Hartland Snyder again scams Ishi Press

The latest evidence of a scam by the Hartland Snyder version of his so-called "Ishi Press" has arrived in the form of a tax bill from the California State Tax Office. It demands the payment of $7567.53 in past due taxes.

However, the real Ishi Press owes no taxes. Hartland Snyder, running a fake and fraudulent Ishi Press site in which he purports to offer for sale books published by the real Ishi Press in Japan, owes the money.

Hartland Snyder has no such books. He is a crook who belongs back in jail. If you send him money, I believe that you will never get the books. If you do get books, they will be pirated or rip-offs. Meanwhile, we get the tax bill for the taxes he is supposed to pay.

How this started is that in 1986 the real Ishi Press in Japan hired one James Connelley to open a branch office in Mountain View, California. Connelley claimed that he had a masters degree in business administration from Santa Clara University. We have never been able to establish the truth or falsity of this claim. We have, however, been able to establish that James Connelley is a crook.

Connelley established a branch office in California, first working out of his studio apartment in Mountain View. Later, we formed a California corporation, with Ishi Press and officers of Ishi Press in Japan holding about 50.1% of the stock and Connelley holding about 45%. Connelley was always a minority stockholder.

We shipped go books and go equipment to Connelley on credit. At first, he paid promptly. Slowly, however, his payments fell further and further behind. He sent payments through a middle-man corporation called the Connelley-Group. The way he set it up was that he would pay the Connelley Group and then the Connelley Group would pay Ishi Press Japan. The pretext of this deal was insurance, but it turned out to be part of a scam to rip us off. What we now believe is that Connelley paid the Connelley Group on time, but since James Connelley owned the Connelley Group, he just kept the money and never paid Ishi Press Japan.

By the end of 1993, the payments instead of being slow stopped altogether. No more money came from Connelley. We were caught in the position every creditor sometimes faces. If we cut him off completely, we lose all chance of ever collecting, so we keep shipping in the hopes of getting our money eventually.

Meanwhile, Connelley had been shopping around for investors. Instead of operating out of his apartment in Mountain View, he had rented a huge warehouse in San Jose in an industrial park. He also bought a million dollar mansion on Plaza Drive in San Jose for his home. Three investors solicited by James Connelley were Elwyn Berlekamp in Berkeley, Edward Hordern in London and Martin Lowenstein in Menlo Park.

Elwyn Berlekamp is a math professor in Berkeley who was interested in Ishi Press because he had developed a mathematical puzzle based on go. Berlekamp had become wealthy because of a computer program he had developed to trade currency futures. Berlekamp claims that he invested half a million dollars in Ishi Press. However, Ishi Press never received a dime of that money. What happened to the half million dollars? Is Berlekamp lying? We do not know the answer, but what we believe is that Connelley opened a secret bank account unknown to us in the Ishi Press name, ran Berlekampfs checks through that bank account, and kept the money. Another theory is that Berlekampfs half million dollars was not real money but part of a tax write-off scam of the type popular during that era. If Berlekamp reveals that it was all a tax-loss scam, he will have to pay taxes on the money, and the amount is considerable.

In any event, Elwyn Berlekamp has not been cooperative in our efforts to find out what happened to the money, or if the money ever even existed.

Another investor Connelley solicited was Edward Hordern in London. Hordern was an extremely wealthy man, one of the richest men in England. He was an insurance broker on Lloyds of London. Hordern was interested in Ishi Press because Hordern had a hobby which was the collection of puzzles. We believe that Hordern invested money Ishi Press, or at least he thought he was doing so.

We know that Connelley had a meeting with Edward Hordern in the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal in November 1994. We believe that Hordern gave some money to Connelley at that meeting. However, we will probably never know the amount or what really happened, because Hordern died shortly thereafter and his widow is apparently not interested in trying to recover the money.

A third investor found by Connelley was Martin Lowenstein, who gave Connelley $75,000 in inheritance money he had received. In return Connelley gave Lowenstein a job. However, the job collapsed and Lowenstein took a total loss.

Another victim of the scam was Ray Bathke in England, who runs a small shop that sells Go equipment. Connelley set up a company called Ishi London and Bathke ran it. We at Ishi Press Japan shipped go books and equipment to Bathke, but as Bathke sold our stuff Connelley would fly over to London frequently to pick up the money. Again, we never got a dime and Ishi London went out of business owing us $100,000.

So, altogether Connelley absconded with a cool one million dollars. This includes $300,000 owed by Ishi San Jose to Ishi Japan, a half million dollars taken from Elwyn Berlekamp, $75,000 from Martin Lowenstein, $100,000 from Ishi London and an unknown amount from Edward Hordern.

How did Connelley get away with such obvious thievery? Enter Hartland Snyder. We have not been able to find out much about him. We do know that about five years of his life are missing. He was disowned by his father and after that nobody knew where he was. I suspect that he was in prison, but I have no proof. I do know that he is a crook.

Connelley turned over the office and all of the books and records to Hartland Snyder, who is a lackey of Elwyn Berlekamp. Hartland is not a stockholder and has no legal authority over Ishi Press. I am the President of Ishi Press. Nevertheless, for the past decade, Hartland Snyder has been pretending to be us, and he even has a website at http://ishigames.com/home.htm . If you look at that website, you will see that he lists for sale all the books ever published by Ishi Press Japan. He also advertises our logo. However, look carefully. There are no prices!! This is because he has no books, or at least we think he has no books. The Hartland Snyder version of Ishi Press has never published a book.

So, if you want to patronize a criminal and a thief, please send all your money to Hartland Snyder right away!

Here is the tax bill from the State of California to Ishi Press. The amount is $7,567.53. The next time you see Hartland Snyder, be sure to tell him to pay this bill.

Sam Sloan

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Contact address - please send e-mail to the following address: Sloan@ishipress.com