Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice in January of 2016 issued an order of judgement in favour of W.I. Media Inc., against Jean Naim and The Airdraft Group of Companies in excess of $5,000, plus pre- and post-judgment interest at 18 percent per annum, retroactive to October of 2013. Airdraft’s website, www.airdraft.com, is now redirected to Ventless, www.ventless.ca and Jean Naim.
According to Court filings, Naim contracted with Wood Industry magazine for a full-year program, supplied and approved an ad, and then failed to respond on any matter at any subsequent time. Following the third insertion, all future ads were canceled for noncompliance with contract terms and collection efforts were begun.
Reports from collection agencies and lawyers confirmed that Naim had provided inaccurate or nonexistent business and home addresses, and phone numbers, and people contacted at addresses provided either disavowed knowledge of Naim or said he had not been seen in years. According to one reporter, Naim has apparently been at this game for a long time.
According to Wood Industry publisher Kerry Knudsen, Naim’s footwork has been successful in many areas, but it did not prevent service of the notice of intent to sue. “I knew he would run if he saw me coming,” Knudsen said, “but I sent my wife to his booth at the WMS show in 2015. She has such a sweet smile, and she asked, ‘Jean Naim?’, he said yes, and she said, ‘this is for you.’”
Later efforts to contact Naim at trade shows have been less successful. “At WMS in 2017,” Knudsen said, “Naim had a booth, but it was only a video and a booth attendant. I watched to see if he would come around, but he didn’t. Finally, I went over and asked the attendant if she had been paid. She said, ‘Not yet.’”
According to Knudsen, it is very-rare-to-unheard-of that an advertiser would try to defraud a major industry magazine. “For one thing,” Knudsen says, “we are in the credibility business. People advertise with us because they know we can help them gain profile, credibility and acceptance. But if you never even intended to pay, that all goes out the window. It doesn’t make sense. Plus, there is a value to advertising that everybody recognizes, and you can assume that pulling a stunt like this ensures at least one marketing avenue is blocked.”
As of presstime, the judgement remains unfulfilled, although the plaintiffs have sweeping rights of seizure. According to Knudsen, anybody that can provide information leading to the satisfaction of the judgement, including the location of any real or personal assets, bank accounts or owed invoices, can receive 15 percent of the amount collected. In addition, all respondents can remain anonymous under U.S. and Canadian laws protecting sources for journalists.