Thomas Wictor

Mike Albee heads for the hills

Mike Albee heads for the hills

UPDATE: Now Sandpiper Publicity’s Website is back up. Since this was a fun post to write, I’ll leave it up too.

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Mike Albee has taken down the website for Sandpiper Publicity. When things get too hot for Mike and his lovely wife Lura Dold, they close up shop. But he’ll be back.

First, however, I need to give thanks that Scott Thunes came through his surgery without any major trouble. He’s had a stent put in his left anterior descending artery. When he recovers he’ll have to make some pretty significant lifestyle changes in terms of diet and exercise.

In 1997 I had lunch with Scott at an outdoor cafe in the Bay Area. He had a sandwich that consisted of a buttered croissant, brie, and avocado. On our way to our table, Scott got about five packets of mayonnaise and squirted them on each bite of his sandwich. I think he had potato chips too.

Needless to say, this kind of fare is off the menu. For good. But Scott should think of it this way: He had his saturated fat, and he had it better than most. Now we’re entering a new phase. Heart-healthy food can be delicious. When he goes on the road, he’ll always be able to find low-fat items. All he needs to do is avoid beef, cheese, hearts of palm (Who eats those anyway?), and full-fat dairy.

Add a daily walk of forty-five minutes and ten minutes of silent contemplation, and he’ll be fine.

My father ate nothing but saturated fat during the fourteen years he lived after his quintuple bypass. If Scott goes the opposite route and makes changes, there’s no reason he can’t simply take up where he was before and actually improve his quality of life.

Now, on to my baby con artist.

Mike Albee heads for the hills

As of now, Sandpiper Publicity no longer seems to exist. Magnus Publicity is still in business. So I’ll keep writing about Mike Albee. He was so stupid that he confused his two fake companies and sent me a contract with Magnus instead of Sandpiper.


Smith Publicity has picked up the story. Mike told me that the accusations against him were a scam “purportrated” by Smith because Sandpiper had stolen so many of Smith’s clients.

Mike Albee doesn’t have any clients. He has “marks.” I was one of them. So what? I’m not embarrassed or ashamed that someone took advantage of me when I wasn’t in my right mind. It says much more about the predator than it says about me.

My plan is to now find another publicist. I’ll begin the search after Volume Three of the Ghosts Trilogy, Hallucinabulia, is finished. I’m awaiting the first copy to make sure it looks okay. Rick Glasby did a great book trailer, so I just might be able to salvage something from this catastrophe.

Everyone has a different temperament. If you find that you can’t shake off a disaster, that doesn’t say anything about you except that you can’t shake off a disaster. My age and experience have inured me. Being scammed by con artists who exploited the worst moments of my life was ugly, but it couldn’t compare to what I’d just been through.

Going out into the world entails risks. When I enter into an agreement with anybody about anything, I assume that they’re lying frauds who are going to rip me off.

“What an awful mindset!” you say.

For you. But not for me. This is how I brace myself. The saga of Ghosts and Ballyhoo is—so far—a nearly unbroken string of ripoffs. It’s funny, because now that I’m on Facebook, I see all the people who screwed me. They post smiling photos, talk about their life partners, and hail their friends. Love gets mentioned a lot. They seem like such nice people!

I could name them all.

Instead, here are the people who came through for me.

Rick Glasby, Stephen Jay, Scott Thunes, Bryan Beller, Mike Keneally, Dan Smith, Anne Johnson, Anne Kadrovich, Joe Cady, Brian Fox, Mikhail Supotnitskiy, Tracy Brett, Jeff Constantine, Dan Garneau, Martin Gallagher, Eric Jones, Mike Kocik, Mark McCann, Tom Pickle, David Rae, Brittany Rich, and David Sierra.

So far even a modicum of success has eluded me, but Ghosts is about not giving up. Mike Albee and Lura Dold set me back; they may even have killed my career, but I won’t know for sure unless I keep going. When the Ghosts Trilogy is finished and available, I’ll pitch myself to publicity firms again.

Part of what I’ll insist be included in a press kit is my dealings with Mike Albee and Lura Dold. Whenever I’m interviewed, I’ll mention them. Just as Mom and Dad’s deaths shaped me, so did Mike and Lura’s exploitations of them.

I’m not the one taking down Websites, Mike and Lura. As you go scuttling off like cockroaches, I forge ahead. In the daylight.

In my fifty-one years, I’ve had the opportunity to rip off many helpless people. When I lived in Japan, I could’ve stolen unbelievable amounts of money. At the time the Japanese had a cash-based society. Twice a year businessmen would be paid gigantic bonuses, and they would go out and get bombed until they fell over unconscious. These passed-out drunks were called “bonuses.”

You’d see a guy snoring away on the train platform or in the alley, and you knew that he had as much as $10,000 in his wallet. And the bonuses were given in big, ostentatious envelopes. One time on a subway, a drunk dropped his bonus as he was getting off. I picked it up, barely made it through the doors as they slammed on me, and ran after him. Then he wanted to give it to me, which I refused.

There’s a famous news commenter who I knew in Tokyo before he hit the big time. One day as we went through a train station together, he dropped to the floor and popped up again, a pogo-squat with his upper body completely upright. It was a really bizarre movement.

“What’re you—” I began.

“Keep walking! Keep walking!” he said.

We went to the other side of the station, where he showed me that he’d found a wallet on the floor. He opened it, took out the cash, and threw the wallet and all the contents in a trash can. Then he smiled and pocketed the money.

You can see him every day on a famous cable news channel.

I prefer my own experience with loss. One day in a department store, I realized that I’d dropped a ¥10,000 note, about eighty dollars back then. It infuriated me.

“Go to the lost and found,” my American friend said.

“Are you kidding?” Did he think I was an idiot?

“Just go. Someone will have found it and turned it in. I’ll wait here. It’ll be there. I promise.”

So I went to the lost and found and told them I’d dropped a ¥10,000 bill.

“Oh, yeah,” the guy said. “Someone turned it in. Please sign for it.”

That’s the sort of person I aspire to be. Mike Albee and Lura Dold can be like the cable news announcer who stole somebody’s money and threw away all their ID and membership cards. You couldn’t pay me any amount to be that guy.

The fight’s not over, Mike and Lura. It never will be. Wherever I go, you’ll be there with me.

See, Mom and Dad? Like I told you, all’s not lost. It almost never is.

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