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VTSS Investor Forum

Letter to Chris Gardner

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First of all, my thanks to you dlog and those others who continue to keep this alive. I've been lurking a while but this is my first post on the new board.
I thought I would share the following letter I sent to Chris yesterday. I am not expecting a reply but found the process therapeutic at least!

Dear Chris,
I cannot begin to describe my disappointment in Vitesse, but more so my disappointment in you personally. We have spoken on several occasions and met face to face when you invited us into the plant, looked us in the eye and apparently sold us a bill of goods. I and many of my fellow investors put our trust in you and I now feel that trust was completely misplaced. When you were appointed CEO following the disgraceful departure of Lou, I immediately contacted engineers I knew who worked for Vitesse and the general consensus was (paraphrasing) “Oh Chris is a great guy, you can trust him. If he says it’s going to happen, it will happen”. This came from people who had worked for you directly. Notably and sadly, they have all now departed the company.
Your tenure has been a litany of disasters. Promises broken and targets missed:
• You have spent untold millions of company dollars reshaping the accounts in order, we were told, to meet SEC regulations.
• In the course of this you depleted cash reserves and apparently ignored the looming bondholder payment until it was too late.
• One of the prime options following the demise would have been to find a buyer. I cannot believe if any serious effort was made that a buyer could not have been found resulting in a deal more beneficial to shareholders than the eventual sellout to bondholders.
• Time and again deadlines have been set and subsequently missed. To compound the disastrous slide in equity value you devised a reverse split ostensibly to meet NASDAQ re-entry requirements. Despite numerous cries against this strategy and the fears expressed of a new shorting binge, you went ahead. As feared, our pre-split pps is now effectively 17 cents with no bottom in sight. Unless some miraculous rebound occurs we again will fail to comply with NASDAQ requirements.
• You have improved profitability but top line growth has been zero and in fact in decline for the past few years. Every week we hear of new product announcements, but who is selling these products?
• You are an engineer and, I’ve no doubt, a very good one, but engineers do not necessarily make good executives. In fact they seldom do and I am speaking as an EE running my own business. The slew of new products resulting from a large R & D budget but not apparently finding a ready market is symptomatic of this problem.
• Throughout much of this post-debacle period you have kept shareholders almost entirely in the dark. No annual meeting for three years and, when finally a meeting is held, it is a complete joke lasting perhaps 15 minutes.
• A small matter but for me perhaps the most troubling was the disclosure that our legal department is headed by none other than the person with whom you are cohabiting and that she has little or no legal qualification for the job and certainly insufficient to justify her compensation. Why is this so troubling? Because it is a conflict of interest and exposes an ethical flaw in your character.
• In my opinion you have failed your fiduciary responsibilities to the shareholders and placed your own wellbeing above that of the shareholders.
Since the debacle I have been actively involved along with several other shareholders in running a discussion group and trying to fill an information and communication gap resulting from a totally inadequate investor relations department. You may have noticed our group has disappeared along with many shareholders who have given up on any hope of recouping their losses. A new forum has recently taken up the challenge but I don’t have the enthusiasm to contribute any more. I have lost about $200K as a result of this mess and some of my friends have lost many times this amount. Such a loss has seriously impacted my retirement account but I will survive. Many others who have graced our forum could not afford their losses and have suffered serious financial hardship, one at least I know has even lost his home.
I don’t know what to tell you Chris; I and most of my fellow shareholders have completely lost faith in your ability to run this company to the maximum benefit of the shareholders but worse we have lost the respect we had for your honesty and integrity. If you cannot bring yourself to resign as CEO and to put in place a leader with a strong marketing bias then I suggest the only alternative is to sell the company and its supposedly fine product line to the highest bidder.
Yours truly

Posted by Colin - 14 years ago

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Colin- This is perfect. Reading it alone was cathartic for me.

Posted by matt38 - 14 years ago

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Thanks for posting this here for others Colin. It does help others see they can do something even if just an email. Maybe it's time we contact the SEC again and see where they stand with VTSS and give another set of complaints on the lack of a truly open shareholder meeting.

Posted by Grandpubha - 14 years ago

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Hi Colin,

You could send a copy of that to the new BOD member, LaRosa at gwlarosa.com if you so choose.

At the very least it could provide him a brief update over the last several years from a shareholder perspective.

Posted by altrfan - 14 years ago

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What a great idea, altrfan. I am going to do that with the email I sent Rich Yonkers.

Posted by Grandpubha - 14 years ago

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I just did it. I will let you know if I hear anything back next week.

Posted by Grandpubha - 14 years ago

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Mr COLIN, mr Grandpubha masterfully done! you 2 have encapsulated the years of suffering by us shareholders and served it to these fools.
I so thank you.

Garif

Posted by GARIF - 14 years ago

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I just sent a e-mail to LaRosa@gwlarosa.com and my e-mail was returned. Tried it 3 times and returned 3 times.

Went to LaRosa's own web site and his address there is ContactUs@GWLaRosa.com, this one worked for me

Posted by christ3opher - 14 years ago | Updated 14 years ago

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Hi and thanks Grand. Hopefully you will get a response.
Might I suggest you try to contact Andrew Redleaf, or his partners at Whitebox and make the same offer in a professional capacity?

This entire fiasco is either going according to plan....or it isn't as far as the senior holder of Vitesse debt is concerned. If it is, then we are permanently hosed. If it isn't, then I would think that Redleaf and partners would, at the very least be intrigued at the offer of FREE assistance for their very under performing CEO (and CFO)......along with the fact both CRG or RY lack the basic professionalism to give you a brief 'Thanks but no thanks' ....I mean, what the hell...it would've taken all of 30 seconds to acknowledge your offer and give a response.

Posted by altrfan - 14 years ago

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Thanks Chris for Rogas' address. I forwarded him my letter to Chris but doubt I will hear back from him either.
We used to have a pretty good database of contact information for the execs and BOD. Much has changed and I find I have relatively few addresses anymore. It might be a good idea to start a topic to share any contact information we have so that we can begin a mailing blitz, copying everyone whenever we send a letter to any one of them.
Colin

Posted by Colin - 14 years ago

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Today, the SEC passed historic rule changes. Here's the headlines:

"Setting the stage for a new round of battles between corporate leaders and shareholders, the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday narrowly approved controversial regulations giving institutional investors significantly more power in corporate-director elections and behind-the-scenes negotiations with top executives starting in 2011.

The agency approved, on a 3-2 party-line vote, an SEC proposal known as "shareholder access" that will allow shareholders -- particularly institutional investors -- to nominate a minority slate of one or two director candidates for election on corporate boards inexpensively, using company proxy documents."

Now this doesn't take effect until 2011, so I want to be the first to warn VTSS Executive management to watch what they do in treating shareholders going forward. We are watching and taking notes.

Posted by Grandpubha - 14 years ago

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I happened to click the 'Popular' tab and Colin's post came up at the top of the list, even though there haven't been any responses in a month.......perhaps interesting to no one but me, but may indicate there are others reading this thread and his letter, which was not responded to by CRG, has been noted.....

Posted by altrfan - 13 years ago | Updated 13 years ago

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Hi altrfan,
I wasn't sure if you realized this:

I believe that the "popular tab" - refers to how many people "voted" for that particular post not how many times the post was read.
The "voted" spot being located to the left of the post between the vote being listed as positive or negative.

The "hot tab" I believe refers to how many times in popularity that the post was read.


I myself just realized this very recently.

Posted by christ3opher - 13 years ago | Updated 13 years ago

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Yeah Christopher,

I realized shortly after I wrote the post that I didn't know what I was talking about, but everyone here already knew that so I didn't bother changing it.

Posted by altrfan - 13 years ago

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