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Massage Today
August, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 08

IMA Owner Says He "Sabotaged" the Business

Blames Depression, Says Failing Company Owes $600,000

By Ramon G. McLeod, Editor-in-Chief and Christie Bondurant

Will Green, the owner and founder of the International Massage Association (IMA), a business that was once a major insurer for the massage therapy community, said Wednesday (July 21) that he "began to sabotage" the association last year, owes his insurance broker "about $600,000," and stopped making payments on insurance premiums.

The e-mail, sent to the association's members, was in apparent response to a Massage Today story ("What Became of IMA", July 19) that described the severe financial troubles that have befallen the association.

Green has refused to respond to numerous phone calls requesting an interview on the story, including three calls made Thursday, July 22. In one of those calls, the person answering the phone said he was "out of town" for the day.

In the e-mail sent to IMA members, Green makes a series of admissions about the company's apparent collapse.

"I am not faultless. I began to sabotage the business through hurt and anger last year." He blames the "sabotage" on depression and says he wished he "had gotten some help because depression is a subtle destroyer."

Confirming one of the major findings of the original Massage Today story, Green says "I owe (his former) insurance broker about $600,000." He says that he is trying to sell off real estate to "pay that debt."

The e-mail further states that on April 22, the association's insurance broker cancelled policies. In an interview with Massage Today last week, Bret VanLeeuven, owner of IMA's primary insurance broker, Utah-based Stratus Insurance, Inc., said that Stratus had indeed cancelled the policies because "he owes us close to seven figures."

What Happened?

In trying to explain what happened to the money and to the association, Green in the e-mail says that he discovered in July 2009 that issues had arisen over a claim made to one of his non-massage insurance businesses.

In researching the claim, which was made by someone "not in our database," he "found out (that) our insurance policy was being sold by another insurance broker with our name on the policy for an inflated wholesale price."

He said that this had allegedly been going on for four years.

"My friends at the insurance brokerage had been raping me economically since 2004. I was hurt and angry. I found out from the U.S. Justice Department Insurance Fraud Division that this was not legal."

Nevertheless, Green said, "I did not pursue a legal remedy. I went into a depression without even realizing it." He also claims that he has been cooperating with the FBI for three years in an insurance fraud case and that "one of the parties" in the case has plead guilty.

Green said it was depression resulting from the July 2009 discovery that led to his failure to keep up with payments: "I stopped paying insurance premiums and went into a tailspin."

The e-mail doesn't say which insurance broker allegedly mishandled the policy he describes as discovering in July 2009. Stratus was still doing work until April 22, when Stratus cancelled work for Green.

In interviews last week, VanLeeuven insisted that Stratus was not involved in "any scheme."

The relationship between Green and VanLeeuven began around 2004, VanLeeuven said. Stratus, like other insurance brokers of its type, acquires the policies that insure the premium payers from liability claims.

Earlier this year, sources present at meetings where Green tried to sell IMA  said that Green suggested that Stratus had failed to properly handle policies in several of the years since 2004, an allegation that VanLeeuven strongly denied.

"Every premium that was collected was passed on to the appropriate parties," he said.

"Our business has been audited many times, we held up our part of the contract," he said. "And the bottomline is that as far as Stratus is concerned, every claim that was made was paid. There have been no complaints about unpaid valid claims."

VanLeeuven, who is travelling overseas, was unavailable to comment on this story.

End Game for IMA?

Left unstated in the e-mail from Green was one very large question: What happened to the $600,000?

What is clear, however, is that Green is scrambling for cash because, as he says in his e-mail: he is trying to sell off property to cover it. It is also clear that IMA is finished. In his e-mail Green says it will cease to exist at the end of 2010.

Editor's Note: If you have had issues with either of IMA's insurance operations, please contact


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