So most of you out there on internet won’t know about this, but those close to me do. Recently I found myself looking for a financially stable place of employment and after a mad barrage of resume submissions, rejection, testing and a lot of disappointing result, I finally got a call from a company who was willing to at least get close to my salary range of $15.00 hr. I know not much right, anyway the company was named Negnu Marketing , and though I thought it was an odd name I felt as if I’d heard it before, either way it wasn’t too much of a concern. As long as my financial needs were met I was all for it, but things got even better.
I went in for my initial interview on Wednesday May 21st 2014, and met with Pierre Joseph the self made CEO of the company who had apparently honed his skill while previously working at Intel. He stated he had to attend another meeting we shook hands and he left another employee there to show me around the office, until he returned. At this point no real red flags were being raised on my part, especially as in the last month several employers has over booked appointment s and I was left waiting to be seen for up to 30 min at a time. This delay however would change my view of everything about this company or so I thought. As we walked around the main office I was led up a set of stairs to plush break area with couches and big screen TV’s, honestly it felt like I had stepped back in time to the days of “The Door” based on the color scheme. I was then shown the radio booth with 2 sets of decks and mixing board, then back down stairs to the green screen photo/video studio, and across to the hair and makeup salon. My brain was doing the happy dance, and my pulse was racing, this company did everything I was into, audio production, radio production, podcast, video photography, and of course all of it was online and built around a WordPress powered website, negnu.com
“DING DING DING DING DING DING”
That’s where I knew the name from, I sold this guy these names when I was at GoDaddy but this was not how I explained how to use them.
So after about a 30 min tour I met back with Pierre who had me fill out a new hire packet, which was odd because he had yet to say anything in regards to ” congratulations you have the job”. over the course of another 15-20 min we talked about my past work and it turn s out we had met briefly before as he recognized my face. Ironically it turns out we had a mutual friend and had actually briefly met some 10 years previously. I explained how I had actually stolen his motorcycle from the guy he had lent it to, for talking bad about my motorcycle. I liked his little Honda 600RR, as I glanced in the mirrors for our mutual friend struggling to catch up on my own Kawasaki ZX7R. Needless to say we got where we were going and swapped back.
I was offered the job and accepted at the end of the interview as Pierre had liked the skill set I displayed on my resumes stating I would be a great help to him and his company getting their call center up and running, as well as training the new employee on how to use the internal computer systems. Now based on all of this I’m thinking he’s going above and beyond my requested $15.00 an hour, but I would have to wait to receive the offer letter email to be sure. I confirmed he was going to be emailing g me at the correct address and was asked to come back on Friday to start.
I went home ecstatic, finally a job I can really get behind that well make use of all the things I know or even a place where I can explore them even more. As I drove home I pictured doing photo shoots for magazines and websites, helping produce radio ads, even producing the Grown n Sexy podcast I’ve been wanting to start, Erin was happy for me as well. Finally it seems things were starting to turn around, or so I thought.
My first day on the job, just like any other, was all about orientation and training, that’s where the similarities ended. My training was on the use of Microsoft’s Office 365, so when I thought when I was seated at a pc it would be either an interactive training guide or at least a video. Well it was a video it was a YouTube video and not any specific one, it was any and all of them, and that’s when I realized ” I don’t think they’ve ever run a call center or support department before”. So I basically sat at the front desk and watched YouTube videos and when were the suggested ones were done I was advised to look for some more. Finally I just opted to go to Microsoft website and watch some of those.
After about 3 hours of this I advised the other employee and Pierre that those videos aren’t really made to train someone completely it more or less an overview of some of it s features. Unless you had a specific issues there would be no way to watch all of the videos in any sort of training order. That was the first but not the last time Pierre advised myself and later others that he would not spend any time training everyone on how to use office 365 and that it was our responsibility to learn it on our own through these videos and that if he could do it anyone could. with that being said back I went, but this I more or less just searched the web, found a few sites offering real training on the product and explored what I could on without some sort of payment method. That’s when I saw Pierre lead another man into the conference room by the front door, apparently for some sort of presentation as the man had his laptop with him. Oddly enough that’s when he brought YouTube as well and started showing Negnu videos, being intrigued I searched for them myself and that’s when I came across it. I blown through the first set of videos on YouTube and then Vimeo and was searching Google for anything else they may have produced and that’s when I saw the Ripoff Report, followed by The Dirty reports, and the Indybay report, the Complaint Board report, and finally Yelp!.
I proceeded to skim over the material which seemed a bit dated and also referred to his older company Paradise Valley Marketing (PVM).
At this point I should have called my dispatcher and told him I changed my mind and see if he had any deliveries he needed done, but instead I gave Pierre and Negnu the benefit of the doubt and figured maybe things had change in the years between now and then. Soon I was shown the actual call center area an room about the size of the children’s bedrooms lined up end to end, that was on the 2nd floor above the main production studio. It carried the same color scheme as the building and had a window overlooking the production studio below. There were still notes and evidence of the previous employees whom I had been told were released some months ago due to some managerial issues. The rest of the day went without much incident , only the lingering thoughts about the information I discovered kept going through my head. At this point Pierre asked me if I could come back the next day at the same time and I advised him that I had a previous commitment and that I could start my regular schedule on Friday, to which he stated that would be fine and too remember it was a casual Fridays at the office.
Soon Friday morning came and I was excited to go to work. Upon arriving there was no one there, I thought odd, maybe we were supposed to come in later. And then one of the owner who later turned out to be the actual financier of the company drove by and asked who I was there to see. He then advised me he would call to have someone come and open up the office. A few minutes later the first employee I met showed up with the video producer and we all went inside. The day was pretty lacked I met the other call center employees one of which had been sent home on my first day due to arriving 45min late and wreaking of marijuana. During the course of asking her in regards to why she was late and the obvious odor she exclaimed that her buses were late and that she had only smoked a little between her bus stops. When asked about her attire she claimed to have been advised that it was supposed to a casual Fridays and to her that met what she would wear around the house. It was explained to her what Casual Friday’s meant in the business world and regardless of that matter her current mental state would not suffice any type of productivity in the office. She tried to argue the fact and stated she could just put on some lotion to cover the smell but he was apparently not having any part of that and quickly sent her on her way home for the day. Her and the other 3 new employees had worked that Thursday and were given lunch by the company so as she left she demanded the right to take her sandwich from the previous day home with her.
Around 4pm Pierre let everyone know the office was closing for the day early and for everyone to return on Tuesday . The weekend came and went and I tried to enjoy myself without giving too much thought to Negnu and its past offenses, forcing myself to adhere to my own words of advice of not living in the past. But as much as I could It still nagged me persistently.
Tuesday morning came with an empty parking lot, and upon calling the other new employees with whom I had exchanged numbers with on Friday had been advised that the office wouldn’t be open until 10 instead of 9 so I sat in my car and waited. Finally around 10:30am someone arrived and we were ushered in. I was soon set upon the task of showing everyone else how to find the Office 365 training videos and tried to get a better understanding of exactly what I was supposed to be doing. Once everyone was off and running watching videos I went downstairs to try and get some answers, but to my dismay the first employee didn’t have any idea either, so he made a few phone calls and sent me back upstairs with the rest of the call center group. About an hour later he gave me access to my new Negnu email address and instructed me to show everyone else how to login with their new credentials as well. The rest of the day was pretty much the same, I’d have to ask what to do next he would call Pierre and find out some information and then let me know, the entire process taking about an hour for each instance.
Finally around 4pm Pierre arrived and had the first employee sit down with the previously sent home employee now dubbed “The Bus Lady” and basically dismiss her form his services. He then promptly called us all into a meeting to go over what we needed to be working on. Long story short, nothing anyone was hired for was being assigned and shortly after as if on cue we were all dismissed for the rest of the day due to it being a holiday weekend.
Tuesday morning came quicker than I would have liked but once I realized I was actually going to work my mood about the day drastically changed until I arrived at the office, to another empty parking lot. This time however no one came driving by, so I called around and sure enough everyone else had been advised that the office would be closed for the day.
DING DING DING DING DING!!!!
I mean really who stays in business if they’re closing up shop as often as this place has in just the first week?
Wednesday and Thursday began the same as the other days, people were always late to open the doors and people were constantly being sent home for the rest of the day simply because there was nothing for them to do. And the big elephant in the room started to peer it head out in regards to getting paid on Friday. Originally I should have received a paycheck the previous Friday but since it was only 2 days out of the pay period I was okay with it being added to my first full check, which would have been on June 6th. Friday could not come soon enough as I had now gone almost a month with no income save for a final paycheck from my previous employer. Friday came and went and all anyone was left with was excuses and that Pierre would be setting up meeting with everyone to come in on Saturday the 7th, to go over their timecards and distribute paychecks.
By this time everyone who was hired with me had their own suspicions about the company and definitely in regards to Pierre. He would come in late in the afternoon almost every day and would call last minute meetings, that would consist of non-relevant information, but in his mind he was really going over crucial information. I’m sure if we were all in mid level to upper management level position these meetings would make perfect sense and the details of which would apply to use, but we weren’t. Over the course of the week we had come to the determination of the following.
Everyone was hired at different pay levels to do the same job.
No one received an official offer letter other than myself, and that was after hounding Pierre all day for it.
The financier, an ex Arizona Cardinals football player apparently has nothing to do with day to day operations
They are both aware of the negative information put out on the internet about them.
Pierre talks as if he know how to run the site himself but really doesn’t especially after I called him out on a few WordPress issues in meetings.
Pierre appears to be high on marijuana almost every time he comes into the office, or some other substance.
Pierre contracts out every aspect of internal work that needs to be done at the office from building contractors to content up loaders on the website, via Elance.com, and craigslist.
Pierre has never taken out taxes on any of the previous employers he actually did pay.
Everyone filled out a Federal and state tax withholdings form and provide the required identification for the I9
Everyone was worried about getting paid and everyone was making plans to find other employment already.
Saturday morning came and there was phone call or text letting me know when I was meet Pierre for my paycheck and after calling around It was clear Pierre had schedule everyone and hour apart, so once we determine who was first we’d check in to see if they got paid or if Pierre even showed up. In a matter of a few hours it was clear no one was getting paid that day. I followed up with the rest of the employees later that afternoon and it turned out Pierre new excuse was he couldn’t deal with everyone all at once since he had missed the first 2 meetings which meant everyone would be there waiting if he showed up. He then advised the first employee to let everyone else know he would go over everything with them on Monday.
Of course Monday came along and this time I didn’t need to worry about going to work as I had called in for a “Dr’s appointment” , which looking back I’m glad I went to my appointment since the very next day 2 of the other employees had been sent home after only being in the office an hour, where myself and another stayed the rest of the day. And like any other day Pierre came in with an excuse of why he didn’t have check made out, and proceeded along with another useless meeting. This time he reassigned everyone’s job duties, and once it was again clear he was under the influence I was fed up and opted to call him out on the majority of the bullshit he had been filling the air with.
Pierre claimed he was a master web designer and no one could make a site like the Negnu.com network of site, unfortunately in his current state he apparently forgot the previous statement I had made to him in regards to this a proceeded to show him my very own site, with the exact same WordPress theme he had installed and pointed out it took less than 30 seconds to replicate his “own” design which I also pointed out could be purchased for $49.99 on themeforest.com. I then interrupted once of his tirade and made him actually login to this supposed CRM that I was now supposed to be in charge of. Of course when he did this I explained to him this was a CRM for a customer database not a CRM for technical support in which case he needed something more to the likeness of Remedy, Vantive, or for the most part any other ticketing system. This obviously upset him a little more than I expected any reasonable sane person would be, and he attempted to reprimand me in some sort of fashion in front of the rest of the employees, but most of them laughed under their breath as it became clear I knew more about running things than Pierre did, especially when it came to call center functions and technical support internal and external, and definitely in regards to web design. All of which was made clear when Pierre finally gave me the administrator login info to the internal network and the website, for which I quickly placed once of the network site in maintenance mode to visually show him and prove to the rest of the other standing around he wouldn’t be able to resolve the simply click of a button. I then questioned why he was paying outside contractor to do something so simple. In return for this little jest he made go to the front desk and take down the information of a artist who wanted to book studio time, but was somewhat apprehensive about the details of the requirements. It also didn’t help that we both worked at Go Daddy previously, so there was a bit of connection there in regards to his real reason for being at the office, which was confirmed weeks later.
By the time I returned the video editor had finally made his way to the conference room to join the rest of us , when there was a pounding at the door. It was the small Asian man whom I had seen earlier in the week, Pierre instructed the first employee to not answer the door, however after it was clear he was not leaving and Pierre realized he could see him through the front window he advised the employee to open the door and speak to him outside however to continue videotaping as he had been doing previously as he thought it was a novel idea for a reality segment to put on the site. He did this mainly has he was egging the video editor into a somewhat of an argument on purpose for what he thought was entertaining to everyone, when in reality it wasn’t, hence he was the only on laughing. As the employee opened the door the smaller Asian man edged past him and began yelling that he wanted his money, and that Pierre had blown him off too many time and wasn’t leaving until he was paid. Pierre proceeded to escort the man outside and the two began screaming at each other, to which point Pierre started to edge towards the man in an aggressive manner, however the Asian man wasn’t backing down from him. Meanwhile back in the conference room the first employee , the marketing guy, the video editor and myself all began discussing how unprofessional this entire situation had become. A short while later Pierre returned and concluded the meting sending everyone home the rest of the day except for The first employee and myself. Again no real reason given, but away they went and upstairs I went to sit and look up local IT contractors who could come in and fix a simple networking issue. I say simple because it was simply a matter of using legitimate version of the Windows OS that was installed on all the internal PC’s. This was originally my first thought as to why most of the system weren’t working but confirmed when Pierre called the previous IT guy who explained that the hack he used to bypass the registration had been patched and that Pierre had the option of buying licenses or waiting until he could find another hack around it.
BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM
This time I paid attention to the blaring booming in my head and decided it was time to do some major “CYA”, and I proceeded to login to my Negnu mail account and forwarded all correspondence to my personal email address. I then proceed to look for any reference to my employment on the network drives and when I was unable to I simply asked to be made and admin in the office 365 account so that I could access the Office CRM I was now in charge of, as well as view any of the personnel logs online. Unfortunately there were none, which led me to calling downstairs which luckily I did, as Pierre and the first employee were about to lock the door and leave, with me still inside. I quickly ran upstairs to grab the rest of my belongings and followed them out the door. When I asked if we were to return tomorrow Pierre confirmed a 10am start time again.
When I arrived home I realized my phone was off and had several messages and voicemails awaiting me, one of which I realized was an email from Microsoft confirming my admin access to the Office 365 account, as I had put my personal email address online as a password recovery email address, since Pierre took on average 4-6 hours to acquire any type of basic information.
The next morning instead of driving to the office I called ahead and sure enough the office was going to be closed again, but this time for the remainder of the week due to technical issues. This then led to the beginning of the pursuit of my paycheck, on a daily basis I was either ignored entirely or told by Pierre to meet him at the office, to which Pierre never showed up except for once. The one time Pierre did show up he was arrived 2 1/2 hours alter and was quite surprised I was still there, obviously expecting that I would have not waited that long. On that once chance meeting Pierre explained he need to gather timecards and calculate hours and then send off to have the paycheck made out. When I questioned him a s to why none of this had been done 2 weeks before when he originally made plans to have our checks ready he simply gave me a blank stare and said nothing. It was at this moment I advised Pierre he need to make it happen, and that I was giving him one last chance to do the right thing as an employer.
That was the last time I heard from Pierre until after numerous days of texting and calling, I sent him the following message
June 16th 10:44 am
Pierre it’s been two weeks now what’s the deal with paychecks and when are we going back to work.
June 16th 10:46 am
If this is how you treat your employees then apparently everything in Ripoff Report and The Dirty appears to be founded in truth. Maybe others need to know along with the rest of the media and not just the internet.
At this point Pierre calls me back within 10min and makes plans to meet me at 2pm again.
June 16th 1:39 pm
I have an appoint after 3 so we need to meet before then please.
To which there was still no reply or call back to confirm from Pierre
June 16th 4:49 pm
My meeting is done banks close at 6 so I have no idea how u plan to cut a check after that.
June 16th 6:31 pm
Well obviously you have no intentions in paying me for the week and half I worked so it looks like I’ll be using others means to acquire the payment owed to me from your company.
June 16th 6:39 pm
Again you had ample opportunity and means to fulfill your obligations as an employer and apparently that means very little to the Negnu company. That being said I will begin that process at this time as it is now well beyond a reasonable timeframe for you the employer to fulfill your obligation on payment to me as an employee of Negnu.
At this point I began searching for information to file a claim of lost wages, in which was readily available online, I then proceeded to forward this information to all those I knew had yet to receive their pay from Pierre and Negnu Marketing.
I was then given the direct phone number to the Financier himself and for a few days struggled with the decision to involve him or not, in the end I felt he at least deserved to know the extent of the ramification I was about to bring upon his investment. Whether he was fully aware of how Pierre was running his investment into the ground or not. I felt he deserved to know and him the following message and included Pierre as a recipient as well.
June 18th 6:25 pm
G***** this is Terrence an employee at Negnu. Well obviously your CEO Pierre has no intentions in paying me for the week and half I worked so it looks like I’ll be using others means to acquire the payment owed to me from your company. Again your company had ample opportunity and means to fulfill your obligations as an employer and apparently that means very little to the Negnu company. That being said I will begin the legal process at this time, for you the employer to fulfill your obligation on payment to me as an employee of Negnu. It has been beyond a reasonable and the legally required time allotted for an employer to receive compensation for employment. As I previously advised Pierre I am now confident that the negative publicity readily available online is based in truth.
24hrs later Pierre as well as his “assistant” Elma Duvalier phones were disconnected, and as off this writing I am currently awaiting a response from the Arizona Labor Department.
So here’s the skinny, don’t trust, work, invest pretty much don’t have anything to do with Pierre Joseph, Negnu Marketing, Paradise Vibe Marketing (PVM), or anything else he’s involved in if you want o avoid the drama dealing with this apparent…..yeah just click any of the link to his name and you’ll get it.
I was going to include some photos from their site and basically any of the ones I located online but have opted not to tarnish my own site with their images. However you can find additional information on the links listed below which do include several pictures. If you wish to look and investigate on your own then I suggest simply typing in the name of the company in google, and all the reports will be within the first 5-10 listing.
…of course this will take you right to them, as well as clicking any of their names in the article above.
Complaint Board Reports 1
Indybay Reports 1 (scroll to the bottom and theres will be more)
And of course someone like me who decide to write their own article about their situation. hew even went as far asa to mail the IRS in regards to lack of taxes be withheld or reported.
And last but not least if you have worked for Pierre Joseph in the past or PVM or Negnu, and have not received payment for work performed or wages earned I highly encourage you to file this form with the Arizona Labor Board.