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'Real Texas Brand' - Consalvi's latest publication

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

According to Glen Ivey, editor of The Leakey Star, Sam Consalvi appears to be down in his neck of the woods, touting yet another monthly magazine.

This one is titled "The Real Texas Brand - the Real County Monthly Magazine."

Consalvi has approached Real County merchants using the same pitch described in the Courier's article on Consalvi, published on Thursday, Feb. 9, Ivey wrote in an email. Serving Leakey, Rio Frio, Campwood and Utopia, "The Real Texas Brand" will purportedly be mailed to every household in Real County.

With permission, Ivey will re-print the Courier's article on Consalvi, titled "Bandera Brand - boon or boondoggle?" in the Friday, Feb. 25, edition of The Leakey Star.

Apparently after rushing the inaugural issue of The Bandera Brand to press, Consalvi has given an abbreviated version of the magazine to some advertisers. The 14-page page, 8 1/2-inch by 5 1/2-inch publication listed 37 advertisers.

Articles included a history of Bandera County, calendar of events and an excerpt from "Turn and Face the Threat." However, the magazine has not yet been to households in Bandera County.

One advertiser picked up his copy of the magazine at a local newspaper. "Sam called me last week to come and get my copy, but I wasn't able to," Scott Sharp said in an interview.

Expressing displeasure with the publication as presented, Sharp said, "It didn't turn out as promised. The magazine looks more like a pamphlet. And Sam did not have permission to edit the excerpt from my book that was included in Bandera Brand. The section was all chopped up and makes no sense."

Sharp added that Consalvi told him he had printed only 5,000 copies of the March issue rather than the 9,000 copies that had been originally promised.

Additionally, Consalvi has apparently threatened owners of several local businesses, who successfully stopped payment on checks written to him, with legal action. The ads touting the business had been included in the inaugural issue of Bandera Brand.

"He said he would take us to small claims court," one said. "I told him, 'Go ahead. Over the years, we've taken many people to small claims court and have yet to see any of our money."

According to Consalvi, an expanded version of "The Bandera Brand" will come out on Thursday, March 1, and will be "in the mailboxes of all Bandera County residents by Wednesday, Feb. 29."

Additionally, another piece on Consalvi's Idaho publications, reported by Tami Tremblay of KOBI 2News in Emmett, Idaho, has hit the Internet. The piece was published on Jan. 27 when Consalvi was soliciting local advertisers for The Bandera Brand.

According to Tremblay, from May to November 2011, Consalvi - doing business as Sector Marketing - sold advertisements in community phonebooks in Homedale and Council and for "The (Gem County) Spotlight" magazine in Emmett. The problem, Tremblay noted, was that the phonebooks were not distributed as promised and the magazine, scheduled for a December publication date, apparently didn't come out at all.

The report also noted that an Idaho Better Business Bureau site has listed Sector Marketing as being out of business.

When Tremblay contacted Consalvi for a telephone interview for the piece, he noted that he was "happy" with the community phone book publications, but added, "I'm unhappy that (the advertisers) called you instead of me."

However, email and telephone messages that disgruntled advertisers had left with Consalvi were allegedly never returned, Tremblay reported.

Gem County (Idaho) Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dian Streeby spoke with Consalvi about the proposed Gem County Spotlight. "He told me he was going to produce a magazine that would be mailed to every resident in Gem County," Streeby told Tremblay. When Streeby realized the projected December publication date was not doable, she sent a warning to all Chamber members in the organization's weekly newsletter, informing them the Chamber was not affiliated with Consalvi's venture.

Streeby's warning came too late for some Emmett businesses, however. One paid Consalvi $499 for a year's worth of advertisements in the magazine.

"I feel like I was duped by a professial," said businessman A. Ralph Gurney in an interview with Tremblay. "In a small town, this affects the whole community and everyone who has a business and who is legitimately going to be here. I just wish he could be stopped."

For her part, Streeby contacted all advertisers in the Gem County Spotlight and asked them to file formal complaints with the Office of the Idaho Attorney General. "The attorney general's office will proceed from there," Streeby said.

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