The SGT Peterson’s Signs Have Stopped

EDIT: As of 10/20/2012, the SGT Peterson’s Boot Camp signs have begun to reappear.

After my email exchange with Tim Peterson took a menacing tone, I thought it might be a good idea to get the press involved. You can find the Star Tribune article right here.

With Tim Peterson publicly stating that his company will stop putting up illegal signs (again), it seems like this one particular sign battle is over. And so, as the nice guy I am, I am taking down the below Google review.

SGT Peterson's Review

Assuming he truly has stopped, then my “continues to” statement is inaccurate. Of course, if more illegally placed signs pop up, then the statement becomes true again.

But, really, I hope this is the end of this battle. Feel free to contact SGT Peterson’s Boot Camp and take a class there. I have nothing against the business. I have something against illegal advertising practices. And since those practices have stopped, I don’t have anything else to say.

As the article states, we have the right to pluck illegal advertising out of the ground and off of utility poles. Keep your neighborhoods beautiful. Be proud of where you live. I’ll help out the best I can. You see, I get busy sometimes.

Still Busy, Still Lazy

Hey, how about a non-snipe-advertising update? I have another website in the works. It should be up sometime this week or next. I’m excited about it. It signals a move from passively going after success with my projects to making an effort to lead myself and others to success.

Then again, it might not work. Who knows? I’m trying, right? That’s half of succeeding.

More illegal MPLSBootcamp.com street spam for SGT Peterson’s Boot Camp

EDIT: As of 10/20/2012, the SGT Peterson’s Boot Camp signs have begun to reappear.

For the time being, it seems like this issue is resolved. Click here to see the current status of this issue. The below content is kept as a record of events.

This Twitter message alerted me to the fact that Lyndale was swamped with more illegal MPLSBootcamp.com (a website domain owned my Tim ‘SGT’ Peterson of SGT Peterson’s Boot Camp) street spam. I rushed to the scene and performed sign removal surgery on the road. The patient made a full recovery. You can find video and pictures of the procedure below.

Emails with SGT Peterson

EDIT: As of 10/20/2012, the SGT Peterson’s Boot Camp signs have begun to reappear.

For the time being, it seems like this issue is resolved. Click here to see the current status of this issue. The below content is kept as a record of events.

While you have seen a few exchanges with Tim Peterson of SGT Peterson’s Boot Camp on my blog, he has continued to contact me over email. Here, for your reading pleasure, is the extent of our conversation.

And, yes. My first email is full of errors. But I’m presenting these as is. Enjoy.

From: Timothy Peterson
To: Aric McKeown
CC: XXX, YYY
Date: Thu, Jun 9, 2011 at 1:59 PM
Subject: Please STOP!

Please remove all mention of my company from your blog. Thank you in advance.

Please do not post again to any of my company’s, employees or my personal websites including all social media platforms or I will be forced
to take swift action.

We were hoping you had a sense of humor but you have take this way to far with your latest facebook post.

Thank you.


Tim ‘SGT’ Peterson
Visionary
SGT Peterson’s
1313 Chestnut Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55403
www.sgtpeterson.com
Mobile: 612-399-6080
Toll Free 1-866-877-3110

Please connect with me!
http://www.sgtpeterson.com/blog/
http://www.facebook.com/sgtpeterson
http://twitter.com/SGTPeterson
http://www.linkedin.com/in/sgtpeterson

From: Aric McKeown
To: Timothy Peterson
Date: Thu, Jun 9, 2011 at 2:07 PM

Tim,

Everything posted on my blog is from conversations viewable by anyone with access to the internet. Nothing is from hidden or private conversations. It stays up.

Why do say that you will not longer continue to post signs illegally, yet not even a week ago you are post on Facebook that you are looking to illegally hire people to post more illegal signs, which you know is illegal several times over, within Minneapolis? If you stop doing illegal things, then I have nothing to write about. But you have proven, time and time again, that you’ll say one thing and do another.

Sense of humor has nothing to do with it. You and your company continue to break the law. And it’s the public’s right to know about. So either cease your illegal advertising or accept that your illegal actions will be monitored.

I have nothing wrong with your business. Boot camps are a great idea. I do have a problem with illegal activities, and you should too.

Aric McKeown

From: Timothy Peterson
To: Aric McKeown
CC: XXXX, YYYY
Date: Thu, Jun 9, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Aric,

You drew the line posting on my company’s facebook page.

If you want to have a blog that is one thing. Anything more is slander, and anything other then a blog post from you on your blog will be viewed as such from this point on.

Maybe that was a test to see what you would do……

You also do not have permission to use my logo or on your website or any were for that matter. That in itself is illegal.

It’s also illegal use the other trademarked company’s logo’s on your site even in a video.

Please stop this nonsense. Thank you.

From: Aric McKeown
To: Timothy Peterson
CC: XXXX, YYYY
Date: Thu, Jun 9, 2011 at 3:09 PM

Tim, XXXX, and YYYY,

The photograph on my website is considered commentary and is protected under the terms of Fair Use.

There is no intent to slander you or your company. Facts are being stated and commented on. This is allowed in any public forum.

I am a citizen advocate against illegal advertising, and I have no tolerance for letting this matter go without recourse. You cannot intimidate me into revoking my civil right to complain about this illegal practice. If you continue to press me on the matter I will escalate it. Your best course of action at this time is to cease and desist your illegal advertising campaigns, which I am monitoring.

I don’t harbor any ill will against your business, but I do vehemently oppose your trash littering my city. Cease your illegal activities and we will have nothing further to discuss.

Aric

From: YYYY
To: Aric McKeown, Timothy Peterson
Date: Thu, Jun 9, 2011 at 3:27 PM

Tim and Aric,

I do not wish to be a part of these messages. I hope you are able to resolve this issue.

Respectfully,
YYYY

From: Timothy Peterson
To: Aric McKeown
Date: Fri, Jun 24, 2011 at 4:01 PM
Subject: I will be forced to my lawyer

Please stop your continued harassment.

Thank you.


“Inspiring the world with more then just a workout”

Tim ‘SGT’ Peterson
Visionary
SGT Peterson’s
1313 Chestnut Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55403
www.sgtpeterson.com
Direct: 612-399-6080
Toll Free 1-866-877-3110

Please connect with me!
http://www.sgtpeterson.com/blog/
http://www.facebook.com/sgtpeterson
http://twitter.com/SGTPeterson
http://www.linkedin.com/in/sgtpeterson

From: Aric McKeown
To: Timothy Peterson
Date: Sun, Jun 26, 2011 at 9:46 AM

As long as you continue to knowingly use illegal means to promote your business, I will continue to use perfectly legal ways to point it out. Please stop doing illegal things.

Aric

From: Timothy Peterson
To: Aric McKeown
CC: XXXX
Date: Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 9:40 PM
Subject: Three Options

Aric,

#1. We can meet in person and solve this issue like gentleman ASAP, like in the next 48 hours.

#2. You can remove everything you have about us online forever including reviews and never post on anything we are affiliated with again. In exchange I will insure you never see another SGT Peterson sign again.

#3. I will go another route that YOU, and I WILL NOT ENJOY. I see no point in this but your continued assault on my company WILL NOT go on.

First I was trying to have fun with this, now I am doing my best trying to be civil about this.

If you choose two take option 2, you will get your wish and I will get mine.

#2 is simply a win for both of us, and a cooperative effort to simply solve the issue. No more no less.

Please do not make this be a lose for both of us.

Thank you for the time.

P.S. If I do not hear from you within 48 hours I will assume you choose option #3.


Inspiring performance through camaraderie and movement with, “more than just a workout”.

Tim ‘SGT’ Peterson
Visionary
SGT Peterson’s
1313 Chestnut Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55403
www.sgtpeterson.com
Direct: 612-399-6080
Toll Free 1-866-877-3110

Please connect with me!
http://www.sgtpeterson.com/blog/
http://www.facebook.com/sgtpeterson
http://twitter.com/SGTPeterson
http://www.linkedin.com/in/sgtpeterson

From: Aric McKeown
To: Timothy Peterson
CC: XXXX
Date: Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 1:09 PM

Dear Tim and XXXX,

Perhaps you have forgotten my original Google review. I took that down as soon as you agreed that your advertising was illegal and you claimed it would stop. I will take down the review if I see evidence that you have stopped your illegal advertising, as you would no longer be continuing to “knowingly practice illegal advertising methods to gain business.” I have proven this before. But I don’t know what evidence you can provide to me that will prove you have stopped. 30 days of streets clear of your signs is a start.

And, of course, Google offers their own options to remove inappropriate reviews. I assume my review has not been removed by Google after your complaints because it is factual and legal.

I intend to write an addendum to my blog posts when you have finally stopped your illegal activities. Again, I have the same reservations about you actually stopping your illegal advertising as stated above.

As for your threats in option three, I am well within my legal rights to say everything I’ve said where I’ve said it. My attorney has assured me of this. So if you are planning on a losing a civil suit in an effort to cost us both money, I think we’d both be better off continuing as is. Of course, your threat was rather vague. If you are planning on some illegal form of retaliation, there isn’t much I can do about that.

Your vague threats are a form of coercion, which is very illegal. Do not think for a moment that I am helpless in this situation.

All I have wanted from day one is for you to stop posting illegal advertising in my state. You have even agreed to stop. You have even agreed that it was illegal. But you have continued.

You can not infringe upon my civil rights. There are institutions set up to guarantee and protect freedom of speech. Especially freedom of speech that contains no lies. If you believe that I have been slanderous, then you are in denial of the very admissions you have made. This entire situation has been well documented.

If you are willing to remove your signs and stop any further illegal activities, I am willing to make edits to my current published materials to make that clear. But what has happened has happened. It is public record. I will not be bullied into submission.

Aric McKeown

From: Timothy Peterson
To: Aric McKeown
Date: Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Aric,

I have nothing to gain unless you remove everything from the internet.
Writing an addendum does not remove any damage that has been done to my company from the past.
It will remain there forever. That is a very long time.

If this info remains on the internet forever what do I have to gain by meeting any of your demands?
The answer is nothing.

This must be a win, win situation. Or it just does not make sense.

What you have purposed is not a win, win situation at all.

Aric your win equals no SGT Peterson’s signs immediately.

My win equals all things off the internet immediately.

Its that simple, there is no bullying or civil rights being infringed on.

If you can agree to that you will get your wish.

If not, then I will be forced into a corner that I do not want to be in and I will be forced to fight my way out.

Just like you I believe in standing up for my beliefs and I will not back down.

I am open to any win, win solution.

From: Aric McKeown
To: Timothy Peterson
CC: XXXX
Date: Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 2:52 PM

Tim,

You should stop doing illegal things because it is the right thing to do, not because you’ve made a deal. There is no corner you have backed into; You have done illegal things, you continue to do illegal things. You can stop doing illegal things or not. It is not my choice to make.

I am an observer and an objector in this regard, a citizen exercising free speech. Any proposal you make to silence my voice is coercion, which is also illegal. I have my beliefs. If your beliefs give you entitlement to break the law, your issues aren’t with me, they are with the City of Minneapolis.

If you stop doing illegal things, out of integrity I will write an addendum to my articles. This is not a deal. This is what I would do regardless. I am stating the facts of the situation. If you move to discontinue your illegal advertising, then that is a fact I would write about.

You have made and continue to make demands in regards to my civil rights. You cannot coerce or threaten me, and I owe you nothing. I am well within the law and you are outside of it. Any legal move you make would be frivolous, and my legal counsel is briefed and confident in my actions. If you advance any further on this issue, you may want to read into my rights before you threaten them again. I have.

Aric McKeown

From: Timothy Peterson
To: Aric McKeown
Date: Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 3:02 PM

Aric,

When everything comes down that you have written about us, you may see action on my end.

This has not violation of your rights.

You have every right to say and type anything you want. I have fought for you to have the right.

I have the right to do the same, if you want me to do something I do not want to do, you will have to do the same.

Until then the issue remains, and I hope that it turns out to be everything that you expect it to be.

P.S. Not all of the communication you have had with my company is from me and many of your facts are inaccurate at best.

Please stop he attack and work on a solution.

I didn’t answer back. At this point, it was completely futile.

It has been 3062 days 18 hours 1 minute 38 seconds since my 48 hour deadline expired.

New to the blog? Here are the past articles on this topic:

New SGT Peterson’s Boot Camp URL, Same Illegal Advertising

EDIT: As of 10/20/2012, the SGT Peterson’s Boot Camp signs have begun to reappear.

For the time being, it seems like this issue is resolved. Click here to see the current status of this issue. The below content is kept as a record of events.

Because it is the 4th of July weekend, I was let out of work a little early today. I decided to spend that extra time hunting down and removing snipe advertising. If you see less “snow removal” signs on telephone poles in south Minneapolis, that’s all me.

When I hit Lyndale Ave, I came across a boot camp sign I had never seen before! This one was for MPLSBootcamp.com. Was a new boot camp hitting the town and trying to out-spam SGT Peterson’s Boot Camp?

A quick and easy search on Whois.net showed me that this domain was registered to Timothy Peterson. You probably know him better as SGT Peterson.

New URL. Same illegal advertising.

What’s really funny is the MPLSBootcamp.com website has no contact information on it, and nothing to tell you who runs it. There is simply a form to fill out for more information.

But the registration information tells all. And it only costs an extra $10 to hide the registrar information when buying a domain name.

So close!

And keep a look out for kickboxingminneapolis.com, onsitebootcamp.com, and operationspeedcamp.com coming to a snipe sign near you.

Update 07/05/2011
Digging a little deeper, out of curiosity today, I took a quick look around the internet for the pictured testimonials:

Of course, I can’t say if people did or did not say these things. But here is where a few of the images came from:

Jessica’s picture from Getty Images
Jacob’s from France on Flickr
Jackie’s from Taiwan on Flickr

With the photos being fake, I have a feeling that the testimonials might be fake too. You know. Just a hunch.

SGT Peterson’s Boot Camp Knowingly Breaking the Law

EDIT: As of 10/20/2012, the SGT Peterson’s Boot Camp signs have begun to reappear.

For the time being, it seems like this issue is resolved. Click here to see the current status of this issue. The below content is kept as a record of events.

On June 9th I had a lovely conversation with Tim “SGT” Peterson over email. He wanted me to remove anything about his company from my blog. I wanted him to stop doing illegal things.

In the end, neither of us got what we wanted. My blog on SGT Peterson’s illegal advertising stayed up and SGT Peterson’s Boot Camp put up more illegal signs all over Minneapolis.

So, I went out today to capture the illegally placed signs on video. Enjoy and pass it around. Maybe then, SGT Peterson’s will stop littering in our lovely metropolis.

UPDATE 06/29/2011
I almost thought this issue had come to a close today. I saw this on the @SGTPetersons Twitter feed this morning.

SGT Peterson's Sold to Bally Total Fitness

What followed was a really weird press release, saying someone had JUST purchased 51% of SGT Peterson’s Boot Camp and then had sold it right over to Bally Total Fitness. SGT Peterson himself would only receive 10% of the $350,000 purchase price.

They also claimed to have entered into an exclusive agreement with Groupon. Groupon confirmed this in a separate email.

Oh yeah. And then the press release claimed that SGT Peterson’s would be taking over the Bally’s personal training program and kicking out anyone who wasn’t up to their quality and “core value” standards.

If this press release was true, then it would be great news for me! I wouldn’t have to keep cleaning up the SGT Peterson’s Boot Camp sign spam from around Minneapolis anymore! Happy day!

Then this came through on the separate @SGTPeterson Twitter account.

GOT YOU! WE (I) WILL NEVER SELL OUT. Especially to Bally Total Fitness! We just wanted to make sure you were all paying attention.

Aww nuts.

The Neglected Lawn

No Lawn Mowing Today!One big issue that comes with being focused on your creative projects is you focus to the determent of your non-creative responsibilities. Let’s just use, as an example, my lawn.

I haven’t mowed my lawn this year. I’m going to do it today! I swear! But here is a little story that comes along with the lawn neglect.

I do not live near a body of water, but ducks love to nest in my backyard. So, this Saturday, I stepped out into my yard to see if any waterfowl were making themselves a nice home.

While I was standing in the middle of the yard, my backyard neighbor lady (technical term, I know) leaves her house. Noticing me in the yard, she says “hope you’re thinking about mowing.”

Okay, yeah. The yard is a mess. And I will mow it. But, first off, that’s a weird thing to say to anyone in passing.

But second, these are the first words she has spoken to me in the four years I have lived in my home. If I had any presence of mind, I would have said “nice to meet you too.” But I didn’t. Oh, missed opportunities.

So, somewhat out of spite, I didn’t rush to mow my yard. I went inside and worked on some podcast projects.

But I will mow lawn. And, a nice “how are you” would be a better first time greeting, backyard neighbor lady.

Add Another Project to the Pile

I can’t help myself. If I have a neat idea, I need to make it happen. Excitement trumps laziness every time. So I purchased my millionth domain name and created Better Strangers.

The idea had been percolating for a while. I realized that, even with my good friends, I don’t have any deep or meaningful conversations. So…what if I recorded myself getting to know my friends for a podcast?

Too easy.

I needed something more. The number of “two friends gabbing” style podcasts equal the number of domains I claim to have purchased (a million). This podcast idea needed to be much more unique.

While listening to the Wolf Den podcast with Jeff Ulrich, he stated that there was plenty of room on internet for more podcasts as long as they were unique. That little notion kicked my brain into high gear, where a fully formed podcast idea was born.

I would combine my previously stated lack of conversational skills with my social awkwardness. A podcast that combines the exploration of what makes a conversation with me getting over my fear of talking to new people.

And so, Better Strangers was created. A podcast where I would only talk to strangers. It would be awkward. It would be interesting. And I’d learn how to talk to people.

The first podcast will be up this Monday. And, if we don’t know each other, feel free to submit your name and phone number and I’ll give you a call. We’ll talk. It might be awkward. It might be great. It will be entertaining.

And, hey, if you know someone I don’t know, tell them to take part. What’s the worst that could happen? Someone hangs up. No biggie.

SGT Peterson and the Illegal Snipe Advertising

EDIT: As of 10/20/2012, the SGT Peterson’s Boot Camp signs have begun to reappear.

For the time being, it seems like this issue is resolved. Click here to see the current status of this issue. The below content is kept as a record of events.

A snipe sign, as defined by the Minneapolis, Minnesota, Code of Ordinances, is a sign of any material, including but not limited to paper, cardboard, wood or metal, attached to any object and having no application to the premises where located.

And, wouldn’t you know it? Snipe signs are prohibited, as stated in the Minneapolis, Minnesota, Code of Ordinances.

That’s right. All the ugly signs you see cluttering the roadside are illegal. Lose weight, work from home, singles in your area, we buy houses. It is all illegal adverting. Which brings us to SGT Peterson’s Boot Camp.

Hold on. Let’s tie this back to this site. I really hate snipe advertising. My co-workers will attest to this. I usually have to move all the signs I’ve yanked out of the ground or off of telephone poles when we take my van to lunch. So a while back I created Hey, I Found Your Sign, a website dedicated to helping these poor illegal advertisers know that someone found their illegal sign and it’s being taken care of.

Sometimes I call the numbers on the sign and tell them that I found their sign. We then have a wonderfully awkward and stilled conversation.

But SGT Peterson’s Boot Camp is special. You see, they are dumb enough to have a Twitter account. Instead of calling up the number on the sign, I simply let them know by Twitter that I had found their sign.

The following is my conversation with @sgtpetersons over the last two weeks.

aric: Hey @sgtpetersons. I found your sign. It was on Hennepin and Kenwood. I picked it up for you.

aric: Don’t worry, @sgtpetersons. I put it someplace safe. http://t.co/qeisXod

aric: Hey @sgtpetersons! I didn’t pick up all of your illegally placed signs. So if you could be a dear and get the rest. Thanks so much!

SGTPetersons: @aric If you could let us know where we were putting them that we shouldn’t be they will definitely not go there anymore!

aric: Everywhere, @sgtpetersons. Snipe advertising is illegal in Minneapolis and most everywhere.

aric: Hey @sgtpetersons. You still have two illegal snipe signs up on Hennepin by the Walker. And, I would guess, more up around town.

SGTPetersons: @aric In an effort to support the local economy we pay gnomes living under the Hennepin Ave Bridge to help us advertise. Every week they toil tirelessly to make end’s meet by putting out our USDA approved, Biodegradeable, Non-polluting signs. We would be abhorred if it was thought to put these hard working little guys out of a job.

aric: So let me get this argument straight, @sgtpetersons. You’re saying illegal advertising is okay as long as you pay homeless people to do it?

Updated 05/02/2011
SGTPetersons: @aric who said anything about homeless people? Also we have heard nothing from the City of Minneapolis regarding these signs, We have a had a couple of suburbs ask us not to post them anymore and have willfully complied…

aric: Really, @sgtpetersons? Just because you don’t get caught running a stop sign doesn’t mean it isn’t illegal. Look at the Code of Ordinances. And I inferred from your absurd comments about paying “gnomes” under the Hennepin Ave bridge about the homeless.

SGTPetersons: @aric First time I’ve seen that ordinance, will read it. (links regarding ‘snipe signs’ earlier assuming that’s what they were.)

So not only did SGT Peterson’s Boot Camp admit they are putting up these signs, which they have been informed are illegal. They continue to do it, and seem to think that hiring the homeless to put up the signs evens things out.

Wait, they’re hiring homeless people? Are they paying minimum wage? Are they reporting it on their taxes? Are they paying for worker’s comp? (Edit 05/03/2011 This is what I inferred based on the Twitter conversation we had. Anyone else read that conversation differently?)

What originally started as a way to get SGT Peterson’s Boot Camp to take down their ugly signs seems to have uncovered a rather shady operation. I assumed they were simply unaware of the law. Now it seems that they are…well…actually jerks. Willfully littering the streets of our city with their garbage.

The next step? Aside from contacting the city of Minneapolis(check) is seeing if the real SGT Peterson is aware of all these shenanigans. After all, if you put your name on something you’re going to have to stand up for it or move to correct the wrongs it has done.

In the meantime, obviously don’t sign up for one of these boot camps and go ahead and pull up any snipe signs you see and throw them in the trash, where they belong.

Update 05/02/2001
For anyone looking to report snipe advertising in Minneapolis, here is the information I received from the city of Minneapolis:

You can report this issue by calling Minneapolis 311 at 311 or 612-673-3000 or by emailing a report to 311 at Minneapolis311@ci.minneapolis.mn.us. Please include location, description of the signs the name and contact info for the business that is being advertised etc.

Update 05/03/2011

Success!

SGTPetersons: @aric Actually didn’t know it was illegal everywhere before reading the Code of Ordinances. Sounds like we’ll stop putting signs up.

SGTPetersons: PS @aric You should really try a business before you slander & give us bad reviews. Let us know if you want to actually see what we’re about

aric: @sgtpetersons Thank you following the law. “Reviews” removed. Still think your Tweets made it sound like you hired homeless folks.

SGTPetersons: @aric Should’ve gone with ‘gremlins’ instead of ‘gnomes’… no that sounds the same…Still think you should give us a shot as a business

aric: @sgtpetersons Fair enough. I can find a time to give your intro workout a shot and keep an open mind.

Update 05/18/2011

It seems that Ed Kohler called the number on the Sgt. Peterson’s Boot Camp sign last year and inform the person on the other end that their advertising was illegal. So these “didn’t know it was illegal” claims are pretty questionable. Don’t think I’ll be giving their workout a shot.

aric: Turns out @edkohler told @sgtpetersons last year that snipe ads were illegal. This “actually didn’t know it was illegal” stuff was nonsense.

SGTPetersons: @aric enough of this. I don’t know who he told, but it never got to me. I’ve taken care of it by putting a stop to it. Thank you.

It’s really no use dealing directly with the company. We’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say they aren’t putting up new signs. They still have their old signs littering the town.

If you see one, dial Minneapolis 311 at 612-673-3000 to report it or email your report to Minneapolis311@ci.minneapolis.mn.us.

Update 06/06/2011

This was posted yesterday on Facebook. What part of “illegal” doesn’t Tim Peterson understand?

Update 06/20/2011
It’s time to start a new thread for this topic. It’s moving away from “get SGT Peterson and SGT Peterson’s Boot Camp to realize what they’re doing” to “they know what they’re doing and they won’t stop.” Click here to continue on to the new blog post, with video!

Minimize

I’ve started using Google Tasks to help me organize what projects I need to work on. I can even have it as a little window on Gmail so I am constantly reminded of what needs doing.

Too bad I keep minimizing it because it annoys me. And then I forget about what is on the list. Time to pull it back up and keep it up.