Yes, Aspen Mountain Press is a total and complete mess due to the actions of its publisher Susan Hicks. AMP published my husband’s first book last August. He has seen no royalties, no accounting and his emails have gone unanswered. He is unable to re-publish elsewhere and he signed a seven year contract with Hicks from which, under the circumstances, he would very much like to be released. Because it seems that “co-mingling of accounts” and “tax fraud” at minimum are occurring, here are some steps you can take to bring pressure upon Ms. Hicks to do the right thing for her authors. Remember, there is power in numbers. Gadhafi is now dead and gone due to power in numbers and the support of NATO, but it was the little guys who fought the good fight on the ground.
1) I contacted the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service (1-877-777-4778) who advised me to download their IRS Form #3949A from www.irs.gov, fill it out and mail it to them. They WILL look into the alleged co-mingling of accounts and tax fraud.
2) I contacted the Arapahoe County District Attorney’s Office. I left a message with the approprite District Attorney, asking him to read the blogs for more information regarding Ms. Hicks’ actions (or lack thereof). It is my understanding that the D.A.’s Office, after reading the blogs, is of the opinion “there is nothing of a prosecutorial nature”. I don’t understand that stance. Bernie Madoff ripped people off monetarily. What’s the difference here in the lack of royalty payments due to authors? If you believe you have a “prosecutorial matter,” you should call that D.A.’s Office at 1-720-874-8500 and ask for “Mason”. Since when does a D.A.’s office NOT investigate FRAUD? I hope that office is inundated with phone calls. My suspicion is we are just too “small fry” for them to care about, but a deluge of phone calls should change that stance.
3) I spoke with someone in the Colorado State Attorney General’s Office (1-800-222-4444) in their Consumer Complaint Department who was very interested in this matter and very helpful. The individual I spoke with said, “I recommend two things for you. First, hire your own personal attorney, if you can afford it, to legally deal with the publisher in court. Second, go to our web site at www.colorado.attorneygeneral/complaint web site, select the ‘Private Business’ link, fill out and submit that electronic form to us and we will look into the matter for you.” In viewing that form, I see there are some problematic fields – such as Hicks’ Social Security number – but just fill out as much of the form as you can in order to give the AG’s Office as much ammo as possible. Understand that the AG’s Consumer Prosection Section is charged in protecting consumers from “deceptive trade practices, anti-trust infringements, and a wide range of other violations of the Colorado Consumer Protection Act”. The AG’s Office works closely with the Better Business Bureau and other agencies to investigate consumer complaints against businesses, creditors and collection agencies within Colorado.
4) I contacted the Denver Better Business Bureau (1-303-758-2100). I was advised that I and others affected by this publisher’s actions should compose a detailed snail mail letter addressed to the BBB listing all the infractions and mail it to the BBB at 1020 Cherokee Street, Denver, CO 80204 for their review.
5) My husband and I can’t afford to hire an attorney, however, I wonder if the AMP authors have the ability to mobilize such that we can hire ONE excellent Colorado attorney to bring a class action suit against Ms. Hicks? Comments? Any one out there?
I am assisting my husband in getting Jobs 1, 3 and 4 accomplished this weekend. I sincerely hope this information is helpful to other frustrated AMP authors, and I also sincerely hope those authors will get on board with us with regard to bringing this matter to the attention of the authorities vs. the wringing of hands via the Internet. Again, there is power in numbers (look at Wall Street!). Let’s DO this!