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Sellout Crowd Founder Depantsed by Frontier in Well-Deserved Hit Piece!

Yesterday morning, The Frontier published an epic takedown piece documenting the rapid rise and even more rapid fall of the failed sports website Sellout Crowd.

Although we covered the saga of the outlet in real-time—from its arrogant beginnings to its quiet exit and the silly controversies in between—The Frontier’s retrospective hit piece is a must-read for all sports fans, journalism junkies, and people who despised Mr. Monday columns in The Oklahoman.

Containing 3,000 words of interviews, accusations, stories, and "How could degreed professionals be this dumb?" jaw-droppers, the piece accomplishes three things:

1. It depants Sellout Crowd co-founder Mike "Mr. Monday" Koehler, exposing him as an Oklahoma journalism supervillain—a lying, cheating, nerfherder who used deception to trick his friends, colleagues, and investors into jeopardizing their money and careers for a terrible, outdated business model that was less likely to succeed than his 2009 crowd-funded campaign to build an AT-AT.

2. It portrays Sellout Crowd journalists like Berry Tramel, Jenni Carlson, and others as victims, even though they complicity ignored or overlooked Mike’s unkept promises, moving goalposts, and other warning signs, and seemed more than willing to follow him down the road in his bad idea.

3. It met The Frontier’s publishing quota for the month of June! They’ve already published like five original articles for the month, which I think is a new record. Now their staff can take the rest of June off for an extended July 4th holiday.

I have to say, the part I enjoyed the most about the piece was how The Frontier exposed the unethical business dealings of Mike Koehler. I knew the guy was a bit pompous and full of himself, but I had no clue he lacked character, values and business ethics. Only Berry Tramel’s barber could have made him look any worse!

Based on interviews with his Sellout recruits, it’s pretty obvious that Mike sold everyone a false bill of goods and totally deserves the beating he’s receiving on social media.

I even say that as someone who’s been acquaintances with Mike for about 15 years or so. We weren’t good friends or anything, but we knew each other well enough to have brief five-minute “How Ya Doing?” catch-up sessions when I couldn’t avoid him at parties.

My last interaction with Mike was back in August, right before I leaked the launch of Sellout Crowd to the world.

I guess Mike got word I had an article coming and asked for a quick phone call. I agreed, and a few minutes later he was on the phone bitching me out, begging me not to publish the article.

“You’re going to destroy the whole thing!” he squealed. “People have risked their careers for this! Do you want to be responsible for that!?”

My response to his attempted guilt trip was something to the effect of, “Dude. If one article on TLO is going to derail your project, it’s probably not a very good project.”

I held my ground and published the piece.

It didn’t occur to me until later that Mike was simply projecting onto me the guilt and insecurities he felt about scamming his friends and colleagues. I guess he didn't learn his own lesson that "fake til you make it" doesn't work:

Although I think it’s good Mike is receiving a well-deserved public shaming, I'm not a fan of how The Frontier painted the other journalists as innocent victims who don’t deserve any accountability.

This is especially true for Berry Tramel.

When he writes his sports columns, Berry likes to come across as a wise, old southern sage in the mold of William Faulkner, Shelby Foote or Mark Twain—a knowledgeable and astute observer of the sporting world, and one with a gift for metaphors, observations, and nicknames.

But, when it comes time to making a business deal, or signing a contract that gives you a 2.5% equity stake in the company—including its debt—it's like he suddenly turns into a George Milton-level local yokel who has no clue what he's doing.

Don't get me wrong – Berry was definitely misled and screwed over by Mike, but he also should have known better and taken some responsibility. His attachment to the project is what gave it some validity. Sports writers aren’t Rhodes Scholars, but they shouldn’t be easier to dupe and deceive than toddlers, In Your Corner subjects, and Applebee’s servers combined.

Okay, so maybe I'm wrong and scammers like Mike Koehler can target intelligent victims. Who knows.

Anyway, you can read the full report on The Rise and Fall of Sellout Crowd over at The Frontier’s website.

Stay with The Lost Ogle. We'll keep you advised.

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