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Count him in

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For the youth sports leagues who lost money trusting it to Terry Drayton’s Count Me In, a savior has emerged… Terry Drayton.

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That’s right, bitches. I’m gonna own 2009 after all.

From John Cook (no relation to your humble blogger) at TechFlash, who has done a great job breaking news on the Count Me In saga:

Let’s call it a comeback. Count Me In founder Terry Drayton is leading a new effort to buy back the assets of the troubled online payment processing company.

The move comes a little more than three months after Bellevue-based Count Me In was forced into Chapter 7 bankruptcy by some of its non-profit customers for losing roughly $5 million in registration fees.

Drayton has now emerged as the leader of an entity called Rainier Software that appears to be in the pole position to buy the assets. It’s the latest twist in a saga that has drawn considerable chatter on this blog. According to court documents, Rainier recently made a $200,000 “stalking horse bid” for Count Me In’s domain names, technology, contracts and other assets.

The owner whose incompetence and/or malfeasance (depending on what league you talk to) led his company to bankruptcy and screwed up the finances of organizations across the country gets to buy Count Me in back for a song? This can’t be legal, right?

Oh yeah, it is, though by the time you get through the ridiculousness of how this can happen, it’ll make sense that the trustee assigned to the Count Me In bankruptcy is named Ed Wood, because the process seems as strange as an Ed Wood movie.

Basically, what happened was. On March 20, about three months after Count Me In was forced into bankruptcy, a company called Rainier Software filed something called a financial statement, or UCC-1. It’s filed by a lender with the state’s secretary of state as a means to secure property owned by the debtor. So Rainier Software was saying it lent money to Count Me In, and that Count Me In put up property as collateral — thus bringing it to the head of the bankruptcy line as a secured creditor. Ed Wood was OK with this because he determined that the youth leagues who used Count Me In, and were still using it, would be out more money if the company shut down than if he allowed it to continue on.

Meanwhile, Ed Wood was determining that he couldn’t find a buyer for Count Me In. Ed Wood “determined that businesses of the type and sophistication of the debtor’s are dominated by a few businesses, including the debtor,” according to the latest bankruptcy court filing. “The Trustee has been in constant contact with most of these companies, but only one company, Rainier, negotiated a purchase and sale agreement.”

The operator of Rainier? None other than Terry Drayton.

So for $200,000, less the approximately $49,000 discount Rainier (Drayton) gets for its secured-debt level on Count Me In (Drayton), Rainier (Drayton) is first in line to buy the assets of Count Me In (Drayton). Rainier (Drayton) has 60 days to give the court a list of contracts from Count Me In (Drayton) plans to assume — meaning the possibility exists that leagues that are owed money by Count Me In (Drayton) not only might never see it again, but that they might be tossed overboard by the new owner, Rainier (Drayton).

Of course, a “stalking horse” deal such as this means that others can bid a higher price and take Count Me In (Drayton) out of the hands of Rainier (Drayton) — as long as Rainier (Drayton) gets a break-up fee of $65,000.

John Cook’s story notes that the Washington Secretary of State has gotten numerous complaints about Drayton. But all of this, while crazy, appears to be perfectly legal. Which means your league could soon be perfectly fucked. And that’s why Drayton is a serial entreprenuer who gets on magazine covers, and you are not.

Bryant Gumbel wants you!

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Really, he does. I’ve been asked by a producer at Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel to spread the word that if you’ve got a young child you’re training for a pro career (your progeny — gymnastics coaches don’t count), you might get the chance to be on HBO without making drunk confessions in a taxicab. Wait, “Taxicab Confessions” isn’t on anymore? Damn, I loved that show.

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HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel is developing a story on the current climate in youth sports in which parents are increasingly invested in the athletic pursuits of their children. We’re looking for parents of children (ideally ages 3 through 10) who have invested large amounts of time, money, and energy into their children’s sporting activities. Ideally, you’re a parent whose investment in youth sports is connected to a hope that focusing on your children’s sports activities will one day lead to a college scholarship or pro career.  The point of the piece is to illuminate the evolution in the seriousness of youth sports; this is not meant to be a judgmental story on parents’ decision-making on how to raise their children. Please contact: Nisreen Habbal, Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. Direct line: (212) 512-1645. Collect calls will be accepted. Thank you very much.  

The producer asked me for suggestions. I mentioned Glenn Lines. I think they’re looking for someone who gives off a less creepy vibe.

By the way, why that line about “not being judgemental” might sound a little uh-oh, I believe the producer is sincere. Sure, there are overbearing parents shoving tennis rackets or baseball gloves into their kids’ hands at age 4 and looking at it as the first step to the pros. But there also are parents of prodigies legitimately trying to find ways to manage their child’s life and expectations in the face of a lot of outside pressure. This should be an interesting program. Maybe not as interesting as drunks talking about their threesomes or coke addicts begging for a fix, but on a show featuring kids’ sports, that would just be sad.

Jack Cafferty wants to beat your children

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Not technically youth sports, but given the amount of bitching about parents that goes on in it, this seems highly appropriate.

CNN’s resident curmudgeon wants to tell you: your kids aren’t that special.

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Acknowledging he wasn’t the World’s Greatest Dad when he was drunk and getting divorced from his kids’ mother, Cafferty (pictured above) spins a bad night out to dinner into a symbol of Everything Wrong With America. Apparently we’re in an epidemic of teen pregnancies, school dropouts and underage drinking and drugging because Cafferty can’t get some peace and quiet with his filet mignon:

Exhibit A: My wife and I have just been seated for dinner when the maitre d’ walks over and seats a young family at the table next to us and the kids start carrying on like orangutans on a leash.

The parents are going, “Timmy, that’s not nice, don’t throw your food, stop stuffing your mashed potatoes up your nose.” Are mom and dad having fun yet, picking food up off the floor, apologizing to people like us, and wiping food flung across the table off their faces?

Some parents still have this attitude that their kids are too special to be burdened by discipline. And the rest of us are supposed to put up with their little mutants. That attitude really pisses me off.

I hate to break it to them, but the kids aren’t special, and I don’t have to put up with their behavior. If you can’t control your obnoxious little brats, leave them home.

They don’t belong out in public annoying other people, period. I don’t remember a generation of kids ever so indulged and enabled to behave so badly. What’s going on?

I remember as a kid I was expected to behave myself out in public or suffer the wrath of one very angry father. And of all the things that used to piss him off, those expectations didn’t seem unreasonable. Something’s gone terribly wrong here. My guess is it has to do with the breakdown of authority, the collapse of strong family structure, and the abdication of parental responsibility, dictated in part by the necessity that both parents work.

Before you begin your debate on the veracity of Cafferty’s remarks, please note that his parents combined for 11 marriages, that Cafferty blames his father for making him an alcoholic by bringing him frequently to the neighborhood saloon, and that Cafferty told NPR that he has “a compulsive distrust for authority figures.”

You were saying, Mr. Cafferty?

Written by rkcookjr

March 23, 2009 at 12:16 pm

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