Front Sight assets seized

This is a discussion on Front Sight assets seized within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; From: Pahrump Valley Times - Nye County's Largest Newspaper Circulation BUSINESS AS USUAL? Front Sight assets seized By GINA B. GOOD PVT GINA B. GOOD ...

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    Member Array Vtxdpm's Avatar
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    Front Sight assets seized

    From: Pahrump Valley Times - Nye County's Largest Newspaper Circulation


    BUSINESS AS USUAL?
    Front Sight assets seized

    By GINA B. GOOD
    PVT


    GINA B. GOOD / PVT
    A lengthy line of shooting ranges is featured at the Front Sight site off the Tecopa road.

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    At 11 a.m. Monday, Front Sight Firearms Training Institute and its president, Ignatius Piazza, went into receivership.

    All financial transactions involving the firearms training facility -- from accepting payment for classes to paying staff and vendors -- must take place through a court-appointed administrator.

    The facility and all assets have been seized by the court, down to the hundreds of firearms included as part of new members' benefits.

    However, despite the ruling, this weekend at Front Sight everything was "business as usual," according to Operations Manager Rick Morello.

    He said he knew nothing about the legal proceedings. "We have a big weekend coming up with a full schedule of classes," Morello said. "Business is booming."

    The ruling, handed down by U.S. District Judge James Ware in San Jose, Calif., had its beginning in November 2005 when Stacy James, Bill Haag and Michael Schriber filed a class action suit against Piazza on behalf of themselves and other qualified Front Sight members.

    The suit mentions "violations of RICO, unfair advertising and competition, Nevada Sale of Subdivided Land Act, fraudulent conveyances, Consumer Legal Remedies Act, Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act, breach of contract and fraud," all based on Piazza's sale of lifetime memberships.

    RICO is the acronym for the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, originally used to target the Mafia and similar organizations.

    The three men allege the price of the memberships they and the members of the class purchased were artificially inflated as a result of misrepresentations and non-disclosures.

    On October 15, 2007, a settlement was reached and Ware dismissed the suit with the stipulation Front Sight live up to the negotiated terms. A settlement fund of $8,050,000 secured by a lien on Front Sight's assets would let the class foreclose if the fund was not fully funded by October 15, 2008.

    Piazza was ordered to put 10 percent of Front Sight's monthly gross revenues into the settlement fund and provide financial documentation showing he was meeting his obligation. He complied, although according to the plaintiff's court filings, the payments were not timely, which comes as no surprise to former employees and suppliers in Pahrump.

    The settlement also said Piazza had to allow members who were part of the suit to use their Front Sight memberships until the settlement fund was fully paid. Further, he was ordered by the court not to retaliate or make derogatory remarks against James, Haag and Schriber.

    According to C. Keith Greer, attorney for the class, Piazza violated all the agreed upon terms.

    At the end of the prescribed year, the fund was short by more than $5.4 million.

    The day after the fund came up short, Piazza send a letter to everyone involved in the suit, saying Front Sight was no longer obligated to make additional monthly payments because the class action had forced the first mortgage holder on the property to foreclose.

    "This is a lie as no one foreclosed on the property on that day or any day since," said Greer.

    Piazza's letter also said Front Sight offered to increase its monthly contribution to the settlement fund from 10 to 20 percent.

    Greer said bluntly, "That was also a lie."

    But Piazza didn't stop there. He told class members they were "forever banned from Front Sight," which was another violation of the terms.

    The same day Piazza sent a letter to non-class members, declaring:

    "After they attended over 200 Front Sight Courses and pocketed $830,000 out of the first million dollars I paid timely into the Class Action Settlement Fund, the three malcontents and their ambulance-chasing attorney tried to kill Front Sight and terminate your membership by forcing us into foreclosure. So I cut them (and their followers) off at the knees!

    "In this letter I reveal all the gory details and show you how the new Front Sight turned the tables on these back-stabbing saboteurs."

    According to Greer, "Defendant Piazza also boasts that, in violation of the court order against encumbering the property, he created Front Sight Management II and signed a 99-year lease with the old Front Sight entity, leasing the land, water rights, entitlements, equipment, weapons, licenses, trademarks, copyrights, intellectual property, Internet sites, accounts, etc. Every asset the old Front Sight had is now leased by the new Front Sight entity."

    Greer said it is clear Front Sight "violated every aspect of the court order and settlement agreement."

    He added that Piazza did so "notoriously" and "in a manner that flaunts disrespect for the law and the judicial system."

    Piazza's gorilla marketing technique of sending frequent e-mails with special price offers to prospective members give Greer and his clients easy access to information. They used Piazza's own words as evidence to show the court Piazza and Front Sight have the money to satisfy the settlement obligation.

    On December 30, 2008, Piazza e-mailed members saying Front Sight had doubled in students, members and net worth each year for 12 years. He said, "While others are laying off people, we are hiring." He also said Front Sight had been offered a $25 million letter of credit.

    Taking Piazza at his printed word, in March, the class asked to have Piazza appear in court with financial documentation Piazza agreed to supply in the settlement agreement.

    In fact, Greer asked Piazza to live up to all the stipulations in the settlement, including paying the claims administrator and stopping interference with the membership rights of class members.

    Greer also asked the court to order Piazza to stop publishing disparaging remarks about class members.

    Ware granted the request, setting the hearing date for date for March 23.

    Piazza did not appear, nor did he send any representative to appear on Front Sight's behalf. He did, however, fire his attorney at the last minute, which the judge called an "eleventh-hour dismissal" when he issued an order for Piazza to show cause why he should not be held in contempt of court and subject to sanctions for failing to appear.

    That hearing to show cause was held Monday, resulting in Ware's decision that Front Sight had defaulted on its agreement with the class. All assets belonging to Front Sight and Piazza were seized by the court.

    An administrator was appointed to run the organization.

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  3. #2
    Member Array redline4200's Avatar
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    Sweet!

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    VIP Member Array edr9x23super's Avatar
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    whats so "sweet" about this? another premier firearms training facility is being shut down and being run out of business. The land and equipment will probably be sold off and developed into something else.....
    "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined". - Patrick Henry

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    According to Front Sight's manager...he knows nuting (use your own Sgt Klink voice), and everything is just great.

    ...However, despite the ruling, this weekend at Front Sight everything was "business as usual," according to Operations Manager Rick Morello.

    He said he knew nothing about the legal proceedings. "We have a big weekend coming up with a full schedule of classes," Morello said. "Business is booming."...


    Sounds like this guy could get a job on the Speaker of the House's staff.

    I don't think I'd be getting involved with this organization in any way now. It was on my list of "to do's".

    Stay armed...be wise...stay safe!
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    Senior Member Array Plop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redline4200 View Post
    Sweet!


    Are you kidding me? Sweet? What's sweet about it? Front Sight has trained thousands of people in the proper use of firearms. While their business practices are questionable, their firearms training is top notch!

    Love him or hate him, Ignatius Piazza (Front Sight founder) has done a great service to our cause. After 911 he advertised FREE defensive handgun courses for ANY airline pilots that wanted it. After some school shootings he offered FREE courses to any teachers that wanted it. After some church shootings he offered classes to pastors/priests that wanted to carry at a significant discount.

    I attended the class earlier this year, and there were people in my class who had NEVER shot a gun before in their life and took the class to "experience something new" (a couple from Seattle, the wife was a better shot than her husband). By the end of the class they were ready to go out and buy their own handguns and were seriously considering getting their CCW's. Going into the class they said that they were in favor of stricter gun control laws, and they made a complete 180 on their gun views during that class. What a great transformation.

    If this place shuts down, it will not be sweet. Just the opposite.

    -Plop
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    VIP Member Array AllAmerican's Avatar
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    Im sure it will all work out but I knew there was something about that guy I didnt like.

    So FS trains alot of people. I still think the guy is shady.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plop View Post


    Are you kidding me? Sweet? What's sweet about it? Front Sight has trained thousands of people in the proper use of firearms. While their business practices are questionable, their firearms training is top notch!

    Love him or hate him, Ignatius Piazza (Front Sight founder) has done a great service to our cause. After 911 he advertised FREE defensive handgun courses for ANY airline pilots that wanted it. After some school shootings he offered FREE courses to any teachers that wanted it. After some church shootings he offered classes to pastors/priests that wanted to carry at a significant discount.

    I attended the class earlier this year, and there were people in my class who had NEVER shot a gun before in their life and took the class to "experience something new" (a couple from Seattle, the wife was a better shot than her husband). By the end of the class they were ready to go out and buy their own handguns and were seriously considering getting their CCW's. Going into the class they said that they were in favor of stricter gun control laws, and they made a complete 180 on their gun views during that class. What a great transformation.

    If this place shuts down, it will not be sweet. Just the opposite.

    -Plop
    Let me be clear about my concerns. I know that the training there was excellent...word of mouth, not personal experience. I just would not invest any $$ for a membership, or enter into anything other than just a class...if they continue offering such.
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    I support Front Sight and wish Dr. Piazza well. The firearms training they provide is unbelievably good by any measure. The lawsuit was extremely complex and the situation can't be dismissed as simply some kind of character flaw. Frankly, blasting him and Front Sight in this forum is puzzling. Do folks like us see many defenders of 2A out there? Piazza has done a lot to overcome press bias--do your research; even the NRA says so.

    Attending a class at FS is fun, exhausting, tough, but never demeaning, whether you're a beginner or a retired sheriff who is surprised to learn he has a thing or two to learn. Afterwards, you see the world with eyes a bit more open, and you're better prepared to deal with trouble.

    This is a really sad situation, and I hope it resolves so that they keep operating. As to Mr. Morello's comment, he's an operations guy and an amazing teacher who flies around the world doing exactly that, often in high places. It's not his business to be a PR flack; he said what he should have.

    If you don't like FS or its management, there are other places to take training. But tearing down any firearms training institutions these days, large or small, with or without flaws, seems like, well, shooting yourself in the foot. Which you won't do, by the way, if you take classes at Front Sight.

    Rant ended.
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    Quote Originally Posted by edr9x23super View Post
    whats so "sweet" about this? another premier firearms training facility is being shut down and being run out of business. The land and equipment will probably be sold off and developed into something else.....
    Probably wouldn't be developed into something else since it is in the middle of the desert.
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    Senior Member Array highvoltage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edr9x23super View Post
    whats so "sweet" about this? another premier firearms training facility is being shut down and being run out of business......
    Premier? How about illegal? Maybe their training was good, but what happened to upholding the law?

    In fact I thought that's what DC is all about, making sure everyone does everything by the book when it comes to firearms, and everything else in life for that matter.

    I cannot let myself feel sorry for someone who so flagrantly flouts his contempt for the legal system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by highvoltage View Post
    Premier? How about illegal? Maybe their training was good, but what happened to upholding the law?

    In fact I thought that's what DC is all about, making sure everyone does everything by the book when it comes to firearms, and everything else in life for that matter.

    I cannot let myself feel sorry for someone who so flagrantly flouts his contempt for the legal system.
    Please... They have a responsibility to honor their contracts. If they misrepresented membership terms, they should refund the injured parties the cost of the membership, not be subject to government confiscation. I don't know what a membership there costs or how many members we're talking about, but an $8,000,000 settlement? Really?

    As for laws, they are written by politicians (professional liars) at the behest of interest groups (aka campaign contributors). All that "how about illegal" stuff is silly. What about property rights?

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    Senior Member Array highvoltage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agentmel View Post
    Please... They have a responsibility to honor their contracts. If they misrepresented membership terms, they should refund the injured parties the cost of the membership, not be subject to government confiscation. I don't know what a membership there costs or how many members we're talking about, but an $8,000,000 settlement? Really?......
    Its founder billed it as a Disneyland for gun enthusiasts, a 550-acre master planned community with a shooting range as the draw. The concept was unveiled in the late 1990s, complete with artist renderings and a miniature model. Today, the model remains on site but so far it's the only house there.

    "The safest community in America," that was the pitch to people seeking a home at the Front Sight Firearms Training Institute. For upwards of $200,000 members were promised a one-acre luxury home site in an exclusive resort. Instead they got a thank you letter, a baseball hat and a map of a lot they don't own.
    A bit more than a simple membership is involved.

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    VIP Member Array AllAmerican's Avatar
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    So he is a Dr of Chiropractic medicine. Interesting.

    Do the wiki on him. I stand by my previous post.
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    Senior Member Array agentmel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highvoltage View Post
    A bit more than a simple membership is involved.
    Point taken. For now. ;-)

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    Senior Member Array highvoltage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllAmerican View Post
    So he is a Dr of Chiropractic medicine. Interesting.
    Not to start an argument here, but what does that have to do with anything?

    Quote Originally Posted by AllAmerican View Post
    Do the wiki on him. I stand by my previous post.
    I agree, I've wiki'ed him a few times, questionable business practices to say the least.

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