I see Ted's "Yup" and raise with a "Hell Yes"!
I see Ted's "Yup" and raise with a "Hell Yes"!
Quoted from Hazoff:
In a sea of horseshit themes I will gladly wait, I never thought a Predator pin would be made and to be honest the same thing with Alien yet in time I will have both right beside each other and that is cause for celebration, even though I've had this celebration many times and its Tuesday off to the beer store I go.
Exactly, nothing new here, just a bunch of guesses...bad guesses to boot. 2.5 yrs to build the games. Lol. Who has build number 250? Come out we need you...
Quoted from lowepg:
yes, but you're not wearing a cape.
good update. If true, I nominate you official spokesmodel for boutique pinball. Your email was more succinct than the last 2 vague and meandering emails....
Just cut the crap now..ok? Grown men with this kind of disposable income don't need you to preach to them...let the news break and then talk. Enough guesses specially after all the wrong guesses by the same crowd in TBL.
Quoted from lowepg:
Here you go, the 30-second summary:
Kevin sent a note saying "there have been many recent actions by
certain parties that threaten the very existence of everything I've done to
keep this project going for the past few years"
****** that made some people nervous
Kevin also said, "no matter what, nobody is going to
get left out to dry on this one, I can promise you that."
****** that made some people less nervous
Some anonymous folks said(among other things), "SkitB does not have a valid license for the pinball and that Fox has served Kevin with a C&D which he ignored. And, an expose is forthcoming- The sky *IS* falling"
****** that made some people nervous
SpfxdTed called Kevin and passed along "The game is being made. The license is ok. Cant go into details NOW, but in 2 weeks time all will be made clear. Dont panic"
****** that made people less nervous
In between all that, I called Whysnow a boob, he called me a troll. Rinse, repeat and that is about the sum of all things.
This is the first time this guy actually posted something factual...
Well whysnow at least you get a pass on the podcast..l get one too, this guy gets us, we love pinball man...
Quoted from benheck:
Maybe they could do silhouettes against a simple backdrop? Get the "team" in there but no defining characteristics.
I like the art style on the existing Predator but the drawing of Arnold, especially his body (kind of important with Arnold!) is fairly poor.
soldiers silhouette 2560x1600 wallpaper_www.miscellaneoushi.com_41.jpg
With all due respect Ben....AMH translite, wtf!
"Friends, Romans, countrymen, The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones"; So let it be with Kevin........ This guy is trying to make things right, before everyone makes a run on the bank, let the man resolve the issues. Yes he frankly screwed this up much worse than it needed to be with his silence but again like TBL if the issues are on the mend, the community (this is still a community right?) should help him not bury him.
Quoted from lowepg:
Maybe that would work, but I think MANY would feel uncomfortable sending any more money to Kevin personally.
That option might work if he can setup some kind of escrow account or some other mechanism (not a special deal with pinside) that has oversight and accountability.
"Guys, we messed up. I *did* get a limited license in the beginning but it expired/was insuffient/etc. TI also tried to do this with a razor thin profit margin (out of misplaced love), but THAT has hamstrung me to be able to complete this game.
So, to get this game out, here's the options:
1. You pay an additional $1250 to cover the new license and jobbing out the manufacturing. The good news is- this will mean you get the game in a few months vs 1.5 years)
2. If you opt out, I can refund you 50% of your payment. Sorry, there was risk and that's where we are at right now. However, once we go into manufacturing and have extra games to sell, I will refund the balance 50% once sell another game (to essentially take you place in line).
3. The last caveat is that to keep this project afloat, we need to uncap the number made. You early investors will have LE models, but we will need to sell more machines to make this viable.
4. I will personally assemble the first 10 and they will ship out on or before ___.
5. It will take some time to tool up the new manufacturer, so the realistic date for #11-250 is ___
I hope that's the kind of message he can send (hopefully minus the $1250 bump)
Man I just don't understand how you can keep on speculating at these things...where did you get the $1250 figure from? Who told you about the 50% refund? Let me spell it out for you...you are not helping us or Pinside with your assumptions. If you have real facts then post away.
Devilsturner, put the crack pipe down, what do you think the police can do about this? Lol this is America man, not Cuba! What do you think the cops are going to do, arrest him on your word? Give a me a freaking break.
Well I hope you jack-offs are happy (you know who you are..) you wanted to start a panic, and it looks like the feeble minded took your bait.
Did you see the movie Tucker? All you have to do is show that you tried to make the product. If he tried then there is no fraud..just a failed business and investors.
He was asked and he flat out said yes....so this where it was either we believe him or some anonymous dude on the internet.
Quoted from badbilly27:
I will add one nugget for everyone in the community to think about - ethics - and future handling by the community (yes, all of us) regardless how this story ends (hopefully happy for all involved).
Anonymous emailers: Let's assume (which I pray is true) everyone wants Kevin to be successful in delivering a Predator pinball machine. With all the right intentions, community member(s) discovered and validated an issue so impactful it would jeopardize fellow hobbyists money and likely risk of Predator ever being built. The ethical dilemma for them, do they post that info on pinside likely starting a panic and run on the bank by owners requesting refunds - possibly viewed as the unintentional villans? Or do they secretly and selectively send anonymous emails hoping it leaks and never boomerangs back to them?
Suggestion (to be debated): I appreciate what you did but man up, and own the info. You added so much drama when the situation didn't need it. It clouded the validity of the information, casted more doubt and angst. Credibility is what was needed to ensure all owners knew the train may be coming off the tracks and let them decide to stay in or out.
Recipients of the anonymous email (full disclosure, I have copies too): The dilemma is do you post information on pinside that comes from an anonymous source, lists accusations supposedly validated, but written in a way that casts doubt (by the way different versions floating around). No way to validate with authors so left to go direct to the source - Kevin - which they did. If you post that email and it's complete BS - you've created a run on the bank based hearsay - and may cost Predator from ever being built.
Suggestion: Some of info in those emails appear to be turning out to be factual and some BS. Kevin has stated he is trying to remedy some issues with help - that help could have evaporated if the community made a run on the bank before the hail marry pass made it out of his hands. Timing. I do think transparency should have reigned on this one. Kevin ultimately withheld info. The anonymous emailers shifted the ethical dilemma onto other select insiders to break the story but without a credible source to confirm. Thus why people are waiting to validate accusations and try to help salvage behind the scenes. It should never have gotten to this point.
I believe when pinsiders money is involved and someone in the community knows "factually" that's at risk we should advise each other after first discussing it with the faulting party. There is a lot of grey area in this one, but then what is the definition of "community"??
Well done...this is a good synopsis. I think this novel will keep writing itself. It's not over till we see the refunds or a letter for the IP holder granting the license. I can say that the panic started here will make both of these scenarios harder to achieve for obvious reasons.
Quoted from RobT:
That's obviously an oversimplification, isn't it?
There was plenty of evidence to go along with what was in those emails from "some anonymous dude on the internet". Like the complete scrubbing of Predator from the Skit-B website and social media, removal of all Predator YouTube videos, Kevin's repeated failure to mention the word "Predator" in emails, and his disappearance from Pinside to name a few.
I think both camps will see what they want to see in that. Some will say the license is in fact nonexistent others will say that because of the low price and low production numbers there were restrictions in place for that IP. But you know Rob as I said many times this is a small hobby, I chose to trust him, I corresponded with Kevin in the beginning and he never gave me the impression of flim flam man. Either way this is like a pump and dump in the stock market, the truth does not matter, if you start a rumor and the market runs with it...it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.
Quoted from lowepg:
Fair enough. But for those keeping score at home, I'd say "anonymous internet dude" has outpaced Kevin on truth-telling.
Come on man, it really doesn't matter what the score is, it's clearly evident you made up your mind this project was a sham way before any emails.
I have two words for you Anonymous gents: Gutless Cowards....man up and stop hiding in the shadows.
FYI to Martin: For shame, waiting an opportune time to release info, after getting supposed confirmation from Fox taints you too buddy. If you truly wanted to help then you should have came it with it immediately after the alleged recorded conversation with Fox's attorney. I have better things to do so I'm ejecting myself from this topic. Good luck to the 250.
Quoted from labnip:
just in case:
Predator Pinball "License Gate" Backstory
Some words from the "Anonymous Insiders"
Predator PINBALL – The Complete Reveal
MARCH 21, 2015 ~ LEAVE A COMMENT
This page is being released as a supplemental & independent piece to accompany the Pinball News editorial, which we’re sure everybody is now aware of. Let us be clear up front: This WordPress publication is not affiliated with Pinball News, it’s opinion, or it’s editor. The following is our point of view, said in our way, based on the facts we gathered (all of which were provided to Pinball News as well), and provided here for all to read so they can finally hear the complete “behind the scenes” story – from the actual guys who broke the ground. In this format, without being under an editor or guidelines, we can say our piece in our own words, and tell OUR story.
Let’s Get Some Initial Things Out Of the Way:
Who are we?
We are indeed the “anonymous group” that many of you may have heard about the last month or so. The ones who were gently passing the complete Predator story forward via email, early, to key members of the hobby and selected Pinsiders (mainly trusted & respected Immortals, as well as Moderators, etc). Specifically, “we” are a handful of regular everyday pinballers, and most of us are everyday Pinsiders you already know.
Why are you anonymous? How dare you?
Due to who some of us are, and the positions we hold, unfortunately the gravity of the story and it’s potential outcomes forced us into anonymity. For now, anyway. With the inevitable drama that comes with the collapse of a once-adored pinball project, the focus on what matters could not be clouded or jeopardized by those who would most certainly make it all about us. This can never be a battle over motivations or biases. So we can’t allow it to become one. We’re not going to be “the guys who killed Predator” for some. Because we aren’t. Kevin Kulek killed Predator. By chopping off the ability to focus on “us” at this time, it allows the actual issue – the story we unearthed – to shine all on its own. Who we are doesn’t change the facts we ended up finding. It doesn’t validate them or invalidate them (as some may try to attempt, if we spoke as ourselves). Removing who we are from the equation keeps the facts on track, to stand on their own, and just hang there in the light. If anonymity doesn’t personally work for you, then fine. We get it. We can only provide what we know (and have) and let reality set in and take its course. That is precisely why we approached Pinball News first, at the very beginning. There could be no questioning of the story – and thus if it appears on Pinball News, that means it’s been vetted and verified, and given proper handling for counterpoint comment and defense (by Kevin himself). We, the original source, don’t matter.
But do you have “skin in the game” ?
One of us still does actually, yes. Still not refunded, and have been trying since Q4 2014. Two of us were pre-owners, but got out last year, early, successfully. The rest were never pre-owners, but were leading voices of skepticism during the height of “License-Gate” on Pinside back in late 2014.
You hate Skit-B and simply wanted to destroy the game.
We’ve heard that. We were called haters, deluded, conspiracists, sick fucks, asshats, and meddling kids (Scooby Doo, really?). To characterize our motivations in those ways may be comforting and conclusive for some… easily explaining away (in their minds) that we could only be evil-hearted, because the Predator project and Kevin Kulek could only be pure and good in contrast… Those folks would be wrong in their assessment of our motives. This issue is not about a pinball machine. It’s about a liar and horrible risky business being active in our hobby, and handling a million dollars of our money. It cannot happen again. Yes, the machine itself ends up suffering a dark fate, but a machine is made of wood and wires. People are more important. The hobby has self-cleansed itself and policed itself very well for countless years – from pointing out Craigslist scams, to warning about bad sellers, to outing dishonest members of the community. The bad gets purged. The good gets raised up. This situation is no different. Except it took way too long to reach the point of revelation. Sometimes people who appear good, pull stunts that are very very bad – and unless somebody speaks up to reveal that – the bad reigns, and has the chance of becoming an even worse catastrophe later on. Our information is frankly a little late coming out as it is. Predator could have taken a much easier fall, and Kevin had an easier out, six months ago. Had any of us known…
Why did Skit-B get singled out? Why not investigate JJP, Stern, and Heighway regarding their licenses?
Any line of questioning going in this direction is beyond ridiculous. The cause-and-effect factor is imperative to understand. Kevin ended up causing an effect, which DROVE the investigating to happen. Let’s put it this way: If Jersey Jack, Stern, or Heighway (or anybody) make their premiere production disappear without a trace, and won’t mention it by name in writing… then you had better believe raging debates will break out over them hiding the IP, and calls to confirm a license will indeed be performed again to settle the argument. Rule of thumb: Those who are truly & legally licensed, proudly flaunt and promote their product(s) in the open market at all times.
Why were you sneaking the story to only select people?
This question will likely come up, and it’s important. People will likely wonder why we just didn’t plaster Kevin’s situation far and wide, and at the very least tell the 250 pre-owners. Once you read the entire backstory below, hopefully you will get a better understanding on why we were constrained for many months on breathing a word to ANYBODY beyond ourselves and Pinball News – who in turn was also in contact with Kevin throughout this whole period. The relatively recent “leaking” to select people was a matter of seeding the eventual Pinball News story that was coming out, to certain “pillars” in the community. This included highly respected & rational Pinsiders, some Pinside moderators, some of the lawyers on Pinside, several producers directly involved with the Skit-B project, and members of the “press” (podcasters, etc). This was meant to gently “prep” strong voices in the hobby for the eventual hellstorm that was coming – so they could be armed with the facts, and mentally prepared to be rational and balanced, later in a sea of speculation and flailing. It should also be noted, the story was also forwarded to one pre-owner (the “Leading Pre-owner”) as we felt he should be prepped to lead the group – but he refused to accept a word of what he was told, and blindly kept cheerleading the project and being an apologist for every issue. We were stunned on that one. Maybe today he will finally believe what we told him – six weeks ago.
Why didn’t you just post everything to PinSide during the peak of “License-Gate” and win the argument? We could have been done with this months ago.
As you will read in the backstory below, we were basically muzzled. Plus, it took many months for things to fully unfold for Kevin behind the scenes anyway. Sure, it would have been great (but juvenile) to go back to Pinside with our findings and “win” the argument in November 2014. But, the hard reality of what we discovered was extremely sobering. It set us back in our seats for a long while. Suddenly, true reality rose above a war of words on a blog site. This was serious business. A million dollars was on the line. We caught the producer of a major pinball investment project in a very big lie. A lie that was also now known by the IP holder…who was now out to snuff Kevin… we knew Predator was doomed in November 2014, but how does one manage to roll that message out? That is why we immediately started with Pinball News, due to the gravity and responsibility of such a message to the hobby. Pinside was out of the question for something like this.
Why now? What took so long?
We sat on this shit for months. It hurt. It ached. It really did. Truly heavy hearts all around, for the 250 people with their hard earned money possibly getting trapped in this thing. Even without our information, the Predator project was unraveling on its own the last few months anyway. Pitchforks were out at varying times. Then Kevin would quell the masses with a poetic heroic email, and the pitchforks would go away. Rinse and repeat. We could only stand by as Pinball News did their research, Fox IP kept giving us updates, and the story was being built and vetted for publication. Keep in mind, Kevin has been in on the story being built at Pinball News for months. He knew we all knew everything. Kevin always kept winning reprieve by coming up with new “hope” that kept the story back… and Pinball News didn’t want to scuttle the project by creating a mass exit situation. So it took so long to publish because Kevin was given dozens of breaks, and more than enough gentlemanly olive branches. In a nutshell, Martin Ayub is a terribly nice guy. Almost to a fault. Martin knew the gravity of what Kevin pulled, and knew it had to be revealed someday… The machine itself being built or not is not relevant to the story (in our opinion). Kevin being caught in a lie, with all of its ramifications to the investors, was the story. A handful games shipping or not. Regardless, here we are. It’s all finally published. Kevin was shielded for long enough. Martin did his best, and respect must be given for the restraint and fairness he has shown, under these really shitty circumstances. This is where the meddle of a journalist is tested, and Martin proved himself having a strong spine for a long time. Certainly longer than we would have given.
OK enough. So what was this big dark story that nobody knew?
Speculations on Kevin’s problems (and public hiding of the project) were all over the place the last five months. Some were close, some were far off. One thing is for sure: “License-Gate” was completely correct at the time. Even in recent weeks, with the story seeded to some, and leaked in parts here and there, many still don’t know the complete depth of how much of a license “problem” Kevin actually had. With the Pinball News article, and regardless of Kevin’s defense, we’re going to tell you the entire background here and now. The depth of Kevin’s “problem” and the depth of his actual level of being in trouble will now be revealed from our point of view, and how it happened for us.
But First and Foremost, Let’s Just Get this Out There:
Before we get to the backstory details, underneath everything you are about to learn, and regardless of all of Kevin’s former explanations and claims (you have to let those go – they were simply not true)… with all the snippets and fractured versions of theories out there, let’s just get down to the bottom line. If there is anything everybody needs to absorb first & foremost, it’s this:
Kevin had a license that was “small” and/or “inexpensive”.
Kevin had license limitations that limited or prevented promotion.
Kevin had a license that expired.
Kevin had a license that ended up incomplete, weak, or had “issues”
Kevin dug out his “license” and discovered he “didn’t have what he thought”
Kevin had “issues with his license” that are “being addressed”.
Kevin NEVER had an actual license for ANYTHING on Predator.
At any time. From day one.
Of any scale, scope, or cost. Not a cent paid to anyone.
Of course, yes: Before he took investor money.
Knowingly. Planned that way. Simply skipped the entire process. Period.
His plan was to attempt to build 250 Predators, license-less for all IP used.
Save/keep the license money. No approval processes, complete freedom.
Play the extremely good odds that Fox (and others) will simply never find out.
Completely hide the project after selling it, to eliminate risk of ever getting caught.
Please let that sink in. Read it again if necessary. The utter worst-case scenario assumed under the “License-Gate” controversy, was actually the true case. No problems or issues… no licenses AT ALL… and to Kevin’s dismay, he DID get caught.
People assumed there would be no way possible that any pinball creator or business, especially a bro as “nice” as Kevin Kulek, would have the brass balls and/or stupidity to risk a million dollars of other peoples’ money on actually building 250 licensed-themed pinball machines, without a license, hide it all for safety, and simply PRETEND to have complete unincumbered rights to it all…
But yes. Yes. Yes, it IS possible. It just happened.
This is precisely the business acumen and risk/gambler mind of Kevin Kulek.
He simply never conceived of getting caught. That’s all. In his mind – license, meh, it’s all good. I’m just a dude in my basement. What are the chances? He may have been correct. Extremely low chances. Likely zero. But… he took everything offline as a cautionary step – which sounded alarms, and showed his hand – created License-Gate – Kevin couldn’t clearly explain it or produce compelling evidence to the contrary – and thus his hiding everything actually became his undoing.
So Where Does All This Come From?
So lets go back to the beginning, and we’ll reveal the entire backstory. You can compare this background to Kevin’s version of events. We’ll use a timeline format to make it easier:
Predator “License-Gate” is at it’s peak (at the time). Emotions are flaring. Arguments are being had. The internet had long been scrubbed by Kevin of everything showing Skit-B is producing Predator. Predator isn’t being named in private emails from Kevin. Predator is gone from Kevin’s web site (reverted back to Duck Hunt, etc). Posts and updates from Kevin have dropped to non-existant levels. Kevin is evasive on questions concerning his true rights to the assets. Friends of Kevin are stepping up to vouch for his licensing story – but they are only going on what he is telling them – nobody has seen anything. Kevin produces nothing, which would snuff any speculation instantly. So many outs, so many potential answers, but nothing is given, and all answers are the wrong answers or completely weak answers. Camps break off into loyals vs. conspiracists. It ends up that anybody not believing Kevin at his word are assholes. Anybody pressing the issue are tin-foil hatters. Kevin comes online and says “Predator” and it’s over with… the conspiracists are beaten into the laughing stock, Kevin wins over the applauding masses.
Problem is, near the end of the weeks of debate – there was a challenge. It was brought up by several people, and an extremely good suggestion… to simply end the debate once and for all, why not just contact Fox IP and find out the answer? Dozens of us were offline talking in private messages and emails for weeks about Kevin’s claims anyway. We got to talking about the Fox thing. One guy was “absolutely sure, through a friend” Kevin was lying and didn’t have anything. The rest (including us) had our opinion, but could only speculate. Time to end speculation. Let’s just settle this once and for all. We’ll come back and report our findings, regardless of what they are (that was the hope) and the hobby can be done with this crap for good. So a few of us broke away from the private chats and emails, got together as a smaller group, and went on our own mission to figure out a way to get an answer from 20th Century Fox….
First of all, getting to IP at Fox is an ORDEAL. They are completely “unpublished” and a very specific division that doesn’t take contact from the “public”. In fact, the actual division of 20th Century Fox that handles their intellectual property is a separate entity called Fox Licensing & Merchandising Corporation. Completely separate from the entertainment divisions. There is absolutely no number to Fox (at all) on the back of any Predator DVD, let alone any number getting you near FL&MC. Just so everybody knows. Be sure to watch Kevin’s interview (on video) telling the fictional story about a “cool Fox pinhead licensor”… We sensed a problem with Kevin’s story right at the beginning. We forged onward, having to email into a specific FL&MC general inbox (as dictated by a switchboard operator who said nobody can be forwarded into FL&MC on the phone). We sent a very basic email in there, requesting an email address or phone number to address our questions regarding the licensing of a consumer product…
Entire days went by. Got a response back. Basically a handler at the front lines looking for what we wanted to know. She requested we submit what we want, and she’d handle getting it to the right people. Again, everybody is shielded, and we have no contact info except her return address. We draw up the simple yes/no question about a run of Predator pinball machines, asking for a confirmation of official licensed merchandise status, and attached a picture of the game. Sent.
Many many days went by. It was certainly over a week. Definitely into November by now. We actually thought the whole thing was a dead end, and practically had given up on ever knowing. We were moving on, and didn’t care much any more. But then an email landed one day… with a very serious tone. It was from Bryce Coughlin, senior IP counsel for Fox Intellectual Property. He didn’t answer our question in his email. He wanted a phone call to speak to one of us directly, as HE had questions he needed answered. Number provided.
Called him. He ended up wanting to know all about the Predator project. How it came about, who’s manufacturing it, where are they being sold, etc. He didn’t address anything about a license on the call. It was all questions. He said he was going to go look up Predator pinball, and give us his findings. But the tone of the call, and the material asked, sounded a lot like he had no clue about Predator pinball.
A couple weeks went by. Mr. Coughlin called back. He had performed due diligence to make sure everything was searched, and he knew for sure. He stated that there was absolutely no license for Predator pinball, they haven’t heard of Skit-B Pinball, and the project is absolutely Infringement. Now there was a problem. Here we are, after asking the questions to get an answer, we got the answer, but this process also inadvertently tipped Fox IP off to the project itself. So yes, November 2014 was the first time Fox had ever heard of Predator pinball. When did Kevin launch the product and take initial deposits? Wow.
Mr. Coughlin started a process of callbacks and interviews to talk to several of us. He wanted to find out about the whole sales approach, the preorder, the deposits, the numbers, and what Kevin is saying. Mr Coughlin ended up finding all the threads on Pinside, all Kevin’s announcements and reports, videos of the game at shows on YouTube, and even the original site (before it got took down) on archive.org. In no uncertain terms, he expressed that Fox will be taking immediate action to stop Kevin. We expressed our concern for the 250 Pre-owners, and they need to know Fox is shutting things down, because they need to start requesting their refunds. We were asked to NOT tell the 250 people (or anybody) as Fox wanted complete and undisturbed access to Kevin without any warning or disturbance. That is kind of where things ended for communication from Fox at that time. We didn’t go back to Pinside. Shit just got really heavy, and as far as we were told, Predator was 100% not going to happen…yet a million dollars is sitting paid for it… Kevin is caught.
We bring the story to Pinball News. The weight of handling the information looming large. Martin Ayub accepted the challenge of handling such a message.
Also this month (found out later, in February), Kevin is served with a Cease & Desist letter. He of course doesn’t tell his Pre-owners.
Kevin is actually served “several more” letters (according to Mr. Coughlin, we weren’t told until contact in February). Yes, several.
Kevin continues to build, and release update emails that Fox is seeing on Pinside. Fox is getting pissed off. Kevin actually had the brass balls (or again, bullheaded stupidity) to continue with Predator. Knowing he’s caught. Doesn’t care. This is only speculation at this point, but we think Kevin actually believed in his mind that he was covered by some concept of some rights (non-profit, homebrew project, or something) that he’s had in his head since the beginning. That Fox has no grounds to poke at him. Just a hunch, but Kevin avoiding the license from the beginning has some roots in some belief that he’s “allowed, no problem”. We were shocked to hear of his defiance to the C&D’s. But it revealed the kind of guy everybody is dealing with here. Either delusional, or very insanely daring.
This is why it appeared, even with Kevin’s rare communications, that things were being built during these months. While in fact, Kevin was getting bombed by C&D’s and not saying a word. Now you know.
Meanwhile, Martin IS communicating with Kevin in the background, seeking a response to the internally-known situation. Looking for comment. Kevin is talking, but cryptically and vaguely. Kevin is aware of our Fox contact, our claims, and we think Martin even encouraged Kevin to make some significant decisions about coming clean about things. Kevin didn’t. At this point, the Pre-owners are still in the dark.
It’s been a couple months, and contact with Mr. Coughlin finally happens again. (This is when we learned about what Fox tried in December and January) We nearly fell over in disbelief at Kevin’s reaction. They wanted to know if Kevin had shipped any finished games yet. We told them no. Fox IP was getting pissed off, and since Kevin was refusing to stop building, we were told that they are escalating the Predator matter to next steps. Bigger steps. We still expressed a worry for the 250 Pre-owners, but were asked again (and thanked) for remaining quiet and not creating a panic. February 9th we were told “we are getting high-level signoffs to move forward, you will see action in the next 3 to 4 weeks that is very visible. You will be the first to know”.
Kevin’s “dark” emails come out. Kevin makes some weak acknowledgements in private emails to the Pre-owners that he is essentially being “attacked by outside forces” (playing the victim) but doesn’t say that it’s Fox IP. He only weakly admits to “issues with his license” (there is NO license, and he continues to lie) and we can’t believe he’s still using the cover story insinuating that he’s licensed. Kevin plays himself and the project off in a heroic light of overcoming insurmountable odds, and with typical flavor, thanks everyone to death for their ongoing commitment. He indicates forging onward, and still seems to insist Predator is getting produced. He indicates IP issues are being worked on by somebody helping him.
March 10th, another contact with Mr. Coughlin (and our last one to date) he admitted to being overwhelmed by other cases, and he’d been away from the Predator case the last many weeks. But he’d be back “tomorrow” looking at it again. (Looks like Kevin got a bit of a reprieve) We asked if Kevin or a third party was negotiating with Fox to buy a Predator license in the present, to apply to the run of these games via another producer. We were told their office had heard from nobody, haven’t heard of such a thing, and it wouldn’t be likely/possible anyway. The entire game, the last 2 years, was a case of Infringement.
Frankly, it would seem odd that an infringer who was caught, C&D’d, and being sued, would be able to simply walk up at the end and buy a license for their production. However, we think Kevin has this idea as a solution. Have somebody else (somebody clean and new) buy the license as if Predator pinball was a new product idea hatched yesterday… oh, the brilliant mind of Kevin Kulek. Always thinking ! If that is not a facepalm moment, we don’t know what is.
As Nate on the Coast2Coast Pinball podcast (Episode #147) said: Eject. It’s done. Stick a fork in it. It’s not worth fighting to build this any more. In the near future, this whole thing may actually be finally filed in a court of law. It’s time to back away, absolutely beg for mercy from Fox, and bring a conclusion to this debacle. 250 machines being built is 1000 miles away from being a priority right now.
After knowing everything that Kevin has NOT told his Pre-owners, and glossed over all the legal trouble happening behind the scenes the last 3 months, and why it happened, and why he took the project offline in the first place… it’s just been one sneaky or dishonest move after another. A complete white flag waved has been waved recently, that Skit-B self-admittedly isn’t even capable of building the run. Think about it, that’s even if a license was handed to them for free without prejudice. But Skit-B remains holding everybody’s funding. As much as there were lies exposed surrounding the licensing… people are digging deeper. Now there are (fairly new) inquiries being brought up in the hobby regarding Kevin’s claims of all deposits allegedly held in a type of “PayPal escrow” (claimed completely safe, even if he died). Plus new discussions emerging about Kevin’s “Non-Profit” claims, and alleged 501C tax status. How far down the rabbit hole did Kevin actually go? We’re fearing today’s revelations may only be the tip of the iceberg.
We’re sorry it went down this way. We’re not sorry we made the original call to check on Kevin’s claims. We are on the side of the 250 owners, and only care about their best exit. We don’t care about Kevin Kulek’s welfare any more. He made his bed. He created this mess. Insane risk like this can’t happen again in the hobby. Thank goodness this project is basically pre-production where technically little has been spent as possible. Allegedly only parts for 10 games of 250. That means 240/250 (or 96%) of the funds should still be available, right? Somehow we don’t think so… which is yet another issue Kevin must tell the truth about – and why there isn’t 96% left. Think if Kevin had been caught halfway through. What would be left then? Time for truth and transparency. Some of Kevin’s stances (his version of what happened to him) will differ. Just know that we have zero agenda or anything to gain here. Every single part of this story is correct and accurate. If you still have doubts, and you think this is all just a character attack on Kevin or some “sick fuck” sport to shut down a boutique shop… all we can say is… Wake up. Please.
Way to go Labnip....you are a true pinball detective.
Quoted from RobT:
ouple things. First, like I said before, his posts were very adamant about what he knew, and he was telling people who were criticizing Kevin and were saying that there probably was no license to just STFU.
OK then same goes for Mr. X then right? They knew about the lack of license back in October but they stayed quiet.
Quoted from Hwawonyu:
Bullshit rob . Taking down kevin in revenge came over the truth.
Anyone who honestly gave a shit would have focused on the buyers and not Kevin's down fall. This was bitter revenge not saving pinball.
Kevin makes me mad but this is almost as bad. And no it does not make anything ok. As I said two wrongs don't make it right.
Kevin's shit is real . But we will also see them for who they are . People are people and people love to f up . We will know everyone involved at some point . ; )
So who is in the group...come one it's obvious to guess at least 4 of you. Come out and play ladies!
Quoted from playboywillis:
Haha I wish I could have seen these last night when I was in investigative mode. All we got was the one from Aurich. Give me tomorrow, I'm pretty sure I can figure out who at least wrote them.
I know easy enough....quote from "To catch a Predator" word press expose:
"The relatively recent “leaking” to select people was a matter of seeding the eventual Pinball News story that was coming out, to certain “pillars” in the community. This included highly respected & rational Pinsiders, some Pinside moderators, some of the lawyers on Pinside, several producers directly involved with the Skit-B project, and members of the “press” (podcasters, etc). This was meant to gently “prep” strong voices in the hobby for the eventual hellstorm that was coming – so they could be armed with the facts, and mentally prepared to be rational and balanced, later in a sea of speculation and flailing.
What a f-ing joke, they use these guys as stooges so when the shit hits the fan they'll have them in their corner...and they had the balls to post the "Stockholm Syndrome" meme to bash us. LMAO
PS: Also if there is a mod involved well I think he should be stripped of his status.
Quoted from lowepg:
While certainly a critic of Kevin and suspicious of the bullshit "updating the website" sorry from day #1, I have no connection to the "anonymous gang." Hell, if I had PROOF of what this scumbag had done 5-6 months ago I would have been screaming it from the rooftops.
Frankly, I had given Kevin a bit more credit than being the total deadbeat he turned out to be. I was sure he HAD a license that either expired or was too limited and he purged the website when it expired and/or realized it was insufficient to build the pin.
I never imagined he would have been to brazenly criminal as to just make the whole thing up and bilk pinheads for $1m.
So you had no proof but you had a hunch all this time?
Quote from Aurich's emails:
So who are "we" ?? We are going to remain nameless for now. (This Gmail is an alias, BTW) There will be too much of a temptation by some to forever label us "the guys who killed Skit-B" and it's not a tagline we want to own. Kevin did this to himself. Besides, we're all on PinSide and going back, it probably won't be hard to decipher who we were (although each of us will never admit it).
Quoted from foxct:
I have mixed feeling about Mr. X as well. But, there's a difference between requesting your own refund and going public that Kevin is defrauding people. The latter could result in a lawsuit from Kevin against the anonymous group for interfering with his contracts, liable, etc. The anonymous group were in a no win situation. They would need hard facts (copies of the C&D letters) to go public and not potentially expose themselves to liability as well.
YES! The fact is they're complicit in this. If any of us found out there was no license we would've come here and layed it out in the open...the whole "To catch a Predator" "we are an anonymous group" shitshow was just weird and juvenile. I've been told there maybe a pinball competitor involved, also a Pinsider that's in the entertainment industry, this will taint their motive for ever.
Quoted from CaptainNeo:
I didn't think Kevins initial intentions was to scam people and take their money. I think he just wanted to make this game, and to do whatever it takes to make it happen and get it in peoples hands.
Agree, he was stupid and naive. He was into too deep at that point, just by the fact he sent out an email this morning tells he's still thinking he can make the game. WOW! But our savior group wanted to make this into a show...so what if people get hurt, they sat on the info a good 4 months and came here everyday to bait us. They're still here right now baiting us. You can guess who they are.
Quoted from lowepg:
I know you are on a crusade to expose the anonymous because that is SUPER important, but (maybe its just me) thats all FAR FAR secondary to resolving the money Kevin took.
If you cared about the people's money you would have PM'd the info when you found out, ( you know anonymously)...Don't try to play this off.
Quoted from ccotenj:
bull.... it's been clear for awhile that there was no license, and you kept repeatedly thumbing down posts that indicated that...
here's something for you: "join reality"... stop looking for other boogeymen, and accept the fact that there is only blame for one person...
Yeah? I've posted numerous times if they have facts to post it, but they just wanted to wait for the big train wreck.
Quoted from toyotaboy:
How do we know "mr x" wasn't someone from JJP or Stern?
Hmmm...not sure but Whysnow posted a few pages back that Jared had said Jody Dankberg from Stern was going to look into the license thing. Also I've heard Jack was trying to help Kevin sort stuff out, so you can count him out.
Quoted from RobT:
For you boobs who think the anonymous group were nothing more than assholes for bringing the truth out about there being no license because you think Predator could have been made "under the radar" and delivered to customers, please read this post, as it appears you missed it earlier:
I guess we're all very emotional at this very moment, But if you take you're own advise and read some of the posts flaming this group you'd see that it was the way they did it that stunk not the action itself. Ask any 10 pinsiders if they had found out that Fox had definitley told them that there was no license how many of them would sit on the info and form the so called Anon-myass group, then wait four more months while coming here and baiting us everyday. Then watch from a far as the train comes off the track. I know I would have come here shouting it from the roof top and shown the proof.
If you're reading this Mr. X, on behalf of the community I want to say F U very much for your service.
Quoted from badbilly27:
Stern employee (not Gary) "allegedly" was involved at least in discussions with some people about false license issues before the shitstorm hit
That itself is a big story...a competitor company taking Skit-b down. Fox denies Skit-b the license after he tries to apply for one because they refuse to work with an idiot who tried to pull a fast one on them. This is genius..at least diabolical.
Quoted from Rarehero:
That's not even remotely a story, let alone a big one. Kevin IS an idiot who tried to pull a fast one on them!!!! Stern works with licensors all the time, including Fox (Simpsons, Family Guy, Avatar, 24). If they found out through their contacts if he has the license or not is not "taking Skit-B down"...it's finding out information! STOP BLAMING EVERYONE ELSE! Kevin is a fucking idiot when it comes to making a licensed product. He did it WRONG. He never had the right to do it, there was no guarantee Fox would have EVER granted him the license. Look at Jpop with Kiss. Kiss said no. Probably because Jpop had zero record of manufacturing pinball machines. Fox would have never licensed anything to a guy in the middle of nowhere with no legit business or manufacturing ability. Kevin was fucked from Day 1. No one involved in finding out the truth is "responsible" for ANYTHING in this clusterfuck.
I think you guys blaming the anonymous group just don't grasp how making a licensed product like a pinball machine works at all. You just can't start making a product THEN try to get the license. Even though Dutch made some mistakes with Lebowski - they HAD the license before going public. They almost got in trouble by showing the game before approvals were made....but they legitimately had the license and a working relationship with Universal. Kevin never had ANYTHING.
Welcome back Rarehero..enjoyed your write up on the emails. Again it was the way it went down that was wrong in a big way. Not the action.
Quoted from lowepg:
The "community" was told- they just chose not to listen. Some did and got out early. Some tried and it was too late.
Individuals challenged the license going back MONTHS.... but how do you PROVE something doesn't exist.... it's not so simple.... especially when people check their common sense at the door for their "grail theme."
However those individual voices were drowned out by some supposedly more "established" pinside voices (Ted, Aaaron, VirtuaPin) and some shrill ones (whysnow, etc).
Planting the seed of doubt is completely different than being told and shown proof. Again, (ahem..) "THEY" could have anonymously posted it or PM'd it.
Quoted from oopsallberrys:
"Before any of the animosity surrounding this project goes any further, a few things absolutely need to be cleared up.
First of all, while I'm sure many of you feel like you've been lied to and taken advantage of, I can assure you all that no part of this project has been created or carried out with any sort of intent to deceive or defraud anyone. I know right now these are only words and many of you require much more than that, which brings me to the next point.
At this point, the faith in what we've worked so hard to achieve has been absolutely shattered and I am left with no other option than to abandon everything and make good on our promises that your investments are safe and return all money associated with the project until anything else happens, if anything else should happen. The refund process is expected to be swift and completed very soon. You all will start to see those balances reflecting in your accounts in a few short days.
To the many of you who have continued to support us and prefer to receive your game, I'm sorry to say that this is the end of the road and you, too, will be receiving a refund instead of a machine. While it pains me deeply to have to say it while we are sitting at the finish line, asking or even allowing someone to stay involved at this point is simply too much to ask.
For those of you interested, there will be a follow-up article posted on Pinball News with the real story in a handful of days, so please keep your eyes open for that, as well.
Quoted from shimoda:
Before I get the same downvotes many have gotten for -any- message they post regardless of its comments (and I have seen several post with no inflammatory statements downvoted 20+ times today) consider this: If a group of people in a theatre went into the lobby during the show and saw smoke coming from projection booth then simply walked out of the theatre, only to come back later and shout fire, how many would call them the heroes?
Thank you for the validation.
Quoted from YKpinballer:
I disagree with a lot of your points.
- In my opinion the anonymous group has adequately explained why they took so long getting the info out. At any rate they were doing the best they could to handle the situation delicately, and maybe they aren't "perfect" and can't please everybody but they did what they could when they could. Saying they had "vicious intent" just because the information didn't come out fast enough for you is probably the most hateful thing anybody has said in this entire thread, and it came from you.
Wait, but you can't be defending this group for obvious reasons.
Your joined date is a big clue.
Wow these f*ckers don't have the decency to stop till we at least find out if the refunds will come or not. Pffft...Losers, lt's like high school with mustaches.
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