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The 10th Annual Hot Pepper Awards Winners Announced!

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Attention Hot Sauce companies - scumbag alert


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#1 Lucky Dog Hot Sauce

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Posted 22 July 2016 - 03:54 PM

As some of you may have heard, Dana A Romero has filed for bankruptcy protection.

In this case he's (allegedly) protecting himself for (allegedly) ripping off all of the booth money from the Houston Hot Sauce Festival and (allegedly) using that $ to take his family on trips to exotic places like Disneyworld.

Mr Romero also (allegedly) embezzled money from the Louisiana Hot Sauce Festival for two straight years, claiming substantial losses and (allegedly) pocketing the difference between the profits and the losses he (allegedly) reported.
Allegedly.

As a direct result, the HOU hot sauce expo has been canceled this year, leaving all those who paid for it losing $. Many of these are small businesses who can ill afford such a loss. It's shameful that Mr Romero (allegedly) stole this money, and then rather than defend himself he (not allegedly) fired for bankruptcy protection, essentially flipping the middle finger to those he (allegedly) stole from.

For those who don't know, Mr Romero is also the creator of the "World Hot Sauce Awards", and apparently sees no issue in hosting those still, despite the ongoing litany of alleged abuses.

Mr Romero has been quick to change the World Hot Sauce Awards website to denounce his association with any festival (where previously those associations were the chief marketing bullet point and measure of credibility.)

I would therefore strongly caution anyone considering entering this sham of an award, to consider whether this cancer on the hot sauce industry is deserving of your hard-earned money for an award that is reportedly not recognized as having any credibility in the industry by anyone.

Bear in mind, both head judges quit after the 1st year (and currently want nothing to do with the organizer or his shady awards).

And I relate this to everyone as a 1st place winner and divisional champion from the 1st year - knowing full well that in doing so, I help to destroy the credibility of an award that I possess. Selfishly, that is in part why I've said little publicly to date - after all, I invested in the awards entry, and hate to see my investment / 1st place / division win be for naught. But sometimes enough is enough. I don't give a crap about that trophy, and will be throwing it in the garbage where it belongs.

Full disclosure. I've not supported this award since that 1st year, in large part because Mr. Romero publicly attempted to belittle a peer in the hot sauce industry for daring to ask a question about improper storage of refrigerate-only samples that were left unrefrigerated. When I had that vendor's back in the comments, I was sent nasty private messages by Mr Romero, and subsequently "banned" from the awards for "disrespecting them". Further Mr Romero reneged on the $400 booth that I had fairly won by winning the divisional prize.

And nothing alleged about this part: in private messages, Mr Romero was hostile, childish, and vindictive, and displayed an attitude like he had earned some sort of high standing in the hot sauce world - he went so far as to try to tell me I was also "banned from the Golden Chiles", which the organizers of Zestfest found bizarre since he's entirely unaffiliated.

So please be warned: The "World Hot Sauce Awards" are currently soliciting vendors for entries. The organizer has (allegedly) stolen from dozens of well respected vendors and is (allegedly) responsible for ruining 2 separate events, the LA Hot Sauce Festival & the long running Houston Hot Sauce Festival. The bankruptcy filing is active and can be found online.

Do not give this person of questionable integrity your $ for an award no one respects.

As a business owner, I ordinarily don't dwell on the negative, but this man has (allegedly) hurt a lot of my friends in the industry - and I won't sit back and say nothing while he continues (allegedly) hurting people.

Love & hot sauce


Scott

Edited by Lucky Dog Hot Sauce, 22 July 2016 - 04:01 PM.


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#2 AaronTT

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Posted 22 July 2016 - 04:07 PM

Perhaps someone should throw Mr Romero a pillow party



#3 JoynersHotPeppers

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Posted 22 July 2016 - 04:07 PM

Ouch


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#4 Shawna Bynum

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Posted 22 July 2016 - 04:19 PM

We (Kearley Seeds & Pepper Co.) are one of the companies who got ripped off. It's not money we can stand to lose to be honest. If you want to review the legal documents here is the link.
https://efile.txcour...d0-fe7e296f1d44

Edited by Shawna Bynum, 22 July 2016 - 04:20 PM.

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#5 AaronTT

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Posted 22 July 2016 - 04:41 PM

Ouch

Don't get me wrong, I advocate justice through courts, but piece of crap people like this deserve it. One of these days, he will get his, when he does this to the wrong person. I wonder if criminal charges can be filed against him, probably not as usually this is considered a civil  issue. 


Edited by AaronTT, 22 July 2016 - 04:43 PM.


#6 Lucky Dog Hot Sauce

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Posted 22 July 2016 - 04:59 PM

Don't get me wrong, I advocate justice through courts, but piece of crap people like this deserve it. One of these days, he will get his, when he does this to the wrong person. I wonder if criminal charges can be filed against him, probably not as usually this is considered a civil  issue. 

The links are interesting - last one is a restraining order. Yeah - sounds about right.

Pretry sure its a civil suit. He didn't break into someone's house & (allegedly) steal all of the HOU Hot Sauce Festival $, he just (allegedly) stole all the HOU Hot Sauce Festival $

I feel especially bad for Caroll, who's a really great person and is seeing all of her years of a quality reputation (allegedly) run into the ground by this scumbag.

Edited by Lucky Dog Hot Sauce, 22 July 2016 - 05:00 PM.


#7 JoynersHotPeppers

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Posted 22 July 2016 - 05:10 PM

Don't get me wrong, I advocate justice through courts, but piece of crap people like this deserve it. One of these days, he will get his, when he does this to the wrong person. I wonder if criminal charges can be filed against him, probably not as usually this is considered a civil  issue. 

My ouch was posting while you where typing, not directed at your post. I like Full Metal Jacket pillow fights 


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#8 Lucky Dog Hot Sauce

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Posted 22 July 2016 - 05:26 PM

I used to tell people I had 58 national industry awards.

Now I'll tell them I have 56.

https://twitter.com/...613289979760640

Updatef: someone has claimed the metal to repurpose & make into wind chimes.

Good - hated to see good metal go to waste.

Edited by Lucky Dog Hot Sauce, 22 July 2016 - 09:05 PM.


#9 Idiot Piquant

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Posted 22 July 2016 - 06:15 PM

Karma is a bitch. 

Somebody gonna dose all his door handles with 9.6mil PE. 

 

More funny to douse them "plagues" with a highly flammable liquid and burn em with fire! 

Record and post on Twatter for fun and prophet. 

 

Thanks for stepping up with the PSA, LDHS. 



#10 Lucky Dog Hot Sauce

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Posted 22 July 2016 - 06:36 PM

Karma is a bitch. 

Somebody gonna dose all his door handles with 9.6mil PE. 

 

More funny to douse them "plagues" with a highly flammable liquid and burn em with fire! 

Record and post on Twatter for fun and prophet. 

 

Thanks for stepping up with the PSA, LDHS. 

 

Ain't gonna sit back and see my friends get (allegedly) ripped off and say nothing. I hate that shit. 



#11 AaronTT

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Posted 22 July 2016 - 06:54 PM

Ouch

Your right, my mistake lol. 



#12 OCD Chilehead

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Posted 22 July 2016 - 08:22 PM

What a scum bag. Is he in any relation to Da...... Nevermind. No use in bringing up that guy again.

I'm proud of you standing up against this issue. I hope others will follow. I'm sorry for the loss of awards. It also makes me sad and angry for all of the vendors who were taken advantage of. It takes a lot of time, money and commitment, to do what you guys do. To win any award is a challenge in its self. Even if you choose not to disclose those particular awards, you are still a winner and champ in my book. 1st place all the way.
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#13 Lucky Dog Hot Sauce

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Posted 22 July 2016 - 09:04 PM

What a scum bag. Is he in any relation to Da...... Nevermind. No use in bringing up that guy again.

I'm proud of you standing up against this issue. I hope others will follow. I'm sorry for the loss of awards. It also makes me sad and angry for all of the vendors who were taken advantage of. It takes a lot of time, money and commitment, to do what you guys do. To win any award is a challenge in its self. Even if you choose not to disclose those particular awards, you are still a winner and champ in my book. 1st place all the way.

It's more about what he did to small businesses at the festivals - awards are awards. Yeah, it sucks to have a couple rendered moot, but nowhere near as much as it sucks for the vendors who lost their booth fees or the residents of the city who lost a festival this year.

Edited by Lucky Dog Hot Sauce, 22 July 2016 - 09:30 PM.


#14 chiltepin

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Posted 22 July 2016 - 09:57 PM

It should be referred to the local District Attorney where the event is held.  Let them sort it out.  I will assume any attorney involved for the Plaintiff would know to do so... that is what a criminal investigation is for.  Either prove, or in the alternative disprove, the allegations of embezzlement.

 

We have had similar in my County.

 

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#15 salsalady

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Posted 22 July 2016 - 10:08 PM

When I read that the Houston show had merged with the Louisiana show I was very skeptical. The awards of the last few years seemed pompous. I'm following on a couple fb sites and hope the Houston event can come back.

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#16 Lucky Dog Hot Sauce

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Posted 22 July 2016 - 10:27 PM

It should be referred to the local District Attorney where the event is held.  Let them sort it out.  I will assume any attorney involved for the Plaintiff would know to do so... that is what a criminal investigation is for.  Either prove, or in the alternative disprove, the allegations of embezzlement.
 
We have had similar in my County.
 
http://www.vcstar.co...-380880781.html

Shawna posted the link to the civil actions.

What's happening beyond that I don't know. I'm certain that those who were ripped off will be seeking every recourse.

I'm not an attorney - I don't know what criminal actions could be taken. It's likely made more complicated since it spans different states, plus the bankruptcy filing. Its a very complicated shitshow.

And while I agree that this should be sorted out in the courts, this topic is because the same person hosts an awards and is allegedly actively soliciting small companies to pay for the privilege of participating. And those companies should know what they're dealing with.

It's a service to other sauce companies. If you don't have a sauce company, this topic doesn't apply to you.

Edited by Lucky Dog Hot Sauce, 22 July 2016 - 10:29 PM.


#17 salsalady

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Posted 22 July 2016 - 10:37 PM

Very complicated involving a lot of states and probably some international. Hopefully the www will help those involved to keep up on everything.
Speaking if being ripped off, anyone seen that Kaiser dude around anywhere?

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#18 salsalady

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Posted 23 July 2016 - 12:24 AM

That was in reference to a person I sent sauces to in 2010 to sell at the Houston show and never got paid or sauces returned or anything.

 

I also have a couple questionable PM's from everyone's favorite Baker in Florida.....


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#19 AJ Drew

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Posted 23 July 2016 - 04:31 AM

I am so very sorry you and others experienced such a loss of capital and faith.  Usually I am the one looking to you for advice.  On this one I have some personal experience to share.  It seems under US laws concerning corporations, those things simpletons like myself call theft are not illegal at all.  In fact, I think laws concerning the corporate vial make it rather easy to commit theft that isnt considered theft.

Step 1 - Incorporate
Step 2 - Incorporation offers a product or service for money, but that is provided later.
Step 3 - Incorporation uses those sales to pay owner's salary, give owner bonuses, or otherwise transfer money from the corporation to theowner.
Step 4 - Incorporation declares bankruptcy & owner's personal assets are protected.

As long as step 3 was done lawfully, the former owner is often good to go with the law.  I am not saying it is right, moral, or ethical.  Its just the way corporate America seems to work.  Again, I am very sorry for your losses and that this likely harmed your faith.
 


Edited by ajdrew, 23 July 2016 - 04:34 AM.

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#20 Shawna Bynum

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Posted 23 July 2016 - 08:35 AM

Very complicated involving a lot of states and probably some international. Hopefully the www will help those involved to keep up on everything.
Speaking if being ripped off, anyone seen that Kaiser dude around anywhere?


YES!!! I was told by a friend in the restaurant industry that about 8 months ago he was taking the labels of store hot sauce (like cheap table hot sauce) and trying to sell it as his own. I told the GM of the store exactly what happened and he was told if he ever came into that restaurant again the police would be called. I guess some people don't change.

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