November 16, 1998
Re: Bankruptcy of Ishi Press International
No. 98-33797 wtc
By FAX (415) 776-2628
Dear Mr. Walsh,
I wish to inform you that I have now finally obtained the IRS tax ID number of Ishi Press International. The number is 52-2129500 .
To find this number required research. Ishi Press International has not filed income tax returns in several years. This may explain the fact that on my previous visits to the IRS, they said that there was no number for Ishi Press International.
I was finally able to obtain the number (after waiting on hold for more than a half hour) by calling the IRS headquarters in Philadelphia.
The IRS representative informed me that the IRS has written about a dozen letters to Ishi since early 1995 and has never received any reply. As a result, this matter is in the hands of an investigation unit. I am not familiar with IRS procedures, but he gave me the number to call of (215) 516-2150.
According to IRS records, the responsible person for Ishi Press International is James W. Connelley. The IRS has no record of Hartland Snyder or any other person being associated with Ishi. (As you may recall from our conversation, Hartland Snyder claims to be the owner of Ishi "for all practical purposes". However, my knowledge of the corporation shows that Hartland Snyder has never been a stockholder or an officer or a director or even an employee of Ishi Press International. In short, his claim is purely bogus.)
Mr. James W. Connelley left the company on December 31, 1994, and has had no further involvement with the corporation, although he remains a stockholder, owning 120,000 shares.
On another subject, I called the US Bankruptcy court in San Francisco last week to inform the clerk of the Federal Tax ID number which I had just discovered, and the clerk, Miss Quan, informed me that a new creditors meeting had been scheduled for November 18.
I was not aware of this. I have just looked through my mail and as best I can determine I have never received a letter informing me of the November 18, 1998 date. I also do not recall you informing me verbally of any such date.
I have a scheduled court appearance on an unrelated matter at 9:30 AM on November 19, 1998 in Brooklyn Supreme Court, plus I do not have any money to fly to California at this time. The corporation has no money. I paid for the last trip out of my own pocket. I must inform you that it will be absolutely impossible for me to fly to California for any creditors meeting on November 18. I will try to make myself available on any subsequent date.
I would be more than willing to answer questions over the phone, if that would be possible. I note that no creditors other than myself appeared at the last meeting.
You also told me that you were unaware of any moneys owed by Ishi. In reality, even by the most conservative count, Ishi owes more than $500,000, with no means to pay.
Here are some of the items.
Nathaniel Berkowitz filed a confession of judgment in 1996 for $50,000 in San Francisco Superior Court. The case name is Berkowitz vs. Ishi Press. In fact, Berkowitz made a bogus claim. Ishi Press International does not owe Berkowitz any money at all. Berkowitz, who employs Hartland Snyder, filed this judgment in order to stake a prior claim and to forestall any legitimate creditors from collecting their just debts. Nevertheless, by holding a $50,000 judgment, Berkowitz is a creditor. The attorney of record was Arlo Hale Smith, Junior (son of the former San Francisco DA).
I have an unsatisfied judgment in the amount of $5,000 rendered by the Los Gatos small claims court for royalties on My book, "Chinese Chess for Beginners."
A company called Griffin Publishers is said to have a large unsatisfied judgment for books printed by Ishi Press. However, I have been unable to locate them and therefore Griffin publishers is not on the creditors list.
David Fotland is owed $19,000 in royalties on his computer software program called "The Many Faces of Go".
Martin Lowenstein loaned Ishi Press at least $75,000 during 1994. None of this was ever repaid. Mr. Lowenstein has not filed suit because of the impossibility of collecting.
John Torode of Kirkland, Washington loaned Ishi about $40,000 in 1991 which has never been repaid.
Elwyn Berlekamp claims that he invested $500,000 in Ishi during primarily 1992-1994. I believe that this is a bogus claim like the Berkowitz claim, but clearly Berlekamp is a creditor.
Richard Bozulich is owed a promissory note in the amount of about $72,000 including interest.
Ishi Press Inc. (Japan) is owed 111 million yen for books shipped and never paid for. This comes to about $100,000 depending upon the prevailing exchange rate, not counting interest.
Mike Aguilar, an employee who was fired in mid-1996, has filed a claim for unemployment compensation, he says.
Howard Neal, an attorney, claims he is owed legal fees.
There are about a dozen preferred stockholders holding Ishi Press International shares which are redeemable at $1.00 per share. The total liability is at least $100,000.
There are several hundred persons who purchased life subscriptions to Go World magazine from Ishi. Some paid as much as $220 for these life subscriptions.
There are several other authors who are owed royalties for books published or sold by Ishi Press International.
In addition, almost everybody who has even done business with Ishi has complained that they were never paid. UPS and various former landlords are all said to be owed money.
Please note that the above figures are approximate. I do not know where the books and records of Ishi Press International are or even if they exist. In fact, I believe that the records no longer exist. I have been trying to obtain access to the books and records since mid-1994 without any success thus far.
During my recent trip to California, I discovered a pending lawsuit, Ishi Press vs. Ishi Press International, 95-20679, which is pending in the San Jose Federal District court. This case has apparently been abandoned by both sides, as there has been no activity in more than a year. I had previously believed that it had been dismissed, but when I went to the courthouse, I discovered that it is still pending.
I also located inventory of Ishi Press International located at 851 Hamilton Avenue, Menlo Park 94025. I estimate the value of the inventory I found to be around $10,000 to $20,000, consisting primarily of books published by Ishi Press plus go boards, bowls and stones. It is hidden in the back room of a plumbing supply store called Decorative Plumbing Supply (415) 327-3337. Decorative Plumbing Supply sells toilet bowls, sinks, bathtubs and the like. There is no sign either inside or outside of the building indicating that these are the premises of Ishi Press International, and yet a walk around the right side of the display room will reveal Ishi inventory hidden in the back.
In 1995 and 1996, several lawsuits were filed against Hartland Snyder. Hundreds of dollars were paid to licensed process servers in Redwood City to track him down. He usually evaded service of process, and on the several occasions when the process server was able to nab him, he claimed that the service was defective, twice claiming that he had been served with the complaint but not the summons.
Hartland Snyder is a notorious deadbeat who has been evading judgments since at least 1988. He owes at least $30,000 personally in uncollected judgments. Hartland is a master at evading service of process. Hundreds and perhaps thousands of dollars have been spent to pay process servers to track him down. When he finally does get served, he claims that the service was defective in some way. For example, when we sued him, he claimed that on two separate occasions we served him with just the complaint and not the summons. (It should seem unlikely that anyone would make the same mistake twice.) On two other occasions, when his creditors were finally able to obtain orders for his civil arrest, he filed bankruptcy in order to stave off the order for his arrest. When the order for his arrest expired, the bankruptcy filing was dismissed, thereby forcing his creditors to start all over again.
The latest was Hartland Snyder Bankruptcy, Case No. 97-59994, San Jose Federal Bankruptcy Court, Filed 11-25-1997.
If you have any questions (as indeed you should) please contact me.
Please note the new address above. We moved last week.
Very Truly Yours,
Sam Sloan, President
Ishi Press International