Was it Exposure or Plain Stupidity on behalf of Veterinary Information Network (VIN)?
Paul Pion’s Veterinary Information Network (VIN) has both a financial and self-imposed fiduciary duty to provide online information regarding veterinary medicine. As its mission statement claims:
The VIN News Service aims to reflect the voice of veterinarians and others dedicated to medicine and the health of animals. Our purpose is to enhance the veterinary profession and society by providing unbiased, accurate, insightful news reports and analysis that explore topics and viewpoints not commonly covered by other media outlets.
It is clearly understood that the VIN Message Boards are a place to allow for dues paying veterinarians to vent and sound off about various topics. In today’s society of tabloid journalism and social media, VIN message boards can protect the vets within their fraternal comfort zone. That intention is all well and good, but when that fraternal environment becomes modified from its original model, then Paul Pion and VIN has breached their fiduciary duty to its paying members.
A recent article posted by the VIN News Team regarding Vet Finance Group is both biased and inaccurate, a clear contradiction to its mission statement. The VIN News Team concocted a story and the spin they wanted to take to put out a story. The story published complete with misleading and slanderous headline, turned out to be filled with partial information, unnecessary personal attacks, and not very well-thought out. Now, the exposure and consequences to various veterinary hospitals and the legal exposure to VIN becomes the story and possibly that exposure is what Paul Pion was seeking.
So this is what has happened.
When Paul Pion, David Dekok, and Jennifer Fiala decided to attack Vet Finance Group and its manager, they were clearly not interested in providing all of the facts. They did not want to offer all of the facts, documents and interviews they had obtained detailing and contradicting the information they chose to print. They printed their version of a story they felt was worth reporting regarding Vet Finance Group. The information they had would not have made such a good story and it would have exposed veterinary practices across the country and the financial decisions and troubles they had due to economic problems. They decided that was not a good story. They focused on partial information and chose the tabloid journalism approach to create a story.
Facts the VIN reporters did not reveal
David Dekok, had received prior to contributing to the article, information that proved the content he wrote was inaccurate and incomplete. Information he obtained clearly refutes what he choose to print. David Dekok even made the comment stating, “It really doesn’t matter, I have what I need to print my story.” Likewise Jennifer Fiala received in writing detailed information from a banker at Sunwest Bank that she contacted after the story was published. All of the information provided by the banker to Jennifer Fiala completely contradicts the information printed against Vet Finance Group and in fact exposes one veterinary clinic Wayne Browning DVM owner at Bayhill Equine, for breach of contract. Bayhill Equine cancelled the services of Vet Finance Group while the transaction was being reviewed by the bank. Dr Browning and Bayhill Equine said they were not going to proceed with the loan and for Vet Finance Group to refund their commitment fee. The fee was refunded in full and thanks to Jennifer Fiala and her after the fact research, it was discovered by Vet Finance Group that Wayne Browning, DVM had indeed closed his loan with Sunwest Bank with the terms and conditions provided by Vet Finance Group after they said they did not want to do the loan. Bayhill Equine and Dr Browning clearly misrepresented their intentions of working with Vet Finance Group to avoid paying the fees. Under the agreement, Bayhill Equine is liable for these fees and VIN and its news team helped expose this as well as several other practices that have neglected to pay for services performed by Vet Finance Group under their obligations.
What consequences has this action caused? Non-veterinary selected access not only invites for careless and inaccurate information, but the private and protected message board strings become open door for others to access and print out. This selective open door access is an abuse of trust, but on the other hand, Pion and his news team has found a useful way of generating strategized attention directed to the VIN site.
So, after all that has happened, it all boils down to Veterinary Information Network gaining exposure?
In the short run, Pion’s website will increase exposure and more than likely revenues. However, the information will show that what Paul Pion has done with this article will affect the veterinarians he has been paid to protect. His story became how VIN and Paul Pion wanted to spin things to protect their business. In fact Paul Pion has said before that he will do anything to protect his investment and that a couple of years ago someone almost put him out of business. Paul Pion seems a bit paranoid.
Did Vet Finance Group do something to hurt Pion and his investment? Many Veterinarians have said that Vet Finance Group actually provided a lot of value added services, as well as successfully completed transactions to the veterinary industry over the past several years. Was Vet Finance Group a solution in all cases? Certainly not. But they offered value added resources to provide many creative alternatives and solutions to the veterinary practices. One very reputable veterinarian in Southern California, George Cuellar, DVM, even supported Vet Finance Group and made the comment that if it wasn’t for Vet Finance Group and its management team helped him and his practice even after he was turned down multiple times. He commented that he is not sure what position his practice would be in if it wasn't for Vet Finance Group. Vet Finance Group made a major difference to Dr Cuellar and his practice. Many other practices have similar experiences that Paul Pion and the VIN News Team chose not to write about. In fact Paul Pion even made an unfavorable reference to Dr Cuellars posting on the VIN message board.
Did Paul Pion and his reporters care about the positive things that Vet Finance Group has done within the veterinary community? How about the millions of dollars in loans, refinances, debt consolidation, credit repair, merchant card services and friendships created and generated over the past several years? Did Pion and his group understand and care about the process, obstacles, and economic hurdles that had to be addressed with each and every clinic? Vet Finance Group certainly could not be held responsible for the down economy. Or possibly Paul Pion and VIN believe that maybe they are. If only Veterinary Information Network, Paul Pion and the VIN News Team could have been a bit more educated and not so quick to pass judgment on information that was not forthright or focused on the veterinary industry, then several clinics and Paul Pion and his team would not be exposed for the truths that will be set outside the VIN Message boards for all to see just as he choose to take the tabloid journalism route for all to see who and what Paul Pion really is about. Paul Pion and his VIN News Team should have been better educated as to the process, veterinary practice issues and economic hurdles Vet Finance Group had to work within to help the many veterinary clients they had success in closing and potentially saving their practice just like they did in helping Dr Cuellar.
Posted by Stuff That Needs Saying at 21.7.11