I enjoy being a vehicle for the Joe McEwan-Bobby Gunn fall out. It’s been entertaining throughout and you wouldn’t believe just how many people have contacted me about the story, whether connected or simply as interested observers. It started with Joe McEwan, Bobby Gunn’s former promoter, who called Gunn “a liar, a thief and a coward”, the latest is an exclusive long missive from Marc Brown – a one time sponsor of McEwan’s boxing promotions who wishes to remind McEwan that “what goes around, comes around”.The letter received is included verbatum.
To The International Boxing Community,
I recently came across the blog posting with the scathing letter Joe McEwen wrote about Bobby Gunn. Never could there be a better situation to illustrate the old phrase “what goes around, comes around”. I have known Joe McEwen for many years, and had both a business and personal friendship with him. Our friendship has ended due to the actions of Joe related to our last business deal, and his refusal to honor most terms of our contract. Here is an account of what has transpired. I apologize that my writing style isn’t as colorful and manipulative as Joe’s; it’s just that I deal in facts, and Joe deals in persuasion.
I met Joe McEwen when I applied for a sales position in a company in Tampa Florida. Joe was the sales manager and hired me for the job. I worked in that company for him for about six months, and formed a friendship with Joe. After leaving, I started a business, and maintained a friendship with Joe for the next few years. In addition to our friendship, I often had Joe provide consulting and sales training services for my employees.
In October of 2004, Joe approached me and my business partner about backing him for a fight event in Tennessee for the following February. Joe provided a budget for the event and we reviewed the numbers. Everything looked in order, but knowing there was risk in any venture of this type, I asked Joe to put a stipulation in the agreement. Joe guaranteed a minimum return on our investment, and agreed that if the return was not generated by the proceeds from the event, the remaining amount due would be satisfied when Joe received the funds from a pending lawsuit he was involved in with a knee injury. I was comfortable with this arrangement because Joe and his attorney had already turned down offers from the insurance company, which were substantially larger than what his debt to us would be.
In December and January, we made the required payments to Joe, and he went to Tennessee to begin organizing and promoting the event. Upon arrival, Joe quickly found he needed to post a bond with the Tennessee licensing board (which was not budgeted) to be able to promote a fight in that state (or at least that is what he told us). There were also some minor additional expenses which were not in the budget, and we sent Joe an additional sum of money to cover these costs. Joe signed an interest bearing promissory note for that money, which the interest is still accruing on today.
Fight night came, and we went to Tennessee to attend the event. Immediately, it was clear that the attendance was no were near our projections, and obviously the event was a financial failure. Joe and I talked briefly that night, and agreed that he would have all the accounting for expenses and revenue over to me early the following week, and we would be sent a check for any revenue earned. The next week went by, and we heard nothing from Joe. I tried several times to call him, and he would not take my calls. I sent emails and left messages stating we were still waiting for the funds generated, as well as an accounting of the event. The few times I was able to get a hold of him, Joe had an excuse for the delay, and promised to send the information and money. The weeks turned into months, and Joe stopped taking our calls all together.
When it became clear Joe had no intention of honoring terms of our agreement, I contacted the attorney that was handling Joe’s lawsuit with his knee, and explained the situation to him. I let him know that we were going to file a suit to have our claim attached to his pending suit, so when it was paid we would be compensated prior to Joe receiving the funds. The lawyer told me this action could potentially jeopardize Joe’s lawsuit, and asked if I would reconsider. I told the attorney Joe had 2 days to contact me or we would be filing suit.
Of course, the same day, I finally hear back from Joe. He was full of apologies and excuses and explained he had been in Canada, and was working hard to make the money he owed us. Once again, I drank the Joe McEwen Kool Aid, and agreed to hold off on the litigation. Looking back I can see how naïve I was, but I really didn’t want to believe that a good friend would stab me in the back like this.
Over the next year and a half, contacting Joe was again difficult, and the few times we did, he would tell us he was living in Canada, and working with Bobby Gunn, which was going to produce income for us and he would start paying the debt. We never received any payments. Last November, I was contacted by the attorney for the insurance company Joe was in litigation with, and he informed me that the case had been settled and Joe would be receiving his money within 30 days. He was not able to provide me with the amount of the settlement, but told me it was substantial. The reason he contacted me was because I had been subpoenaed to testify in the trial about the work Joe was doing after the accident with his knee.
I knew that I had no way of getting a hold of Joe, so I contacted his brother, and left him a message to have Joe contact us, and let him know that I knew the suit had been settled. Joe called and said he would be getting his check in the next couple of weeks, and we would get the debt settled. Of course, again Joe reneged on his commitment. I left several more messages with Joe’s brother, and finally stated if we did not receive payment within 7 days, we were going to file a lawsuit. Joe called my cell phone the next day at about 4:00 AM, and left a message that he was going to be in town the next week, and we would work out the numbers. That message, to this date, is the last I have heard from Joe McEwen.
I found it very ironic how Joe painted the picture of Bobby Gunn befriending him, and earning his respect and trust, and how he called him a coward, a thief, and a liar, when he felt he had been betrayed. I would tell Joe to look in the mirror, but I know that would only affect a man with a conscience. I especially loved the part where Joe listed all of the things he felt he had done for Bobby over the years, one by one, featuring each item, and stating they were not what disgusted him. He then said what really disgusted him was that his family’s trust and confidence were compromised, even citing his 6 year old niece. You see, this is how Joe operates. He finds something to tug on your heart strings, to build sympathy for his cause. By listing all the things he claimed to have done for Bobby, then inserting the family statement, he is trying to develop sympathy within the community for his case, and have external pressure put on Bobby Gunn. It basically is a closing technique Joe used to teach me and the other reps back in the days of when I worked for him. I don’t know anything about the Bobby Gunn situation, over what I have read in the blogs, and I wouldn’t claim to know which side is right. What I do know is that everything I have written here is factual, and I have all of the documentation to back it up.
Will we ever see a penny from Joe? I really don’t know the answer to that, and I’m certainly not writing this to try to get Joe to pay. That will work itself out through the courts. I just wanted people in the boxing community to know a little more about him, so they can be informed before deciding to do business with this man.
Marc Brown [ENDS]