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NERO Atlanta » Forum » Out of Game Whatnot » OOG NERO Things (Moderator: Knight of Evendarr) » Public Relations Statement

Author Topic: Public Relations Statement  (Read 20 times)

Offline C.Spencer

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Public Relations Statement
« on: October 02, 2019, 10:16:07 PM »
An Update on NERO Larp Nobles Policy
It has painfully come to my attention that there is currently a war in the world of LARPing and on the LARPing community as a whole. It would appear a lot of misinformation and misguided opinions have begun to shape the ideals of this community regarding several situations involving the NERO Larp. I have taken it upon myself, as a member of the greater LARPing community and having attended a vast number of different LARPs including NERO, Solar, and Alliance to name a few, to investigate these situations and would like to report my findings. I have interviewed several of the parties involved, though not all that I would have liked, and have formed several of my own insights.
On July 14th, of 2018; user l337quaker poster an article on reddit entitled “Something’s awry in NERO” that has elicited several responses. The article has since been archived, but I would like to address the concerns of the community found in this article first.
It is no secret, that a decision made by Joseph Valenti, the owner of NERO LARP involving the in game noble titles of the players would be reduced to the title of Baron and nothing higher. This decision has been perceived as an unpopular one, due to the outcry of several community members, with the chief argument against this decision being that several of the players directly affected by this decision had spent several years, time, and money achieving these titles, just to have them taken away in the blink of an eye.
This decision was not made without a great deal of discussion between Joe V, and several of his chapter owners. I would like to bring to light that this decision was made at the National level, regarding players holding said titles via the National team. Chapter owners were informed that players will no longer to be able to hold their titles at the National level, however, the Chapter owners were given the ability to recognize all the nobility titles above Baron at the local chapter levels. A player who held the title of “Count” at the national level had his title removed, however his local chapter owner was given authority to recognize his title at the chapter level, thusly preventing any actual loss of title. This decision was not an easy one and was done with responsibility to NERO policy and was made to better the NERO community.
The reason behind why this decision was made was to not only to strengthen the bond between local players whom had achieved these titles and their local chapter owners and plot team, but also to solidify the boundaries between each chapter’s nobility. Several of NERO’s members travel between chapters to play their characters, however there are also several players who do not. There was never any intention to cause harm to any particular player character, but rather a decision that would allow power and control of nobility to be returned to the chapter owners.
It was also brought to the attention of the National team that players holding noble titles granted at the national level had been causing confusion amongst players when travelling between chapters and had also bred abusive interactions with the chapter owners and their local teams and players who chose to travel between chapters with national titles. Several of the players holding National noble titles where travelling to chapters outside their home and using this title to verbally abuse and bully other players, as well as other chapters owners and plot teams. One thing has always been made clear within the NERO community is that it is a welcoming and supportive community. At no time is bullying tolerated at a NERO event. As a community we are home to members of different race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and age; and as a community, we take pride in our welcoming nature. Bullying is and will never be tolerated, for any reason, both within the game, as well as within the social aspect out of our out of game experiences with one another. At no time will national members holding noble titles be excluded from this policy, and therefore the appropriate action was taken. Power was handed back to the Chapter owners, and at their discretion will noble titles be handed amongst their players.
To speak further on policy regarding national noble titles, a policy on political and noble structure was bestowed upon every member of national title holding. Guidelines are set forth prior to their appointment with expectations of their behavior and their political authority when visiting chapters outside their perspective jurisdiction. Many of these instructions, alongside the bullying, were disregarded making this not only a grievance to our welcoming policy, but also to the rules laid forth for the game itself. Many of the responsible parties committing these offenses were acting against the will our community with their egregious behavior but were also acting outside of the expected behavior on an in-game level. This again will not be tolerated.
It is for these reasons that the restriction on noble titles was set in place. Again to reiterate, it was in the best interest of our game and our community to restore power to the local chapter owners by allowing them to dictate who will have noble ranking within their game, without the interference of national nobility possibly sending their hard work, their plot, and their game down a path they never wished to travel.

Fraudulent Activity within NERO Live Adventure Game
   The next topic I would like to address with the community is the standing legal case between Joseph Valenti owner of NERO LARP, and Ford Ivey and William. J Bearden, owners of Nero World.
Before we delve too far into this topic, I bid my readers to investigate this matter for themselves, as I will provide a reference to the current legal status of this case, which is what all my information will site. The information can be found at: http://ttabvue.uspto.gov/ttabvue/v?pno=92065883
On August 2nd, 2018; user junkyardmessiah posted an article on reddit entitled “An update on the status of NERO and Nero World, and what to expect”. This article has since been archived but is the second article I would like to shed some light on for the better sake of our community.
I would like to address the incredible inaccuracy of this article. The information provided by junkyardmessiah is in no way backed by fact and is entirely opinion based. For this reason, I began by giving reference to the actual case, so all my following statements can be viewed and referenced for factual accuracy.
Currently this case has in no way been closed. The dispute, as of now, is over whether Ford Ivey and William Bearden have legal right to the NERO trademark and name. On January 31st, 2015 William J. Bearden filed a Trademark Registration Application with the USPTO for the trademark NERO New England Roleplaying Organization, Serial Number 86181507. This is following receiving information from his attorney Jovanna Bearden that Joseph Valenti’s registration had expired/cancelled and had not been renewed.
Upon first review, I would like to draw your attention to the application itself. The international Identification of the application is stated as follows: Live-Acton Roleplaying, Interactive Theatre, Immersive Roleplaying Experience. This is nearly identical to previous identifications of the used mark by Joe Valenti’s previous registrations, suggesting that knowledge of the previous registration and use of the mark existed. This is important why? Allow me to continue.
The problem section of this application lies within the Declaration itself and clearly by signing to this declaration William J. Bearden is stating he believes no other person or business has right to use this mark in commerce, when he was clearly aware of NERO. This is an attempt to take control of NERO from Joseph Valenti, due to disagreements in the way the game should be run. After acquiring the trademark under this application Bearden then transfers the “ownership” rights to his partner Ford Ivey.
After receiving the trademark, Ford Ivey then goes on to establish a new company, NERO World L.L.C to operate from within. In attempt to gain validity to these fraudulent actions, he then sends letters to all of Joseph Valenti’s licensees, in attempt to get them to transfer to his newly established company. A copy of this letter can be found here: https://www.dropbox.com/h?preview=Ford_Ivey_Letter_To_NERO_Chapter_Owners.pdf
NERO International, NERO Holdings Co., and NERO LARP has been owned and operated by Joseph Valenti since 1998 when originally acquired through bill of sale and Transfer and Assignment of Trademark from Ford Ivey. NERO has been at the forefront of the LARPING community being led by Joseph Valenti since then and has never ceased to operational. For these reasons, Joseph Valenti is the rightful owner and operator of NERO and this attempt to usurp control of the company is being done out of malice and indifference. Currently a Motion of Summary Judgment has been filed by Joseph Valenti and the outcome of this Motion is still awaited by both parties.

NERO National Site
   The next issue in question I would like to address with our community is the NERO National site and GoFundMe page. This issue was brought to light in an article posted on reddit by user Hematophage on Sept 10th, 2018, entitled “NERO Larp owner lied about purchasing land and ran $28,000 GoFundMe on improving land.”
   Several inaccuracies within this article have come to my attention and have been investigated by myself as well as several other authorities on the matter at hand. As most of you are aware, Joseph Valenti ran a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for a NERO National permanent LARP site raising $28,000. Since the collection of these funds several unauthorized pictures and videos have been posted to the internet by a third party claiming that the GoFundMe was a fraud. This information is false.
   The purchase of 2763 NC HWY 731W, Mount Gilead, NC was indeed enacted and successfully fulfilled. The land cost upwards of $100,000. On the site included was 5 separate buildings, only one of which was exposed in he pictures and videos. This information was confirmed by the Montgomery County Register of Deeds office. At the time of the original article, paperwork and registration had not been finalized, which as most owners of property are aware, can take quite some time.
   An abundance of work has been performed on the site at this point. $25,000 dollars of electrical work has been done to supply the five buildings with code adherent electricity. Plumbing and sinks have been run to several of the buildings as well. The land itself is in constant upkeep, as any land requires.  Clearly $28,000 doesn’t begin to cover the costs of the work that has been done, and Joe has come out of his own pocket and time to cover the rest.
   A large parcel of land as well as a large scale process such as building a LARP park takes an inconceivable amount of time and money, and the GoFundMe collections hardly cover a fraction of its purchase, let alone the massive amount a work that has been done and will need to be done in the future. Due to an unforeseen passing of Joe’s father, work did come to a standstill for some time while Joe and his family coped with their loss. Construction and repair as since begun again, and the LARP site is indeed being attended too, the timeline was simple pushed back due to the loss of a loved one.
   It was said that a former player who worked as a carpenter was hired to work at the site. This again is false. Two former players, by the names of Ben Balden and Lacey Warfel, found themselves in a difficult situation and ended up being homeless. They reached out to Joe to get any kind of assistance to which Joe supplied. He ran electricity to a section of the land for them to keep their trailer. In return for his assistance they agreed that two would serve as the groundskeepers to the land and be responsible for its upkeep. Clearly by the photos that were taken, the two did not fulfill their end of the bargain. They never worked on its upkeep, instead sending Joe a list of bills and demands that they needed him to pay for their lives to not crumble. Joe again obliged them, and instead of paying the bills, they waited for Joe to leave town on business, broke into his property where they too the photos and videos, and then left town.
   The Mount Gilead police department was contacted and the two found guilty of trespassing on the property and a warrant was put out for their arrest. Not only were the police contacted for this matter, but they also conducted a full search of the property alongside the Montgomery Humane Society. After conducting their search, they found no illegal activity on the property, and the Humane Society found the animals to be in good health and well taken care of. They proceeded with the warrant, and search of the two criminals, and left Joe with his property in its current state.
   At no time was the GoFundMe collections used for anything but upkeep and betterment of the NERO National LARP site property. The contents of Joe’s property and home are his own and were never funded by these collections. The objects within his home under question, have been in his possession long before the GoFundMe campaign, and are used for his work. Joe works for IBM, and spends much of his time travelling and working from home, and its sad to see the players he choose to help during their time of need not only take such incredible advantage of his charity, but also slander his good name after refusing to fulfill there end of their agreement.

Closing of NERO Chapters
   The final issue I would like to address is the closing of NERO chapters in the Northeast and the South. On January 23rd, 2019; user the_write_ability posted an article titled “What’s up with NERO?” that served to ask several questions, to which responses were posted without factual evidence to their reasonings. I would like to clear the air about some of these answers and fulfil the questions that were posed with fact.
   NERO chapters in the Northeast while separate chapters, are close enough together they are usually run in pairs. The staff from one game runs their game, and plays at a second, while the staff at the second runs their game and plays at the first. The chapters are run is such close tandem that they are nearly inseparable.
   The “closing” of these chapters are in relation to the first two issues I’ve discussed in this article. During the abuse of National noble titles, an incident occurred in the NERO Atlanta chapter that was later adjudicated due to false pretenses. Joe was never informed of the National title holders’ intentions and after that fact was given false information that led to his decision to adjudicate the entire incident. This decision in combination with the fraudulent activity of NERO World is what led to the Ravenholt and Ashlynn chapters choosing to close, and Ravenholt to join Nero World.  Due to these events, the members of the National team who were found to be at fault have been replaced and we are currently still in the rebuilding and recovery process of this incident. These kinds of things take a great deal of time, and we thank everyone in the community for their patience while we continue to address these issues.
   The closing of the South Carolina chapter had occurred for entirely different reasons. It was brought to Joe’s attention that certain players had taken it upon themselves to disregard several of the NERO policies, which ultimately led to the course of action that was taken. These players had decided to disregard not only NERO’s policies, but the State Parks policies involving alcohol. Alcohol was being brought on site and players were getting intoxicated at the NERO events. This is in direction violation of NERO’s policies which can be found within the NERO rulebook.
   Not only was the intoxication and bringing of alcohol a problem, but also the alcohol was being provided to minors with is in direct violation of Federal and State Law. The provision of said alcohol led to several incidents of sexual misconduct which as well was brought to Joe attention. At NO TIME is sexual misconduct nor sexual harassment tolerated at a NERO event and will be punished to the absolute fullest extent. The authorities were contacted, and the situation was no longer left under NERO jurisdiction but rather the local authorities.
   Not only were the above-mentioned issues a problem, but NERO South Carolinas license agreements had expired, and they were operating without valid contract on a month to month basis. When Joe brought these issues to the attention of the chapter owners, it was clear that nothing was going to be done to prevent these from reoccurring so ultimately an agreement was not resigned, leading NERO South Carolina to yet again join the ranks of NERO World where their indiscriminatory behavior would go unpunished.
   It is always sad when we lose a chapter, but NERO policy stands as it does for several reasons. Alcohol and Sexual Misconduct is not tolerated with NERO events, and at its occurrence local authorities will always be contacted. As I have mentioned, we pride ourselves in running a safe community were all are made to feel welcome. It is our job to make sure that no players leave our game feeling that they were unable to enjoy themselves or have a wonderful experience due to the lack of candor by others. When these kinds of issues, whether bullying, sexual harassment, or contribution of alcohol to a minor are brought to our attention, investigation will always proceed with the safety of all our players being our number one priority. NERO is not a place for players to break Federal or State laws either and we will continue to adhere to them in all future endeavors.
   I hope I was able to answer any questions that have arisen within these threads, and I hope that we can continue to have a growing relationship as a greater LARPing community. Our hobby should never be tarnished by the actions of others and we all should be able to have ourselves safe and exciting games in the future, while conducting ourselves in a proper and professional manner. We take the needs of our community very seriously, which is why we at NERO have decided to heed some of the good advice that has come of these threads. Developing a solid working relationship with the public and our community is very important to us, and this is I have written this today. If there are any other concerns my contact information can be found below. I hope to meet many of you in the future, and that we can enjoy a feast in the tavern in the future!

Christopher Spencer, Community Public Relations Administrator for NERO LARP
nerocommpublicrelations@gmail.com

   



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Offline eldorn50

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Re: Public Relations Statement
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2019, 08:52:10 PM »
              I need you to come to the Atlanta November Event and talk to me face to face about all your comments especially about sexual misconduct, alcohol usage and Bulling in Chapters. I was an owner from 2009-2017 for the Atlanta Chapter and saw a lot of it go down and addressed it appropriately.


                                  Sincerely David L. Collins Sr.

 

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