I have gotten tons of emails from people “concerned” because Chris Duane just severed all ties with Rob Gray of AOCS and Mulligan Mint. In doing so Chris posted what I consider one of the most unprofessional public “Dear John” letters to ever see the light of day. You can read it on his blog here.
Generally when two sides have a disagreement both are wrong to a degree but in this case it appears to me for now that Chris got upset and when he didn’t get his way, he threw what would basically be considered an adult temper tantrum.
Some of the nonsense in his post about Rob is just misleading and childish. Like his rants about what kind of house Rob may own or him going to Singapore are just nonsensical. Where and when Rob travels is his business, he disclosed his trips and I don’t think a person sneaking off to a place tells people where he is going, do you? Rob is successful and lives a good life, Chris is pretty damn proud that he has done the same, so what gives now.
Here has been my experience with the launch of TSPMint.com. AOCS screwed up a lot of orders, took too long to get many filled, had one particular service representative that screwed up enough that I suggested she be fired, BUT, in the end every person in my audience got their order filled.
There were two things that caused this. The first was one of their silver suppliers went under right at the onset of our launch which coincided with a major push by Chris Duane. I personally have no doubt that Chris had more issues then my group did, simply due to his order volume. The second was a completely more successful launch by TSP then we ever dreamed possible. While Rob challenged us to sell 20,000 ounces we never really thought that would happen, we did sell over 8,000 which was about 4,000 more then I or AOCS really expected.
The Mulligan Mint is a new venture. They have invested over a million dollars in their facility, equipment and training new staff. They are now able to process their own silver and have a new agreement to stay well stocked with silver from one of the biggest suppliers of raw metal in the US. I am still working with Rob and always will, I don’t believe the accusations by Chris Duane for a minute. I think Chris is used to getting his way and like I said is now throwing a damn temper tantrum.
Let’s discuss the issue with the coin dies for a minute. I have produced a coin with Rob and we are about to release another. If I choose not to work with him further, I would not expect him to give me the dies for those coins, want to know why? They are marked “AOCS” with his mint mark! I might ask that they be destroyed, I would expect that he would happily do so, but I would not expect a mint owner to provide me his dies, with his mint mark to me and let them out of his control, would you? I also didn’t pay for the dies, I pretty much doubt that Chris did either. If you don’t pay for something, saying you own it is not really accurate now is it?
Let me be clear, I know customer service was below par over this two month growing pain session. I am the one that contacted Rob and his team and said, and this is a quote, “close the damn store until you guys get your shit together”. They did and they did! Running a mint isn’t as easy as many would assume, I have been on site at Mulligan and can tell you the investment is huge and the growing pains seem to be just that, growing pains.
Within the next week I will be going back for another visit to be absolutely sure that things are rolling correctly before we release the next TSP backed AOCS silver coin. I have known Rob for 4 years now, he has never broken his word to me and once was even willing to cover MY SCREW UP on a pricing issue. It wasn’t necessary but it was offered in about 1/10th of a second. Those who remember the email I sent when we launched the Ant Coin and I screwed up the price over spot will know what I am talking about.
I am a good judge of a man, my track record in business with others shows that. I have shaken Rob’s hand more then a few times, looked him the eye every single time and I know exactly what I am dealing with. A damn solid human being who never once failed to fix a problem he created for me. I have been harsh on him about these problems, his response was humble and simple, “I’ll fix it Jack”, and he did so. I choose my friends carefully, Rob is one such person.
As for any outstanding orders with Chris’ audience, I am sure they will be filled by AOCS, not due to any loyalty to Chris but simply because Rob always owns up to his obligations.
In closing I want to say a few more things. I actually know exactly why Rob went to Singapore but the knowledge was shared long ago in confidence. It is important work for the future of the ability to do business in silver, but that is all I can say for now. It has nothing to do with minting coins as Chris seems to infer. I also know that Cris Duane’s assertion that this is just because he wanted to walk away is factually not true. There is more to it then that, but unlike Mr. Duane I will not reveal information that I only have part of at this time.
I wrote this because I have had dozens of emails stating “should I be concerned about my orders with TSP Mint” or similar, the answer is no, not at all. I have been completely honest with all of you about AOCS’s growing pains, I have been hard on their team and demanded excellence and in the end that is what I expect from them. AOCS, Mulligan Mint and Rob Gray have done a lot to achieve that goal in 60 days, it is sad that Mr. Duane jumped ship right before they really got it fully on course.
Note – I have invested about 9 hours of my time at this point responding to comments and addressing this situation. There is nothing more to be said, it is currently 11:09 AM and I have yet to even begin recording today’s show. At this point I am closing comments and will provide further updates on the situation when there is more to be said.