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Former Rep. Kevin Ambler, 1-800-ASK-GARY founder battle over failed startup funds

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Five years ago, former state Rep. Kevin Ambler and the founder of 1-800-ASK-GARY teamed up to create Arrest A.L.E.R.T., an app designed to give users access to arrest data from Sheriff’s Offices across the state.

Neither of them expected it to fail so miserably.

When it launched in 2011, the service didn’t gain a single subscriber or licensee. And while the company failed to bring in any revenue, four investors had sunk thousands of dollars to keep the company afloat.

Kompo Family Company, a not-for-profit incorporated owned by Sarasota chiropractor Gary Kompothecras – of 1-800-ASK GARY fame — had a 25 percent stake in the enterprise. Kompothecras had been a major donor to Ambler’s campaign for House District 47, which he represented from 2002-2010.

The other 75 percent was equally owned by the Law Offices of Kevin Ambler, as well as investors Gilbert Bailie and Malchiel Doraisamy.

However, it was Kompo Family that provided initial startup funds of $115,000.

In a complaint filed Oct. 19 in Hillsborough County’s 13th Judicial Circuit Court, a BB&T Business Value account associated with Arrest A.L.E.R.T. account had about $60 as of Sept. 30, 2016. Monthly fees will deplete the funds in that account by January 2017. A second account holds just over $200, which will also eventually deplete, just like the other.

Due to lack of funds, the company cannot reasonably carry out any business.

Per court records, Kompo Family claims it is unlawful to carry on the business of Defendant Arrest Alert with the law firm that has Ambler as a member.

The suit, filed by Kompo Family, also says that the Law Offices of Kevin Ambler are unlawfully doing business with Arrest A.L.E.R.T., because the firm is “prohibited from engaging in any business other than rendering of the professional services for which it is specifically organized.”

“Under Florida Stat. §621.08,” records show, “the firm’s acting as a member of the Defendant Arrest Alert is prohibited because its membership involves engaging in a business other than its rendition of general legal services.”

Kompo Family is requesting the court dissolve the company and liquidate its assets.

While a Florida House Representative, Ambler also sponsored an anti-vaccination bill on Kompothecras’ behalf in 2009. As a parent of two autistic children, Kompothecras — a well-connected political fundraiser and self-described “rainmaker” — said early-childhood vaccines with ethyl mercury were to blame for their condition — a belief shared by other parents of autistic children.

 

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