Your unrequested Firepower update

I've managed to go almost a month without saying anything about 2008's uncontested See What Happens When You Don't Pay Attention In Science Lessons, You Idiots gold medal winners, Firepower.

So here's an update.

The Independent in the UK has a pretty good overview of the whole debacle, in "A miracle pill, a sports team and the most wanted man in Australia". The New Zealand Herald has "Hunted fuel-pill peddler made same claim in NZ 16 years ago" - which wasn't exactly a secret, but still the hopeful investors came thick and fast. For, I remind you, the chance to own their own little slice of a product that was not just different in no way at all from Firepower head Tim Johnston's own previous scam in New Zealand, which was also different in no way at all from hundreds of previous products from other scam artists.

Meanwhile, making-a-career-out-of-Firepower Gerard Ryle co-authored the Sydney Morning Herald's most recent piece, "Firepower's Phileas Fogg steals away". In which Tim Johnston manages to add a couple more creditors to the list by, for instance, skipping out on his flat in Hampstead with a month of rent still owing.

Also at the Herald, there's "Western rugby joins the ruckus", in which whoever at Western Australian Rugby Union drew the short straw glumly joins the hunt for Tim, because he owes them money too. Oh, and one Ross Graham, which the Firepower Web site is still happy to inform us is "the founder of Executive Traders and the owner of various private mining related companies", is apparently personally owed nine point seven six million dollars.

I really hope Graham never gets a penny back. Look at him in that press release, saying "I sent members of my team to check out Firepower's operations in Russia and Asia. They were impressed with what they saw, and realized these great products would enable Firepower to grow into a very successful business".

I know that "quotes" like that in press releases are always written by the press guy and just initialed by the person who's supposed to be "saying" it. But Graham nonetheless did approve the quote, took an active role in the Firepower scam, and never actually did do any due diligence despite saying that he had. No sane person could actually think the Firepower products worked if they really did "check out" Firepower's essentially nonexistent Russian and Asian "operations".

So, you know, screw that guy.

Moving on, the Herald also has "Firepower creditors home in on wife's $5m property" and "Firepower boss rejected plan to restructure" (...possibly because part of that plan involved Tim Johnston turning himself in).

And, more juicily, "Firepower used fake tests to woo Russians". Apparently after the faked tests were discovered and the Russian Railways network immediately cancelled their upcoming deal, Firepower had new tests done... and apparently correctly, too, because the new tests showed no effect. Oddly, these new tests weren't added to Firepower's motley collection of promotional literature.

Earlier, there was another Gerard Ryle piece, "Firepower offers pill franchise", in which my friend Stephen Moss attempts to unload Firepower International, the company he used to be so proud of and which still, against all reason, has that picture of Stephen putting a pill in that bloody million-dollar Rolls-Royce on its front page.

Stephen says he's owed money too - oh, poor baby! - and denies any involvement, blah blah blah.

Amazingly enough, Firepower franchises currently seem to be about as salable as Enron stock. Oh, and I couldn't put it better than Ryle: "By coincidence, Bill Moss [Stephen's dad...] was part of a Macquarie Bank consortium that sold the Sydney Kings to Johnston for $2 million last year. The deal gave the consortium a 500 per cent profit on the $400,000 it spent buying the Kings in 2002. The Firepower parent owes hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid endorsements to the Western Force and some of its players."

So once again, Steve - if you're short of a buck or two, try hitting up your dad for a loan!

Let's see, what else have we got?

Magnate's bid for Firepower fails (A mining zillionaire is one of the Firepower creditors and for some reason wanted to buy a controlling interest, but Tim Johnston popped up from his Undisclosed Location for long enough to say no.)

Owner of Sydney Kings faces arrest (Yep, that's Tim again. It's Firepower's liquidator who wants Johnston arrested.)

There were two attempts to revive the Sydney Kings basketball team (the previous jewel in Firepower's sports-sponsorship crown); they both failed, and there's squabbling over the remnants.

Meanwhile, have you heard about the amazing Moletech Fuel Saver?

This time, for sure!

4 Responses to “Your unrequested Firepower update”

  1. Punkey Says:

    It seems that all that's left in this is for the flaming wreckage that Johnson left in his wake to burn itself out.

    Still, it makes me wonder how well something equally pseudo-scientific, for example, a show purporting to find Australia's best psychic, will be received. Secretly, I hope that so many large organizations and public figures getting publically burned for not having enough skepticism about a magic pill that changes gasoline into juiced faeries will wake up enough people that they side with the token skeptic and see through the cheap parlor tricks that they use.

    Of course, the rest of me knows that the sales of psychic guide books and horoscopes will shoot through the roof and anyone in the cold reading business will have a brisk year thanks to this, but one can dream.

  2. Punkey Says:

    Or Johnston, I can't be bothered to remember what his name is long enough to write a blog comment.

  3. Coderer Says:

    A great man once said that "a fool and his money are soon parted." He forgot to mention that it's fantastic entertainment for the rest of us.

  4. Frosted Donut Says:

    I like that Moletech "reduces the size of fuel molecules to increase fuel efficiency." Why if I reduced the size of the fuel molecules--say by combusting them with oxygen--I'll bet I could power an engine. Perhaps even a car!

    I like to think of the money people spend on these things as a tax on the thermodynamics illiterate.

Leave a Reply