Author Topic: Interview with Steve Kleisath, former member of "Team Billy"  (Read 5829 times)

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Offline ersatz_cats

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Interview with Steve Kleisath, former member of "Team Billy"
« on: November 16, 2020, 08:29:36 am »
Note: Check out the end of this written interview for a brand new video with David Race, Carlos Pineiro, and Steve Kleisath, discussing their time working with "Team Billy".

Last year, in my research on the Billy Mitchell score dispute, I reached out to Steve Kleisath, one-time member of Billy's defense team. Steve assisted Billy and Carlos Pineiro in their attempts to refute the allegations in the score dispute. Steve was the one to relay Carlos' technical conclusion that Billy's game play could not have been produced by an authentic, unmodified arcade PCB (printed circuit board). About a year after the dispute's conclusion, I discovered that Steve had been effectively excommunicated from Billy's circle, and that much more had happened between them. I reached out to Steve, who was gracious enough to grant an interview, finally telling the world what it was like behind the scenes with "Team Billy".

So let's start with how you got involved with this crew, with Rob Childs and all of them.

Well, Bill Mitchell, one of his best friends would be Robert Childs. They go back, from school days I believe, down here in south Florida. I met Robert in 2011. He had a shop called Arcade Game Sales, which he still has. The current location is different from where I met him, which was the original location in Ft. Lauderdale. I remember randomly seeing the shop one day. It had little Pac-Man graphics on the front of the building, and I was like "Oh, this looks cool." From a distance I could see arcade cabinets and stuff. I went in, and I introduced myself to Robert.

At that point in time, I was actually seeking a dedicated Ms. Pac-Man machine with the turbo chip to attempt the Turbo Ms. Pac-Man world record. Robert had one, and he had a bunch of other games. Basically what Arcade Game Sales is, he buys, sells, trades, refurbishes, and builds emulated machines, which would be like the multicades, the sixty-in-ones, "Arcade Legends" machines. But he also has dedicated cabinets. Some of them are collectors to him, he doesn't really want to sell, unless someone made the right offer.

But we got to talking. He made me a deal on the Ms. Pac-Man machine at the time. And we stayed in contact. I would go to his shop whenever I was in between jobs, we'd say "Hi" for a few minutes, I'd play some games. And we talked other stuff.

And then I had a thought, brainstormed an idea with him. "Hey, you know what would be great? Since you always have machines that are coming and going, you always have about sixty to seventy machines in that facility, why don't we actually do like a community event?" It ended up being called Retro Arcade Night. And we put all the games on free play, maybe charge a flat rate admission at the door, make the games all-you-can-play, all night. Maybe ten or twelve bucks, half price for kids ten and under. I would do the advertising and promotion of it, he would facilitate it. And sure enough, we started converging on this idea. I actually had another guy by the name of Timb Krueller, he would come up with the flyer designs, usually a different design each event.

And it really started to catch fire for a while. We'd routinely get 100 or more people to show up. It became a really fun, community event that was advertised in some of the local magazines like New Times, or Reddit, or Facebook. It was just something fun. We would usually do it, maybe every two to three months. And it would fluctuate. It depended on Robert's schedule.

I would tell you that I wanted to do the event more than Robert did, honestly. There were ebbs and flows where he didn't really want to do it anymore. For Robert, it was kind of a hassle. He accepted the idea enough to do it, or to let me do it. All the lead-up to it, I tried to take as much of that off his shoulders as possible, so he didn't have to worry about it, although obviously he always had to be there for it. Part of it was getting the guys to do the setup of the games where it looks like an old '80s style arcade. It took some work. I always came early, prior to the event starting, to make sure all the games had their maximum credits if it wasn't free play. So it was always kind of back-and-forth, where he was like "I don't really want to do it," and eventually I'd talk him into it, and then once it happened, he was glad it happened. It was always a fun time. And he always embraced it once it was going on.

From there, it blossomed. Robert wound up changing to a bigger location to make the event a little more roomy, a little more spacious. We also did events where the proceeds would go to local charities or non-profit organizations. So we would do stuff for a good cause.

And so, as a result of becoming friends with Robert, and doing this event with him, Bill Mitchell started coming around. He started making appearances at the event. I started getting to know him through Robert. And eventually we became friends, or acquaintances. I would say the deeper and more regular and consistent friendship was with Robert Childs, for sure, but Bill Mitchell, I got to know on a pretty good level. Usually when I would see him would be at the events when he was able to show up and take pictures with people. And he'd play some games here and there.

Mostly it was just a good time. It always had a positive impact, a lot of people had fun. It was fun seeing the different flyer designs. It was definitely an event that people really enjoyed, and looked forward to after a while, once enough people knew about it on a pseudo-regular basis. And everything was pretty much hunky-dory ahead of this dispute.

So before we get to the score dispute stuff, Billy said that his earlier taped DK scores were done at, quote, "Rob's arcade". Did Rob have an "arcade" at that time, or did he just have his sales shop?

If he did, that was the old location, which was still Arcade Game Sales. I know from time to time Bill would say he's "going by the arcade," even though technically it's a shop, it's not an arcade, although it is called "Arcade Game Sales". In 2005, there was no such thing as a Retro Arcade Night, because I had not met them yet. I didn't meet Robert until 2011.

There's another character in all this who we'll get to later, a guy by the name of Neil Hernandez. You knew him prior to the dispute as well, right?

Yeah, me and Neil go back a few years. I'm pretty sure we initially met through Robert Childs and Arcade Game Sales, or maybe a Retro Arcade Night that I was hosting that he came to, but I don't remember the definitive moment we happened to meet for the first time. But no, we'd been friends for a while. We talked on a pseudo-regular basis. At one point, he was working for me. I have a small business, it's a car service, transporting people, airport pick-up and drop-off primarily, and he was doing the rideshare apps which I was doing as well. And I offered him work, as like an independent contractor. It's a small operation, and if I get double- and triple-booked, it's nice to have another driver to be able to fill in when I can't be in two places at the same time. And I paid him more than fairly, especially by industry standards. Otherwise, we were friends. We hung out periodically. We both loved the culture of the arcade community.

So Steve, how did you first hear about this dispute claim that Billy Mitchell might have played his high-profile Donkey Kong scores on MAME?

I don't really remember. I think I may have seen something, and it may have been a situation where Bill and Robert ran across it, too. And they may have told me about it, or asked me "Have you seen this B.S. that's going on?" That kind of thing. And I started to read up on it more at that point. It's a good question because I don't 100% remember the first time I was really aware this dispute was starting to build momentum. At the time I started hearing about it, it was a situation where I had no reason to believe it. I mean, I was friends with Bill and Robert, and they were claiming their innocence. So we were in the camp of "Oh, these are a bunch of jealous conspiracy theory kids that are just trying to throw mud in Bill's face. I'm sure we'll debunk whatever their garbage is quick enough." That kind of thing.

But it got to the point where it forced Twin Galaxies' hand to examine the footage of the known copies of games, of his three million-point-plus scores that were all yesteryear at that point. The problem with those tapes is, you're taking the word of the person playing it and the story of where they did it, because it has no audio, and there's no visual of the actual person playing it. So that's one of the themes that creates suspicion with those old games. You don't physically see anybody, you don't hear anything. And it's direct feed, a process that hardly anybody else used to record themselves playing those games.

As a result of that Twin Galaxies thread, it got to a point where Rob and Bill wanted to defend themselves. They wanted to prove themselves, or at least Bill, prove that he was innocent, that all the games were on the up-and-up. And at first, I was completely in defense of people I considered my good friends for eight years. So in the beginning, it was about me assisting them in clearing Bill's name.

Carlos got involved with the defense investigation pretty early on, and I understand it was through having been in contact with Rob from years ago. Tell us about that.

There's not much to it. Carlos had had a brief encounter with Robert. Carlos had some boards he was attempting to sell, that he was otherwise going to throw away. Carlos went down to Arcade Game Sales and they made a deal, and they became Facebook friends as a result.

Then at the time this dispute started, Robert made a technical post, describing the Two Bit converter, the way it works, the equipment that was used to record these games back in the day. He did this big Facebook post about it. It caught Carlos' eye, so he made a reply on the thread. Then when I read the post from Robert, I saw the response Carlos posted, and Carlos qualified himself by stating that he used to work for Sega as a game board technician.

And I'm like "Oh wow! This guy lives local!" I thought he could be a valuable resource to help out Bill and Robert. So I messaged him, I introduced myself and let him know, "Hey, I'm good friends with Robert. We do an event together every couple months. Would you like to meet up, maybe meet Bill and Robert? They could inform you a little bit more about what's going on with this dispute. You can see if you'd like to be involved in working with them maybe on behalf of Bill's defense."

So Carlos came down. We met at Arcade Game Sales. He didn't know who Bill was from a hole in the ground. He had no idea about King of Kong or this whole Donkey Kong community or anything. So we all got to know each other a little bit. They asked if he'd like to volunteer some time to work on behalf of them with the equipment they had. And he accepted their invitation. They, Bill and Robert, told me and Carlos, "We have all the equipment. You can recreate the direct feed setup." They had the Two Bit converter, the board, the monitor. All the essential equipment that would've been used to record and play on for these games they are claiming are authentic arcade PCB games. In essence, if Carlos wanted to undertake it, to test the equipment, to recreate the direct feed setup, etc., they had all the equipment in order to do so.

Now, tell us again about this equipment, because this is important. Did they just find some random Donkey Kong cabinet and board on the side of the road to use?

No, no. This was the actual equipment they claimed was used for all three games. The board was supposed to be the certified board that was sent to Nintendo after he played the million-50 game at the mortgage brokers convention in Orlando. We were privy to that board, to take it out of the box it was in and put it into the cabinet and test it. And they told Carlos "Have at it. Go ahead and use this equipment."

So basically the situation was, "Here's the equipment. Go ahead and recreate the direct feed setup. Do as much testing or investigating as you want to do." At that point, Carlos was very interested. He was like "I'd like to see what this is about." This all took place at Arcade Game Sales. The equipment was set up there. We'd come in. I would come in as support for Carlos, to maybe help him if he needed something in the course of testing stuff out, or also just to play the game. Sometimes he'd be testing the equipment and he'd tell me to play Donkey Kong while he tested it, because he wanted to test out some things, whether it be color or audio or whatever. So I was there as his, you could say helper, or right-hand man. He's the technical mind, and I was trying to assist him when I could, based on when we were available and when we weren't working.

In the beginning, we were working usually during the shop office hours, which Robert wasn't a fan of. It got to the point where he was getting really annoyed by it, to where we had to start coming in off-hours. And Bill would come and hang out, see what everybody's doing. And he would also play Donkey Kong ? like, a lot ? after a certain period of time, while Carlos was doing his testing. And Neil Hernandez would come in periodically to the shop, now and again, would maybe hang out, catch up with us, talk for a few minutes, talk to Robert about other matters and kind of be back and forth. But primarily me and Carlos were there most of the time with Bill and Robert.

Around this time, you were ferrying messages from the Billy defense group to the dispute thread - both to the TG dispute and to Donkey Kong Forum, saying what you guys were working on, right?

Yeah, absolutely. Because remember, the Twin Galaxies forum was considered the official place. You had to put it there, or they didn't count it as evidence. You can't post it on Facebook, or it's not gonna count. It's gotta be in the forum thread.

Now in the beginning, I was relaying stories that Bill would tell me about events that occurred, like the 2010 Boomers score. I know I did a post on Twin Galaxies kind of giving my two cents if you will, as somebody who's friends with Bill and Robert, and I would repost that on Donkey Kong Forum. And then I relayed everything Carlos was testing in the beginning and throughout the entire course of the dispute, until the verdict. Carlos didn't have an account on the site, and so I relayed not just the final conclusion, but I relayed virtually everything Carlos said over the month or two that he was testing everything out. This was as the investigating and testing was going on, not just by Carlos, but also by Twin Galaxies with the equipment that they found, and also by Chris Gleed, who was a third party doing independent testing, all of us recreating the direct feed setup.

Carlos worked on issues that weren't really the core of the dispute, but we didn't realize what the core of the dispute was at that point, what the main people were really contending. We were both going off what people were saying. He was going off what they were saying on the equipment that was available to test. And I was going off the stories they were telling me, recounting what took place during some of these events where Bill supposedly played these games. We went over everything from the shutter effect to the way something looks to whether something can record color or not. There were all these different side issues that didn't really matter to what the core of the dispute was.

Now, pretty early on in this process, you and Rob hosted another Retro Arcade Night, with Billy present. How did that come about?

Yeah, I'd been impressing on Bill, "If you really want to make yourself look good in the midst of this, while this is being tested and figured out, and before it comes to a conclusion one way or the other, the best thing you could do is make yourself public." That's something I know people have complained about over the years, that no one ever sees him really playing the game. All these other elite Donkey Kong players stream themselves, they have Twitch channels, and they make themselves accessible. Whereas everything seemed to be in a shroud of mystery with Bill. I told him, "The best thing you can do is make yourself public. Why don't you play the game, maybe do a stream of it at a live event like Retro Arcade Night, and show yourself playing Donkey Kong to people. Break a million now! Do what you claim to have done in the past. It'll make you look good to make yourself accessible to people who obviously would love to see you play, based on the popularity of the film." And it was billed that way. There was a flyer with an old picture of me, Bill, and Robert together, doing the thumbs-up thing.

While this public outreach was going, Team Billy's investigative work continued. Do you recall exactly what you all were working on around that time?

Like I said, at the time, we didn't quite know what the core of the dispute was. On the Twin Galaxies forum, the Mitchell dispute post had been blown so out of control, with different claims from different people, that there was all kinds of stuff going on. Everything from the shutter effect, to the way something looks, to how something could record to color or not. There were all kinds of sub-topics that weren't necessarily the core of the dispute, of what the issue was. So in the beginning, Carlos was just catching up with the thread, as I was, on some of the different claims, some of the different questions and statements about equipment, what it can do, what it can't do. He was diving in and trying to test a bunch of different things, and he was able to refute a few things that weren't really the core of the dispute. They were interesting, but they weren't the main core of the dispute, which was that these games had MAME-like signatures and were not arcade rendered.

Tell us about this special evidence from this lady in Sebring that Billy kept talking about.

Yeah, around this time, testing the equipment and coming to Arcade Game Sales every other day, Bill had come in one day, and he was like "Hey, I was able to get a hold of a lady." There was this woman allegedly from Sebring, Florida, that Bill said he had known for years. I guess she had a kid that went to school with one of his kids or something like that. But she was actually there at the mortgage brokers convention in Orlando. And he claimed she had photos and video footage of him playing at the event. I remember him even telling me she had contacted another guy who basically was the head of the event, and he should have the reading of the minutes as well.

And he told me and Carlos that this woman in Sebring, she was sending this stuff to him in a box... of some sort... First of all, I thought it was kinda weird because, you know... Why don't you just go up and get it? I mean, obviously it's something that's really important. Because if this actually exists, that's what me and Carlos were excited about. This would be evidence that nobody else has! This is different from the footage of the tapes that nobody can hear any audio or see anybody playing the games. But if you have this going on, this is groundbreaking.

And I remember, he told us about it, maybe a week or two passed, we kept asking him about it. I asked him two or three times. "It's in the mail." "It's on the way." A month passed. We were like, if she's in Sebring, it takes like a day or two to get mail from there to here. And then finally it just never got brought up again. Obviously we never saw anything, and we never heard anything about it.

And what's funny is, something that important, you mean to tell me that's not in the evidence package? There's no photos or video footage of that event, that they claimed exists?

Meanwhile, Carlos was working away, testing equipment, fielding questions, and not being paid for any of it?

Carlos was actually... There was one thing they did do for him. He wasn't being paid. That was a misconception. People were like "Oh, he's Bill's paid technician." No he's not. He didn't know Bill from a hole in the ground, prior to meeting him. He volunteered his time once he was interested in the topic that was explained to him and myself.

But one thing they did do for him, they did buy him a flight. They bought him a plane ticket to go with them to Banning, California, to the Kong Off held at the Arcade Expo. Rob Childs couldn't make it out for it. I remember at the time, Robert was like "I don't want to be a part of it. I don't want to be propped up and give a presentation or whatever. Carlos knows what he's doing. Just let him do it." That kind of thing.

So Carlos was out in Banning with Walter Day, Bill Mitchell, and I think Joel West, rest in peace, was driving them back and forth when they landed in Banning. Now, I wasn't there. I didn't go. They actually wanted me to go, but I just couldn't get out of work enough to free myself up that weekend. I wished Carlos well. I was like "I wish I could be there, but go ahead and present what you want to present." He gave a presentation on the things he could refute at that point, from some stuff he read in the dispute thread off the Twin Galaxies forum. And Carlos did say this, and you can view it on YouTube. He did say at the conclusion that there's still some things he wants to test when he gets back.

A lot of people thought he was hellbent on wanting to defend Bill, but I knew he was an unbiased person that did not know Bill prior to this. And at this point, he had spent so much time on the situation, he really wanted to figure out what the truth of the matter was one way or another.

At some point, after Carlos got back from Banning, you started to realize "Wait, something's not right here." Tell us about how you came to that.

It started around the time Carlos got back. Carlos started having more questions, started not feeling comfortable where it was going. And then there were a couple other aspects, like the million-50 game that had a border, and there's no way a border could be seen on an actual arcade-rendered genuine PCB game. That could only be viewed or manufactured through emulation.

And remember, on the Boomers footage, you see a laptop on top of the cabinet, but when you see other footage of Todd Rogers, he's claiming he's guarding a bag of VHS tapes. At one point, Carlos asked Robert Childs, "How did you record the million-62 game? How did you transfer it from a disk to a VHS tape?" And Robert uttered to Carlos, "I don't know, I don't remember." I was there, I watched Carlos ask Robert the question, and watched Robert give that response.

Then, Richie Knucklez sent what he considered to be his personal stash: his copies of the million-47 and the million-50 that he claimed, at the time, he knew for a fact were not tampered with. He'd had them for years. He purposefully sent them to Jace because he thought those copies were going to be the proof to exonerate Bill, when it was just the opposite. It put a bigger nail in the coffin of emulation as opposed to arcade-rendered. Jace Hall and his team digitized those tapes to make them even more clear looking. Those digitized copies were eventually sent to Carlos to see for himself and to break down frame-by-frame. And when they were digitized and made more clear, it wasn't just one weird transition that you see once in two-and-a-half hours. All of a sudden you could see the MAME-like transitions and signatures were all throughout the game. Carlos had done an awful lot of work in researching other games from other players throughout the years that were claimed to be arcade games. I remember Carlos going to the extent of recording the attract mode for hours as well, and seeing if somehow it would reproduce that alleged one happening of a [girder] finger in two and a half hours. But it turned out to be not just once in two and a half hours. In the digitized versions of those copies, you could see clear as day, over and over, these signatures and transitions, the three girders as opposed to five.

So it was a combination of factors. It was Carlos becoming uncomfortable, and figuring out what the core of the dispute was. It was Jace and the other independent testing that was concluding what became the obvious. And it was the digitized copies that Jace sent to Carlos that he was able to view more clearly, broken down frame-by-frame. And it just got to a point where it all started to come together and make sense.

There was a phone call I made to Jace Hall with Carlos and Bill both present, at Arcade Game Sales, in the latter stages when Twin Galaxies was ready to make their verdict. They had given Bill more than ample time to provide whatever evidence he wanted to. And they were like "Look, if there's anything else you guys have that you want to submit to the forum thread to be considered in defense of Bill, then start getting it finished up here, because we've pretty much tested everything on our end that we feel needs to be tested to come out with a final decision." But we wanted a little more time, because that was on the heels of when Carlos had discovered how to record something in color... kinda jury-rigged it to do it, but you know, it was possible to do it. And Carlos was still saying he had a couple more things to test. And based on that I was like "Well, we've already gone this long. Why don't you just give us another four or five days, maybe until the end of the weekend?" Jace Hall was like "Alright," begrudgingly, "We'll give you until the end of Sunday. Anything else you have to show, or put in the thread, do so by the end of the week." And Bill was there, when this was agreed upon.

At that point, Carlos did a couple other things. But remember, he was already privy to the equipment they claimed was the actual equipment that was played and recorded on to do those games. He also had digitized versions of the copies of two of the games, the million-47 and the million-50. And so he examined the footage, he broke it down frame by frame, to see the emulated transitions and signatures.

So when Carlos realized all this, he took me aside, and he was like "Look, we gotta talk." Because at this point we were still trying to figure out if there's anything that points in defense of Bill. And it wasn't until Carlos kind of broke it down for me, why there's no way the footage that's on those games came from the equipment they've given us to test. There's just no way.

How did you feel when you finally realized this situation was not what you thought it was?

Oh, I was so pissed off. In the end, it was just a waste of time and energy. No one's getting paid here. We're working hard on their behalf. And that's what I want to make a point of, that's so heinous to me. Carlos was not getting paid. He was volunteering his time. He got knee-deep in the situation, probably in hindsight more than he would've wanted to. And yet, the whole time... It's so hard for me to wrap my head around. People who I thought were close friends. If there wouldn't have been a deadline put up by Twin Galaxies and Jace Hall, either present evidence by this point or we're just going to make a ruling, Bill and Robert, and especially Bill, would have had Carlos continuing to work on stuff for who knows how much longer. If there would've been more time given, Bill would've had more time taken.

When Carlos was like "Look man, this isn't good," that's when I wanted to contact Bill immediately and ask "What's going on here?" This seemed to be beyond a shadow of a doubt according to Carlos, and I trust his technical expertise, because he went into this objectively and unbiased. He wasn't some fringe gamer that was out to get him, or something. But that's when Carlos was like "Well, calm down. I'm going to go in to meet with Bill in a little while. And I'm going to ask him 'What's the deal? We're out of time. Jace wants me to do my final technical conclusion.'"

So Carlos had a meeting with Bill. They met at Robert's shop. Personally, I wasn't there for this, but Carlos' story has always been consistent. It's never changed. Carlos basically told him, "This isn't looking good." He broke it down to him. At first it was Bill, Robert came in later. Robert had just gotten back from a trip to Vegas, I remember from what Carlos told me, and he asked how everything was going. And Carlos told Robert the same thing. "Not good. This is what I found out." And they both were like "How can that be? That's impossible!" And Carlos goes, "Look, I don't know what you want me to do at this point. Is there something you want to tell me?" As Carlos calls it, a "Come to Jesus moment." "Or," he goes, "do you just want me to bow out completely? That's fine. I'm more than happy to just not say anything and just not be a part of it at this point."

But they stuck to their guns. Bill looked him straight in the face and he's like "Nope, I just want you to tell the truth." He never asked Carlos to lie, just "Tell the truth," and "Do what you feel you need to do." But they told him, "Before you do your technical conclusion, make sure to talk to Joel West first."

So Carlos proceeded to talk to Joel West for a couple hours. Joel tried to get him to say, "At least say in your technical conclusion it wasn't MAME." But Carlos wouldn't do it. And Carlos was like, "If you're trying to seek out any more information on that million-62 game, I would suggest that you stop. If you consider Bill your friend and you want to defend him, I wouldn't be searching for any more footage of that."

In any case, I did not know Carlos had spoken to Joel West, until after the fact. But Carlos wrote me and emailed me his technical conclusion. Like I've said, Carlos doesn't type well, when it comes to grammar and spelling. I had to clean it up, and correct punctuation, make it look like it was readable professionally. But it was still 99% his. Then I made a header and an ending, basically thanking everyone for their participation. Like, no matter what side you're on, thanks for putting in the time, you know. And I started and ended Carlos' contribution in quotes, to set apart what he actually wrote.

I put it on the Twin Galaxies forum thread, and Joel West already had a legal reply, like waiting in the wings for as soon as I posted Carlos' technical conclusion. It was almost immediate, like in an effort to steal the fire, so to speak, of what Carlos had just written. Joel was a good man. He meant well. He was trying to be loyal to his friend. I get it. But I'm not sure he realized the technical, factual nature of what was actually discovered by Carlos as I was assisting him. Joel's comment to Carlos I think was "I looked the man in the eyes and he told me he did not lie."

From there, the verdict was handed down, two or three days later. Carlos told me that Bill and Robert had gotten on a three-way call with him, and they were like "Did you write that, or did Steve write that?" Thinking that I wrote it. And Carlos told them, "No, that's my writing. All Steve did was create a header, thanking everybody for their participation, and he cleaned up the punctuation and the misspelled words."

Well, it turns out, that wasn't nearly the end of your story. What happened between you, Robert, and Billy after the verdict came down?

Basically, from the time that verdict came out, but unbeknownst to me as far as an immediate nature, I would never hear from these guys ever again, unless I pressed the issue to try to talk to them. I was completely excommunicated. Like I said, it definitely was not a situation where they were blindsided, or they didn't know that something was going to be posted. They completely did. I don't know if they knew I was going to be the one to relay it or not. Maybe they thought Carlos was going to do it. But I had relayed everything else Carlos had been talking about for the month and a half prior, because he wasn't a member of the Twin Galaxies forum. And because of that, they treated me like the equivalent of a criminal, or someone who had been out to get them.

How exactly did you figure out that you were cut out of that circle?

I went to the shop a couple times, and Robert told me "Bill doesn't want me talking to you. You gotta work this out with him." And this is something I've heard people say, that "Oh, Bill would never tell somebody who he can and can't talk to." But Robert Childs, word for word, told me that Bill Mitchell told him he can't talk to me anymore. "You've gotta work this out with Bill. He doesn't want me talking to you anymore. If he knew you were in the shop right now, he wouldn't even want to do business with me or be my friend anymore." One grown man telling another grown man who's married with kids and is a successful businessman "You can't talk to another adult." All over a video game score.

And Neil did the same?

Neil wasn't really as close to the situation as me and Carlos were for that six week stretch. He chose to get closer and be more proactive with Bill, and got more distant with me. As a matter of fact, there was an out-of-state trip I had to do to Tennessee, and he had committed to filling in some jobs for me when I was out of town, and then all of a sudden he just disappeared. He didn't do the jobs, and on top of that, I didn't hear from him for a few weeks. He just disappeared.

Eventually I got a private Facebook message from him basically saying he's not talking to anybody right now, he's kind of getting his life in order, working on himself, you know, he's got bigger fish to fry. He even told me, "Don't take it personal. I'm doing this to everybody right now. I just need to work on myself." Which I respected that, on the face of it. Like, that's fine. I don't respect that you agreed to do something and then you didn't follow through and do it, but in the bigger picture, if that really would've been the truth, I would've respected it. But of course, upon reading that, maybe a day or two later I see him on a Twitch stream with Bill, as like his sidekick, you know, just doing what he had been doing.

Yeah, he's the guy who wears, like Mario costumes in Billy's streams?

Yeah, exactly. Well, that's how I saw him. Like I said, he hadn't responded in a while, and then finally he sent me a message, and I see him a day or two later, in the polar opposite of what he tried to tell me in the message, where he's not talking to anybody including Bill and Robert, and then there he is right there on the Twitch stream not more than a day or two later. It was absolute hilarity. He just basically separated himself from me. And he probably knew he had to do that in order to continue to be active with Bill.

So a couple months later, you reached out to Billy to sort of bury the hatchet. Tell us about that.

On July 4th, [2018,] I called Bill from my other phone that he didn't recognize. He did answer. He said "How can I help you?" And I said it was me. I told him "Look, I would like to talk with you, man-to-man, just as two mature adults. Even if we agree to disagree, let's move on for the sake of the community, with Retro Arcade Night." I told him, even at that point "Look, just because we disagree on this subject, it doesn't mean that I don't want to be cordial and be civil and still do fun things for the arcade community down here, and do Retro Arcade Nights, and do it for worthy causes in the future." I was basically like "I'm still down to assist and do that kind of stuff, and just kind of move on from this if you are. Or at this point, whatever grievances you have, I'm rolling out the red carpet for you to communicate it." He told me [Steve quoted in a very stern tone] "I have no harsh words for you, sir." That's just what he said, a couple times. Obviously, I'm sure he was taken aback that it was me. He didn't recognize the number, but because it was a local area code, he thought it could've been anybody. When I told Carlos about it, he was like "I assure you, he's got that number stored in his phone now, so if he ever sees it again, he won't answer."

Ah, but that wasn't the last you heard from Billy and his crew, was it? Tell us about your encounter at Glitch Bar just a couple months after that.

Yeah, so I saw Bill again, at this place called Glitch Bar, in Ft. Lauderdale, that my friend Dwight runs. And ironically, the reason I was there was because Carlos and his wife were having a get-together at Glitch, and I was in the area, so he invited me to stop by for a little while. And as I was on my way, I get a call from Carlos like "Get ready for this. Bill Mitchell Senior and Junior are here right now, they just set up their camera, and he's playing Donkey Kong." It was like a Sunday. And we were not expecting them to be there. So I told Carlos, the timeframe would be suspicious based on when I wanted to come in, even though I honestly didn't know they were going to be there. I told Carlos, "Lemme go get some lunch," because I was kind of hungry anyway, "then I'll come back in an hour."

And so I came back an hour later, and sure enough they were still there. He was playing on the Donkey Kong machine. I walked in, I said "Hi" to the people I know behind the bar. And then there's a Turbo Ms. Pac-Man machine right next to Bill where he's playing the Donkey Kong. I went in the room, I said "Hi" to both of them. Bill Mitchell Senior did not acknowledge my existence, like I was a ghost, like I wasn't even there.

But Billy Junior, in hindsight ironically, shook my hand, acknowledged me. We had a little bit of small talk and pleasantries. And then I stood next to Bill Mitchell, playing Ms. Pac-Man, while he was playing Donkey Kong. After I played for a while, I was roaming around. I introduced Carlos to Dwight. Carlos and his wife had also noticed that Bill Senior was purposefully ignoring me.

When Bill took a break, I actually played on the Donkey Kong machine for a little while. And Billy Mitchell Junior was right in back of me. He was watching me play, and he told me how he got a new personal best in Donkey Kong. I was like "Oh, you're making progress. Congratulations." And we were completely cordial and nice to each other the whole time, me and Billy Junior. But Bill Senior wasn't talking to me, wasn't looking at me, wasn't even acknowledging me. Finally on the way out, Billy Junior shook my hand one more time, and that was it.

But then, about a month later, there was a Retro Arcade Night, that Bill was hosting. I told Robert, obviously I'm not going to be the one hosting it or promoting it at this point, but I still wouldn't mind coming to it and supporting it, because it was for a cause. I was fully down for paying the cover charge. And because there's inevitably going to be a lot of people that me, Robert, and Bill all know that are considered mutual friends. And because everybody knows me as the host of that event, and this was going to be the first event that I'm not hosting. Bill hired, like two girls to be the hosts.

Robert actually didn't have a problem with me attending, but he said that Bill would have a problem with it. He told me Bill Senior would walk out of his own event if I showed up. At that point, I was told to contact Bill Mitchell Senior, and if he doesn't respond to me, to contact Bill Mitchell Junior. So I did contact Bill Mitchell Junior through Facebook, and I got a horrible letter from him.

He said "If you show up to Arcade Night, you will be escorted out by a police officer. You are not welcome there." You know, that kind of stuff. Junior said "You're a cancer," a couple different times. That already offends me, because my father passed away from cancer a few years ago, so it's kind of a horrible thing to say. He called me some other names. "If you actually think my dad would walk out of his own event because your homely self shows up, you must be demented." What's ironic about that statement is, that's the whole reason I contacted him in the first place. It's because I was told he would walk out of his own event if I showed up.

But what's so ironic is, it's only maybe a month or two separated from when I physically saw Junior, where he was being cordial and nice. Junior and I had only met I think one or two other times, ever. I actually drove him home from school years ago when he was younger, as a favor for Bill, because I have a car service. And then I think I met him one other time, at a Retro Arcade Night that he showed up to. And that's it! For him to have such strong comments about somebody he's only met twice, maybe three times. And we've never been anything but cordial. So I'm like "How did it go from him being nice and cordial, shaking my hand and making small talk while the father's not acknowledging me, to a month or two later, now the son hates my guts?"

And then there was one time that Billy did randomly say "Hi" at a convention?

At Free Play Florida [in November, 2018], when I first got there, I was given my name tag and my credentials. And Bill Sr. was behind the counter, with the organizers and the people that were handing those out. And he said "Hello" to me real quick. I didn't acknowledge him. I didn't say "Hi" back, I didn't even look at him, like he didn't exist. I basically did what he did to me prior to that. I just had nothing to say. What else are you going to say? After everything he's done and said about me, I'm not going to say "Hi" to him. I have no reason to talk to him at all.

I spoke to someone else who told me that's basically how Billy does it. He maintains appearances. So if anybody saw, Billy's being friendly, but just between the two of you, he'll be how he wants to be.

But what's interesting about that is, definitely at that point, and really in general, I've never done anything that would warrant such, you know, basically hatred. But for whatever reason, there's plenty of other people that have done him more harm on a regular basis than I ever have, and he's actually cordial with them, so I don't get it.

And this kept going, didn't it? Wasn't there a Twitch chat where Billy Junior was laying into you again?

Yeah, there was a Twitch stream that Robbie Lakeman and Billy Mitchell Junior were in, where Junior called me "worse than a cancer". It was the chat for John McCurdy's stream, but all of us happened to be in it. And then Billy Junior said nobody ever told us that what we were testing on was the same equipment Bill had used. He said that at one point, and I was like "Wow." First of all, he wasn't there. I was there. Billy Mitchell Junior wasn't there when all this was happening. And it was the whole point. We had the equipment they were claiming they played and recorded those games on. Carlos can confirm this, that had been told to us numerous times.

Yeah, and I remember that being said in the dispute.

That's why I couldn't believe when Junior had the audacity to tell me I was never told that.

So let's get to probably the craziest part of all of this. Tell us about the Neil recordings.

So at some point, around the time of when we finally got to the end of the dispute, I'm not really sure exactly when he did this because it was unbeknownst to me until a year later, but Neil Hernandez had recorded a phone conversation between us, without my knowledge or permission, which in this particular state, in Florida, is illegal to do. This is somewhat documented in the Josh Harmon Electronic Gaming Monthly article Split-Screen Man. But Neil recorded me and kept the recording on his phone, and about a year later, when I was contacted by Josh Harmon of EGM to conduct an interview with me regarding the dispute, all of a sudden out of nowhere Neil Hernandez proactively sends Josh Harmon this phone call between us that I didn't even know existed, as far as it being recorded. And he also sent a voice mail that I left Bill Mitchell.

Now ironically, the voice mail to Bill Mitchell, all I'm doing is asking to talk to him. It just makes me look better. That message was actually very cordial. I mention how we hadn't talked in six months, basically trying to clear the air and see if we can move on and get past this stuff, maybe continue to do the Retro Arcade Night because it was a fun community event that a lot of people in the area love down here, and be cordial for the sake of other people who are friends with both of us, and agree to disagree if we have to. I wasn't saying anything bad.

And the first question you ask yourself: Why does Neil have it? Why does he have a recording between two other people that's not him? So clearly, he's working with Bill here.

And then, the phone call between us, that I didn't know existed, a year later, he sends it to Josh Harmon, and tries to paint a picture like I'm an unstable person, because I was yelling and I was pissed off on the phone call. And I was pretty angered. If I remember correctly, he was pushing buttons, trying to get a reaction out of me.


And, you know, I flew off the handle a little bit, and I said some things that I was pissed off about. And rightfully so, because me and Carlos had just finished going through about six weeks of testing and doing all this stuff, and it was all for naught when we found out just the opposite of what we thought we were going to find. In the actual phone call, I probably could've handled myself better, you know. I was yelling and cursing. I was pretty pissed off. But I was never saying anything that was a lie. Usually you would think if someone was trying to call somebody, sneaky-like, they're trying to catch somebody in a lie. Well, this is really hilarious, because there's no lie to be caught in. I'm not lying about anything. What he did was, because of the tone of my voice and because I'm angry, he sends it to Josh Harmon to try to paint the picture like I'm an unstable person that doesn't merit having an interview included in the article.

That was basically the entire point of it, right? "This guy's angry, therefore don't take him seriously."

Yeah. Yeah, "This guy's pissed off and he's yelling and stuff, so he's an unstable, crazy person and you can't take what he's saying seriously." Or something like that.

And then he said all these lies about me to Josh Harmon, that I didn't pay him fairly when he worked for me, which was bullshit, that I had a stroke when I was a child, which was bullshit.

But anyway, it didn't matter, because Josh Harmon would've never been able to use it anyway because it's illegal in the state of Florida to even do that. And he told Neil that. He was like "Why are you sending me this? I didn't ask for any of this, and I don't know who you are."

And it even got to where Neil told Josh Harmon I was a spy for Jace Hall, that I'm a traitor and a spy that was in cahoots with him this whole time. That's gotta be the funniest thing I ever heard in my life. I was absolutely defending Bill, all the way until the very latter stages of the dispute. Like, when I went back and looked at some of the messages and the texts, I almost forgot how deep into the process I was still defending Bill. Because again, he was my friend of eight years, and especially Robert Childs, his best friend, who I was also close friends with.

So Neil was telling Harmon that I was a spy for Jace, and every day that Bill would come in to Arcade Game Sales, or we would do our tests or whatever, I would report back to Jace, like a mole, I would call him immediately every day to report back... what? To report back what? I only spoke to Jace on, like two or three occasions that whole period of time. I even went as far as giving [to Josh Harmon] records of my cell phone bill that show the dates that I actually talked with Jace Hall. Ironically, one of the times I was talking to Jace was on speakerphone with Bill right there! At Arcade Game Sales, as I'm trying to buy him and Carlos more time to do more testing. That was one of the phone calls with Jace Hall, ironically with Bill in front of me, trying to buy him more time for his defense, through Carlos.

I mean, all you gotta do is go on the Twin Galaxies forums. I typed a whole message of the story of Pete Bouvier at Boomers that Bill wanted me to put in the forum thread at that point in time. Completely defends Team Bill, just, you know, doing it for him.

But of course, they're the ones that like to say that the people that actually know the truth are the ones moving the goalposts. I love that line. "Moving the goalposts!" "Constantly changing!" It's funny, because me and Carlos have stated the same shit for two and a half years now that we stated at the end of the dispute in 2018. Our story hasn't changed. However, their stories have continuously moved the goalposts and changed and morphed, based on new information that's found.

Yeah, like in September [2019], they were all in on "We've never submitted taped world records," and now in the lawsuit that's all disappeared. Because it was ridiculous anyway.

All these tapes, the million-47, the million-50, they were never ? as far as Bill representing that those were his ? he never once the whole time, until it was under dispute, ever disputed that those were his. In other words, he always claimed and stood by the fact that those were his scores, those were his tapes. They were the historical representation of his record-breaking scores, of the first guy to do a million, until it came under dispute. Then all of a sudden, "Oh, it may have been swapped!" There's the story that Carlos and I have a good laugh about, the theory of Dwayne Richard flying in on a magic carpet, switching the tapes in the middle of the night. But for 10-15 years, Bill never once said "Oh, I think these tapes may have been swapped." He was completely like "These are my games, these are my tapes."

The other thing I always tell Carlos is, because I'm a competitive gamer myself, what competitive gamer doesn't make a copy if they did a record game? It's a little bit different now, because you have Twitch, you can be recording on your hard drive and streaming on Twitch and saving it at the same time. But when there were still referees, you would send the original to Twin Galaxies, and you would make a copy for yourself to have. Any competitive gamer does that almost 100% of the time. There was one day I remember at Arcade Game Sales that Bill told me "I don't have an original. The only copy I had I sent to Twin Galaxies." I remember the day he said that, and I always felt that was really strange. Like, really? How can a competitive gamer not have a copy of their own record game? It almost seems impossible.

Getting back to Neil, I did have one more question about him. So, as it's established, what he did was pretty illegal, and you probably had the option to take it to court or the police or something. Did you want to talk about why you chose not to?

Eh, it would've been a waste of time, and a hassle, and kind of petty. It's kind of like reverse-pettiness. Because in the end, it didn't really matter, because it didn't achieve its objective. All it did was make him look bad, honestly. I mean, yeah, it could've been an option to make somebody have a bad day, but I'm usually not that kind of person. I just didn't go that extra step to create a hassle, because that's probably all it would've done. And I could see that being viewed as petty.

Yeah, you don't want to be one of these people that takes this stuff to court, right?

Yeah, well... Yeah. We know who does that. In my case, I'm more than happy if it ever went to trial to testify. That's why I signed a declaration, because I know the truth. I was right smack there, and I know the deal.

And I'm still trying to figure out what they hated so much about me, except for the fact that I posted the conclusion in the first place, I guess. Like I said, I relayed a respectful, yet different conclusion than Bill and Robert were expecting, I'm sure. But again, if you re-read that final technical conclusion that I relayed from Carlos, we never called Bill names. It definitely wasn't mudslinging or derogatory, at all. It's a pretty, you know, above-the-rim, objective technical conclusion. It just said what is on those tapes was not arcade-rendered. That's all it said. Because at the time, I thought we could still salvage a friendship, and keep doing the Retro Arcade Nights, and keep doing some fun stuff in the community, agree to disagree, and just move on from that particular situation. But time told that that was never going to happen, and I didn't realize it at first.

And they asked you to tell the truth. They asked you to do it.

Yeah. They never told me to do anything else. In my case, I wouldn't have if they would have. Even though I'm friends with someone, I will never lie for somebody. Especially in this kind of situation, where it's the integrity of the scoreboard on which I myself am a legitimate world record holder. I was trying to work on their behalf, to try to exonerate Bill. And then it got to the point where, obviously the truth was undeniable. They told us to tell the truth, and we did. The only thing I did when I relayed Carlos' technical conclusion was, I created a header to thank everybody for their participation, and I just cleaned up what Carlos wrote. And as a result they excommunicated me.

But it is what it is. What's done is done. As far as any kind of personal feelings, people who don't know the names and faces on either side, they just want to see facts presented. They don't really care about what one person did to another personally. I mean, for me and people that are close to me, it matters. Just like, if this would've happened to somebody else I considered a friend, I'd be pissed off for them.

There is some amount of drama and human element as well to all this. I think it's important that they treated you so poorly, and it's only fair to get the word out about that. I think people are going to find that interesting.

Yeah, it's not a good look. I was friends with them for a good amount of time. I would see Bill every few months, usually at the Retro Arcade Night that I would host and Robert would facilitate, and Bill would show up, make an appearance, take pictures, play games. And of course we would talk small talk, catch up.

But Robert, man. That one, in hindsight now, is unbelievable. We went all those years, I'd always be stopping by weekly, sometimes daily. And the subject never really got brought up. It wasn't something that ever got brought up for him to defend, until the dispute happened. But once that dispute was brought up, once I was finally involved in it, the fact that Robert was so staunch a defender and at all cost, "He's innocent," it's kind of mind-boggling.

I have a trading card with me, Bill, and Robert, thumbs-upping for Retro Arcade Night, the historical event that I hosted, Robert facilitated, and Bill was the figurehead of. There's YouTube footage of us all being interviewed on behalf of the event, by a reporter from New Times by the name of Liz Tracy. She interviewed us in the back of the shop at the newer location. It was a cool little segment that me, Bill, and Robert all did together. I'd say, when that video came out, we were at the height of being in regular contact with each other, bouncing ideas off each other for future events, maybe even stuff out of state. And to Bill's credit, he does basically state in that video, ironically now, but he states how this event was my doing, my idea, my vision. I created it. I'm the one that grows it. And he shows up and makes appearances and hangs out.

And now he's taken over the event, and you're not even allowed to attend.

You know, it was a fun event. I had fun doing it. But unfortunately, this situation came to a head. It's a shame that things happened the way they did to the extent where it's affected that activity and these friendships, but at the same time, I'm personally a man of integrity, especially when it comes to the integrity of the scoreboard which I also hold dear to myself because I do have a host of legitimate world records in another classic arcade game, in Mario Bros., that were done completely legitimately. And I know how hard it is to legitimately get a world record, in any game for that matter. So a subject like this is probably more important to me than it would be to other people, who are just playing games. I mean, it's all for fun, of course, but still. If you're recognized as being the best in the world, I would think you'd want to know that you did that with full integrity and not cutting corners.

But then of course, there's some people in life, that if you held up a stop sign, they would somehow find a way to tell you that it doesn't say "Stop" on the sign. Or they would say "Well, it doesn't really mean 'Stop', it's subjective." There's people out there that believe what they want to believe and they don't care about the truth and the facts. All they care about is their friend winning at all cost, or them winning at all cost. And they have a different set of rules, or a different code than everybody else does.

But it's stories like this where you get to uncover the ugly side of someone and what they're truly all about, behind the scenes. And that's where my voice out in the wilderness, so to speak, comes in, because that kind of stuff, I don't... I'm not down with, let's put it that way. Especially when it comes to the integrity of the scoreboard for classic arcade games.

Billy's stock response is always that his critics are just haters who are jealous of his success.

Yeah, that's a laughable one. Especially in my case. I have a music career, that they don't realize. I'm a drummer, my bands are known by people all over the world. Further Seems Forever is my main group that people have known me for for years, and then Darling Fire is my newer group. I've been fortunate enough to travel the world performing music. I've been able to achieve and do a lot of things in my life that in no way, shape or form would equate to me being jealous. I don't have anything to prove. I'm known for other things besides just having a world record on a video game. But in saying that, I am glad I do. I'm grateful for that.

Why are you choosing to talk about this publicly now?

Well, I mean, you're one of the first people to ask, really. People don't know that this is even part of the equation. In your case, I responded because I thought it was such a meticulous account, what you put on Donkey Kong Forum some months back. I was impressed by the detail you went into, and thought maybe my involvement could put it over the top. To have an account of someone who was actually physically in the trenches, if you will, along with Carlos, working initially on behalf of Bill and Robert, until we discovered the core of the dispute and the truth of the matter.

But for me, it's like... to be honest with you, I think the question may be... no offense, of course... the question may be reconfigured, because technically, I was the first one to come out about it. Like from the perspective of actually working on behalf of Bill for a period of time. Because I did relay Carlos' technical conclusion to the Twin Galaxies forum. But again, I didn't adjust anything. I didn't exaggerate anything. I made sure it was grammatically correct. And I just relayed everything Carlos wanted me to say on his behalf  in his final conclusion. And what that got me was... I think part of it may be, people didn't realize the extent of how I was excommunicated, shunned, and ignored, after that post came out.

Yeah, I didn't know.

And maybe part of me is like, I kinda want to get it out there, so maybe it can help me move on, so I can get that weight off, so people can know what these people are really like, once they have no use for you and once you find out what the truth is.

Absolutely. Well, thank you, sir!

Yeah, man. Definitely.

I've really appreciated your willingness to talk with me about this. As soon as I found out you were decidedly not on Team Billy anymore, I wanted to hear everything you had to say. Thank you so much for your time!

Yeah, no, I appreciate it man.

For more with Steve Kleisath and other ex-members of "Team Billy", check out this brand new interview with Steve, Carlos, and David Race:

« Last Edit: November 16, 2020, 08:32:50 am by ersatz_cats »
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Offline ersatz_cats

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Re: Interview with Steve Kleisath, former member of "Team Billy"
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2020, 08:36:00 am »
DKF's character count was not my friend today. I managed to get it within the limit, but to do that, I had to remove all my in-line hyperlinks. Here they are, for anyone who wants to see the things Steve references, listed in order that these references appear in the interview.

Carlos' appearance at the Kong Off 6 panel:

Carlos' technical conclusion, posted to the dispute thread:

Josh Harmon's article "The Split-Screen Man" at Electronic Gaming Monthly:

An early Steve Kleisath post to the dispute thread, relaying Billy's account of events at Boomers with Pete Bouvier:

New Times interview with Liz Tracy:

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Offline hooch66

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Re: Interview with Steve Kleisath, former member of "Team Billy"
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2020, 08:14:14 am »
Man, this is a great interview. Well done to you and Steve.
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Re: Interview with Steve Kleisath, former member of "Team Billy"
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2020, 01:03:19 pm »
Thanks again to all 4 of you in that video. And really glad David called Billy out at the end that needed to be done by everyone long ago. But we live and learn. Well done everyone.
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Offline Streetwize

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Re: Interview with Steve Kleisath, former member of "Team Billy"
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2020, 11:34:42 pm »
Mr. Mitchell has told me and several others on YouTube that we didn't know the facts when people had stated what was more or less true. Some had minor inaccuracies, but he went around calling people knuckleheads for it. One of his rejections was about Mr. Pineiro's role in all of this. Immature, but frankly it seems clear that the only facts that seem to be valid to him are his facts. If you don't act favorably, suddenly his flaws become yours. I can't blame anyone for wanting to side with him, but there's a reason why people have been so divisive. He can be as nice as he wants. The truth of this matter is only getting clearer and clearer following each update of the lawsuit. Every time he brings up his side of the story it just turns to be more lies that get broken down. I'd love to rip him a new one with his poor display of logical consistency. The only people that care about him are mainly those that refuse to investigate on their own. I had the displeasure of running into a supporter that tried to act so smartly but didn't even know what he was throwing out, much less my own arguments when he talked past what I was saying to speak his own points. I know Casey is problematic, but at least she can be sensible when speaking on this matter. She has confused me for Mr. Kleisath funny enough. (BTW, she confused me for you. She told me she was sorry for bashing your work. Supposedly she was having a bad day, but I really don't blame you if you don't want to give her another chance. Not my business anyway.)
Steve, you really didn't do anything wrong in all of this. You were just a messenger shot because you did your god damn job. Being thrown under the bus for relaying a message really isn't fun, especially when it comes from a close friend or family. It's people like him that will always point the finger at the closest person they can find. I'd be baffled myself considering all the circumstances. You didn't deserve to be cut off this way, but at the same time, it allowed you to realize the ultimate truth in all of this. Was Mitchell trying to use some sort of reverse psychology to get Mr. Pineiro to do something favorable for him in his moment of uncertainty? Perhaps the influence he had on him wasn't as great as he thought. I can't get inside his head, but the most logical speculation would be that since you didn't prevent the unfavorable evidence from being posted, you became just as complicit in all this. At least BM is fair enough to get mad at Carlos too (sarcasm).

To be fully honest though, while I do feel bad for those he has backstabbed and thrown under the bus, who I really feel bad for is his son. I'm only some years older than BJ. To stand with family through thick and thin even though you're being lied to... I was no younger than he when I went in trying to sort out a serious accusation being spread against someone in my family. I really wanted to believe them but I knew a part of them not many others knew about, which matched up with the proof I was given. I didn't want to throw my family under the bus, despite it being quite tempting after they did it to me. Unlike BM, my relative was worried that I had been arguing with others (I handled gathering the information needed to investigate that myself quite amicably) and later fessed up on their own. Billy Jr. doesn't really have a choice. This is his old man talking to him. A parent, a large influence on a child's life, should only lie to benefit their children; not themselves. It's been made apparent the information he's being fed by his father is done without a shred of fact-checking. Why would he bother verifying it when it comes from the most important man in his world? Only two people can undo the seeds planted in him: himself and his father. So long as the lie refuses to die nothing will likely ever change.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2021, 02:34:43 pm by Streetwize »
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Offline FBX

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Re: Interview with Steve Kleisath, former member of "Team Billy"
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2020, 11:38:01 pm »
"Joel was a good man"

He threatened to sue me an anyone else providing MAME screenshots and other evidence in the dispute thread. He even changed his Facebook status to "filing papers in Denton, TX" which was where I lived at the time. He wasn't a lawyer, so it would have been illegal for him to file a lawsuit against me in Texas. But that's how he behaved in the dispute thread. Trying to bully and scare everyone with lawsuit threats.
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Offline d3scride

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Re: Interview with Steve Kleisath, former member of "Team Billy"
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2020, 12:28:26 pm »
Thank you for sharing this. To me it further illustrates Mitchell's clear lack of concern for anyone other than himself.

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Re: Interview with Steve Kleisath, former member of "Team Billy"
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2020, 02:19:30 pm »
"my West Point brain"  - Billy Junior.  The ego runs THICK in that family.

At any rate, I read Josh Harmon's EGM article and I felt he was WAY too sympathetic to Billy, mostly because a lot of the people he interviewed defending Billy are compulsive liars themselves. Everything that comes out of Todd Rogers's mouth is total BS. I've known this for nearly two decades now.
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