22Q Charity Poker Podcast embroiled in controversy
Occasionally things happen in your life that can leave such a bad taste in your mouth that you are basically left jaded, wallowing in self-pity, and wondering what if anything you could have done differently. This is precisely what I am going through at this moment, and something that has been causing me sleepless nights, bouts of nausea, and the loss of another small bit of my faith in humanity.
In early September 2012, Johnny Sep of VegasPokerRadio.com ran a charity poker podcast along with two other co-hosts, raising money for children afflicted with the 22Q Deletion Syndrome. The podcast featured poker players, athletes, and representatives of 22Q, and raised some $6,600 in all through direct donations and the charity poker room setup by Sep on the site. Everyone involved was happy, and the podcast was seen as a success… Unfortunately the story doesn’t end there.
Several months later, when Johnny Sep was accused of scamming other poker players in a bogus stake, it was discovered that funds may have been missing from the podcast. As stated above, some of this money was donated straight to 22Q through a link on the VegasPokerRadio.com, while other money was donated directly to the site via a charity poker room they had set up, as well as some direct donations to Johnny Sep’s PayPal account.
At this time only $2,021 has been accounted, out of the final tally of $6,600. 22Q did receive the money from the donate button, but an investigation has shown that no other large donations were made in September or October, aside from the $2,000 donated directly to 22Q through the link on VegasPokerRadio. This revelation has caused outrage across the community that helped put the show together, and from the people that contributed to and donated their time and money to the cause. Johnny Sep was tasked with handling this money and the money appears to be missing.
So, not only did this person steal from other poker players by running a stake that he never completed and used the money elsewhere (which led to the investigation of the 22Q funds), but this person has all but admitted to the disgusting behavior of taking funds from a charity podcast; a charity podcast that I helped promote and even played a small part in legitimizing. This charge has yet to be officially confirmed, but Johnny Sep did post his current debts on PokerFraudAlerts.com and listed the 22Q.org charity as being owed $2,550 (an amount that could be as high as $4,500).
It should be noted that the 22Q.org Foundation has not made an official statement at this time, and they are investigating this matter fully.
It should also be noted, a good deal of money was indeed raised for the charity, and perhaps more importantly awareness was raised for this all too common, but generally unknown syndrome. So even with this very dark cloud, the other people involved with the 22Q Ironman podcast have a lot to be proud of. Co-hosts Brandon Gerson, Kevin Wright, and all of the people that helped along the way did a good thing for those kids.
I feel I owe a number of people an apology even though I had very little to do with the podcast other than writing a few press releases and donating some time (and money) to the charity, I am truly disheartened by what has occurred. I have in fact talked to several people privately that I felt were pulled into this podcast by me. I feel incredibly bad for the charity, and for the people’s whose donations never made it to the charity, and to the GOOD people who worked on the podcast, with only the best intentions, and mostly for the children affected by the 22Q Deletion.
I also wrote a harsh article criticizing the 2+2 poker forum for disallowing links to the podcast prior to the show. It’s a bit of a long convoluted story but here is the back-story: I wrote the following article, http://www.examiner.com/article/a-look-at-a-hypocritical-policy-at-the-2-2-poker-forum, back in late August, which led to this fiasco when it started making its way across Twitter and the poker forums, most notably here, http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/29/news-views-gossip/kid-poker-calls-out-mason-malmuth-slimy-nerdy-2-2-mod-rant-1241107/index8.html.
Mason Malmuth and moderator ProfessionalPoker were vilified for their stance, and for this I am truly sorry; in hindsight their apprehension was not a case of being apathetic or cold-hearted, but simply to protect themselves.
While I still disagree with the 2+2 policy on these types of posts and events, I do have a new outlook for the problems a massive poker forum like 2+2 has, and the logistical limitations in policing so many threads. Earlier today Mason Malmuth banned me from his forum until I apologize… well I don’t know if what I have written will suffice; I simply didn’t believe someone would actually be capable of such a thing (especially someone I had known), but apparently Mason Malmuth and others have dealt with this before.
To clarify a few other things people have discussed on the forums:
* I did offer ProfessionalPoker a chance to tell his side of the story in a follow-up article back in September; he declined this offer.
* My initial intention with the article was to point out how 2+2 has no real policy on these types of things. Some things are allowed, while others are taken down. This is still the case, and I still stand by original article calling this policy hypocritical.
* Money has already been pledged to cover any lost funds that were meant to go to 22Q, including an anonymous $3,500 donation from a member of the community –hopefully more and more will come in and the 22Q will make out even better than before.
You can donate Directly to 22Q at the following link: http://22q.org/
Here is a link to the thread on PokerFraudAlerts.com: http://pokerfraudalert.com/forum/showthread.php?3305-PROJEKT-SEP-**SCAM**-(Rolled-A-Jasep-Saga)/page92
Here is Johnny Sep’s (Jasep on PFA) post earlier this evening:
I am writing everyone to come clean about some of the things you have read online about me and attempt to rectify the situation.
First let me say this, I do not feel like I am a bad person, but that is not important as I have done some bad things in my life and now I want to rectify those things and right my wrongs if possible. For years I have had a crippling gambling addiction that I have hidden from everyone in my life. I have become very good at hiding my actions and being dishonest and deceitful to people who love and trust me. I thought I had my addiction under control and hadn’t gambled a lot in recent years, but my exposure to the internet poker community, recreational gambling and access to money triggered my problem and as I began gambling again I also found myself in wholes that I continued to press to try to get out of.
I never intended to hurt anyone and my intentions were always to right everything but I realize that was my mind being clouded by my addiction. I first want to apologize to everyone affected. I took advantage of peoples trust and used that to enable my own disgusting habit. I hate the person that I became and I want to make sure that I provide the proper restitution and move on in my life and seek the treatment that I need to make sure I become the person that I want to be instead of a person that cannot look himself in the mirror or sleep at night.
I thought that I had explanation for some of the things that have been said about me, but I now realize that it is most likely me justifying my poor decisions and convincing myself that I wasn’t in the wrong, while in the back of my mind I always knew what I was doing was wrong all along.
The email that I am sending this from is one that will be checked at least once a day and I will provide a new phone number to everyone as soon as I get one. I will respond to everyone through those channels. I don’t want to hide and run from anything, I would rather take responsibility for the things I have done and provide a solution.
.- I will pay everyone everything that I owe them with interest.
– I will be entering a treatment program
I have begun the process of seeking employment. Until my debts are made good then all of my money will go toward making them good. I have downsized my life incredibly and my cost of living is at a minimum right now. I am hoping to have all debts paid off as soon as possible, it may take me 6-9 months but I assure everyone that I will make constant and consistent payments to ensure everyone is made whole. Until I have a job, my job will be to get a job.
Right now I have outstanding debts of $12,200.00. I would like the opportunity to prove that I intend to make everything right. I am willing to pay 10% interest to everyone who I have wronged. That leaves a total debt of $13,420.00. I am happy to be in regular contact with anyone that I owe money to and work to make things right.
The only thing that I ask is that you leave my family and friends alone and deal with me directly; I promise to make return contact with anyone within 24 hours of contacting me. I do not currently have constant internet access but I will have daily access to the internet as well as a phone that will be available to anyone 24/7 within a week.
I will make equal shared payments to everyone that I owe money to on a weekly or biweekly basis (depending on my pay schedule) until everyone is made whole.
Please do not take my absence from internet forums as a sign that I am not taking ownership of my mistakes, I just feel that it will not be helpful in my correcting everything to spend hours focusing on radio shows or forums instead of working to get everything squared away.
I truly apologize for my actions and I hope that even though everyone hates me right now that my actions moving forward will speak to the kind of person I am trying to become.
And here is Johnny Sep’s self=posted, unverified, list of debts:
Projekt Sep investors: $5200
Pikachar: $3000 (not including projekt sep money)
I also owe small debts to Kevin and Tim that are not included in these numbers, they are collectively less than 500.
I am done here for now, my actions will be what makes the determination of how I am viewed.
Tags: 22q Deletion, Bad Taste, Bouts, Charity Poker, Controversy, Deletion Syndrome, Early September, Nausea, Outrage, Paypal Account, poker players, Poker Room, Raising Money, Revelation, Self Pity, Sleepless Nights, Stake, Story Doesn, Tally, Time And Money
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