Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Those Pesky Legalities
In New York and in Washington State, it’s illegal to register a business under an assumed name unless you also register your assumed name as “doing business as” (DBA). You can review the regulations at New York’s Division of Corporations and Washington’s Business Licensing Services pages. This is important because, at the time of this writing, MacAllister Stone, owner of Absolute Write, lives in Washington State and has Absolute Write registered in New York. However, MacAllister Stone is not a real person. Her real name, Melodi Susanne Sherman, is not registered as a DBA of MacAllister Stone in either state. That makes Absolute Write, the business entity, illegal [Emphasis added by The Write Agenda.].
Months ago, The Write Agenda (who doesn’t deserve a link; look them up if you’d like) posted about MacAllister Stone submitting a pseudonym and false address when Absolute Write was named in a lawsuit. I assumed it was a lie because TWA posted it. It was a slow day and I was curious, so I spent the afternoon poking around the Internet and public records. [Emphasis added by The Write Agenda.]. I [sic] didn’t take me long to locate a site called Forums Review, who seem to have an issue with Absolute Write as well, MacAllister Stone in particular. (In case you’re wondering, AW mods, no, I don’t have a connection with this site either. I tried to contact them through email because I didn’t want to have to create this blog, when they already had a perfectly serviceable one to which I could contribute. They never replied.) [Emphasis added by The Write Agenda.].The name Melodi Sherman was all I needed to find proof that she and MacAllister Stone are the same person. (Sorry to all those who were certain Lisa Spangenberg was MacAllister in disguise. Public records show otherwise.) It only took me two or three hours to track everything down. Why people think they can remain anonymous–to the point that they lie on legal documents!–is beyond me. [Emphasis added by The Write Agenda.].
Better Business Bureau listing for Absolute Write:
The phone numbers are the same.
Absolute Write’s address as listed in the WhoIs information visible on the Forums Reviewsite. To all the concern trolls or potential stalkers, this address is no longer her current address. It belonged to a ranch that Melodi managed, as shown below, and was sold several years ago. Don’t be asshats to the current owners, mkay?
The WhoIs information for LakeviewRanchRide.com, now defunct. Melodi is still using the username visible here, although the email address has changed.
Here’s an endurance ride from Lakeview, right before it closed. Melodi is the assistant manager and owner of the email used to register the domain.
Voter registration (public record) for Melodi, showing her birth date and old address.
One of MacAllister’s birthday celebrations on Absolute Write. Yes, the birthdays are a match.
Great. MacAllister is Melodi. Glad that’s cleared up.
I’d love to understand why Melodi thought her name was so secret that she committed perjury and fraud so she didn’t have to reveal it to anyone. I don’t plan to stalk or harass MacMelodi. Someone might, I suppose, but Lisa Spangenberg (real name) and Victoria Strauss (real name) seem to do just fine. They get pestered online, but people do that all the time even without knowing a real name.
This is speculation, but I would guess it’s because she doesn’t want to lose face in the Absolute Write community. She portrays herself as a publishing professional in order to reign over the forums. In reality, though, her only publishing credit is her thesis, a rather dense and unremarkable treatise on Stephen King.
In summary, Absolute Write and its owner, MacAllister Stone aka Melodi Sherman, are guilty of crimes the Bewares topic and Writer Beware regularly expose. Melodi has no grounds for mocking anyone on a high-profile industry forum that posts publishing advice. She’s barely qualified to edit other people’s work for money; an MFA from a state university doesn’t replace real-life experience (running a ranch and trimming horses’ hooves don’t count toward that experience). Worst of all, Melodi has committed perjury when providing false data to the New Jersey courts, and fraud when registering Absolute Write as a business entity.
I wish I hadn’t had to post this. I shouldn’t have to. Make it right, Absolute Write and Writer Beware. Or you’re as bad as the criminals you claim to oppose, and you’re hypocrites too.