Have you ever wanted to attend the Oscars or a Beverly Hills event with Academy Award winners like Catherine-Zeta Jones? Would you like to go behind the scenes of television production with "The Vampire Diaries" star Paul Wesley or "The Big Bang Theory" starlet Melissa Rauch? What about meeting for lunch with Steve Burke, the President of NBC Universal? Would you like to visit the home of the Chief Legal Counsel to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, or is a private visit to the art collection of Cecil B. DeMille more to your taste? If you are not as interested in the arts, maybe interviews with Olympic Gold medalists like Steve Holcomb and Shawn Johnson would make your day. Perhaps you have a friend who would like to meet with members of royal families like King Harald of Norway or Prince William of the Netherlands.
You could be in the right place, at the right time, on the right website. Examiner.com is recruiting! If you check out the links above, you will see that I have done all this and much more. Frequently, writing popular articles on Examiner.com and getting good reviews and high forwarding ratings gets special invitations for these writing projects. And several times a year, I get to meet with classmates from college or graduate school when I speak at an alumni event or organize a social program. These great educational and professional opportunities all have two things in common -- hard word and high quality are essential.
Some people are committed to doing the hard work and meeting high standards and have taken advantage of the excellent opportunities that Examiner.com and other successful online media are offering. But some other people do not want to work that hard. When I was working at the 2012 Olympics London Media Centre last summer, someone I have never met sent my attorney a letter asserting that I had to 1) provide unlimited access to all of my contacts, including password protected private cellular telephone numbers and e-mail addresses and 2) pay for all of the travel and meal expenses of an agent chosen by Bank of New York Mellon to meet individually with each of these rarely available interview subjects. The thickly worded text asserted that if I did not comply, the organization could have me detained for an unlimited period of time and transfer management of my own business and my own assets to a foreigner accountable to no one -- who would charge a commission of five percent of my assets each year and decide what part of my own money, if any, I would get. Fortunately, another division of Bank of New York Mellon agreed to serve as the bank for an investment partnership which certified me as a sophisticated investor, exposing the flaws in the thickly worded text.
The general impression of others at the 2012 Olympics London Media Centre who saw the documents was that these kinds of demands are extortion. Hardworking journalists know that access to these kinds of contacts takes exceptional effort. But many Chinese and Russian journalists have an interesting perspective that may well be true -- that this happens to Americans more often than anyone thinks and no government agency will step in to stop it because of America’s campaign finance system.
How could this happen? My father was sold a tax shelter by Bank of New York Mellon pitchmen. It is an eclectic type of trust document that asserts that I can get reimbursed for contact lenses, dental exams, gym memberships and a host of other health related expenditures without paying tax on the value of the benefit. Normally, these expenses are not tax deductible. That might sound like a good deal to some people and would be a good deal for many Americans. But the amount of the tax savings is quite small compared to the travel costs of paying for a salesman from Bank of New York Mellon to meet with all of my contacts and solicit their business or endorsements.
How could my own father be naive enough to sign such a contract? There is no firm evidence that he actually did; the signature of my father’s name is not even spelled correctly and the Treasury Department subsequently fined many banks for using robots to sign notarized documents. Many pages, including the definitions that facilitate the details, are not signed or initialed at all. My father is also dead, but if you see how many page views the Paranormal Examiner gets, you can see that many Americans do not consider that important.
Everyone who has expected the FBI to do something about this has been disappointed -- but not that surprised. The FBI has such a large caseload that they do not have enough agents to investigate cases involving less than $300,000. The total value of my contact lists is probably worth more than that, but keeping the total value in a particular year below $300,000 can be manipulated by the provisions for detention without a warrant. So the most effective way of dealing with this is to do an even better job and make sure the annual contact list value stays over $300,000. Your continued support is greatly appreciated. And everyone who watches the Oscars likes suspense -- and this plot has more suspense than some documentaries nominated for an Academy Award.