Exposing The Publisher: To Sell Or Not To Sell.


exposingI admit it.  It’s been too quiet here of late.  granted, I’ve tossed around a comment or two at the trailer park of posting forums called Topix but lately I’ve been more of a lurker when it comes to the antics of The Publisher, whom I am about to expose one more time.  My apologies if “expose” brought other visions to your sick and twisted little minds than was intended.

Currently, The Publisher: Mark Halburn of Putnam(redacted).com,  is facing some changes in his life.  It would appear that all his ranting, raving and acting like a general fool has gotten him in a little hot water with the lady of the house.  You know, the one that pays for his domain name for his “news” (Blog) site when he’s spent all his money on KFC and Taco Bell because a coupon for a freebie wasn’t enough.  Knowing things are about to change for The Publisher, I decided to try and alleviate him of the burden of his web site by offering to buy it.  Now, being an entrepreneur, I figured that I could buy his web site and actually turn it into a credible news site.   Of course, that was just crazy talk.  With all the damage he has done using that domain for his blogging and political attacks the best I could do is buy the domain and dismantle it.  But, I figured I would go in with high hopes and with a professional manner.

What follows is based on actual events.  No names were changed to protect the innocent.  There wasn’t any.

Now, as you see I just wrote up a quick e-mail saying I was interested and I expected there would be some back and forth where we would eventually work out an idea.  Would I pay for the just the domain and the name?  Could I be convinced this was a successful business and I could take it over as a business?  If so, would I get all the information I needed?  As you can see, I only offered to buy the web site, meaning the domain, so I could perhaps continue to run the site.  As you can also see, with no discussion, little fan fare and lacking in reality, The Publisher fired back with a price of $250,000.

$250,000!?

Yeah, I know all about the fact he wants $300,000 for his little blue shack on a hill which is only worth $89,000 appraised, but good lord.  I was even surprised by the price.  $250,000?!  Whew.  Well, despite the quoted cost, I figured I would push this for all it was worth.  At this point?  I was done being serious about buying the site because I knew it would never happen.  Not with a guy that had zero touch with reality.  However, I kept up the charade to see what I could get.

At this point, I had my accountant working on more research on this site to see how much something like this would actually cost to run, what kind of billable income there actually could be and what kinds of overhead there would be.  In an effort to learn more from The Publisher, I asked for the obvious, as you can see.  By the way, we tabbed that this site, with it’s readership and projected readership was worth about $2500.  He fires back by making this a package deal.  $250,000 for the site and the “office headquarters”, which he quoted at an addition $300,000.

::laughs:: Whoa there Nelly.  What the hell just happened here?

So, his “office building” is up for grabs too?  Office building?  You know,  his soon to be second ex wife’s house, whom she shares with her mother.  So now it’s gone from $250,000 to $550,000 but he did say “package deal”.  I assumed the original asking price of $250,000.  My question here is, does it come with a wife, kid and a mother-in-law in that asking price?

By this point he has no clue what he is doing.  All I wanted was a balance sheet or an income and expense report to see what the numbers were.  He tosses out the $2500 a month “billable” mail and then adds in a taunt about the “great debate” that I no showed to, like I was ever going to debate the mentally retarded.  Oh, and because I am from Vermont he decides to taunt me with a maple syrup joke.

Hahahahahaha!  Yeah, like I have not heard that before.  Who’s the dumb one?  me for living in a state that is famous for maple syrup or guys like Mark Haburn that pay $60.00 a gallon for it?

He gets a little ahead  of me in the mail trade off’s, but he starts to offer some of the costs associated to this because he doesn’t want to send me anything.  He doesn’t trust me.  As you will see later, he even says that.  He’s right though, he shouldn’t.  He ends with sort of a “take it or leave it” finality.

At this point I decided to really get the facts.  He’s called his web site a business for years and granted, we have seen a business licence and he has filed taxes on it, but I still say it’s not a business and I will tell you why a little later, just bear with me.  I went right after him.  I wanted a list of everything and if you are a business person serious about selling your business, you would offer that up.  Especially if you were asking 100 times what it was actually worth.

This is where he starts to attack me, saying that his “employees, contributors, editors and webmasters” would not work for me.  Of course they wouldn’t because he is all of that.  He’s had one contributor (another crazy “journalist” named Lawrence Smith) do some work for him and at one point he claims it’s all volunteerism.  We’ll get to that little white lie later.

As you can see, I kept at it.  I want that information now and at this point, I was willing to give him like a$1000 bucks just to dismantle the damn site and let him watch all his years of “hard work” disappear.  Plus, he’s been claiming for years that he has had editors, writers and photographers all working for him.  He’s claimed an office just outside of city limits he was renting.  If so, then I wanted the proof.

This was my last real attempt to get the information from him.  It worked too.  Mark said he was “traveling”.  I didn’t believe him because he was at Marshall University Graduate College taking pictures and playing journalist again.  That’s not traveling.  he says in his next mail that he wasn’t in Putnam County.  That was true.  He was just across the line in Kanawha County.

Let’s wrap up the capture’s here, shall we?

There you have it.  $1000 was my final offer.  Of course he turned it down.  My research of his “clients” revealed what we already knew.  He does a “barter” with them and once you enter Hotel Haburn, you will never leave.  He’s got a few fish on the hook that should have wiggled before they wrote the check but even when they are done paying him, he has left many of them on, just to have some sort of “proof” he has advertisers.

So, I asked for income and expense reports.  Employee lists.  Since this was a web based business, I wanted verifiable traffic logs. Lists of visitor IPs, ISPs, OS and location.  He also would have had to send that same inform for his .com as well as his .org because of his change over last year.   So, what did I eventually get after pressing?  One page of his 2010 Tax forms.  One page.  Just a page from an online tax form that could have just been filled out with numbers and made into a jpg.  However, I believe the form page I have is real.

Now, let me say that I have never doubted that the web site is registered as a business.  I have seen the proof.  I still call it a non business though, at least in the way Mark claims it.  He’s not a journalist, he’s a blogger.  Bloggers make money by selling advertising too.  The good ones at least.  The ones that are read.  The ones that are worth paying for.  He’s not a successful businessman, much less a successful member of society and he just can’t, won’t and will never see that.

Remember when I said I don’t believe this is a viable business?  Here is why.  It’s not for the fact that his profit (which is what you pay taxes on when you run your own business) was only $2448.  At least it made some money, on paper.  But don’t believe what you see.  This “business”?  Is really a tax shelter.   I can also wrap up my explain of the little white lie I mentioned.  He says that his contributors and “photographers” (interesting note here from Mike Balburn; the exif information that is embedded in photographs reveals that Mark takes all his pictures) are volunteer yet on his little tax form he supplied me, he writes off $1150 in contract labor.  There is nearly 9 grand in car expenses, nearly $12oo in utilities.  It goes on and on.  Basically, he’s paying 100% of his household bills with income from his various jobs he’s held over the course of the year plus about a closer number of $600 for “advertising” on his site.  By the way, speaking of advertising, he wrote off $1500 in advertising for his own site.  $1500?!  On what?  Plus 4400 in “other expenses”.

Business?  No.  Tax shelter?  Yes.  Yes indeed.

So this begs a question.  Will Mark ever sell his web site for $250,000?  No.  Will he sell his house….oh wait, I’m sorry… his wife’s house for $300,000?  No.  His soon to be ex wife may be able to sell the house and move away but she won’t get that much for it.  If she thinks she can she is either as crazy as Mark is or has been so brain washed by Mark that she is a walking zombie.

Update: Rumor mill has it that Doed’s might have pulled the divorce papers.  I will now go with the latter for the reason behind her brainlessness.

So there it is, folks.  The Publisher has been exposed.  He’s been pants’d in the middle of I64, if you will.  He want’s no less than $250,000 for a web site that is worth no more than $2500, he still has delusions of being a businessman and a journalist which we have proven time and again that he is not and he uses his business licence to set up a tax shelter for his pathetic life.

To sell or not to sell, that’s no longer a question.

Exposing The Publisher Detta, Tama, Tento (#10)



Dit. Tama. Cette. Diese. Questo. Este. Detta. Acest. Tento.

Any way you choose to say it, it all means the same.

The number 10.

In my continuing effort to make sure that you, the reader, the listeners or those brothers and sisters in arms in Putnam County, are fully informed of the story telling that The Publisher likes to tell over at Putnam(redacted).com, I bring to you EtP10. In a continued effort of yellow journalism, The Publisher has once again “created” a story out of nothing. Once again, he attacks Mayor Edwards, accusing his “staff” of planting political signs for the Mayor’s reelection campaign in The Publishers yard. I present to you;

“Here’s Your Sign.” 

As always lets begin with the title of his attack piece.

Edwards Campaign Harasses Critics Again

Right off the bat, he accuses.

Signs Placed In Front Of Home Without Permission

The byline. Even though you eventually come to find out that The Publisher says that he doesn’t blame the Mayor for personally putting signs up in The Publisher’s yard, he leads you to believe such. This is bait and switch.

During his 2007 campaign for mayor, Scott D. Edwards chose to campaign on a Hurricane street corner across the street from the employer of this publisher’s wife. This publisher has been one of Edwards’ strongest critics, citing his anti-family and anti-jobs stance that hurts the City of Hurricane and Putnam County.

Wow. I think I just heard a hamstring snap as he reached for that first statement. The Publisher accuses Edwards of picking a spot specifically because The Publishers wife worked in a building across the street? I’m going to let that sink in for a moment.

First of all, while chatting up the mayor in casual conversation over cheeseburgers and a Pepsi (note: that’s what I was having when I wrote him an email, I have no clue what he was having), I got the impression Mr. Edwards had no idea that The Publisher’s wife was working in any building on any of the street corners he chose to do his hand waving and hello’s. As any smart, intelligent, politically oriented candidate would do, he chose his spots strategically. Highest traffic flow gets you to wave that hand and say hello more which translates into “impressions”. It’s the smart thing to do. Edwards did not choose a street corner based on a critic or where that critic’s wife works. End of story.

All this is, is an attempt to once again for this critic, The Publisher, to try and sully the name of a candidate, The Mayor, just because his panties are still in a bunch about Walmart. It’s all about Walmart. “Edwards is anti family…” because he brought in a Walmart. “Edwards is anti jobs…” because he brought on a Walmart.

Shortly after he was elected, in a tainted election, while this publisher was working in South Carolina, a City of Hurricane inspector cited this publisher’s pregnant wife for weeds on a hillside behind our home. Edwards’ business, Netranom Communications, (the Old Town Hall building) and the current Hurricane City Hall had tall weeds, but they weren’t cited. City inspectors have repeatedly refused to cite Edwards for the issues at the Netranom building. It’s part of Edwards’ double standard and dirty politics.

Tainted election? There has never been proof of this. It was a sore losers late attempt to try and change the minds of those that had already spoken though the ballots. Sam Cole lost in a close election and he didn’t even care until someone started to whisper in his ears about “rigged elections” and “unsafe ballots” or some other hooha. Could it have been Mark Halburn? An obvious critic of Mayor Edwards that was doing the whispering through his opinionated web site? I’ll let you be the judge. Never mind the fact Cole had a solid recount done with the same results. You can count 100 times and nothing was going to change.

As for the weeds part of this yellow journalism piece? Oooops. There goes the other hammy! Seriously? Is there any proof that his second wife was ticketed for tall weeds? Any proof at all? Do they really enforce that statute anymore? Oh, wait. Weeds at a computer business as well, no ticket there? Oh, ok. So basically we have another untruth out there, tossed up like a softball by The Publisher. Excuse me while I take a swing here. He takes a picture of tall weeds in behind the City Hall building and tries to sell that (with no proof) as to have been taken in 2007?  I call dirty journalism.

::bat crack::

I will say this though. Don’t be a stooge, Mr. Publisher. Cut your damn grass if you are looking to make an impression to sell that double wide.

So when Edwards’ re-election campaign signs showed up in the grass in front of our home, Thursday, May 12th, 2011, we weren’t surprised. Edwards says he didn’t do it. We believe him. However, we don’t believe he didn’t know a supporter was putting them there. And despite Edwards assertion that the culprit will be prosecuted, more than 24 hours after the trespassing and malicious mischief occurred (I decided to leave all his spelling mistakes and grammatical errors…that‘s not me), no one from the Hurricane Police Department had fingerprinted the signs. Chief of Police W. “Mike” Mullins hung up on this publisher when he was asked why the signs were not fingerprinted and why the Walmart surveillance video had not been viewed.

Oh my. There are so many things in this little paragraph that just tickle me pink. He totally believes his lie and thus herein lies the crux of my expose’ in this article. It is my belief that Mark Halburn aka The Publisher, did in fact steal signs from various places about the city of Hurricane and deliberately destroyed them to “create” a story to put Mayor Edwards in a negative light.

When asked about the accusation, Mayor Edwards responded with the following quote; “ Me nor my people did this — not sure who did. He emailed me and said he was out of town and demanded 1 trillion dollars per sign per day for yard space rent.”

Yep. You heard that right. One trillion. I have to wonder if Mark sat there laughing manically, his pinky finger resting at the corner of his mouth when he wrote up that email to Mayor Edwards?

Oh yeah, you want to see the entire email The Publisher sent Mayor Edwards? I thought ya might;

“For the second campaign in a row, you have chosen to harass my wife. Last time you campaigned in front of her employer. Today, while I am out of town, she awoke to find TWO of your campaign signs in our front yard. Since these were UNAUTHORIZED, the overnight space rental fee is $1 TRILLION per sign. Yes, I WILL be making this public as just your latest unethical conduct! How do you sleep at night? The payment is due IMMEDIATELY at the City National Branch, in Hurricane! Mark.”

I giggled. Seriously. Until I laughed. Is this guy crazy? Wait!

Don’t answer that.

When I talked to Mayor Edwards a few days later about the missing signs he stated that he had been told a few signs were missing. To quote; “Well, they were stolen from what appears to be random locations… Some in subdivisions and some on main roads.” 

I agree that the culprit be prosecuted. Go ahead and look at any Walmart footage. It’s not going to show anything than an empty parking lot and a few cars rolling up and down Progress Way. As far as the finger printing goes, yeah, do that too. It will find that Mark’s greasy little paw marks are all over them in specific places, not just from “uprooting” them from his yard and crunching them in a barrel to take pictures of the offending signs. The Publisher could be nailed with theft of property, burglary and destruction of said property. Who knows, if he stole enough of the signs and it’s proven he did, then it could be a felony. There’s a hell of an add to the ole rap sheet for ya. No wonder Mullins hung up on his ass. Oh yeah. Can I answer the question of “How do you sleep at night?” for the Mayor? Thanks. Like a hard working Mayor.

::bling smile and a thumbs up!::

We removed the signs and placed them in a more appropriate location. Edwards was sent a bill for the space rental for the time that the signs were in the grass. Naturally, Edwards hasn’t paid the bill. He sent the following email:

“Thank you for letting me know that there were some of my campaign signs in your yard. If they are still on your property, I will be glad to come and get them, but I do want you to know that I did not place them there. Actually, I noticed numerous signs of mine had been moved to different locations last night. I was out until midnight, so it had to have taken place between midnight and 7 am, which is when I noticed the others that were moved. If it happens again, please let me know and I will remove immediately.”

The “appropriate location” was a garbage bin. First off, if The Publisher was any kind of decent human being and this was indeed a prank by someone knowing how much of a critic he is to Edwards, he would have called and said “I have your signs, come get them or I will bring them in. They are not supposed to be on my lawn.” I would not have deliberately broken the law and destroyed them and then taken photographic proof of this.

As far as Mr. Edwards paying the bill? Well, a collection has been started and the office is up to $6.75 in coins and dollars. We here at a State Of Mind have started a matching collection of $6.75 in Pepsi cans so we are well on our way to paying off this two trillion dollar debt. That’s a lot more than the liberal Publisher’s current leaders administration has saved up towards it’s trillion dollar debt.

As for Mayor Edwards going out of his way to respond, it’s a lot more than he needed to do. He was polite and apologetic about this happening and has not once accused Mark of any wrong doing. I have and I will stick to it. What surprises me is The Publisher didn’t burn these signs. He is a suspected firebug after all.

So far, Edwards has not picked up the signs for fingerprinting despite a request to do so.

So here it ends. Number ten. A decology, thus far, of Exposing the Publisher. The Publisher wants the police to investigate, finger prints to be taken, signs to be picked up and trillions of dollars to be deposited into his account. Huh. I just realized we can add extortion to the charges in this little episode (temper tantrum?) by The Publisher. I bet no one thought of that yet, did they. Especially The Publisher.

One final note. The Publisher posted a photo of a supposed Mayor giving a photographer the middle finger. I chose not to repost that. But I did come up with something of my own to cap off this expose, if you will. I call it a three finger book for The Publisher to read.

I just hope he can read between the lines.

Exposing The Publisher #9


Shhhhhhhh…can you hear that?

::crickets::

Yeah. I know. It’s been pretty quiet around the State Of Mind hidden offices lately. Between the rat race, the radio show, family and good friends, I’ve been busy and really? I can’t complain about any of that. That doesn’t mean I have neglected my duties to Exposing The Publisher, however. I’ve recently come across a few articles written by the West Virginia Mad Man, Mark Halburn and have been verifying certain details so that I can bring you the ninth installment of Exposing The Publisher.

I call this one The Crickets Are Crying. Don’t ask me why. I think it’s because I started out with a cricket joke. I’ll probably end with one as well.

Now, lets lay out a little back story first. Remember when The Publisher got all bent out of shape about not being able to swim in the pool Waves of Fun during a Dog Swim? It was an event for pets sponsored and supported by the Putnam County Parks and Recreation Department. They spent roughly $250 bucks and made close to $2000 for the pampered pooches that day. The Publisher boo hoo’d and whined because he couldn’t go for a swim and then tried to claim they spent over $1100. He, of course, was proven wrong.

Most recently The Publisher posted an opinion piece on his blog (we are no longer referring to it as a “news site”) that centered on an investigation into the Putnam County Animal Shelter. Since The Publisher still insists on calling his blog a “news site” and continues to lie to his readers (ie: his clicker finger) I decided it would be a good time to get the writing juices flowing and pop out good ole #9.

The Publisher was pretty blunt by calling this “FBI Looking Into New Animal Shelter Spending.”

Lets begin, shall we?

“The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been asked to look into the spending of private funds for the new Putnam County Animal Shelter.”

Yeah. You know who “asked to look into” things? The Publisher himself. No one else. He didn’t get any calls. He didn’t get any letters. No one but him has said boo. Just because of The Publisher’s petty little jealousy of dogs and cats, just because he regrets his criminal records concerning trespassing and pools, he has to come up with a story, spread some horse manure around in the right area’s and call it a bed of flowers. I call it what it is. Bullshi….wait. Horseshit. Yeah. Horseshit.

“Putnam(redacted).com received a return call this week from a Charleston agent whose name we are withholding.”

Ok. Lets see if I can rephrase this the right way, so it makes sense and tells the TRUTH. Lets, for a moment, give The Publisher the benefit of the doubt and say he did indeed get a call back from an agent of the FBI. One, the only reason he would have gotten a call back was because The Publisher probably harassed the answering machine of some poor sap that was told to cover the office while the other agents went out to make some real busts.

Two, the call was probably a return call to tell The Publisher that he’s a crack pot, they don’t have any authority over the Putnam County Animal Shelter and that if he called back again, there would be an investigation alright, but it wouldn’t be into the PCAS. I’m sure the agent may have used the words douchebag, fat boy and pudgy digits, but don’t quote me on that. Really though? This is just a out and out lie and no phone call ever took place. According to phone records, there was none. I could just stop here, but lets tear down more of The Publisher’s dream.

“At issue, apparently, is whether or not work at the new site has gone through a bidding process.”

How about a different question here. Why would the FBI even care about this?

“It’s a gray area,” the agent says, who disclosed that he will be reviewing the matter with the United States Attorney.”

::coughsBULLSHITcoughs::

Excuse me. I had a little phlegm there. Actually, no. I don’t have any phlegm. I do call bullshit here. He is now quoting some figment FBI agent of his imagination. You can get in trouble for this kind of stuff.

“Earlier this year, Putnam(redacted).com received several telephone calls asking questions about bids. We spoke with former fundraising chair Jeff Barnes who says the only spending he did was for the annual Fur Balls and confirmed each had a bidding process. However, Barnes says he never spent any of the money raised for work at the new site.”

Again, I call Shenanigans. Why anyone would call this guy, of all people, with his reputation, about the bidding process of the PCAS is beyond me? No one called him. It was just his vivid imagination that once again ran wild with an idea and manifested itself into more sock puppets “creating” a story. He then called and harassed yet another county employee and tried a little yellow journalism by getting a quote from someone that could be involved, just because he’ did some fund raising.

“When Putnam(redacted).com filed a Freedom of Information Act Request with Putnam County Manager Brian Donat, his response was that the county was never in possession of the private funds and has not spent any of that money.”

Of course that was the response. There is no story here. There wasn’t even a need for an FOIA here. It was just The Publisher trying to feel and look important by filing this document and that document and doing a little yellow journalism.

“After contacting the West Virginia State Police we were referred to the F.B.I. who confirmed they had already been contacted about the issue.”

::coughsBULLSHITcoughs::

Ahnnn…ahemmmm…arkahhhh…

Wow, must be a frog in my throat. No. No wait. No frog either. I’m calling more bullshit. Again, it comes down to phone records.

“We spoke with Pray Construction President Mark Grigsby and asked whether he had to bid out the work that his company has done at the new site. He declined to comment other than to say, “We don’t comment about our business with private firms. This was not a government contract.”

“It is important to note that no charges have been filed against anyone about this issue, only that questions are being asked. Karen Haynes is now in charge of private fundraising. She has not been accused of breaking any laws.”

“We will update this situation if anything develops.

Well now. We finally come to it. Right there in his own attack piece, The publisher answers his own question. “This is not a Government contract.” Pretty much tells you right there that the State Police or the FBI need not be involved in anything as far as an investigation into the PCAS. Once again, quite simply, this is a vendetta piece by The Publisher because he couldn’t swim in a fucking pool that he once again obsessed over because he couldn’t keep his hairy, fat body from dripping some sweat down his back and into his stained Fruit of the Looms.

As a former journalist and the concerned adopted son of Hurricane, West Virginia, I felt it was my duty to lay out before you the worst attempt at yellow journalism that’s come down the pipe since the August 29th, 2007 article that read “Bush Calls for the Mass Murder of Iranians!” over on Inforwars.

The next call The Publisher should get from any federal, state or country official should be one that will send a couple of guys in white suits and a jacket that goes on backwards.

I now return you to the concerto of crickets.

::crickets::