Here is another addition to the Jack Idema saga from one of the people Jack screwed over. This is the real Jack Idema not the so-called hero-boy that Psychotic and Homicidal Lynn Thomas lies her little tushie off about!
One if my most interesting clients
I don't know where else to write about this, so here goes...
As most of you know, I operate a family business providing equipment and union labor for trade shows. My Dad did it all his working life, and I've done it all my working life.
One day back in 1993, we got a call from a guy named Keith Idema. He said he had a show coming out to San Diego Convention Center called SpecOps, which was a type of military show highlighting equipment used in "Special Operations". He had planned to work with a company with offices back east, but when he found out that they would sub-contract his event, he decided to terminate their agreement and find a company in Southern California to work with directly.
We were having kind of a bad year, and when he told my Dad that the show had "a shitload of freight", he became very interested. Most of the profits in what we do come when we move exhibitor materials from the dock to their booth.
Keith wanted us to meet him at our office near Los Angeles the next day, which was a Saturday, when we were normally closed. But, for this kind of sudden, and what sounded like lucrative business, we arranged to meet him that day.
He said he was bringing a video tape of the prior show so we could see what it looked like. I stopped at Kmart and picked up a cheap video player for the office.
I met my Dad, Mom and one of our secretaries at the time named Tenee. She had come to work for us right out of the Marine Corps.
When Keith arrived, we introduced everyone, and when he met Tenee, my Dad mentioned her military background. Keith looked excited about that and said, "Simper Fi". I assumed this meant that he had also been a Marine.
We worked out the details of the show, and part of what I did was modified our exhibitor forms. On our introduction letter, he asked me to explain away the change in contractors saying, "Because of our ability to offer more competitive pricing, we have been chosen as the official contractor...".
Well, we sent people down to San Diego to do the show. I stayed up at the office to handle operations there. My Dad went down with Tenee, and some of our other people. Keith acted like a total maniac, and our people came back somewhat traumatized by the whole thing. Apparently, we was very demanding, yelling a lot and often obscene and threatening.
My Dad returned with a check for a large amount of money.
The check bounced.
My Dad would normally be ready to hire a lawyer or a collection agency and go after the guy. But, he told me to just "let it go".
He explained that this guy seemed to know a lot of dangerous people, and that it wasn't work having somebody getting hurt over.
A year later, Keith called us again and had another show. We explained that in order for us to do the show, he would have to pay for the last one, and pay the total cost of the new show up front.
He sent us a check for about $5,000.00. A fraction of what he owed. We put it in the bank and it cleared. Then he wanted to plan the event, but we told him he still owed us more money.
He called our voice mail system one night, cursing, ranting and raving. I recorded it on a cassette tape, and transcribed it and gave it to my Dad. He put it in his desk.
We didn't hear anything else from Keith Idema, ever.
My Dad died in 1995, and I took over his job and his desk.
Today, over ten years later, I was going through a drawer, and found the tape with the transcription rubber banded around it.
I read it, and remembered the whole debacle. I felt sorry for my Dad, who was just getting sick with cancer at the time. The whole Keith Idema thing was a sad end to his otherwise brilliant career.
Then I began to wonder about this guy, and if he was still out there doing shows. I typed his name into Google:
What came up first was an article in New York Magazine called "Operation Desert Fraud How Keith Idema marketed his imaginary Afghan war."
It describes our Keith Idema, with a photograph, and how he went to Afganastan to chase the bounty on Osama Bin Laden, and ended up running his own private prison and torturing people.
He is currently surving a ten year sentence in an prison in Afghanistan for his crimes.
The article is very interesting, and there is a question in some minds if Idema was actually working for the US Government:
Personally, I think he was just a con man who took us for a lot of money. But, apparently he talked his way into some very interesting places along his way.
I've always said that ours is an interesting business, and you get to meet a lot of people from all walks of life. Keith Idema is definitely one of a kind.
Hey Jackbo when are you going to storm the prison with those 1000 guy's? You big phony!