Saturday, January 11, 2014

After over a year since the event, Absolute Legends still has not paid the $10,000+ owed from IEM Singapore 2012.

I posted this originally on reddit, but I am posting it here as an "Archive", as reddit posts don't have much longevity.

tl;dr: After winning 2nd place in IEM singapore (Nov 2012) with aL.NA, none of us have seen any of the $8,500 prize pool (nor the promised passport reimbursements), despite ESL confirming they sent the money to Tim Buysse (aL CEO). absolute Legends Singapore also have not seen their $3,000 from the same event.

Here I will document/show my attempts to get this prize winnings from Tim/aL.

It started in mid March 2013, I tried to message Tim to look for the prize money, but there was no response. So then I tried to contact other aL staff members and was referred to this guy “Dandy”, who I was told was the COO. After asking about the money, he did not have personal knowledge of the cash prize, but he made contact with Tim, and thus the COO replied with this:

And that was all that was heard until I followed up again in late march asking what happened and if there were any more details, and was referred to email Tim because he was “on holiday”. Meanwhile, since Tim said it was ESL who hadn’t paid him yet, I went to ESL people to try to see if their story matched, and so I sent in a support ticket to their pay place, and got this:  

“Hello spellsy,

both AL squads in Singapore were paid already late February, (actually exactly 1 day after the payments became due). The money went to the aL CEO Tim Buysse.

Best regards,
   <Removed>, ESL Admin”

This made me suspicious, so I accelerated my contact with Tim, because I found this story discrepancy unnerving, and despite trying to contact him for over 2 weeks (and the cash prize being 2 months late at this point) I did not ever receive a reply direct from Tim. So I sent him an email which was left unreplied to, and then sent a few more emails to finally get him to reply, which he did:

After this, we exchanged emails back and forth and he said I could eventually reach him on skype a week or so later (saying he needed the time for the money to go from the bank -> paypal). Which I did, we discussed the exact amount (we would only get maybe 50% of the total cash prize because of travel expenses built into the “prize”, taxes, and contracted cut), and he said in order for us to the the money, he needed an invoice from us for the amount.

After a few weeks (it was mid finals/graduation for me), I made an invoice and sent it to him. I had invoices from other contract online work I’ve done, so I used the same template that has been accepted by those previous people and sent it to Tim. It took 6 emails and a half a month before he acknowledged this invoice. He replied by saying that the invoice was “no where near legal” and sending another goose hunt saying that not only he would need invoice but he would need tax forms (but of course, wouldn’t say which forms).

So, the same day I sent him 2 tax forms asking if these were the right ones, and asked him what was missing on the invoice, (This was May 30th, 3 months after he received ESL payment, 6 months after the tournament). From there I’ve sent 5 more emails and haven’t received a reply from him and I have gotten frustrated and given up.

Aboslute Legends Singapore had similar responses from Tim, saying that he needed forms, but wouldn’t say what forms, and when you would give him them he would continue ignoring you.

In the end, after several months and dozens of emails neither aL.NA nor aL.SG have gotten our prize money from a tournament over 14 months ago, despite being cooperative. I wanted to put this out to the league community because I see aL picking up new teams and I think it's important for the community to know that there is currently little accountability in the esports scene, and players can oftentimes be taken advantage of.  I hope that this story proves informative so that anybody thinking of getting involved in the scene doublechecks all of their contracts and really understands who they are working with before getting in too far.

I have worked extensively with the subreddit moderators to ensure we were compliant with the witch hunting rules.

If you want a more detailed history and more detail on aL.SG’s experience with Tim, look at this article: which is verified by us and aL.SG’s players.