Friday, May 25, 2012

Dean Reinke: The Rosa Ruiz of Race Directors

Let me look all calm and stuff as I take your money and run.
The Freeport Half Marathon. In case you haven't heard, DO NOT REGISTER FOR IT. The event is being put on by a con man named Dean Reinke. Just Google his name or Reinke Sports and you will find lots of blog posts and news stories on how he scams runners. Here's one. Here's another. There are many more. Seriously, search around. You'll see. But if you'd rather do that later, read on for now and I'll give some background.

So, how does he do it? He'll put on a half marathon, cancel it and not refund your money. He's done this time and time again. And based on my recent email exchange with this pond scum, he's aiming to do it with the Freeport Half Marathon here in Maine.

Let's backtrack a little. A warning was prompted by the Maine Track Club on Facebook last week. It read:

ALERT! The Freeport town council denied a permit for the Freeport Half Marathon because of alleged problems with the promoter. He tried to move the event to Brunswick. Today we learned Brunswick Schools have also DENIED use of their facilities. Please "LIKE"  and "SHARE" this post. Pass the word - per the promoters vague website, he claims no refunds. The Maine Attorney Generals office suggests disputing the charge with your credit card company or complaining to the Maine Consumer Protection Agency.

With that in mind, I emailed Dean Reinke directly from his website. I didn't expect a response back, but I got one. We exchanged several more emails, which you'll see below. These are unedited and in their entirety, except for the censoring of some adult language.

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Jamie Email #1:

Stay out of Maine, you crooked money robbing a**hole. Go **** yourself. You better refund everyone you scammed you sociopathic piece of s***. 

YOU WILL NOT GET AWAY WITH THIS. YOU ARE NOT ABOVE THE LAW. 



Notes: Juvenile? Harsh? Yeah, maybe a little. But it's also honest. And in retrospect, I'm really glad I started this way. If I had approached him with with the straight hard facts right off the bat I wonder if I would have gotten a response back at all. I have since gathered that Reinke seems to like confrontation, so my somewhat sophomoric approach was a smart one. That being said, it wasn't part of the plan. It just worked out that way rather nicely.

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Reinke Response #1:


Hi Jamie!

Don't hold back - please let me know how you really feel!

Which one of our nationwide USRA Half Marathon events that have attracted over 25,000 runners in the last 4 years have you run?   If you've not run one, then let me personally invite you to our Worcester Marathon / Half Marathon / 5K June 3.  We'd be happy to comp your entry and you can see in person how popular the Series is.

You'll be happy to know in addition to Freeport, Cape Cod, Worcester and Lake George, we have been invited to two additional  New England markets for site visits who are interested in hosting a USRA event!

Please let me know if you'd like to join us in Worcester?  Spread the word - the 3rd Annual will once again be a great event!

Thanks for your feedback!

Dean

Notes: He emailed this back within 10 minutes and I was quite surprised. However, knowing his background, I smelled a rat. I immediately saw through his lame attempt to quiet me by offering to comp my entry and I thought it was very arrogant of him to ask me to promote one of his events. Notice that he also didn't address my initial concern and attempted to move the conversation on to another set of tracks. I wasn't having it. 

More importantly, notice he's offering to comp my entry to an event in Worcester. Why not Freeport? Hmmmm. I didn't catch that until later, unfortunately. 

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Jamie Email #2:

It seems like you have a lot of practice in responding to these kinds of emails. Two questions for you:

1) Will you do the ethical thing and refund the money for those who paid for the race in Freeport?
2) One of the local TV stations is working on a story on your scam. Interested in doing a phone interview with them? I can arrange it. 

If the answer to one and two are both no, kindly take your comped entry and shove it up your a**. 


Notes: I suspected he would try and dodge these two questions which directly address the issue. It's what con artists do. Within minutes, he responded back.

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Reinke Response #2:

Jamie:

Who are you and where are you getting your info?  Are you aware our Freeport event last year was a huge success?    Please look at our website at FreeportHalf.com and you can see our course, etc.  We still have the support of the Tourism bureaus in Freeport, Portland and the State of Maine.  Our sponsors are on board again including a major TV and radio station.

You still have not answered my question as to whether you've run any of our races?  If not, how can you possibly critique us?  Have you ever put on a running event?

I am not sure exactly what your problem is?  

Would love to learn more about your background and whatever ax you have to grind?

I have been doing this for 37 years and will be doing it for 37 more.  I would encourage to get some help as you appear to have some serious issues.  Take a deep breath, go out for a run, get rid of the anger and get yourself back on track.  Hope you'll join us on the 12th!

Regards,

Dean

PS:  Again, please let me know where you are getting your inaccurate info.  I'd be happy to set them straight as well!


Notes: Yep, he's dodging. Notice he is going on the offensive here and skirting my questions. Never does he address the refund issue or offer for an interview. Instead, he makes very misleading statements about the race. Keep in mind that Freeport and Brunswick have both already denied him permits. He asked me to look at the course map, alluding that the event is still on. The map shows it's in Brunswick.

The race is not happening, despite who he claims is allegedly "on board". Yet, registration is still open and he's still taking people's money. I thought I'd be very direct yet again.

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Jamie Email #3:

Nice try. You were denied the permit to do the race this year yet were still accepting registration money after the fact. Lame attempt at skirting around my questions. Let me ask them again:

A) Will you do the ethical thing and refund the money?
B) Would you like to be interviewed by the local TV station doing the story on your scam? If you really feel your actions are justified, then you should have no problem talking to them, right?

Notes: I purposely avoided his questions about me. He would likely try to spin whatever I had to say and sidetrack the issue. But I sensed his arrogance was getting the better of him. His next email would contain the flat out lie I was now looking to get out of him.

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Reinke Response #3:

Once again, we have moved the course and are all set to roll.  The tourism group in Freeport was very upset (they are already jockeying to get us back next year) with the Town Council (by the way, the Police approved the course and the town council, who were not even in loop last year, apparently denied it).  We have simply moved to a new venue and have the proper approvals.

You must be a relative of Howard Spear or James Hendricks.  Runners want to run and not get caught up in the politics.  I would suggest you do the same and move on.

Have a great day!

Dean

Notes: Score. After some careful tip toeing his arrogance apparently got the better of him. Flat out lies in his response. He tried move the race to Brunswick but he does not have the proper credentials, as you'll see in the Maine Track Club alert at the beginning of this post.

So... busted. Also notice he still hasn't answered my two questions, which I've asked twice now. Simple yes or no is all it takes. 

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Jamie Email #4:

So, where'd it move to? You were denied a permit in Brunswick as well. Surely, you are aware of all of this. Really curious to where the "Freeport" Half is moving to? Still in Maine? Hmmm?

I love running. And I love runners. This is why I'm going after you. Your scams are posted all over the internet. Sure, put on a few races that actually go off here and there so you can point to them and say "See?". Not buying it, Skippy. 

By the way, you didn't answer my questions again:

1) Will the runners who registered for the Freeport Half (that is, by your own admission, not in Freeport) get their money back?
2) Would you like to be interviewed by the local TV station doing a story on your scam so you can present your side of the story?

Notes: I felt it was important to mention a key point here, for posterity's sake: Some of his races do go on, but I think it's apparent that he uses those as a cover-up for the other scams he pulls on the races that do not go on (which are numerous). 

I didn't get a response back to this now that I called him out on a flat out lie, so I emailed him again the next morning.

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Jamie Email #5:

Anxiously awaiting your response on you NOT having the permit in Brunswick as well. Your race map says it is there. You said "Once again, we have moved the course and are all set to roll....We have simply moved to a new venue and have the proper approvals." 

You appear to be flat out lying. How do you respond to the above? And how do you respond to the below, which you keep dodging and still haven't answered? Close ended questions like the below are simple to answer... yes or no. Which is it, Skippy?

1) Will you do the ethical thing refund the money to those who registered for the Freeport Half which we both know is not happening.
2) Would you like to be interviewed by a local TV station doing a story on your scam so you can present your side of the story?

Notes: No response. If he does respond I'll be sure to update, but I'm not holding my breath. 

I'm writing this post because I thought my emails really shed light on the kind of person Dean Reinke is. It seems like it would be a sin to not share it. This guy is nothing but a scammer. 

It really ticks me off that somebody like this would try to take advantage of the running community. Here in Maine, we have incredible race directors like Erik, Ian, Ryan, Gary and many others who have worked hard to put on great, legit events. The pool of water is very pristine, thanks to them. It really irks me a lot that someone would try to take advantage of the trust in race directors that folks like them have created with runners in the community. 

So Reinke Sports.... if they're coming to a town near you, I urge you to contact town officials, sponsors and whoever else and make them aware of the problems Dean "Rosa Ruiz" Reinke has caused in the past. Run a race put on by the locals instead. It's always your best bet. 

If you have any questions for Dean Reinke, go ahead and drop him a line. His contact info was in the signature of his emails:

     Dean Reinke - Reinke Sports Group 
     1531 Dale Ave.
     Winter Park, FL 32789
     O: 407-599-0568 / C: 407-310-6373

The email worked as of last night, but I'm not sure about the address or phone numbers. Just like his races, beware. Things are subject to change without notice. 

Happy running. 

4 comments:

mindy said...

I can't believe this fool. Word will get out among runners and this guy will be shut down. I can't believe he claims to have done this for 37 years. What a loser. I hope he's brought down in a ball of flames. Thanks Batman! (I feel like you're a superhero protecting the running citizens' rights).

Laura M said...

Oh, this is freaking GREAT! YOU GO!!! As he scammed me and many of my running friends, I wholeheartedly support your, shall we say, "direct" approach! He is a piece of shameless work and he is so very good at scamming people, counties and charities while ignoring the facts- HE MUST BE EXPOSED!!! I am trying to get Runner's World to do a story on him as well as a local station here in the Bay Area of California. He WILL be stopped!!!

iRunParis said...

WOW. First of all, I have never heard of someone doing this, but it's definitely feasible if you're willing to put in the evil lying time that he apparently is. Nice job going after him and, in my experience, once the person won't respond to the question he knows he's screwed. I won't be signing up for any of this genius' races.

GWC said...

Hello Maine...I am here in Washington State and I see Dean Reinke is busy getting ready to visit your great state. In July 2011 I attended an event of his out here in a small town in the center of the state. It was a poorly organized event. A local running club stepped up to ensure adequate water stations. Good thing since it was nearly 80 degrees by 9am. The finisher medals were there at the end and it took nearly four weeks of phone calls and emails to get one. Avoid this man and his company. Best to you all in Maine.