Unfit for Print: An angel investor pitches in to salvage the reputation of a St. Louis publisher
Bill Hippert
Matt Mathison (center) at the party celebrating the launch of the now-defunct Avid flanked by editor Dan Michel (right) and investor Richard Riney.

The downtown launch party for The 9s, a new St. Louis men's magazine, was the place to be on January 9. Cardinals third baseman David Freese showed up that night at Jim Edmonds 15 Steakhouse. So did several Rams players, plus fashion designer Ola Hawatmeh and local social-media stars Chris Reimer and Aaron Perlut. As flashbulbs flickered, revelers mingled with the young co-publishers: pro baseball player Bobby Keppel and his wife, Suzanne.

Yet one magazine staffer was hiding in plain sight, a native St. Louisan whose reputation is so toxic that on the masthead he goes by a pseudonym: "Executive Editor Matthew Morton." His real name is George Bertram "Matt" Mathison IV.

"The 9s wouldn't be here without Matt," confirms The 9s editor in chief Kim Gordon. "But the focus of our efforts is producing The 9s; it's not about the past. That's why Matt didn't want to put his real name out there. He wanted to protect Bobby and Suzanne from that."

Co-publishers Suzanne and Bobby Keppel at The 9s launch party in St. Charles.
Steve Truesdell
Co-publishers Suzanne and Bobby Keppel at The 9s launch party in St. Charles.
Matt Holliday on the cover of The 9s first issue.
Steve Truesdell
Matt Holliday on the cover of The 9s first issue.

Over the past seven years, the 42-year-old Mathison has tried — and failed — to launch three different golf magazines, both in St. Louis and in Atlanta. In the process, he has left behind a trail of litigation, debts and bad blood.

His most recent attempt was Avid, a St. Louis publication geared toward affluent men and bankrolled by Richard Riney, son of Scottrade founder Rodger Riney. That venture disintegrated in 2011 amid bitter allegations of fraud and stealing. Riney declined to comment for this story through his attorney, Chris McDonough. But the lawyer himself didn't hesitate to sound off.

"He's a con man," McDonough says of Mathison. "That's not my opinion. That's an adjudicated fact."

Neither Keppel nor Mathison wished to talk at length about their personal relationship. And it's not entirely clear how much Keppel, a De Smet Jesuit High School grad and former first-round pick in the 2000 Major League Baseball draft, knows of Mathison's past. But both have hinted that behind the scenes of their magazine is the story of a baseball pitcher whose Catholic faith compels him to throw lifelines to people like Mathison.

"I made mistakes in my life," Mathison admits today. "With the Keppels, being good people is not something they just try to do — it's just something they are. And I've learned a lot from them."

The question is: Has he?

Dan Michel recalls his first meeting with the founders of Avid. In hindsight he also sees the warning signs.

It was the late summer of 2010. Richard Riney had asked the then 26-year-old Michel to stop by the St. Louis Bread Company in Brentwood to hear his new business idea. The two traveled in similar circles and had crossed paths while following the jam band Phish on tour. But at the meeting, it was a stranger with salt-and-pepper hair — Matt Mathison — who ended up doing most of the talking.

"He was very charismatic and passionate about what he wanted this magazine to be, and how he thought I could help," Michel says. "And he was very rushed to get things started."

At the time, Michel was writing ad copy for St. Louis Magazine. Mathison offered him a big step up: the editor in chief position of a golf magazine called Avid. He accepted.

Soon, Mathison, Michel and other contributors were gathering daily in an office complex in west county, hustling to put together a 100-page first issue. Riney very rarely came into the office, Michel says. But court records show he pumped in at least $125,000 before a single page was printed.

By November 2010 the inaugural issue was ready for release. Mathison hired the local PR firm Common Ground to throw a launch party, with a month's notice, at Bar Napoli in downtown Clayton. He bragged to them that Australian pro golfer Steve Elkington would show up, so they announced it in a press release. Elkington never showed.

Nevertheless, the party was "packed," recalls Denise Bentele, co-owner of Common Ground. "It was a huge success."

The hangover soon followed.

Despite repeated assurances from Mathison, Bentele couldn't get paid.

"Every day Matt had a story," she says. "The best was when he said his car overheated on the highway, and I think it was eight degrees outside. That was pretty funny." (Bentele's firm persisted and managed to collect.)

A free publication distributed at retailers, restaurants and golf courses, Avid generated all its revenue from advertising. But Michel says the first issue contained only a handful of paid ads. The rest were giveaways, and even securing those was a challenge.

Yet Mathison didn't appear too worried about money: He moved his family into a rented house in Ladue that was recently appraised at $778,200. (Court records indicate he was later evicted from that home and from two subsequent houses in Chesterfield for non-payment.)

For the spring 2011 fashion issue, Avid hired the high-end local photographer Tuan Lee to provide some art. Afterward, Lee complained about not receiving compensation. So did the Centro models who posed in the shoots. So did Avid's layout designers, based in Chicago. So did several writers and photographers.

"Everybody was coming to me," Michel recalls. Mathison promised his editor he was sending checks, and suggested the culprit might be errors at the bank or the post office.

Then Michel's own paycheck bounced. "I wanted it to work out so badly," Michel says. "I told myself, 'He's going to pay me back.'" Then the paychecks of other staffers bounced, too. Refusing to lose faith, Michel used his personal funds to stanch some of the bleeding.

"My credit-card debt was going through the ceiling," he says. "I had contributors breathing down my neck. Everything was dangling by a thread."

Then, on May 17, 2011, Michel woke up to smoke wafting into his bedroom and flames licking the ceiling. He survived unscathed, but the freak fire that burned down his home rattled him.

"I wondered, 'If Matt is not paying my paychecks, what else isn't he paying?'" Michel phoned his health-insurance carrier. He says he learned that he'd lost coverage months earlier.

Mathison admits that there was "a small gap" in coverage for Michel.

"The fire was the world's biggest reality check,'" says Michel. "I needed to get my life together. I thought, 'Where has all this money gone?"

Investor Richard Riney was wondering the same thing. The previous fall he'd given Mathison around $100,000 to acquire GolfBuzz, a social-media platform that could host online content for magazines such as Avid. Mathison told the investor the deal was basically sealed. However, by the spring of 2011, Mathison had nothing to show for it.

In mid-April of that year, Riney demanded all documentation relating to GolfBuzz.

According to court records, Mathison first offered Riney only a "series of lies and half-truths" for not having it. He finally admitted that the "deal" had "fallen through," and agreed to return the money. But each time they scheduled to meet up at Riney's bank, Mathison failed to show or canceled at the last minute.

Riney accused Mathison of trying to obtain credit in Riney's name without his knowledge or consent. Mathison hit back by changing the locks on the office doors and locking Riney out of the computer system.

Finally, the investor gave Mathison a hard and fast deadline of April 29, 2011, to return the GolfBuzz investment. When Mathison missed that deadline, Riney hired attorney Chris McDonough to file a temporary restraining order to shut down the magazine and demand a full accounting of Avid's finances.

If only it were that simple. The process server tried multiple times to serve a summons at Mathison's residence, then wrote to the court: "Defendant / his adult family member refused to open the door."

Riney was shut out — for the moment.

Matt Mathison got his first look at a publisher's lifestyle while living in Dallas in the mid-2000s. At the time, he was spending a lot of time swinging clubs on the manicured greens of the Four Seasons Resort and Club in Dallas — home of the HP Byron Nelson Championship, a stop on the PGA tour. There he came to admire fellow member Craig Rosengarden.

Rosengarden owned the AvidGolfer magazine chain that had branched out from Dallas to establish sister publications in Houston, Austin, San Antonio and Colorado.

One day Mathison approached him about opening up shop in Atlanta, where he'd spent part of his childhood. Rosengarden liked the idea. The publisher says he offered to provide the new magazine's content as long as Mathison sold ads and kicked in some start-up capital. So Mathison gathered funds from other club members and headed east.

The Georgia incarnation of AvidGolfer debuted in March 2006 at a launch party north of downtown Atlanta. Some five hundred well-wishers attended. Rosengarden says his partner swore the gala wouldn't cost a dime. Yet within a month Rosengarden says he was opening bills from the restaurant that hosted the event, from Heineken (which provided beer) and from the PR company that organized it. Combined, these bills ran into the thousands, he says.

Then Rosengarden examined the magazine's bank account. He noticed that the company had paid for Mathison to hire a dog-sitter and get his house cleaned.

Mathison says today he doesn't recall any misunderstandings about the launch party, or about his personal expenses being covered by the company. "All I can say about it is that the relationship didn't work out."

After only a few printed issues, Rosengarden decided to sever all ties to Mathison. But soon the publisher's phone started ringing. Other club members told him they'd lent Mathison money and couldn't get it back.

One of these golfers was David Pfaff. Pfaff had put $100,000 into AvidGolfer in Atlanta, and Mathison had signed a promissory note to repay him. However, according to a lawsuit Pfaff filed, Mathison failed to deliver over and over, despite "repeated promises" and a "myriad of excuses."

Eventually, a mutual friend of Mathison and Pfaff agreed to lend Mathison $100,000 to make Pfaff whole. Mathison took the money but never paid off Pfaff — nor repaid the mutual friend. Pfaff won a default judgment against Mathison for the full amount, but has yet to collect anything.

"We've all lost money in business," Pfaff tells Riverfront Times. "Not every project turns out rosy. But you just feel violated by this guy, because the lies don't stop."

Mark A. Du Pont, a real-estate developer in California, tells a similar story. He, too, met Mathison on a Dallas golf course and invested in his Atlanta edition of AvidGolfer.

But when the magazine dissolved, Du Pont was willing to put money into Mathison's second attempt at an Atlanta publication, this one called simply Avid. Du Pont says he flew out several times to Atlanta in 2006 and 2007 to survey Mathison's operation.

"He had a team, he had a website," Du Pont recalls. "I thought he was a great salesman, that he would hustle and make this happen."

Yet the magazine foundered. The real-estate market was tanking too, and Du Pont's financial manager was looking more closely at his expenses. She noticed charges on his Citibank credit card for airline tickets to and from Atlanta. Some tickets were mailed to Mathison in paper form, then returned at the airport for a cash refund.

This befuddled Du Pont, who swears he'd never given credit-card info to Mathison. (Mathison insists that he had.)

Du Pont says he spent fifteen months trying to "rectify the absolute nightmare" of $34,000 in what he considers fraudulent credit-card charges. All told, Du Pont estimates he invested more than $400,000 in Mathison's ventures in Atlanta.

"I'm a big boy," Du Pont says. "I've lost fifteen to twenty times that in real estate since 2007. It's not that $400,000 isn't a chunk of change. It is. But I'm telling you all this because I don't want anyone to get hurt again."

Du Pont says he approached authorities in California and Texas about pressing charges against Mathison. But ultimately, he gave up — partly because he had bigger worries in real estate, and partly because Mathison was already facing punishment for something else.

In late 2008, Mathison was arrested and charged in Tarrant County, Texas, with having embezzled tens of thousands of dollars from Bentwaters Construction, a firm where he had worked during the early 2000s. He spent 43 days in jail during the proceedings.

Court records show that Mathison felt justified in taking the money because he believed he was owed commissions from the company's CEO, Jon Aubrey. Nonetheless, Mathison ended up pleading guilty to felony theft of property. The trial judge put him on ten years' probation, and ordered him to pay $193,700 in restitution. Mathison challenged that amount, but a Texas appeals court upheld it.

But it wasn't just CEOs the likes of Jon Aubrey and Mark Du Pont who felt burned. Smaller players also got stiffed.

Patrick Coulson was the founder of GolfBuzz.com. All told, Coulson says, GolfBuzz billed $30,000 worth of work to Mathison's second magazine, but only collected a third of it. Over and over, Mathison insisted he'd already shipped payment. And over and over, he blamed the shipping carrier when it failed to arrive.

After months of dodging, Mathison finally wrote Coulson a breathless e-mail in August 2007.

"My apologies for just getting back to you," Mathison wrote. "I flew out to Houston first thing this morning to be with my sister. Her husband (age 31) had a stroke late last night." Things were so bleak, Mathison wrote, his mother and stepfather had chartered a helicopter to return early from an Alaskan cruise. "It's a mess."

Mathison now admits to RFT that this family-tragedy story was "an atrocious lie."

Says Coulson: "Matt's actually quite charming. And if he put his mind to positive use, he'd actually be pretty decent. But you can't take anything he tells you as the truth."

As Mathison was attempting to start — and restart — his publishing career in Atlanta, Bobby Keppel was doing the same in baseball.

Back in high school, when major-league scouts outnumbered the spectators at some of his games, Keppel kept a smiley-face sticker inside his ball cap. It would help him stay relaxed during tense moments. It worked: The seventeen-year-old led De Smet to a state title in 2000, then earned a $1 million signing bonus a few weeks later when the New York Mets swooped him up as the 36th overall pick in the draft. But by the spring of 2006, the six-foot-five-inch Keppel had trouble summoning the confidence he'd shown as a teen.

He now wore the uniform of the Kansas City Royals. And despite getting called up to the majors for the first time with the KC club, he struggled to make a mark on one of the worst teams in baseball.

He remembers thinking: "If I can't make it with them, what am I doing here?"

After compiling an 0-4 record with the Royals, Keppel was demoted to the minor leagues. There, he fell into a brief Internet gambling addiction.

"I felt like it was a way to finally control my life and provide a lifestyle that I had encountered in the major leagues," he says. "But after a series of losses and sleepless nights I finally confessed to my fiancée."

With Suzanne's help and patience, Keppel eventually conquered his demons. "She had the opportunity to say, 'I'm done with you,'" Keppel says. "But she took the time to see it through with me."

Suzanne's belief in him when he was at his lowest now has Keppel believing in second chances — for himself and for others.

After a year in Kansas City, Keppel had short stints with the Colorado Rockies, Florida Marlins and Minnesota Twins organizations. His best season came in 2009 when he pitched 54 relief innings for the Twins and compiled a respectable 4.83 ERA. In 2010 he took a gamble by agreeing to play in Japan — a country where other MLB players have honed their skills and returned to form.

Keppel was in his second season playing for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters when an 8.9 magnitude earthquake rocked Japan and unleashed a tsunami that triggered a nuclear fallout. Soon after the September 2011 tragedy, Keppel's team played in a charity game in the devastated region of Sendai. Although he was a foreigner in a famously insular country, Keppel was asked to make a pregame speech. It was broadcast throughout Japan.

He recalls standing at the microphone, thinking of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, a.k.a. "The Little Flower," a tiny nun whom Catholics revere for trying to do good with even the tiniest acts. He didn't mention her by name that night. ("I'm not a sign-of-the-cross guy" while on the field, he explains.) But he urged the fans to shower the victims with kindness.

"It's in the little things that you do with your families that, put together, will make the biggest difference," he said, his amplified voice bouncing around the stadium. "Whether it's a donation of your time, your money or just a generous smile, no charity is too small."

Keppel and his wife practice what they preach, says Steve Allgeyer, vice president of Life Teen, a Catholic youth ministry in which the Keppels have both been active.

"They're quite possibly the most generous people I know," says Allgeyer. "Not just with their time, but with everything they do."

Although the couple spends most of their time in Japan, they still volunteer in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, prepping engaged couples for marriage and urging natural family planning. They also own several rental properties in St. Louis County, some of which they lease to friends who've fallen on hard times.

It was while making a maintenance call to one of his rental properties last July that Keppel first had an inkling of becoming a publisher. On that day he visited a tenant named Matt Mathison, who had found the place through a realtor service. In the garage of the Mathison residence, Keppel spied a box full of Avid magazines. He picked up a copy and thumbed through it.

"He came over to me, held it up and said, 'What's this?'" recalls Mathison.

Mathison explained the concept of Avid, and his hopes to one day revive the magazine. Keppel was intrigued. Like his real-estate holdings, a magazine seemed like an investment that just might pay off in the long run.

He left with a copy to show Suzanne.

On May 24, 2011, Richard Riney got his wish. A St. Louis County judge froze Avid's assets and halted any further publishing. Dan Michel, the magazine's editor in chief, was present when Mathison heard the news.

"I'd never seen Matt so livid," Michel recalls. "His face was beet red. He just went on and on, mindless cussing and name-calling."

The final two issues of Avid for May and June were completed in digital format but never saw print. Within months the magazine was sued for not paying rent at its office complex. Scorch, a local social-media agency, also filed a lawsuit for an outstanding bill of $8,500.

In the end, Mathison signed a consent judgment in Riney's lawsuit, thereby conceding to counts including fraudulent misrepresentation and breach of fiduciary duty. According to the case file, he still owes Riney more than $200,000. [A correction ran regarding this paragraph; see note at end of story.]

Michel took Mathison to small claims court and settled for $7,000, less than half of which has been paid, he says. Eventually Michel packed up his stuff and moved to New York, hoping he'd heard the last of Mathison.

Then came the release last month of The 9s that included articles Michel had edited during his time at Avid. The former editor couldn't believe his eyes. How could Mathison possibly have founded yet another magazine?

Technically, he didn't. He pitched the idea for another golf magazine to the Keppels, but they felt golf was too restrictive. If they were going to get involved, they wanted to do it their own way and cover sports of all kinds, plus travel, fashion, culture, food and business — all with an eye toward men's self-improvement.

"In the baseball world, I know guys who are different places," Keppel says. "But I've seen how men can influence each other. And I think that morality — in terms of doing good, and thinking of others first — all of us have that in us. So I thought, 'Why can't we have a magazine distributed in St. Louis that helps men be better men?'"

The very first issue of The 9s featured an article on Cardinals star Matt Holliday discussing his Christian faith and an advice column fielding questions such as: "My wife just bought skinny jeans, but they don't fit on her right. How do I tell her without hurting her feelings?" The issue also contained content from Avid contributors whom Mathison had never paid; Keppel had stepped in and made them whole.

"I'm the owner of this business," Keppel explains, adding that Mathison is only a consultant to The 9s. "One of my goals is to give Matt a way to pay back all those people their money. What's the better option? That he just goes to jail and can't support his family and no one ever gets repaid? Those are the choices in my head. I feel like maybe I can help this guy."

Keppel says he's already paid off some of Mathison's personal debt. But his influence on Mathison may go even deeper than that.

While RFT was reporting this story Mathison reached out to several people from his past. On February 9 he typed up a long confessional e-mail to Mark Du Pont and David Pfaff — the businessmen who'd invested in his first magazine.

"I used to spend a lot of time mad at the world," he wrote. "Mad at some of you for kicking me when I was down. But the fact of the matter is that I had no one to be mad at but myself.... I realize that I will never be a 'Good Man' but it doesn't mean that I can't be a better man and work towards making things right."

Mathison owned up to some misdeeds, admitting: "The excuses and lies that poured out of my mouth were plentiful and flat-out repulsive."

But he also felt he'd turned a corner in his life. He was now working for a new magazine where he wasn't in control of the finances and might make enough money in the long run to pay them back. Things were looking up, he said — thanks to his new employers, the Keppels.

"I work for an amazing group of people," he wrote. "There is nothing that can be written or talked about that they are not aware of. Quite frankly, these people are my angels." 

Correction published 3/1/13: The original version of this story misstated the counts involved in the consent judgment Matt Mathison signed in Avid magazine investor Richard Riney's lawsuit. The above version reflects the corrected text.

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So I see the 9s Magazine is no more.  Anyone know what happened?


@clouise71as @flaminghammerstated, your background is irrelevant to the story.  What is relevant are the facts, and I have not read one thing that disputes anything in the article.  The only fact you provided was the data from the SBA website (good job on browsing the web.)  See if you can find any facts on business closure with the person who has fiduciary responsibility takes all the money for personal use and not for company growth (and still doesn't pay vendors or employees).  BTW that is called a con.

The fact he owes so much money in court settlements (probably over $500k) he'll need to make millions to do this.  He had plenty of opportunities to run a legitimate business, but as stated in the article, he has only left a trail of lawsuits and very angry investors and employees.  The best quote was from AN ATTORNEY - "He's a con man," McDonough says of Mathison. "That's not my opinion. That's an adjudicated fact."

And how you can argue that pleading guilty IN CRIMINAL COURT to theft is somehow not correlated to a conviction is ludicrous.  

So from now on - please only send proven facts that dispute anything in the article.  Otherwise, get a hold of the 7 embassies  of the countries you supposedly lived in, and get Mathison a one way ticket there.  That would make America a much better place for all of us to live.


@clouise71, this article is for me, repayment enough. The fact that people will be warned against doing business with Mathison is a service. He might be a fun guy to hang out with, but he's an extremely sketchy person to do business with. So continue to be his friend, yes, just don't conduct business with him. You don't get to screw over that many people and not have long-lasting consequences. He's enjoyed that luxury for FAR too long.

And Like Richard Riney, Bobby and Suzanne have no idea how to run a magazine. Make no mistake, Matt might not have discretionary spending this time around, but he is running the show. If the Keppel's want this publication to really stand for the integrity and goodness they seem stand for, they'll hire somebody to run it with the ability to espouse those ethics. Am I idealistic? Yes. If the Keppel's want this magazine to really be the positive influence they claim it will be, then maybe they can display just a bit of idealism as well. 


@flamminghammer, I actually enjoyed your commentary. And point taken with regards to the expose (btw, Steven Brill did and excellent job...class of '68 at my school) I am not any better or worse than anyone else. I can assure you I have no illusions of superiority. I also stated in my first commentary that I have known Matt for over 30 years, so that puts us at 8 years old.

I told you and anyone else who was reading who I am and not my qualifications only because you questioned my existence...I am not Matt. Matt is a good guy. Matt is a dreamer with big expectations and high hopes that didn't mesh with the budget he was allowed and that caught up with him (that is my "spin" on it...obviously grossly oversimplified). He made bad decisions that affected the people he worked with and ultimately himself and his family. So now everyone is paying for it (family included).

He found, in Bobby and Suzanne, people who also saw the visionary he is and knowing his shortcomings, decided that with their guidance and management, they could help him reach his potential as well as atone for his offenses. He messed up BIG TIME and now they are willing to hold his hand (if even just to make sure he walks a straight and narrow line).

This new publication is more than just a golf magazine. It's a magazine that Bobby and Suzanne hope will make men better people by informing/influencing them to make smarter and more informed choices in their lives. It's a lifestyle magazine that targets a niche...and it's owned by the Keppel's and not Matt. They run the show.

Matt's life right now is by no means glamorous or great right now and it hasn't been for a while. Now he must make amends and for an indefinite period of time. It means wearing a big red "A" (maybe for Avid) on his chest and facing his debts on a day to day basis...all under a microscope.

As for my analogies, I was not comparing Matt in any way to these inventors, I was pointing out the amount of failed attempts that it may take before you achieve success. My hope is that is that this is the right combination to make it work.

I wish you the best and hope that someday you will be recompensed for your losses.

Until then good luck and God Bless. Over and Out.


Wow clouise71, Matt Mathison has you wrapped around his finger. I said you were either personally or professionally involved with Mathison and you have revealed that to be the truth, so no I'm not disappointed. 

No one cares about your qualifications and everybody knows what Libel is. Your obviously not any more intelligent than the rest of us, so get off your high horse. 

And now you are comparing Mathison's business career to some of the greatest inventors of our time? Gimme a break... Oh and your basketball analogy, I think it would be more appropriate to say that every time a basketball player makes a basket the team gets paid—even when he misses the whole team gets paid.

And for such an educated person, it doesn't seem that you read the news with a very critical eye. Most news stories have a perceived slant. It's difficult to avoid as a journalist. But this isn't even that type of story. It's an expose, they have more slant than most stories by nature, correct? That's the only point I was trying to make. I'm all for balanced journalism. 

And in my book, pleading guilty means your guilty for all intents and purposes. What, the judge placed him on community supervision for no reason????

I've struggled, failed and succeeded in small business as well, all without ripping anybody off, and I've ALWAYS payed my bills. Isn't that what Libertarians tout? Bootstrap kind of people? Not being a drain on the system? Apparently you respect the type of people that try to succeed at all costs, even if that means disrespecting every body else's property, trust and time. Maybe at the core, you're not as Libertarian as you think you are? Perhaps you shouldn't "pray for me" and instead pray for yourself and Mathison? I'm sorry to hear of the illness in his family. We all deal with personal tragedies. Although I'm glad that everybody is OK, I'm skeptical that that has been some kind of a truly 'transformative' experience for Mathison.

Matt Matthison isn't in his formative years, he is who he is. You're being extremely naive. The only reason you perceive him to be truly sorry and changed is because his reputation has finally caught up with him. I'm just surprised it took this long.


@flaminghammer ...sorry to disappoint, I guess it would liven it up to add more "spice" to a story that has been beaten to death.  I am a married, Catholic, mother of four, die hard Libertarian, card carrying member of the NRA and a believer in the US and capitalism. I have also lived in seven different countries and have seen it all.  That being said...

FACT: The US Small Business Administration states the 50% of all small business fail in the first 5 years.  Sorry if you lost your job or lost some money, but that is part of our capitalistic society that allows you to make it or break it.  Don't like it...move to Russia.  There you don't get a choice or a chance to even try.  Like it or not we live in America.

You want an analogy?   The best professional baseball players strike out 7 of every 10 baseball at bats.  The best professional basketball players in the world make baskets less than half the time they shoot the ball.  Edison failed over 1000 times before he perfected the light bulb and the Wright Brothers failed hundreds of times before taking flight.


Seriously, it's like the show Jay Walking on this blog...please educate yourselves!

The state recommended that he receive deferred adjudication and pay restitution in an amount to be determined by the trial court.  (The judgement was to "Pay what you owe!...he was NOT CONVICTED of anything).  In accordance with the plea agreement, the court deferred the adjudication of guilt and placed Mathison on community supervision for ten (10) years. 

@flaminghammer ..."So what if there is an agenda?"...well, refer to the journalism code of ethics...I wrote it out below...journalism has to be objective...aka, no agenda.  A statement of facts, not heresay or speculation.

Do you know what Libel is? Look it up...and then refer to the article and then back it up...go to your law books and look up TORT.

We have laws in this country so that people on both sides can have a fair chance at proving themselves. I am sorry for your loss but you need to move on (if you can't then get in touch with Matt and see what you two can work out...might even be therapeutic ).  I am sure we all appreciate your help in warning us by way of your experience...we can consider ourselves forewarned.

I hope you can find peace @flaminghammer ...life has a way of changing people.  In this case, Mr. Mathison almost lost his child and fiance to grave illnesses this past year.  (I know this for a fact). 

I pray for both of you.


@flaminghammer I'd be willing to bet all the money that Mathison stole, that "cluelesshammer" is Mathison, and most likely "clouise71" and "brookra77".  It's classic Mathison trying to make you feel bad for posting the truth, since you did hit close to home.  I wouldn't be surprised if Mathison actually posted under his real name, claiming he is not "cluelesshammer" or the other posters, but we all know that it is him.

The facts in the article are true.  The authorities will take another look.  The Keppel's need to keep an eye on their money and not allow any funds to be paid (or promised) without their approval.  The magazine business is tough, and they don't need a boat anchor or bad publicity to bring them down.  The fact Mathison had to use his mother's maiden name, Morton, in the publication, should raise serious red flags to begin with.  Seriously, how many people have you ever heard of doing that in any profession?  Or telling business partners he needs $100k to buy GolfBuzz, and not letting them know where the money went after the deal didn't come to fruition?  Or not having the balls to tell your employees that their health insurance premiums are not being paid (or their salaries for that matter)?


@ cluelesshammer... that's classic. The person who creates an anonymous screen name just to insult me is accusing me of hiding behind a screen name. You seem angry too, and the fact that you created an alias just to insult me makes me think that my comments hit a little bit too close to home for you. You are very obviously personally or professionally involved with one or more of the players here, and I will not be legally baited by you. Nice try. Like I said, I've written it off as a loss.

Trying to spin me into the bad guy for warning others away from Mathison isn't going to work. Yes, I've been burned. Am I still angry? Absolutely! If somebody stole money from you wouldn't you be? If you had the opportunity to warn others so that the same didn't happen to them wouldn't you?

Insofar as the article is concerned, I think it was more balanced that Mathison deserved. But yes, obviously he pissed off the wrong people. Screw enough people and there are consequences. And theres nothing wrong with an online review. Assuming you aren't anti-better business bureau, I get that you make the distinction between a business and the person running it, but there is a gray area. He's still in a position of "authority" in this new venture, and thusly represents the business. Mathison has made bad decisions that span multiple business ventures that have affected others negatively. So the FACTS are that Mathison has a long history of screwing the people he does business with and that, my friend, transcends THIS individual business. I'm well aware of the facts Clueless. Here's another one for you. Many decisions to not pay people were done BEFORE the magazine folded. And those decisions were made by Mathison. 

Like grandpa used to say, "You can't shine a turd." 9s magazine is basically Avid with a different name and investor.


@flaminghammer If in fact you weren't compensated by Mathison in a previous business then why don't you post your name, what you did for him, and how much you are owed instead of hiding behind your screenname and rambling on about how scarred you are. Trust me, we get that.

You might also want to take note of the fact that the new magazine is not Mathisons. He does not own any part of it. Why don't you look that up? I'm not a fan of Mathisons either but this article was a blatant attempt to destroy the man and clearly you are happy about what was written. Personally, I don't like articles of this nature no matter who the subject is. The bigger question is why wait this long to write a story about him? Is it because he's trying to still make it in the publication business and you don't like it? Businesses fail all the time flamminghammer and I can assure you that not everyone gets paid when the business fails. And they certainly dont take to the press to voice their concerns. Hire a lawyer and take it up with him there. 

Until then, make sure you get your facts straight before going on a tangent. You telling people to "avoid the 9s like the plague" is the furthest thing from ethical and unfair to the people who do own the 9s. Somehow I don't think you have the mind or the sense of professionalism to think that objectively.


@clouise71, Yes, so what if there is an agenda? Have you read the article in the latest Time magazine entitled "Bitter Pill"? It's an expose on our healthcare system and the outlandish mark-ups that hospitals charge and how we as the consumer get royally screwed in the process. Yes it's written in a factual manner and obviously the "agenda" is to hopefully cause positive change for we the people. @brookra77 – interesting how you and clouise71 are trying to turn this around and position Mathison as some kind of underdog. Poor Mathison is being attacked by the big, bad RFT! He's, the victim in all of this! Simple minded people love an underdog despite their actions, but the only underdogs in this story are the people who offered services, expertise and time to Mathison and were never compensated. That's theft people, pure and simple. It's also a BIG lack of respect for others and a breach of trust. You say you don't know anybody involved? I do—I WAS one of the people involved... and I can tell you that there are other people that have negative opinions of Mathison that weren't interviewed for this article either. 

This story is important to tell because it keeps happening. You can stick your head in the sand and look at the pretty pictures in his new mag brookra77, but anybody else that respects decent business and social ethics will avoid the 9s magazine like the plague. 


Clouise71 - I guess pleading guilty doesn't count as a conviction?

George Bertram Mathison, IV, was charged with theft of property valued between $100,000 and $200,000. Pursuant to a plea agreement, he pled guilty to theft of property valued between $20,000 and $100,000, and the State recommended that he receive deferred adjudication and pay restitution in an amount to be determined by the trial court. In accordance with the plea agreement, the court deferred the adjudication of guilt and placed Mathison on community supervision for ten (10) years. The court subsequently conducted an evidentiary hearing and ordered Mathison to pay $193,700 in restitution as a condition of community supervision.


Thanks for the background info clouise.  Me, I don't know anybody involved.  It just struck me as a weird piece to have on the cover.  My thoughts were why is RFT trying so hard to attack the legitimacy of another STL magazine?  I picked up Avid a few times when it was in circulation, it was a quality publication.  I didn't even know that The 9s was in circulation, but now I'm going to go looking for a copy. 

Bottom line for me, there are probably 1000 people in St Louis guilty of far worse than what's portrayed here.  Why not write cover stories for any of them?  The answer, again to me, seems obvious - none of them are involved in creating competition for RFT.  And now that we know ex-Avid people are on staff at RFT, it all makes sense. 


wow...I am sorry for your bitter experiences...I actually have known Matt for over 30 years...I also do my research. That being said, there are a few people that aren't even mentioned in this article that I know that were in fact interviewed and had positive things to say about Matt. By the way, does anyone know who the editorial coordinator for the RFT is? Liz Miller (an ex-employee for Avid Magazine). Do you know who one of her very good friends is? Dan Michel (the ex-editor for Avid Magazine).Anyone ever heard of Brooke Foster? She is a contributing writer for the RFT (ex-employee of Common Ground Public Relations)Despite all the failings and mishaps that Mr. Mathison has had (and admitted to) it seems to me that there are people here with an agenda. The is a lot of bashing of one man and your focus has been that of his integrity or lack there of. So to those who have "thrown the first stone", I question your integrity, journalistic that is, and offer up 6 simple concepts that your professional code of ethics consists of: 1 - truthfulness 2 - accuracy 3 - objectivity 4 - impartiality 5 - fairness & 6 - public accountability The facts are not all correct. There is quite a bit of heresay and I know you the word Libel.Court records were not read right. There have also been NO convictions (look it up).I think its sad to believe someone can't change. I wouldn't ever say to a person with a drug or alcohol problem they can't get their act clean, because I know they can.If Matt has burned you then confront him and let him try to make it right. It seems to me he is trying already and has the help of Bobby and Suzanne who believe in his rehabilitation. These are people who have been down and out as well or have helped others, and are willing to give him a chance.There are always two sides to every story. Do not be so quick to judge.


wow...I am sorry for your bitter experiences...

I actually have known Matt for over 30 years...

I also do my research. That being said, there are a few people that aren't even mentioned in this article that I know that were in fact interviewed and had positive things to say about Matt.

By the way, does anyone know who the editorial coordinator for the RFT is?

Liz Miller (an ex-employee for Avid Magazine).

Do you know who one of her very good friends is?

Dan Michel (the ex-editor for Avid Magazine).

Anyone ever heard of Brooke Foster?

She is a contributing writer for the RFT (ex-employee of Common Ground Public Relations)

Despite all the failings and mishaps that Mr. Mathison has had (and admitted to) it seems to me that there are people here with an agenda. The is a lot of bashing of one man and your focus has been that of his integrity or lack there of.

So to those who have "thrown the first stone", I question your integrity, journalistic that is, and offer up 6 simple concepts that your professional code of ethics consists of:

1 - truthfulness

2 - accuracy

3 - objectivity

4 - impartiality

5 - fairness &

6 - public accountability

The facts are not all correct.

There is quite a bit of heresay and I know you


Well said Flaminghammer - and btw do not rent a house to him.  Letting it sit empty would have been much less expensive.


wow brookra77, seems you are a friend of Mathison's. He probably told you to post that? Did you not read the entire story? He was sent to jail!!!! He doesn't have more criminal charges against him DESPITE screwing over anybody that has ever worked with him. Check out his court records in MO and GA and check out how many people are suing him. I can personally tell you there are others not mentioned in this story that are owed money for work performed that will NEVER see it. Matt is a grifter, pure and simple. It is true that he's a good salesman, but he uses it for evil. In my life I've known a few people like Matt and if there's one thing I know, these people NEVER reform. They get off on taking advantage of the people that give them opportunities or are trying to help them in some way. Mathison will always find a way to use his position to make as much money as possible, damn the legalities and ethics, after all he's got a lifestyle that needs to be maintained—big house, nice car, boob job for the wife, etc. 

It seems the main motivating factor in Bobby Keppel's helping hand has less to do with benefaction, and more to do with his gambling problem. Who else would bank on a proven long shot like Mathison, other than a gambling junky? Bobby should have just gone on a spending spree instead of throwing away money on Matt and the magazine business. Matt has very expensive tastes, and this time you actually have to pay your vendors and employees. That means actually selling ads, not giving them away to have the appearance of success (much like Matt's illusory lifestyle).

The 9's magazine will always be toxic as long as Matt Mathison is at the helm. It taints any product/service that advertises in that magazine. If you work for this company it will be short term at best. Just a PSA. This is all one man's very educated (the hard way) opinion.


brookra77 - did we read the same article?  Conviction for theft in Texas and agreement with Riney in court to plead guilty of theft - those are both criminal charges.  Probably a matter of time before the authorities read this article and open up a bigger investigation.


Sounds like somebody at RFT has a chip on their shoulder toward Matt Mathison.  This whole story reads as one big hit piece.  If Matt is so dirty, why is nobody pressing criminal charges?  Maybe it's that RFT sees The 9s as competition.


I have a feeling that the owners of The  9s Magazine will be suing Mathison in the future based on his track record!

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