He scammed us, stole all sponsorship money and basically single-handedly ruined IPL and the career of David Ting (Head of IPL) among other things. I.e. Put us in debt, debt, and even more debt.
The budget that we had was enough to run the tournament and give out a decent prize pool to the top players, and this was all before IGN even came into the equation. The only reason that IGN contacted us (and they did contact us first) was because we had planned to hold the event on a weekend they had marked for one of their own gigs. And with SC2 and esports booming the way it was in those early days, they didn't want to fracture the viewership and compete for views.
This led them to call us, pledge a bigger amount for prize pool and offer to make our tournament a qualifier for the next big IPL event they were going to throw. This was how the tournament became known as the Pacific Qualifiers.
Now, the original tournament was my brainchild that I brought up to a friend (the one who introduced me to SC2 and even gave me a beta key for WoL). We had worked on the concept for months leading up to the event, but the only logistical problem that we had was lack of knowledge of the local scene.
You see, back then I was more focused on NA ladder and the international scene. I had seen the slow decline of the SEA region in terms of players and started playing more in NA and even bought another account to play in TW/KR region. (This was before they opened every server to each account.) This was part of the reason my friend and I were unfamiliar with the local scene. The initial idea I had was to make the Philippines something of a middle ground when it came to competitive play. Close enough proximity to KR that we could bring top players in, but also with a strong English backbone so getting stuff done wouldn't be an issue, especially when it came to selling the idea to an international audience.
Now, the first step in becoming familiar with the local scene was to sponsor one of the local tournaments. We didn't give much other than a few hundred bucks ($) and a Razer peripheral or two. So while I was working on logistical issues for our upcoming event (which was still just a concept I was working on, which I shared with my friend), my friend had aligned himself (and our event, by proxy) to AZK and more specifically Gus, who I was told was familiar with the local scene—supposedly our "in" to getting the local community to help us run the event.
But I can tell you that the first time I met him, I suspected him of being shady af. Basically could see the dollar signs blinking in his eyes. But I was assured by my friend that we needed this guy to rally the community—and we really did need the local community to help out—to gather all the resources and resolve any issues we might have when running a tournament.
I had to agree, because I had come to see that two people couldn't run the tournament that I envisioned. I mean it wasn't some online tournament that we wanted to throw. I wanted to create a brand. Wanted top players. Basically wanted to create a legitimate tournament that would someday be able to rival the other brands like MLG and IEM, etc. And mind you, at this point, IGN wasn't involved yet.
I had told my friend about the uncertainty and doubt I had regarding Gus, but my friend told me that he would handle Gus and all I had to do was take care of the rest of the stuff. Now, I trusted this friend immensely, so when he told me he would handle everything Gus-related, I trusted that to be true.
I had worked on getting the sponsors onboard. I had written so much print and contracts that we had gotten enough pledges to have amounted to something a little over $20,000. And I had budgeted everything well enough that we were sure to be able to get at least 16 of the top players, as well as Tastosis to cast the event. Now, I knew that when we got Tastosis on board that would give the tournament the legitimacy it needed. And while their fee was quite costly, they were most definitely worth it.
So I had done my part. Then word reached IGN (IPL) that we had managed to secure Tastosis for the event, and not only that but our event actually fell on a weekend that they had planned one of their own events.
This led to IGN contacting my friend and I, where we worked out details regarding the event, their tie-in, accrediting us as basically IPL-Pacific and also their offer to up the prize pool by pledging their own amount. Which was around the same amount that we had already managed to secure for ourselves.
So now we had managed to basically get something close to $40,000 for our budget, and considering that we were already able to budget out an event from our initial amount, IGN's promise of doubling that amount basically solved all our extraneous logistical issues. We wouldn't have to skimp out on anything anymore.
We'd be able to get completely soundproof booths, set stage and lighting, rent the location that we had hoped to get, spec out all the player computers and even the one we had for our own streaming purposes. We wouldn't need volunteers anymore since we could afford to pay everyone that put their time and effort into the event.
With the extra funds, we would be able to surely bring the top players of the time over from KR and even put up a pretty substantial prize pool. Basically run a legitimate tournament that would be worthy of being part of the IPL roster.
IGN even offered to fly my friend and I to the IPL 3 (IGN_ProLeague_Season_3) event in Atlantic City. But because I didn't have my visa for the US ready in time, Gus went in my place.
Like I mentioned earlier, I wasn't a fan of Gus, but my friend was right when he said that Gus was connected to the local scene. His team AZK was one of the only two known teams in the country, and there were quite a few top ranked players from the region on the team. His connections to the local scene brought about people who were passionate about SC2 and who were willing to help us out in running the event.
While I had set up all the logistics to run a proper tournament, my friend who promised to handle everything on the Gus front, including the local community, had to go back to the States because of college duties. Then everything went wrong.
It started with the initial sponsorship money, which was handed out to secure the location as well as all the extras. This included lighting and stage expenses, all of which we ordered to have built from scratch. But none of that money went to pay for the things it was marked for. Gus started blowing it by inviting Tastosis over from KR a week earlier than we needed. He blew the money by splurging on unnecessary things, like lavish dinners, $3,000 jackets, going out drinking every night and taking care of the bills (which amounted to over a few thousand $), as well as other things. He basically used the money as his own personal fund. Spending it as he wished. And I didn't know about any of it until a week before the event.
The only reason I found out was because I got calls from people I didn't know. These were local community people who were hired to provide the services we needed for the event. I had heard back from the soundbooth people saying they had never gotten paid, neither did the lights and sound guys. I heard from the location that we supposedly booked saying that we weren't booked for the whole weekend. This and other issues that we had money bookmarked for started to implode, causing a logistical nightmare for me, and more importantly for the event. And this was a week before the event.
So I called my friend, who was now back in the States at college, and told him about everything that was going wrong. And also, I have yet to mention this, but my friend and I put in at least several thousand $ of our own money in securing the stuff we needed for our event. He couldn't believe what was happening, didn't want to believe that Gus had spent all of the initial sponsorship money we had gathered and asked me to basically take charge of the community side of the event. But it was far too late by then.
The only thing I could do at that point was use the money that we hadn't given yet to Gus to pay for all the expenses. I contacted the other local sponsors that had yet to hand over the money and told them to hold their money until the day of the event. My friend contacted IGN to tell them that there were problems and asked them to hold off sending their pledge until we were able to resolve all the overlying issues.
When I tried to contact the people in charge of the different aspects of the event, my calls weren't being taken. I had later found out that as I tried to salvage the situation, Gus told the rest of the local scene to cut me off. They were even trying to charge me entrance to the event.
Luckily since I was able to secure all the local sponsors, they all took my calls. One of the local sponsors (Nissin Cup Noodles) that hadn't yet given their pledge had agreed to give the full amount (around $2k) to the winner of the event. And I made sure they personally handed the money to the winner themselves.
-Then I find out that Gus never paid for any of the plane tickets of the players, he basically put it on credit and told this woman he knew at a travel agency that he would pay her for it. He never did. So she was held liable for another several thousand $ worth of plane tickets.
-Also none of the hotels that were booked were paid for, other than the rooms of Tastosis. Even the GunRun who came all the way to the Philippines from Twitch to help with the production of the event had to pay for his own stuff.
-There were players who had to bunk with some random local Korean guys who were part of the community, because they didn't have anywhere to stay.
-The computers that we had agreed to get for the event were never rented, so players had to play their matches in a nearby pc cafe.
-The (full spec'd out, top of the line) computer that we were promised for production and streaming (which was one of the requirements that IPL made us ensure) was actually picked up by Gus and never brought to the venue. I believe he still has it with him right now.
Then, the night before the event, Gus calls me. He tells me how everything is falling apart and he wants me to take charge of the event. I wish him good luck, tell him to go fuck himself, and I don't show up to the event that I had been planning for half a year.
Luckily, because IPL withheld their pledge after we informed them of the messed up situation, Gus wasn't able to get that money. And it was divided up and sent to some of the people that were owed. I had heard that the travel agent woman was able to pay off the tickets, and there was still some left that went to pay for the location and internet connection and a few other things.
Sadly, none of the people that worked hard to make the event come to life got paid. There's still a lot more fucked up things that happened but that's the pretty much the most important details about the story and what happened.
In the end, IPL eventually died out. David Ting (who was an absolute pleasure to work with and a great human being) left IGN (got fired or quit?) Our PPSL event was a disaster where the prize pool was effectively halved. The whole Philippine scene was shamefaced. My friend and I lost over $6,000 of our own money and had nothing to show for it.
The only silver lining of the event was that it was the first LAN that MarineKing won. So at least we had that going for us.
TL;DR Gus stole close to $10,000 of sponsorship cash, equipment and prizes. And put around 10 other people in debt of over another $10,000. He is scum. And if he's reading this now. You, Gus, deserve every bit of karma that has come back to bite you in the ass. Good riddance.