Smoke Break: Electronic Cigarette Maker Has Needle Story
As he explains in the comments field of that post, MacDonald is the founder of Crown7, an e-cigarette company based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Needle was still publishing the doomed luxury magazine, Cravings Palm Beach, when last September, MacDonald says he got a phone call from Needle in which he claimed to have a quarter-million dollars he wanted to invest on a Crown7 infomercial. To MacDonald, who says he can usually trust his instincts for bullshit, Needle sounded like some 70-year-old with deep pockets -- a demographic that, after all, is common to Boca. So he sent Needle about $500 in e-cigarette supplies, along with a bill. Below, the video from Crown7.com shows the kind of e-cigarettes he sent and which Needle smoked at the lounge, leading to his fateful encounter with Gladstone.
MacDonald also flew to Boca to meet with this big shot investor in person. Let's just say Needle didn't make a great impression.
Plus, one more detail that had been overlooked: Needle didn't actually have a quarter-million to invest with MacDonald. Rather, he wanted MacDonald to invest $25,000 with him.
"I said, 'Fuck, I can't deal with this guy,'" MacDonald recalls. "And here I've got 3-4 days down here." With nothing better to do, MacDonald hit the bar with Needle. After some time, MacDonald decided this was "personable guy" and he drew up a contract for Needle that was loaded with conditions that protected MacDonald from losing anything from the deal, besides the $500 unpaid bill from the e-cigarette starter kit.
After MacDonald flew back to Arizona, Needle kept calling and e-mailing with requests for money and materials. It had become clear to MacDonald that Needle "doesn't know how to do anything legitimately." It didn't help when Needle's calls took a hostile turn. "He threatened me over the phone," says MacDonald. "He said he was going to kick my ass." MacDonald, who says he's 6-feet and 240 pounds says he told the smaller, skinnier Needle, "Hey, if you think you've got it in you, go ahead and take a chance.'"
Over the phone, MacDonald scrolled through old emails. He read one in which Needle claims a binding contract and hints at a lawsuit. MacDonald's three-word reply: "Fuck off loser." For the attorneys who called later on Needle's behalf, he offered slightly more tactful words, but with the same point.
MacDonald had long since forgotten about Needle until he saw the Juice post of this morning and learned that Needle was using the e-cigarettes that he still hadn't paid for as a way of not only luring new investors, but the kind who just might compete with MacDonald's Crown7.
MacDonald has not phoned Needle's probation officer, Kathy Kosior-Nelson, though he's thought about it. He says he doesn't believe the encounter constitutes fraud, exactly, "but he definitely ripped me off."