It seems no matter how hard we try, Rodney Bowling, con artist extraordinaire, just won’t disappear. When we first met the entrepreneur, he was soliciting contestants for reality television shows that never aired and scamming 10-year-olds out of their talent show earnings [“Reality Bites
,” December 12, 2005]. When we finally reached Bowling, he told us he was moving to Arizona. Now he’s back, scamming a whole new generation of employees.
In June, he placed an ad in Scene, saying he needed promotional models for a golf event. Bowling had started a new company, which generated contact information for enterprising businesses looking for new sales leads. At this particular event, models would be paid $12 an hour to coerce contact information from attendees. In exchange for giving out their name and phone numbers –and answering just a few small questions about their lifestyles-- attendees would be given a chance to win either a Hummer or a $30,000 cash prize.
Of course, Bowling employees say there was no actual Hummer – nor was there a cash prize. And those $12-an-hour paychecks never materialized either. When employees complained, they got the famous Rod Bowling runaround.
“It is unfortunate that you think bad things about me,” he woundedly wrote one former employee in July. “I can show you 10 magazines and newspaper articles from Michigan talking about the success of my company. Even being awarded the most successful business person in Michigan.”
The problem, Bowling told employees, was that his new company, BigPlanet Media, was so hopping he didn’t have time to take care of minute details …like paying people. There are now five Better Bureau Business complaints the company.
“I’ve accepted that Rod’s never going to pay me,” says former employee Sonora Cox. “But I want everyone else to know about him.” – Rebecca Meiser