Did Alistair Thompson rip off Selwyn Pellett to the tune of $250k

NBR has an article [paywalled] about the shenanigans at Scoop.

Reading between the lines it seems some ‘investors’ have been tickled up for a lot of money, even as Alistair Thompson seeks to crowd-fund Scoop.

Ownership changes at news and press release website Scoop mean several shareholders are short of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In December the website?s majority shareholder, Margaret Thompson (mother of Scoop publisher Alastair Thompson), exercised her power of sale under her first-ranked security, effectively wiping out all other shareholders.

Imarda co-founder and chief executive Selwyn Pellett held 20% of the shares in Scoop, with the rest being split between several shareholders including journalists Gordon Campbell, Russell Brown and Pattrick Smellie.

As reported by NBR ONLINE, the Thompsons have plans for Scoop to become ?publicly owned? and implement an ?invisible paywall.? These changes are part of ?Operation Chrysalis,? for which Scoop is crowd funding.

The old Scoop Media is now a shell company and Ms Thompson is the sole shareholder of MOT Group Holdings, the new owner of Scoop Subscriber Services.

For someone who bangs on about ethics in journalism he sure seems to have a wonky view on what that actually means. Firstly he was moonlighting with the Internet Party while a member of the Press Gallery, how he eve got let back in is beyond me. Now it appears he has tucked Selwyn Pellett who is less than impressed.

Mr Pellett tells NBR ONLINE that Ms Thompson was ?under financial duress? and had securities over the assets of the company by her loan.

Asked how much he had invested in Scoop, Mr Pellett says, ?How much I invested and how much it gobbled up are two different answers.?

?The truthful answer is that I don?t know, but [the total amount lost] would be approaching $200,000 to $250,000.? ??

He says the amount of money lost is ?painful? but it would be too expensive to pursue.

?The Thompsons are lawyered up to the hilt,? he says.

But Mr Pellett says he is over the matter.

?I wish them well; I?ve got no bitterness other than to Alastair Thompson himself. I totally support the principle of free media and however you get there. For those reasons I?m not doing anything toward Scoop.?

Selwyn Pellett echoes what a great many people who have had dealings with Alistair Thompson have told me. I certainly know of at least one creditor who took over a year to get paid, and yesterday in a little contretemps over at The Daily Blog Lynn Prentice admitted that payments for advertising have been rather slow in forth-coming.

Alistair certainly seems a chip off the old block, his dear old mum has the same attitude as him when it comes to other people’s money.

After consulting her lawyer, Ms Thompson sent an email to NBR ONLINE, saying the history of the ownership change went back to December 2013, when Mr Pellett?s trust signed a deal to buy Scoop in return for investment. However, the agreement fell through a month later.

?Scoop?s shareholders were grateful for [Mr Pellet?s] support in 2012 and 2013. They carefully considered the issues which arose out of the cancelled investment and actively sought resolution.?These overtures were rejected.?

She says Mr Pellet sought reimbursement and his request was ?carefully considered? but later turned down.

?I reject any suggestion that at any time I or the company acted inappropriately.?

Scoop has reached 30% of its $30,000 fund raising goal on Pledge Me.

I’m not sure those people committing to help fund Scoop will be too pleased at this development, but I am also perplexed as to why Selwyn Pellett wants it known out there that he is a soft touch. Scoop has dudded him out of $250,000 and he is all meh about it…not a good signal tothe market.

As tempting as it is to gloat over their misfortune, we all want online news to be a success. But if Scoop’s old model sucked and was a failure, does that suggest a better way is out there, with people waiting to be Freed from the appalling tactics of established paper based press and unethical people such as Alistair Thompson?