Actuate CEO Objects To IPVM "Bullying", "Mob Boss Behavior", Suggests Covering Christmas Gift To Cleaning "Lady"

John Honovich
Dec 22, 2022

Actuate's CEO Sonny Tai emphatically objected to IPVM's recent reporting, saying that we were "bullying a veteran-led small business" (that has "rais[ed] 8-figures of venture funding") and that we were engaging in "mob boss behavior".

He made "suggestions" about what we should write about his company, including how "last year", they "presented a Christmas card and gift card to Victoria, the lady who cleans our office".

Not only is his gift not worth reporting on, but that he used it for marketing shows it to be a social media stunt.

Working-class people should not be used as props so that Manhattan MBA multi-millionaires can get likes and impressions from businesspeople. Below is Tai's post from last year:

IPVM Image

By all means, please give to those who help you but refrain from using them for marketing.

And now that he has been publicly criticized, days before Christmas, he now declares he wants to "do it again this year":

IPVM Image

Again, by all means, do it again this year, but you should not be motivated to give gifts as a tactic to deal with being criticized for not vetting a Police Commissioner, Richard Ross, who had an affair with a 19-years younger subordinate, on duty, who then won a sizeable judgment against the Department for discrimination and harassment.

Tai had the audacity to defend his position that our reporting was not "newsworthy" by comparing it to Bill Clinton's affiliation with various companies. The Bill Clinton who preyed upon an intern, then lied about it, subjecting her to global humiliation for years. Clinton's issues, including Jeffrey Epstein affiliation allegations, continue to be newsworthy to this day. These are serious issues.

IPVM releases lots of reporting - nearly 20 new reports per week, where we investigate and criticize all sorts of companies (Tai's "mob boss" / targeting allegation is categorically false). In November we did a fairly mundane post - Actuate's Public Safety Advisory Board Issues - Tai responded about not knowing about the Commissioner's issues (below) and that they would reevaluate it:

IPVM Image

Last week, Tai and I were posting on LinkedIn where I followed up on this:

IPVM Image

At that point, Tai could have (1) not responded, (2) could have responded thoughtfully but (3) chose to dismiss it as "petty and irrelevant":

IPVM Image

Almost always, CEOs take reports of the misconduct of their paid advisors / endorsers seriously, especially after they already admitted they did negligible due diligence (it's on Ross' Wikipedia entry and articles are readily found on the first page of Google results).

Let me end on a positive note, or at least share some best practices I have seen interacting with hundreds of executives over the years. The best way to respond, presuming Tai wants to keep his advisor, would to be respond like so:

Rich and I share a passion for making money America a better and safer place. One great quality about America is our willingness to give a second chance and to learn from out mistakes. We are excited to work together at Actuate to achieve our mission to reduce gunviolence, save our children, etc, etc...

If he said (or does say that), that would pretty much be the end of it unless IPVM or others were demanding that Ross never work in security again, which would be a much harder thing to defend than to point out that Tai's allegation that this is "petty and irrelevant" is obviously wrong.

I think Tai would be a better CEO if he was more careful, serious, and measured in his remarks; That or exclaim that I am engaging in "mob boss behavior" as an excuse.

Undisclosed #1
Dec 23, 2022

IPVM Image

New discussion

Ask questions and get answers to your physical security questions from IPVM team members and fellow subscribers.

Newest discussions