GIN head Troy McClain takes the (fake) moral high road
While cooling my heels in between posts about the awfulness that is Mein Drumpf, I saw a post from my pal Kenneth Reimer on the public Facebook forum GIN Network Truth. Kenneth, and as it turns out several others I know, recently received a rambling email from Troy McClain, the current patriarch of the Global Information Network (GIN), a "success club" and surrogate family originally created as a personal piggy bank for now imprisoned serial scammer Kevin Trudeau. In the missive Troy is very long on boasts about his fierce desire to protect his "family members," and painfully short on actual substance regarding the threat he says he has removed from the club. Here ya go:
Violation Of Code of Conduct Announcement Members BewareFor those of you who are wondering what the GIN Code of Conduct says -- and I assume for now that Troy is indeed referencing that "code" -- it's item number 11 on this document.
To our Family:
Re: Mr. Shawn Kesling, Former AXS employee, has been removed from our Club. Any further interaction is at your own discretion
Allow me to declare that I am a fallible man and a practitioner toward greatness. I have been so overwhelmed with love, graciousness, and respect from all members – so much that while I continue to practice our principles, I like you, continue to learn my lessons each day. One lesson I am practicing is forgiveness, however this practice tends to be overshadowed by my strongest and greatest gift that I can give to others – Fiercely loyal and protective!
I have made a declaration to our entire membership, staff, and family that I would fiercely protect, report, and stand against any one person or group that would prey on or otherwise hurt our membership – if I in fact found them to be doing so. I will investigate, look into, and hold off on position until such time facts prevail. Then I will uphold what I hold dear to me – my word. I will do so in all situations, actions, and climates.
We are on honest, moral, and ethical movement that will stand together. However, I have also declared to others I would lead from the front to set the example. When I ask others to give back, I in fact give back. When I ask others to practice our principles I do the same. When I ask others to report and stand up when they see or experience potential wrong doing, I myself MUST do the same.
This movement must be dedicated to conducting our business consistent with the highest standards of ethics. We have an obligation to our co-workers, contractors, partners, community representatives, and family to do so each and every day without fail.
The security, safety, and stability of this movement and its members is vitally important to me and one I take extremely serious. I will not tolerate any action whatsoever that threatens any one persons future or related careers in our amazing environment. That said, recently, upon his own omission [sic], I have learned that one of our own has been less than becoming to our standards and has threatened our positive light and standard of being Honest, Moral, and Ethical.
This type of behavior will not be tolerated. And while it saddens me on so many levels to have had this happen under my watch, it also inspires me to do the right thing for the betterment of our team and family. I want to make it beyond clear to all that read this – any action against this club or those within it can be considered an action against all of us. YOU WILL BE CALLED OUT and I will back my family up. I trust this example sets a new tone in a new unit of time that, while a student at some things, I am great at standing up and speaking up for those I love and those who have brought love in my life. This club no longer will turn a blind eye to those whose intentions are bad. The standard must be "See Something – Say Something!"
I will act swiftly to remove the negative element from our positive environment and report publicly when found to be true. You, our staff, our members, and our family have worked too hard and too long building up and creating a positive, honest, and moral platform for us not to say something when actions against us happen. Again, I will not tolerate my family being subjected to this type of business nor will this ever be allowed.
My top priority is to create a safe and friendly environment for our entire membership; one where we can grow as family in a positive direction. Anything that threatens this will be considered as such and removed. I will act swiftly and report this publicly when conduct by others is found factually to jeopardize our futures. GIN, be assured we all must do this; and those hiding among us, be assured this leader will call it out!
What unifies us is trust and belief in a system of success and team that operates the system. When I find this type of practice happening it hurts and disappoints me greatly, however knowing that we have a team that will protect each other from bad apples, gives me a sense of honor and pride.
We have addressed and removed the negative. Now I have reported it as such, and as I committed to do.
I set out to find out what Shawn, whom I'd never heard of before Troy broadcast his name and shame far and wide, supposedly did to violate the Code. I reached out to some people who might be able to give me some insight, including Shawn himself. Via private Facebook message, Shawn did not give details but simply told me that he harbors no hard feelings for Troy and wishes Troy et al. nothing but success. He said that the decisions made had to do with "life choices" he had made and that he completely respects the decisions of the GIN leadership. When I told him that it sounds as if he's taking the high road, he said there is really no low road.
Well, I'm thinking that maybe there is a low road -- it's just that some of the low roads are lower than others. I'm thinking that Troy McClain calling out a former employee carries about as much moral weight as Leonard Coldwell and Peter Wink calling out Kevin Trudeau and GIN.
A little background
Based upon my general knowledge of Troy -- who has been a subject on my blog several times since 2014, because, as I mentioned above, he is the person currently at the helm of Trudeau's big brainchild GIN -- I am willing to bet that we have a good case of Scamworld pot-and-kettle here. Troy, a "business consultant" and bloativational speaker (who seems to get more bloated every year -- check out page 4 of the November 2015 GIN Report), originally emerged into the spotlight for being on Donald Trump's "reality" show, "The Apprentice." Drumpf said that Troy is one of those guys who makes America great.
Currently Troy has several companies under the umbrella of his AXS Group. It seems clear to me that he has been steadily working to absorb GIN into AXS. To see the writing on the wall, all you have to do is look on the official GIN web site and you will see this:
And then click on to this up-and-coming site, which contains more Scamworld bidness babble per square paragraph (square-agraph?) than I've seen in a while. Troy is definitely marking his territory. It's the Scamworld equivalent of dominant male canine urination, but infinitely more foul than the latter. There's a word for this phenomenon, but "evolution" is not it.
Several credible sources have indicated that Troy intensely dislikes Kevin Trudeau, even though Kevin gave Troy a big platform in GIN. Ingrate. Though Troy is at the helm, other members of the AXS Investment Group that purchased GIN in 2014, when the court-appointed receiver put it up for sale, include Chris "Voldemort" McGarahan (a real a$$hole and MLM scammer); Blaine Athorn (very long time buddy and bidness partner of Trudeau, also a MLM veteran -- see MLM fever" in this post); and Greg Kramer (involved with a frauduct boutique called the GIN Store). Jeff Devine (another bidness partner and buddy of Trudeau) was originally involved too but no longer is. (A guy named David Cohen, a principal in AXS Consulting, may be an owner as well.) But Troy is at the head of it all and definitely seems to be marking his territory.
All of the above is general background that most of you know already, the sole purpose being to illustrate my points about pots and kettles and about turds of a feather bilking together. As anyone who has observed Scamworld at all knows, the bilking together doesn't necessarily prevent the bilkers from occasionally trying to peck each other's eyes out. No honor among thieves and all that.
Google provides some more background information
As noted above, I had never heard of Shawn Kesling till Kenneth shared Troy's letter. When I first started researching I immediately found a Facebook page for a Shawn Kesling, but it doesn't really reveal much. So I did a little bit of rudimentary research, and a simple search for "Shawn Kesling Idaho" (Idaho is Troy's home state and also the home of AXS headquarters), revealed this December 2013 court document referencing the several felonies of a certain Shawn Michael Kesling.
So there's that. My first thought upon finding the initial information about Shawn was that this might not be the same Shawn Kesling; there are a few folks in the US with that name (I did not mention the court docs to Shawn in my brief conversation with him). But a person in a position to know confirmed that it is indeed the same guy.
I couldn't help but wonder if Troy knew about Shawn's criminal background before he hired him for AXS but thought it was no biggie until Shawn did something to displease Troy. Or, I surmised, maybe Shawn did something so blatantly unethical and/or illegal that Troy knew he couldn't sweep it under the rug. I just don't see Troy as a model of integrity, is what I'm saying.
Though Shawn isn't telling any tales about Troy, Google is telling plenty of tales about Shawn. In addition to the court opinion linked to above, there is this January 2013 document regarding a complaint by Shawn that he was infected with Hepatitis C due to inadequate sanitation at the Ada County (Idaho) Jail. (On the GINtruth discussion I shared this link to the PDF of the document, but I am having trouble getting it to load now. Maybe it will work for you.)
I also found this May 2008 article from a Boise alt-weekly. It is mostly about one of Shawn's ex "business partners" (a man who just couldn't stay away from meth and hot women but still sued the state of Idaho for treating him unfairly), but there are a couple of paragraphs about their mutual ventures. Seems they had some vaguely Trump-ish aspirations, and there's something about an escort service involving strippers.
Some of my friends on the above-mentioned GIN Network Truth forum shared some pretty plausible explanations of the ways in which Shawn may have pissed in Troy's corn flakes. One wrote, "Maybe GIN still has a 'Do as I say, not as I do' policy like they use to, and Shawn was leaning more to the 'do' side." Another speculated, "He stole money that Troy was trying to steal. He probably used a short con to fleece an idiot who Troy had pegged as long con material. After he stole his bank account, Troy was unable to clean out his retirement fund and the equity in his house. You can't have that sort of scammer immorality in your club."
And Kenneth, the person who initiated the thread, said that people to whom he'd put out feelers indicated that Shawn's departure was related to the theft of money. Some rumors from several other sources indicated that the theft was in the mid-five-figure range.
Someone who knows the parties involved speculated on another forum that AXS/GIN either didn't do a background check or that Shawn was another "rescue" of Troy's. Troy reportedly likes to say that he "saves people," but speculation is that he also likes to have something to hold over their heads. In that respect, Troy would seem to have something in common with the Church of Scientology, which promises people a chance to clean their lives up and help "clear" the world -- but at the same time makes sure it has something to hold over the head of every member.
There are other whispers in the wind from other sources that Troy did indeed know that Shawn was a convicted felon but failed to inform anyone else, and that the long rambling letter he sent out after jettisoning Shawn was the first notice anyone had that anything was amiss. There are also whispers that at least one other convicted felon is still on staff AXS/GIN. In that regard GIN has something in common with GIN ripoff WIN (the World Information Network), whose principal Perry Kiraly has a pretty long criminal history himself, which includes robbery and safecracking and other wholesome activities (see this post for some links).
And let's not forget that many of the GIN membership still adore Kevin Trudeau, who has been a convicted felon since the early 1990s and is, of course, currently an imprisoned one. Being a convicted felon is not a deal-killer if you want to play in Scamworld.
I'm not just pointing fingers for the sake of pointing fingers.
When I referenced "moral weight" in my comment above, that was not just a throwaway point. No matter what Shawn did or did not do, no matter how Troy spins the firing incident, no matter how he tries to paint himself as the great protector of his cherished GIN/AXS "family," and no matter how hard he tries to convince the world (and himself) that his feet have trod on high ground all along, fighting like a knight of old for honor and integrity... remember this:
James Arthur "Death" Ray was a keynoter at a major GIN event, and was glorified before, during and after the event, and it was all under Troy McClain's watch -- so his lofty declarations about his integrity have zero credibility as far as I am concerned.
Pardon me for shouting in a larger font. I just get riled up sometimes.
I will continue in my efforts to get the details about the alleged violation of the GIN Code of Conduct that has Troy's panties in a wad. Meanwhile there is plenty of stuff about Troy on this blog, and for that matter Salty Droid (whose revamped site is set to launch soon) did a drive-by snark about Troy a few years ago. This was in relation to another scam; it was before Troy was handed the keys to GIN. Point is, Troy is on Jason's radar too. And I look forward to the day that the little fake robot is back on the job.
One more important point: In general I believe in giving people -- including convicted felons -- second chances if they can demonstrate that they are really trying to turn their lives around. This is particularly true of nonviolent drug offenders but I think even grifters, and even some violent offenders, may deserve a second chance in some cases. That's why I'm sympathetic to the "Ban the Box" movement, and why I applaud efforts like former GIN principal Dean "Deno" Andrews' enterprise, Felony Franks. We need more businesses like that in the US.
But some leopards really do not change their spots. As my friend Julie noted, "The problem I have with the 2nd chances is that kt [Kevin Trudeau] overused it. It was always about a second chance, he wore his illegal moves (mostly stealing credit card numbers) like they made him more valuable. He said he'd learned and a 2nd chance to steal more credit card monies was what he needed."
Yes, there is that.
And it appears that even as Shawn Kesling was publicly preaching about GIN being the "Movement of Second Chances" (the link is to a December 2015 talk), he was privately doing everything he could to blow his own "second chance." But don't worry, Shawn, it's a big world, with plenty of other opportunities to grift. And for that very same reason, Troy has little cause to worry either. It's the remaining GIN members I'm concerned about, but then again, the writing is on the wall, and it has been for years -- so at least some of those who continue to support GIN and Trudeau, even after knowing the complete back story, must at some point shoulder some of the blame for their own losses.
Stay tuned; more to come.