly what its development projects should be, the EMCID board fully understood the importance of its SWOT analysis, and its members agreed that something special was required in order to attract attention from the investment world. Following up at this point, the members further decided that instead of asking private sector clients to pay the freight for considering their local, EMCID needed to front the risk capital for an economic business case-study analysis (which ultimately totaled about $500,000).

    The Baker Leisure Group of Orlando, Florida, a firm with long experience in the themed attractions industry, was retained by EarthQuest’s original sponsors to conduct a warranted-investment study. This essentially is a study using language familiar to financial professionals that lays out the economis-development encentives and risk-reduction inducements of a development project. A clear-cut warranted-investment model is applicable both to private investors and to publicly traded companies. In addition, Baker aksi advised the EMCID board memberes on what products would work in East Montgomery County, including what the return on investment, or ROI, would be for typical investors.

    After EarthQuest was chosen as the primary development project, EMCID now had a business proposal for potential investors that was specific to EMCID’s locale and was written employing language familiar to the financial community. In addition to BLG, EMCID hired exoerts from ITech of Orlando, Florida, Contour Design and Dezignskape (started by former Disney Imagineering / Design employees) of Los Angeles to do the blue-sky conceptual designs, master land-use plan overview, and visitor experience narrative.

    Now potential investors could study a multilayered design model that helped them to more fully appreciate the investment fine points behind the numberse. Last, but most assuredly not least, EMCID co-marketed with EarthQuest’s initial principal sponsor the necessary research to find the right investor group and for the prospectus for the initial investor solicitiation that was aimed at either private or publicly traded firms.

    Finally, EMCID’s last steps at this stage were to option and gain site control of necessary highway frontage property. At this point, EMCID had market intelligence, a unique sales tool in its warranted-investment study model, site control. And incentives to offer prospective investors. The recommendation to use these specific investment tools was made by me in my role as economic -development consultant to EMCID.

    As a further measure of validation, I also recommended that Karin Richmond of Intelligent Incentives be hired to provide third-party validation of EarthQuest’s investment worthiness……

    I used the successful experiences of New Caney and EMCID as examples of what could be done.….
    This was published in September 2008. That was almost 4 years ago. Who in their right mind would call Earthquest a success??????

    Soapboxmom

  15. #40
    Soapboxmom's Avatar
    Soapboxmom is offline Administrator
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Mars
    Posts
    7,995
    Blog Entries
    3

    re: Don Allen Holbrook IEDC International Economic Development Council Rogue Member

    2012 Board of Directors


    Board members are listed alphabetically. Click on a board member's name to read a brief biography.



    Filing an Alleged Ethical Violation
    Alleged violations can be brought to the attention of IEDC via a number of avenues – contacting a board member, the board chair, CEO or the Committee on Professional Conduct (CPC). Complaints may also be initiated by the CPC on its own initiative or at the request of the board chair or the CEO based on information concerning a potential ethical violation that comes directly to their attention by other means. The complaint should be submitted in writing with substantial written or electronic
    documentation to support the allegation. Providing as much documented proof of the alleged violation as possible is strongly encouraged. IEDC ensures the confidentiality of the review process as well as to keep the identity of the person submitting the complaint (the “complainant”) confidential.
    Anonymous complaints can be filed, though anonymous testimony is not allowed if the case proceeds to detailed review phase.

  16. #41
    Soapboxmom's Avatar
    Soapboxmom is offline Administrator
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Mars
    Posts
    7,995
    Blog Entries
    3

    re: Don Allen Holbrook IEDC International Economic Development Council Rogue Member

    Standards for Charity Accountability - U.S. BBB
    STANDARDS FOR CHARITABLE ACCOUNTABILITY
    GOVERNANCE AND OVERSIGHT
    The governing board has the ultimate oversight authority for any charitable organization. This section of the standards seeks to ensure that the volunteer board is active, independent and free of self-dealing. To meet these standards, the organization shall have:
    1. A board of directors that provides adequate oversight of the charity's operations and its staff. Indication of adequate oversight includes, but is not limited to, regularly scheduled appraisals of the CEO's performance, evidence of disbursement controls such as board approval of the budget, fund raising practices, establishment of a conflict of interest policy, and establishment of accounting procedures sufficient to safeguard charity finances.
    2. A board of directors with a minimum of five voting members.
    3. A minimum of three evenly spaced meetings per year of the full governing body with a majority in attendance, with face-to-face participation. A conference call of the full board can substitute for one of the three meetings of the governing body. For all meetings, alternative modes of participation are acceptable for those with physical disabilities.
    4. Not more than one or 10% (whichever is greater) directly or indirectly compensated person(s) serving as voting member(s) of the board. Compensated members shall not serve as the board's chair or treasurer.
    [Publicly soliciting churches and other houses of worship: see the Implementation Guide for further information about the application of this standard.]

    5. No transaction(s) in which any board or staff members have material conflicting interests with the charity resulting from any relationship or business affiliation. Factors that will be considered when concluding whether or not a related party transaction constitutes a conflict of interest and if such a conflict is material, include, but are not limited to: any arm's length procedures established by the charity; the size of the transaction relative to like expenses of the charity; whether the interested party participated in the board vote on the transaction; if competitive bids were sought and whether the transaction is one-time, recurring or ongoing.......
    FINANCES
    This section of the standards seeks to ensure that the charity spends its funds honestly, prudently and in accordance with statements made in fund raising appeals. To meet these standards, the charitable organization shall:
    Please note that standards 8 and 9 have different denominators.
    8. Spend at least 65% of its total expenses on program activities.
    Formula for Standard 8:
    Total Program Service Expenses should be at least 65%

    Total Expenses
    9. Spend no more than 35% of related contributions on fund raising. Related contributions include donations, legacies, and other gifts received as a result of fund raising efforts.
    Formula for Standard 9:
    Total Fund Raising Expenses should be no more than 35%

    Total Related Contributions
    ......11. Make available to all, on request, complete annual financial statements prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. When total annual gross income exceeds $500,000*, these statements should be audited in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards. For charities whose annual gross income is less than $500,000*, a review by a certified public accountant is sufficient to meet this standard. For charities whose annual gross income is less than $250,000*, an internally produced, complete financial statement is sufficient to meet this standard.
    *Note that new financial statement thresholds for Standard 11 are effective for fiscal years ending 12/31/2011 and thereafter.




    12. Include in the financial statements a breakdown of expenses (e.g., salaries, travel, postage, etc.) that shows what portion of these expenses was allocated to program, fund raising, and administrative activities. If the charity has more than one major program category, the schedule should provide a breakdown for each category.13. Accurately report the charity's expenses, including any joint cost allocations, in its financial statements. For example, audited or unaudited statements which inaccurately claim zero fund raising expenses or otherwise understate the amount a charity spends on fund raising, and/or overstate the amount it spends on programs will not meet this standard.
    14. Have a board-approved annual budget for its current fiscal year, outlining projected expenses for major program activities, fund raising, and administration.........
    FUND RAISING AND INFORMATIONAL MATERIALS
    A fund raising appeal is often the only contact a donor has with a charity and may be the sole impetus for giving. This section of the standards seeks to ensure that a charity's representations to the public are accurate, complete and respectful. To meet these standards, the charitable organization shall:
    15. Have solicitations and informational materials, distributed by any means, that are accurate, truthful and not misleading, both in whole and in part. Appeals that omit a clear description of program(s) for which contributions are sought will not meet this standard.
    A charity should also be able to substantiate that the timing and nature of its expenditures are in accordance with what is stated, expressed, or implied in the charity's solicitations.
    16. Have an annual report available to all, on request, that includes:

    1. the organization's mission statement,
    2. a summary of the past year's program service accomplishments,
    3. a roster of the officers and members of the board of directors,
    4. financial information that includes (i) total income in the past fiscal year, (ii) expenses in the same program, fund raising and administrative categories as in the financial statements, and (iii) ending net assets.

    17. Include on any charity websites that solicit contributions, the same information that is recommended for annual reports, as well as the mailing address of the charity and electronic access to its most recent IRS Form 990.
    EarthQuest Institute - Our Team
    Management Team

    Our Management Team is comprised of accomplished executives from a variety of disciplines. They provide expertise in private and public fundraising, financial management, non-profit leadership and the sciences.

    Don Holbrook, President and CEO
    Dr. Matthew Gardner, Chief Science Officer

    Executive Board

    Our Executive Board represents the major creative and philanthropic developers of the EarthQuest concept, with respective backgrounds in science, communication, public education and community development.
    Leon Cubillas, Chairman
    Don Lessem, Founder and Director
    John Marlin, Director

  17. #42
    Soapboxmom's Avatar
    Soapboxmom is offline Administrator
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Mars
    Posts
    7,995
    Blog Entries
    3

    re: Don Allen Holbrook IEDC International Economic Development Council Rogue Member

    Charity Review of EarthQuest Institute
    Nondisclosure
    This Charity did not provide requested information. As a result, the Better Business Bureau cannot determine if it meets standards.
    EarthQuest Institute: a betrayal of the public's trust? - Monday, April 02, 2012 - Copyright 2007 Ourtribune.com
    EarthQuest Institute: a betrayal of the public's trust?
    Monday, April 02, 2012
    Cynthia Calvert
    On Dec. 8, 2009, the inaugural “Friends of EarthQuest” fundraiser was held in the grand ballroom of the stately complex that houses the East Montgomery County Improvement District (EMCID). It seemed that everyone wanted to be there, from the county judge to the county lineman. So many showed up for the festivities that some were turned away at the door, no doubt crestfallen by their inopportune misfortune.

    But for the fine folks of East Montgomery County that were allowed in, it was a gala affair, punctuated by diamonds and dinosaurs, Cretaceous critters and Christmas glee. All the while, the giant head of a T-Rex held sway over the proceedings, its toothy grin a warning, perhaps, for those who might venture a little too close.

    Most of all, this grand event was a celebration of hope for East Montgomery County and its residents.

    After almost five years of plans and promises, the advent of EarthQuest seemed fitting for the Christmas season. For it was a gift that vowed to keep on giving, with new jobs, new businesses, new developments . . . indeed, a whole new way of life.

    But the good citizens of this community didn’t just attend as well-wishers. Not at all. They came with their pocket books in hand, ready to make a tangible contribution to the dream that had been promised them by local politicians, civic leaders and, most of all, the members of the EMCID board.

    And on this one night alone, more than $75,000 was raised for the EarthQuest Institute (“Institute”). This Institute was a nonprofit corporation established by EMCID and the EarthQuest developers as an “edutainment” center, so that the young and the young at heart would be able to learn valuable lessons from the past.

    So how ironic is it, that on the very same night the ‘Friends of EarthQuest’ were reaching into their wallets to support this great adventure, the consultants hired by EMCID and the EarthQuest developers had already plundered the Institute’s bank accounts for all that it was worth. So egregious was the theft of the public’s trust that, by the night of the great ball, the Institute was already bankrupted.

    The Tribune has obtained copies of the federal tax returns for the Institute.

    A diligent review of those records has produced a sordid tale of unbridled avarice; a story that will shock even the most cynical individual. Consider the following facts, all of which are taken directly from the federal tax returns of the Institute for the three-year period of 2008 – 2010:

    The Institute received contributions totaling $996,667.

    Don Holbrook, president of the Institute (and a consultant for EMCID and EarthQuest), received total compensation of $328,255.

    Deborah Thomas, treasurer and secretary of the Institute (and an employee of Marlin-Atlantis), received total compensation of $218,993.

    (Unbelievably, as stated in the tax returns, Holbrook only worked an average of 15 hours per week; Thomas, 20 hours per week).

    Even more appalling, “professional fees” paid to “independent contractors” equaled $601,776. These fees were apparently paid to EarthQuest consultants, including those controlled by Don Holbrook.

    Although contributions totaled $996,000 for the three-year period, the salaries and benefits paid to employees and consultants equaled $1,148,370, exceeding total contributions by more than $150,000.

    And the forgoing figures don’t even consider “other” expenditures by the Institute's two employees. These “other” costs included $118,700 for “travel expenses,” and $37,479 for “information technology” among other things.

    Consequently, on the night of the great ball, the Institute had a negative cash balance of $225,034. Hence, the prior statement that the Institute was bankrupt in December of 2009 was a factual, not a figurative, assertion.

    But the story doesn’t end there, because it’s not easy to spend more money than one has in their bank account, unless they can borrow funds from another source. So how did the Institute spend more money than they had on hand? Simple. By borrowing $332,110 from an account payable, $222,018 of which was incurred in 2009.

    Unfortunately, the tax returns do not indicate from whom the money was borrowed. Of course, the logical presumption would be EMCID (or one of its affiliates), as EMCID has been the primary benefactor of the Institute since its inception. In a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ dated January 22, 2008, EMCID agreed to donate to the Institute $300,000 in 2008 alone. What other monies may have been given to the Institute by EMCID is unknown at this time....

    At the EMCID town hall meeting on March 22, 2012, several questions were posed regarding the Institute. Those queries were largely deflected by board members, stating the Institute was completely separate of EMCID, that the Institute never had an office in the EMCID complex and that none of the EMCID board knew the current status of the Institute. But documents obtained by The Tribune appear to indicate that a very cozy relationship has long existed between the two entities.

    Even though Frank McCrady stated at the town hall meeting that the Institute has never had an office at the EMCID complex, all of the federal tax returns mentioned in this article listed EMCID’s complex as the domicile of the Institute. Furthermore, the EarthQuest Institute’s website also lists the EMCID complex as its business address, even specifying Suite No. 200.

    How separate is the Institute apart from EMCID? Leon Cubillas, chairman of the board of EMCID since July 8, 2004, has also been chairman of the board of the Institute since mid-2008. This dual representation would have ensured that both organizations were fully aware of each other’s activities.

    Lastly, the claim by EMCID board members that they don’t know the current status of the Institute seems incomprehensible. First, the dual representation of Cubillas mentioned above makes such a statement implausible. Secondly, the board of EMCID had a fiduciary duty to ensure that its $300,000 in grants to the Institute were properly disbursed.

    Sadly, in the final analysis, the Institute was cleaned out, and allowed to be cleaned out by the very persons entrusted with its mission and oversight.
    EarthQuest Institute received $500,000 from EMCID

    Thursday, April 05, 2012

    Geoffrey Geiger
    The Tribune has attempted to document the EarthQuest Institute's (EQI) history from its creation in February of 2008, and recent findings present several gaps in who is left in charge and how EQI funding was presented and used.

    Here is the sequence of Tribune findings:



    A request made to EarthQuest and development consultant Don Holbrook by another entity (read Soapboxmom), received a denial of current involvement with EQI by Holbrook on Feb. 28. Holbrook said he ceased his officialy employment after John Marlin, of Marlin-Atlantis and a director of EQI, was unable to meet financial obligations. Holbrook also denied knowledge of available access to any current financial records. However, this appears to be a contradiction to what EQI's accountant, Derek Ryan, told The Tribune on March 20 after an information request was made.


    According to Ryan, Holbrook would not authorize Ryan & Company, PC from releasing any records to The Tribune. Although Ryan said EQI has not reported any activity to his firm since 2010.



    A phone call and email to Holbrook were not returned. However, Holbrook wrote to another entity that “EarthQuest Institute has gone on hiatus from operations and fundraising,” which EQI Chairman and EMCID Chairman Leon Cubillas publicly confirmed on March 22.

    Existing financial documents for EQI are presently at the EMCID building, according to EQI Science Officer Dr. Matthew Gardner. He claims they were shipped to the New Caney address following his resignation from the board in 2011. Gardner is listed as the principal officer for the organization, according to the IRS.


    “You'll need to go to EMCID and talk to Frank McCrady,” Gardner told The Tribune.




    EMCID President and CEO Frank McCrady denied Gardner's claim since the institute is a private corporation. McCrady emphatically stated that the institute did not have an office, nor a filing cabinet at the EMCID address, which is listed as the same physical address as EQI on its website. An information request sent to McCrady, Cubillas and EMCID attorney David Marks on Feb. 16 was met with the following response on March 12:

    “Since the District is legally not affiliated … it has no control over its records and if request, would refuse to accept such responsibility for the records...” Marks wrote.

    Don Lessem, one of the directors for EQI and the original proponent of EarthQuest, claimed that any documents could have been shipped to EMCID, but they would have to be forwarded to Holbrook. Lessem also mentioned that he has not been involved with EQI for well over a year.



    Cubillas said he could not produce any knowledge of the whereabouts of any records, their accessibility nor a current director or employee roster for the institute when questioned on March 9 and March 22.



    The only records The Tribune has obtained are tax returns (Form 990s) for 2008, 2009 and 2010 and documents relating to the formation of EQI, still in existence, according to records from The Texas Secretary of State. The tax returns, eventually found online through a nonprofit information website, GuideStar, consecutively list Holbrook, Cubillas, Gardner, Lessem, Marlin and Deborah Thomas as officers for EQI. Holbrook as President and CEO, Thomas as Treasurer, Cubillas as Chairman, Gardner as Science Officer, Lessem as Director and Marlin as Director. Only Holbrook, Thomas and Gardner received compensation from EQI. Holbrook received $272,333 in total compensation for those three reported years. Thomas received $203,018 in total, while Gardner was only compensated $25,000 in 2008. For 2009 and 2010, EQI listed $298,771 in land investment.



    According to the formation filings through the Texas Secretary of State, EQI was formed on Feb. 28, 2008, and restated formation on Oct. 1, 2008. David Rosenberg, an attorney with Thompson & Knight, LLP, is the current registered agent. However, Rosenberg said he is in the process of resigning. According to Rosenberg, EQI ended a formal client relationship with him in 2009, yet he “forgot to resign.” Thomas was his primary contact with EQI, who is allegedly also not connected any longer, yet phone calls to confirm have not been returned.



    The original certificate of formation lists Lessem, Cubillas and Austin attorney Daniel Matheson as the EQI directors. Matheson told The Tribune he originally signed, but did not conduct any role beyond that. According to him, Marlin and Lessem took more control over the direction of EQI.

    The restated certificate, signed on Sept. 30, 2008 by Lessem, replaces Matheson with Marlin. The assumed name certificate was also signed on Sept. 30 by Lessem and notarized by Patricia Suzanne Parmer, the office administrator for EMCID.



    Although Parmer notarized the certificate, the ties between EMCID and EQI remain unclear. The Tribune has been unable to establish a consistent or definite relationship between the two entities, as both McCrady and Cubillas maintained there is complete independence of the two, while Lessem claimed a direct relationship existed. Questions about funding from EMCID have been raised as well as much of the revenue is alleged to be from private donation....



    On March 22, EMCID member Vickie Thumann said EMCID did contribute to EQI, but could not present a specific itemized amount, but assured it would be listed in EMCID records. Lessem confirmed that EMCID contributed to EQI during its early incorporation but could not recollect an exact amount, nor could he state whether it was a grant in one sum or through several contributions. Three available audits reflect EMCID expenditures on EarthQuest, but only year end schedules (June 30) for 2010 and 2011 display itemized EQI funding at $250,000 both times.


    Those EMCID expenses on the 2008 and 2009 cash flow are:

    $18,257.74 (Feb. 14, 2008) for Project Rex

    $13,500 (March 24, 2008) to Holbrook Development Company for Project Rex

    $5,000 (March 24, 2008) to Holbrook for EarthQuest

    $24,250 (Aug. 14, 2008) wired to Project Rex

    $1,383,036.86 (July 9, 2009) to Global EarthQuest Ventures, LP for a developer reimbursement

    $386,223.61 (Aug. 26, 2009) to Global EarthQuest Ventures

    $388,864.11 (Sept. 10, 2009) to Global EarthQuest Ventures

    $111,937.15 (Oct. 2009) to Global EarthQuest Ventures

    EQI Revenue and Expense Totals:

    2008

    $305,098 revenue

    $443,809 expenses

    2009

    $470,652 revenue

    $759,948 expenses

    2010

    $220,917 revenue

    $200,554 expenses

    Holbrook Compensation Totals:

    2008

    $82,500

    $55,922 (contributions to employee benefit plans and deferred compensation)

    2009

    $144,893

    2010

    $44,940


    Thomas Compensation Totals:

    2008

    $19,500

    $14,325 (contributions to employee benefit plans and deferred compensation)

    2009

    $140,228

    2010

    $43,290

    *EMCID=East Montgomery County Improvement District


  18. #43
    Soapboxmom's Avatar
    Soapboxmom is offline Administrator
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Mars
    Posts
    7,995
    Blog Entries
    3

    re: Don Allen Holbrook IEDC International Economic Development Council Rogue Member

    Fantasy Land - Page 2 - News - Houston - Houston Press
    When Lessem's idea of a nonprofit was incorporated as the EarthQuest Institute, White sat back and let Marlin take the reins. But Marlin and Lessem clashed, as Marlin's hands-on activities allegedly included screaming in Lessem's face for no discernible reason.

    When asked if Lessem felt that Marlin pressured him into resigning from the board, Lessem puts it like this: "He walks into a board meeting and says, 'I don't like the way you run the organization, you have to quit.'...I sensed a certain pressure in there, subtly...But ultimately, I felt I had to go along with it, because his support of the entire project was at that point vital." (Marlin could not be reached for comment; multiple calls to multiple extensions at Marlin Atlantis's office went straight to voice mail. The Press left messages with two of Marlin's bankruptcy attorneys, as well as his wife, who for some reason was surprised to hear that no one ever answers the phone at her husband's office.)

    Lessem outlined his concern in a few letters to the EarthQuest Institute board. In one he wrote, "Not one person among us has significant national or local contacts among the business and personal philanthropic communities. None of us has the right kind of board experience for leading what was chartered as an international educational effort. None of us has been able to set this organization on the right course...We all need to remember that this is an organization we SERVE, not our fiefdom to control."

    Marlin clearly felt that his development company should have a major stake in the Institute, which is why he installed a Marlin Atlantis employee named Deborah Thomas as chief financial officer. Her 2009 salary was listed on federal tax returns as $140,000 for a 20-hour workweek. Lessem says board members deferred half their salaries. (When reached on the phone by the Press, Thomas referred all questions to East Montgomery County Improvement District President Frank McCrady and declined to discuss her work with the Institute. She was just one of many current and erstwhile EarthQuest players, including McCrady, who either didn't want to comment for this story, or didn't want to admit that they once had something to do with EarthQuest).
    The EarthQuest Institute, which was originally going to be helped by $50 million from EMCID, is going to run and be financed as a nonprofit entity. The fundraising needed for the institute has yet to get underway, according to Michael Dimengo, the president of Sage Fundraising Solutions LLC. The firm, based out of Jacksonville, Fla., is in charge of raising the $80 to $100 million needed for the project.

    “This is a huge green initiative with a study of the earth and its past,” Dimengo said. “We are just in the preliminary stages of the fundraising.”

    Sage is in the process of identifying people for an advisory board to oversee the fundraising.

    Lessem and his design team of more than 100 people are deep in the development phase for the institute. Lessem said they are in “a second phase of design to be finished in a month’s time.” Lessem hopes to have a website for the EarthQuest Institute up and running soon.
    EMCID loans top half million weeks before bankruptcy declared - Monday, April 16, 2012 - Copyright 2007 Ourtribune.com
    EMCID loans top half million weeks before bankruptcy declared

    Monday, April 16, 2012
    Cynthia Calvert
    In the financial boondoggle that is EarthQuest, the avalanche of debt continues to pile up on the backs of resident taxpayers. It seems that under every rock researchers for The Tribune discover another trove of loans or financial irregularities heretofore unknown.



    On April 4, 2012, The Tribune wrote an article detailing plundering of the EarthQuest Institute (the “Institute”) at the hands of various consultants and others representing the East Montgomery County Improvement District (“EMCID”) and/or the developers of EarthQuest. Although the previous article revealed that the Institute was little more than a convenient conduit utilized by EMCID to funnel tax dollars from the wallets of local citizens into the wallets

    of EarthQuest employees and consultants, many other questions remained unanswered.



    Without doubt, the investigative efforts of The Tribune in seeking answers to those inquiries have been hampered by EMCID itself. Although EMCID has strictly complied with The Tribune’s ‘freedom of information’ requests for documents, it routinely fails or refuses to answer questions concerning those same documents. This apparent stonewalling also extends to the minutes of EMCID. In the official minutes, the fact of a loan or disbursement may be recorded, but explanations as to ‘why or for what reason’ are often omitted. Subsequent inquiries as to the purpose for specific events are often ignored by the EMCID board and its counsel.

    Nevertheless, continued perseverance has brought to light many new facts, allowing for several unanswered questions to now be addressed. The obvious first question to be answered is, How can EMCID publicly state that its board knows virtually nothing about the Institute?



    At the recent town hall meeting March 22, Frank McCrady, president and CEO of EMCID, and Leon Cubillas, chairman of the EMCID board, made statements that the Institute was completely separate from EMCID, the Institute never had an office at the EMCID complex, the board doesn’t know the current status of the Institute, and, in fact, the board doesn’t know much of anything about the Institute. When local residents subsequently posed questions regarding the Institute, McCrady and Cubillas deftly employed the philosophy of the immortal Sgt. Shultz: “I hear nothing, I see nothing, I know nothing.”



    But the cold, hard facts set forth in EMCID’s own records and financial audits paint a diametrically opposite picture. A picture that clearly illustrates the undeniable fact that the EMCID leadership and board heard everything, saw everything and knew everything. The simple reality is that EMCID and the Institute, in conjunction with EarthQuest, are all inextricably tied together.



    For example, The Tribune in its prior story that the Institute received contributions totaling $996,000 for calendar years 2008-2010. Questions to specific EMCID board members as to how much of that amount came from EMCID resulted in vague and incomplete answers. Nevertheless, the certified public accounting firm of McCall, Gibson, Swedlund, Barfoot, PLLC, EMCID’s accounting and audit firm, knows exactly how much money EMCID has paid to the Institute. As stated in the annual, certified audits of EMCID for the fiscal years ending on June 30 of 2009-2011, EMCID made contributions to the


    Institute/Project Rex totaling $880,875, with the total of all expenses to the Institute/Project Rex equaling $1,138,089. (Note: The Institute originated as Project Rex).



    Thus, it appears that about 77 percent of the total contributions to the Institute came from EMCID, excluding an additional $257,214 in related expenses. If the EMCID board knew so little about the Institute, how did it become its principal benefactor, giving it more than $1,100,000? The incongruity of the board’s claim to ignorance, in light of the foregoing facts, is galling. But even more troubling than the board’s mass amnesia is the manner and method as to how EMCID apparently funneled “other,” additional monies into the Institute. Furthermore, these “other” monies appear to be outside the purview of EMCID, thereby escaping any mention in its annual audits. But it wasn’t just the Institute that benefitted from these “other” monies.



    Not at all.



    To be specific, The Tribune obtained copies of three, unsecured loans totaling $295,000, the proceeds of which were paid to the Institute. The dates and amounts of those loans are as follows: December 18, 2008 - $120,000; March 10, 2009 - $75,000; and May 14, 2009 -$100,000. The Tribune also received copies of loan documents for a fourth unsecured loan, in the amount of $225,000 on May 23, 2011. The recipient of these loan proceeds was none other than Whitestone Houston Land, Ltd. (“Whitestone”), the legal owner of the EarthQuest land. The very same Whitestone that declared bankruptcy just 10 weeks after the loan was made.



    None of the above loans have any scheduled payments or guarantors. The purpose of the loans is not stated in the documents or corporate minutes obtained by The Tribune. Furthermore, EMCID has refused to answer all questions posed by The Tribune as to the original purpose of the loans. But the most puzzling fact of all is that none of the above loans, with an aggregate total of $520,000, were made by EMCID. Without any explanation, all four loans were originated through the East Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (“EMCEDC”). Which begs the question: “Who and what is the EMCEDC?”



    Although the EMCEDC board is composed mostly of current EMCID board members (Cubillas, Isidor Ybarra, Vickie Thumann, Leonard Rodgers along with local hotelier Philippe Cras), the EMCEDC is a separate legal entity, distinct from EMCID. EMCEDC’s organizational documents clearly state that it is an independent, charitable corporation, organized in 2006, being registered with the IRS under E.I.N No. 202289201.



    Since EMCEDC does not have any legal connection to EMCID, the EMCID audits make no comments or contain any information regarding EMCEDC. Accordingly, the EMCEDC obtains it own annual audits, copies of which have been obtained by The Tribune. So what possible motivation was there for EMCEDC, an organization totally independent of EMCID, to fund four, unsecured loans, totaling $520,000, for EMCID clients? Was EMCEDC used as a corporate shield by EMCID to “hide” the existence of the loans from public scrutiny? Did EMCID coerce EMCEDC into making these loans in a desperate attempt to save its own failed project? Only EMCID can answer those questions, and they’re not talking.



    And even if some plausible reason might be found to justify the funneling of loans through EMCEDC, why would any organization make a $225,000 unsecured loan to an entity (i.e. Whitestone) a mere two months before it filed for bankruptcy? Especially since EMCID, Contour Entertainment and Don Holbrook all knew that Whitestone was planning to declare bankruptcy months before the above loan was made? (See note below).



    Quite frankly, EMCEDC literally threw away $225,000 on the very day the loan was made, with no hope of ever being repaid. The remaining three loans will almost assuredly await the same fate. What impact will there be on EMCEDC when it is forced to write off the $520,000, plus accrued interest, because these loans will be deemed uncollectible? Of course, none of the foregoing indebtedness has ever previously been disclosed to the public until now. Therefore, another $520,000 must be added to the almost $11 million that EMCID has already spent on EarthQuest (before considering future interest charges in excess of $10 million).

    And so the saga continues. Another rock, another half a million dollars lost. The enigma that EarthQuest has become defies any logical explanation. It is a train wreck in the making, an event that threatens the credibility, if not the viability, of EMCID itself.



    (NOTE: The Tribune obtained an e-mail thread dating back to May of 2011. Therein are several parties discussing the Whitestone bankruptcy as if it were a past event, even though the bankruptcy petition was not filed until August 1, 2011).


  19. #44
    pantherdadX2 is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    443
    Blog Entries
    1

    re: Don Allen Holbrook IEDC International Economic Development Council Rogue Member

    Is it just me, or is anyone else finding problems with the EarthQuest Institute relating to the standards of Governance and Oversight by the BBB, especially item no.s 4 and 5 ? Soapboxmom, remind me to never get on your bad side. You GO, GIRL! By the time this is all said and done, Donny boy might have to start re-using his used toilet paper in order to get by. He could become the world's foremost leader on "brown" technology!

  20. #45
    Soapboxmom's Avatar
    Soapboxmom is offline Administrator
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Mars
    Posts
    7,995
    Blog Entries
    3

    re: Don Allen Holbrook IEDC International Economic Development Council Rogue Member

    Quote Originally Posted by littleroundman View Post
    HARK !!!

    Is that the sound of fraudsters ducking for cover I hear in the distance ???

    All that one can say is

    good-bloody-lord.
    That buffoon Holbrook suing me was not the best way to accomplish that. LOL!!!!

    The IRS and attorney general's office are involved already as he is withholding the charity documents required by the IRS and Texas Non-profit Corporation Act to be released. Now, that the nice judge is involved and I will be requesting everything but his used toilet paper in discovery, Holbrook will be forced to turn all these papers over. He is the one claiming that I am publishing defamatory and untrue statements. He has the burden of proof and as I have the right to defend myself I will get access to everything but his underwear drawer.

    Following is the first of the recent posts cataloging the charity debacle Holbrook is personally responsible for:
    http://www.realscam.com/f11/iedc-int...html#post23662

    EarthQuest 2009 bond sale: where did tax dollars go - Monday, April 30, 2012 - Copyright 2007 Ourtribune.com
    Third, Don Holbrook, consultant, was paid an eye-popping $773,963.43 out of the bond proceeds. Holbrook is truly a consultant extraordinaire, capable of walking on both sides of one street at the same time. That is, despite the obvious conflict of interests, he represented both EMCID and the Developer Group as their respective consultants on EarthQuest.

    In an email dated April 18, 2012, McCrady acknowledged to The Tribune that EMCID had retained, and paid Holbrook, as its consultant, the sums of $27,000 and $277,000. Out of the 2009 bond proceeds, Holbrook was paid $273,963.43 by EMCID for work on tax incentive and legislative matters. EMCID subsequently paid him an additional $500,000 (as the Developer’s consultant) as a finder’s fee for the EarthQuest site.

    Consequently, Holbrook has been paid more than $800,000 by EMCID, presuming the $277,000 and the $273,963.43 mentioned above refer to the same fee. Furthermore, while Holbrook was carting off EMCID’s bank vault, he and his merry band of minions were also plundering the EarthQuest Institute for every dime it had received. Under the auspices of EMCID, Holbrook alone stripped out at least $328,255.00 from the Institute. (For details, see The Tribune article dated April 4, 2012). Altogether, it appears that Holbrook received, from EMCID and the Institute, upwards o $1,200,000 for his various, if not nefarious, EarthQuest activities.

    The level of compensation paid to Holbrook is beyond any rational explanation, let alone comprehension. What possible justification can the EMCID leadership and board make to its constituents that Holbrook was deserving of these unwarranted, outrageous, indeed, unbelievable sums of money?

    Last, but certainly not least, is “Dino” Don Lessem. It was Lessem that ignited the flame of inspiration for the EarthQuest Institute in 2006. But his dreams were incinerated by the raging fire of EarthQuest’s implosion.

    In a recent letter to The Tribune, Lessem openly regretted many of the decisions he and others made regarding EarthQuest, especially as those decisions pertained to money matters. He lamented the waste and excessive salaries paid to Holbrook and others. He was appalled at the lack of interest that Leon Cubillas and the EMCID board took in regards to the Institute. He rued the complete lack of accountability on the part of almost everyone involved in the EarthQuest project.

    Surprisingly, he commended the articles of The Tribune as being “very thorough” and did not dispute any assertions that have been set forth by The Tribune. Clearly concerned about the possible demise of EarthQuest and all the money that has been lost, he nevertheless stated that “[he] is not a squanderer of public or private funds, nor a deceiver of anyone” and that he “was not paid a dime” as for efforts related to the Institute.

    Apparently, however, his magnanimity did not extend to EarthQuest. For out of the bond sale he was paid $310,674.50 by EMCID for “contribution and licensing rights.” Again, what possible justification can EMCID make for this enormous expense for a project that will never be to a consultant who no longer is?

    Sadly, like the unsinkable H.M.S. Titanic that sank 100 years ago, the EarthQuest juggernaut appears headed to its own date with destiny. Yet, history is not determined by past events, but by current decisions. Unfortunately, EMCID’s decisions provide few answers, but many questions.

    Why did the EMCID leadership and board turn a blind eye to these excessive expenditures? Why were these huge payments never disclosed or discussed in the corporate minutes or with the public until now? Why did EMCID not engage its own accountants to conduct an audit of all payments from the bond sale instead of a mere compilation based on original agreements dating back to 2008?

    For the southeast Montgomery County taxpayers there will be ay least 21,000,000 “whys” over the next 28 years, when the last payment of this bond is paid by the citizens.

    View the developer reimbursement audits here:

    http://ourtribune.com/apdf/dra.pdf

  21. #46
    Soapboxmom's Avatar
    Soapboxmom is offline Administrator
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Mars
    Posts
    7,995
    Blog Entries
    3

    re: Don Allen Holbrook IEDC International Economic Development Council Rogue Member

    EarthQuest Institute Hosts Inaugural Fundraising Event - Kingwood
    EarthQuest Institute Hosts Inaugural Fundraising Event - Kingwood


    By: Pat Martins
    Published: 11/30/2009 4:00pm


    If you are one of those area residents who have been patiently waiting for more information on this behemoth project and want to get involved on the ground floor, your chance is coming on December 8th.
    As quoted from the EMCID website with their permission:
    “To bring reality to the long-awaited dinosaur park, the East Montgomery County Improvement District will host its first fundraising event for the museum, EarthQuest Institute.
    “We are holding the first fundraising event in East Montgomery County because that is where EarthQuest Institute and EarthQuest Adventures Theme Park will be located,” Frank McCrady, president, said. “The developers, Dr. Matt Gardner and ‘Dino’ Don Lessem will present information on both the theme park and museum.”
    The event is scheduled for Dec. 8 at the East Montgomery County Improvement District Complex with social hour at 6 p.m., dinner at 7 and the program at 7:30. According to McCrady, this fundraising opportunity will be the first time that organizations, businesses and individuals can sign up to be members of the “Circle of Friends” through donations. Interested parties are asked to R.S.V.P. to 281-354-4419 by Dec. 2 and tickets are $75 per person”.
    Want more information on what this project has in store for our area? Check out our previous article from last December.
    It is fitting that the initial information event will take place locally. All the key players will be at this event including, "Dino" Don Lessem - Creative Consultant, John Marlin - Developer, Chris Brown with Contour Entertainment and Dr. Matt Gardner - Chief Science Officer. They will be presenting an information session with graphic representations of the EarthQuest Institute and the EarthQuest Adventures Theme Park. A scaled down model of the development will also be on display.
    This event is the first private opportunity to become a member of the "Circle of Friends" of the EarthQuest Institute. Members joining the "Circle of Friends" will receive special recognition during the evening’s presentation.
    This was one of two fundraisers for the friends of Holbrook it turns out.

    EarthQuest Institute | EarthQuest Resort
    How Will the EarthQuest Institute be Funded?


    • EQ “For Profit” contributing $24 million in land and infrastructure
    • State of Texas, EMCID and others providing $25 million in funding for construction
    • Charitable donations for start-up and on-going operations
    Attachment 1406

    The donors would have probably not been so quick to donate had they known Holbrook was pulling $185.00 an hour for 15 hours a week and Deborah Thomas (from the developers Marlin Atlantis / Whitestone bunch) was getting paid a whopping $135.00 an hour for 20 hours a week. The sum total of their accomplishments was zero charitable functions save for a few college students that worked with Dr. Matthew Gardner on games that never made it to the website and of course the two fundraisers.

    So, I suppose Holbrook will be putting this on his long list of accomplishments.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  22. #47
    Soapboxmom's Avatar
    Soapboxmom is offline Administrator
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Mars
    Posts
    7,995
    Blog Entries
    3

    re: Don Allen Holbrook IEDC International Economic Development Council Rogue Member

    Entity Information: THE INSTITUTE EARTHQUEST
    1722 ROUTH ST STE 1500
    DALLAS, TX 75201-2532
    Status: IN GOOD STANDING - EXEMPT ENTITY
    Registered Agent: Not on file
    Registered Agent Resignation Date:
    State of Formation: TX
    File Number: 0800941922
    SOS Registration Date: February 22, 2008
    Taxpayer Number: 32034780331

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ____________________
    I called the attorney who set this up and was listed as the registered agent. As he promised, he has resigned as the registered agent. It appears no one wants to be associated with this Don Holbrook accomplishment. This Titanic has no captain. If you are suing and have to serve someone I guess you can send the summons to the EMCID office, which is the currently listed address for this thing and also where Dr. Matthew Gardner sent the documents. Frank McCrady is doing his best to hide the documents that did land in that office just recently. I suspect the nice judge will see that those materialize and are handed over to the defendants in Holbrook's frivolous harassment suit.

    Soapboxmom

  23. #48
    Soapboxmom's Avatar
    Soapboxmom is offline Administrator
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Mars
    Posts
    7,995
    Blog Entries
    3

    re: Don Allen Holbrook IEDC International Economic Development Council Rogue Member

    EarthQuest representatives provide update | Ultimate Lake Houston




    EarthQuest representatives provide update

    by Mike Madere | March 16, 2010 10:34 am
    By SUZANNE WEST
    Chronicle correspondent
    EarthQuest marketing representatives gave the East Montgomery County Improvement District's board of directors a positive report regarding progress in securing investment partners for financing of the planned theme park/resort project.
    Deborah Thomas and Rich Barrett of Marlin Atlantis told the EMCID directors that response from potential investors has been positive. The marketing team is working to find some $500 million in investment money for the EarthQuest project.
    "We've been working on this project for two years," said Thomas. "It's been a very full two years because it's a very complicated project."
    With multiple feasibility and market penetration studies, design tweaking, construction projections and verifications of those projections, a marketing package was finally ready to take before potential investors late last fall, she said.
    The finished product being taken to investment bankers and other investment markets is "stunning" and a "real eye-catcher," said Thomas.
    Barrett told directors at a meeting earlier this month that the marketing team is well aware of the challenges presented by the current unavailability of some capital markets. However, the team has approached other non-traditional, high level investors for this project.
    "We've looked at a lot of Texas-centric and Houston-centric investors," he said. "We have a deep dialog with the Indian Nation and have been traveling through Europe as well."
    Thomas said there is a team of five people working on the investment marketing, adding that the process is going very well at this time.
    "We've gotten a very interested list of prospective investors," she said. "They have to do their due diligence, and part of the process is that we do due diligence on them. We have to know they have the wherewithal to fund the entire project. We have to weed out those who are questionable."
    Currently, the marketing group is talking to six investors, Thomas said.
    "And, any one of them could come to the table with the money," said Thomas. "Bottom line, it is looking very good. It is not a matter of if. It is a matter of when we get the funding."
    Barrette said he expects an investment partner to come in some time mid- to late summer this year.
    Thomas also told directors that although she is primarily focused on raising the half-billion dollars for the for-profit part of EarthQuest, she is always on the lookout for support for the non-profit EarthQuest Institute.
    So, again, Chris Brown telling the Nye county (home of Pahrump, Nevada) in May 2012 that Earthquest was entering the capital raise phase is ridiculous. The project has been scrounging for money and investors for years. Chris Brown talked to me about seeking funds in January 2012. All sorts of enthusiastic talk, but no progress. Chris Brown got this dumped in his lap after Marlin Atlantis, the original developers, went bust and the land ended up in bankruptcy in August 2011 with the Whitestone entity that holds it. Holbrook claimed (before the bankruptcy filing) to Pahrump in May 2011 that Contour was buying (as in progress) the land. What a bunch of complete nonsense!!!

    Soapboxmom

  24. #49
    Soapboxmom's Avatar
    Soapboxmom is offline Administrator
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Mars
    Posts
    7,995
    Blog Entries
    3

    re: Don Allen Holbrook IEDC International Economic Development Council Rogue Member

    Then & Now

    EarthQuest theme park backers still digging up funding

    Premium content from Houston Business Journal by Jennifer Dawson

    Date: Sunday, January 3, 2010, 11:00pm CST - Last Modified: Wednesday, December 30, 2009, 4:03pm CST
    THEN

    Date: July 20, 2007

    Headline: ‘Dinosaur park takes big step toward reality with funding green light’
    The story

    State legislation was enacted to pave the way for development of a Disney-style dinosaur entertainment complex proposed for Montgomery County.
    The EarthQuest theme park is being created by Don Lessem of Pennsylvania-based ExhibitsRex LLC, who in 2006 announced plans to build the project on 50 acres in the small town of New Caney. By mid-2007, the proposed project was expected to cover 250 acres and cost more than $600 million to develop. A $150 million spa hotel is also planned for the site.

    Lessem, who served as chief adviser to producers of the “Jurassic Park” movie, has created permanent and touring dinosaur exhibits through Dinodon Inc., a division of ExhibitsRex.

    EarthQuest got a boost from House Bill 4015, which allows creation of a special taxing zone and facilitates bond financing.The measure allows the East Montgomery County Improvement District to sell bonds to pay for infrastructure work, by giving it the means to pay back the bonds.
    The legislation will allow the special district to collect a hotel/motel tax (other than within the city limits of Splendora); create a tax or fee for parking and admission; and increase sales tax by 0.5 cents within the park site’s enterprise zone.

    New Caney, which is located north of Houston, edged out a Dallas suburb to become the site for EarthQuest.
    The proposed park was to be located at Caney Creek near FM 1485 and U.S. Highway 59 on property owned by Marlin Atlantis, a Dallas-based residential community developer. The land is part of a 1,564-acre undeveloped parcel once owned by Rice University that was acquired by Marlin Atlantis in 2004 for a proposed Whitestone residential community.

    At the time, construction on the theme park was expected to begin in the first half of 2008.
    The eco-friendly project would be a mixture of entertainment and education, similar to Disney’s EPCOT theme park in Florida. EarthQuest would include a dinosaur museum, IMAX-style theater and walking trails amid life-size dinosaur exhibits.
    A nonprofit educational complex called the DinoDon Institute is also part of the overall vision.
    Frank McCrady, president and CEO of the East Montgomery County Improvement District, predicted that EarthQuest will employ about 2,700 people when it is completed in 2012.

    NOW

    Although a recent fundraising event indicates support for the project, developers have yet to break ground on EarthQuest.
    A “Friends of EarthQuest” reception on Dec. 8 was attended by 275 people who committed more than $75,000 to EarthQuest Institute, a new name for the nonprofit DinoDon Institute.

    Don Holbrook, president and CEO of EarthQuest Institute, says it was supposed to be a modest event, intended to provide information on the project. He only expected 125 people to come, and figured they may pledge around $20,000 to the nonprofit institute.
    “We had to actually turn people away,” says Holbrook. “I was just blown away. It was exponentially better than I ever expected.”
    The project has continued to evolve over the past two years.

    John Marlin took over as developer of EarthQuest after due diligence showed the value of an entertainment destination such as this in the Houston area. Marlin is CEO of Marlin Atlantis, which owns the Montgomery County land where the theme park will be constructed.
    Marlin Atlantis owns a total of 1,600 acres — 550 acres of which are now earmarked for the theme park and educational institute.
    The company postponed plans for its residential development in Montgomery County until EarthQuest gets off the ground, Holbrook says.
    Although all of the financial pieces of the puzzle have yet to fall into place, EarthQuest Institute and the theme park — expected to be named either EarthQuest Adventures Theme Park or Global EarthQuest Adventures Theme Park — are slated to start construction in summer or fall 2010, and have a grand opening in 2012.
    Phase I of the theme park — complete with rides, roller coasters and interactive exhibits — will cost about $550 million, Holbrook says. Phase I of the institute will run about $50 million.

    The price tag for the entire master plan, including EarthQuest, the residential community and accompanying developments, is pegged at $1.3 billion, says Holbrook, adding that it will create 17,000 jobs at build out.
    Dinosaur expert Lessem is still an equity partner, but only part of the multifaceted theme park will focus on dinosaurs. Holbrook says there will be five “lands” in EarthQuest, and one of those will have rides and features starring the prehistoric creatures.
    Contour Entertainment in Los Angeles is involved in development of EarthQuest. Chris Brown, president of Contour, has three decades of experience in the entertainment field, including 15 years at Walt Disney Co.

    As an affiliated entity, EarthQuest Institute will educate visitors on new types of energy production, conservation, sustainable technology and the environment.
    “It’s a way for kids to learn,” says McCrady. “There’s a lot of tactile stuff throughout the park and the museum.”
    The East Montgomery County Improvement District issued $7.6 million in bonds about a year ago that are funding the predevelopment activity. The money will be paid back with proceeds from future EarthQuest revenue.
    Holbrook, who lives in Las Vegas, says Marlin is currently weighing several options for additional development funding, but did not name the prospective sources.
    “In this economy, it’s a great position to be in,” he adds. “It also proves that Houston is a great market. The capital markets believe that.”
    jdawson@bizjournals.com • 713-395-9631
    So, Holbrook was at the fateful fundraiser and thrilled to have more cash coming in to pay his exhorbitant salary, since he had paid out every dime in the coffers.

    But, what would Paul Harvey say.....Titanic!!!

    Soapboxmom

  25. #50
    Soapboxmom's Avatar
    Soapboxmom is offline Administrator
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Mars
    Posts
    7,995
    Blog Entries
    3

    re: Don Allen Holbrook IEDC International Economic Development Council Rogue Member

    I bet Holbrook would kill to make these posts from HAIF disappear:
    Earth Quest Adventure

    Posted by Boris on Friday, November 3, 2006 at 3:52 PM in The Woodlands and Northern Pines
    Dinosaur City seeks '08 opening in Montgomery County


    By BRAD HEM
    Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

    TOOLS
    Email Get section feed
    Print Subscribe NOW

    RESOURCES
    More on the theme park
    Location of Dinosaur City East Montgomery County could become home to a dinosaur theme park complete with dinosaur skeletons, animals and mock fossil digs, park developers announced Thursday.

    ..............................................

    The park, which also would include an IMAX theater, water park, conference center and hotel, is expected to provide up to 1,000 jobs and could draw more than a million visitors a year, said Frank McCrady, president and CEO of the improvement district.

    A destination tourist attraction would also draw restaurants, retail and hotels to the area, providing tax revenue and making the district's investment worthwhile, he said.

    "It's going to be a tremendous amenity for our area and for the city of Houston," McCrady said. "It's a win for our entire area."

    The park's creator is "Dino" Don Lessem, author of 47 books and an adviser to the movie Jurassic Park and Walt Disney Co.'s Animal Kingdom.

    Dinosaur City would be like a mini-Epcot Center, "not an amusement park but an experience park," said Don Holbrook, the park's site selection director for the developers.

    Kids would be able to excavate dinosaur bones from mock dig sites. Various birds, emus, alligators and other animals would be on display. And wooded walking trails will feature dinosaur replicas, Lessem said.

    ...........................

    http://www.chron.com...ss/4307187.html

    ____________________________



    I hope this plan goes through.
    Earth Quest Adventure

    Posted by KimberlySayWhat on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 8:40 AM in The Woodlands and Northern Pines
    Earth Quest Adventures is mentioned breifly in this Chronicle article about the development in Montgomery County. I was beginning to the project was dead.



    Bulldozers are clearing land at nearly every intersection along U.S. 59, making room for new shopping centers and restaurants.

    New hotels and motels are in the works, spurred by the dinosaur project. Five are slated to begin construction this spring, McCrady said.

    The dinosaur park/theme resort and a dinosaur institute are projected to bring 1,000 new jobs to the area and more than 1 million visitors each year, he said. The park site is on the west side of U.S. 59, just north of FM 1485.

    East county beat out 72 other sites across the country, said Don Holbrook, site adviser for the park.

    The earth-friendly park will be designed by Don Lessum, paleontologist, author and adviser on the blockbuster movie Jurassic Park. It will offer education through entertainment and will include dinosaur exhibits, an IMAX theater, an aquarium and a hotel. The institute will be a separate research and educational facility. Construction on the park is slated to begin late this year, Holbrook said.
    Earth Quest Adventure

    Posted by txtiger on Thursday, June 3, 2010 at 10:25 AM in The Woodlands and Northern Pines

    Here's my general summary of what was discussed, what went down at the 6/2 Fundraiser:

    (This is a post I've revised from my original post on www.sixflagshouston.com, and I will also post this on www.houstondinopark.com )

    There was about an hour of socializing/networking from 6pm-7pm, then about an hour's worth of presentations. Don Lessem spoke first, and introduced Dr. Matt Gardner (of EarthQuest Institute). Dr. Gardner then relayed to Chris Brown (of Contour Entertainment). Dr. Gardner then spoke in greater depth on EarthQuest Institute and its initiatives (the reason for the event, of course) once Chris was finished with his presentation on the theme park. Don Holbrook, Marlin Atlantis' (the developer's) representative on this project, then spoke and gave the great and reasonable pitch which solicited donations. Everyone made themselves available for questions after the presentation was over.

    No new information was presented on the EarthQuest Adventures theme park - nothing that wasn't covered at last December's fundraising event, and nothing that's not currently reviewed on the EarthQuest Adventures website. A few new renderings for the 'Land' and 'Sky' areas of the park were on display, but general conceptual design remains the same as what we've all seen. All other renderings on display were those already available on the EQ website.

    The EarthQuest Institute, as a complete endeavour, is extremely ambitious and exciting, and a few new outreach programs/efforts were reviewed last night:

    Mobile EarthQuest: A sharply-outfitted minivan (or even fleet of minivans) with professional staff which can bring the EarthQuest Institute experience to public parks (Discovery Green, maybe), public schools, the rodeo, sports events, etc. This will be primarily an educational experience, but will serve nicely as a marketing tool for "EarthQuest the destination."

    MyVision: An educational program geared toward younger school children, which allows them to learn about video camera operation. This program will essentially help them create their own video diaries. "How they see the world...," etc. This effort is apparently being created in conjunction with some Hollywood professionals, and YouTube may play some voluntary or involuntary role in the posting of kids' video diaries...

    Other programs or engagements have also begun being discussed, like engaging local colleges and universities in developing and even publically-presenting Green-Business strategies... Anyway... interesting stuff.

    Regarding personal conversations I had with Chris Brown (again, of Contour Entertainment) - One item on which I'm pleased to report is that original music will be commissioned for the EarthQuest Resort, likely by industry-known composers with whom Chris certainly has long-established relationships. Very great to hear.

    (Chris, if you're reading this, thanks very much for putting up with me - You'll see me at most, if not all of the EQI Fundraising events... While I absolutely am interested in questions like 'What kinds of roller coasters will be built?,' I'm dead-serious about the success of all the components of this project, and hope to not come across too nutty. Heh, heh... And hey, I've put money where my mouth is.)

    Frank McCrady and Don Holbrook spoke with me briefly, and they have great expecations for other development there in East Montgomery County - for which EarthQuest will be the catalyst.

    Don Holbrook stated to all the attendees yesterday evening that "We're at the 1-yard line with selecting an investor." Full ground breaking is expected by the end of this year at the latest.
    Putting 2 and 2 together, I'd speculate a Holiday Season 2013 grand opening of Phase I.

    That's all I have to report. I'd encourage all of you to attend future fundraisers to support the Institute and its efforts, or contact EMCID directly to find out more about the various donation levels to become a "Friend of the Institute." You have the option to donate money over annual installments, of which I personally have taken advantage.
    Earth Quest Adventure

    Posted by txtiger on Thursday, June 3, 2010 at 12:07 PM in The Woodlands and Northern Pines
    Coaster, on Thursday, June 3, 2010 at 11:16 AM, said:
    Great Report Tiger.

    As far-fetched as the thought of the Houston area becoming a true national tourist destination sounds, something like EarthQuest could really make it happen.


    Sure thing, Coaster.

    A few more notes: Don Holbrook did mention EarthQuest Resort is intended to "compete directly with 'the mouse,'" from both coasts, and the expectation is that EarthQuest will draw people from the center third of the country. So it's literally expected to grow to be the Disneyland-style resort for the center of the country.

    From discussions I had with Chris Brown, or overheard from him yesterday evening, a LOT of the components seem to have Phases now, which will only help Phase I get built:
    The Hotel has two: The first is the tower/main building/conference center (so nicely rendered on the EarthQuest website). The second Phase seems to include 30 high-end cabins out in the woods near the hotel, as well as something like 20 highest-end treehouse "villas."

    Cretaceous Cove water park has apparently been scaled down for Phase I, and will grow in future phases.

    EarthQuest Institute seems like it may use two or three Phases to achieve final build-out.

    The only Phasing for the theme park ever noted thus far seems to be the live-animal component of the 'Life' section of the park. I didn't note earlier that the Design Team has met with the Houston Zoo, and both the Houston Zoo and EarthQuest will have some form of partnership, which is just great! (I'd expressed concern earlier to the Design Team that the live-animal component of the 'Life' section of the theme park might draw everyone away from visiting the Houston Zoo. So I'm pleased to report that's not going to be the case, or the intent.)

    Green Gadget Garage seems like it would all likely be completed as part of Phase I.
    Holbrook was putting out phony groundbreaking and completion dates for years. Plugging for the Insitute turned out to be a plug to handsomely line Holbrook's pocket while no charitable activities were accomplished. If I am recalling correctly, two of those hotels were built and at least one if not both went bust thanks to Holbrook and McCrady making promises that could not he kept. Think how long Holbrook has been on this gravy train to nowhere.

    Soapboxmom

Page 2 of 5 FirstFirst 1234 ... LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed on this website are solely those of their respective authors.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42