Big Changes at Starnet

27 October 1999
Starnet CEO Mark Dohlen has stepped down from his positions and has been replaced by former general counsel Meldon Ellis. Dohlen will remain a major shareholder and member of the company's advisory board.

"Mark Dohlen has been one of the major contributors behind Starnet's meteoric rise to prominence in online gaming and entertainment, transforming the company from a small Internet venture to a leader in online gaming," Ellis said. "As a result, Starnet's business has never been stronger - with revenues up 449 percent in the first quarter over the same period last year and profits in the same period up 495 percent over last year. Our business is strong, our strategy is in place and our experienced, talented management team is vigorously executing our strategic plan."

"We derive significant confidence from the fact that Mark will remain a close advisor to the company and in the abilities of our core management team as it reports to Meldon Ellis" said John Carley, chairman of the Starnet board and chief financial officer.

Commenting on the transition, Carley said, "I am pleased with the progress we have made and the strategic direction of Starnet, focusing on online gaming. Mark's departure is amicable, based on his having helped position the company for a new level of growth and his desire to pursue entrepreneurial interests. The framework for Starnet's strategic shift is now in place and the company is delivering on it - approximately 80% of our revenues stem from online gaming. It is now time for Starnet to move to the next level and it's time for someone else to lead the company.

"Meldon is more than capable of meeting that challenge. I have every confidence in Meldon Ellis's ability to lead Starnet and have long been impressed by his vision, business and legal skills," said Carley. "Since the investigation by the RCMP began, Meldon has effectively increased his role at Starnet and clearly demonstrated his abilities, leading the company in a methodical and systematic fashion that delivers results."

Dohlen added, "I took on the role of Starnet's CEO to help build this company into a cutting-edge provider of Web-based products and services. I have enjoyed leading change at Starnet, will continue to contribute as a member of the advisory board and will remain a major shareholder. But the board and I agree that this is the right time for me to step back from my day-to-day management of Starnet so I can focus on other interests."

New Auditors For Starnet

One of Ellis' first announcements as the new Starnet CEO was the retention of Jones, Jensen & Company, LLC of Salt Lake City, Utah, as its auditor.

"As a leader in online gaming with international operations, we sought the assistance of an accounting firm with significant global experience. With a strong background in performing audits around the world, Jones, Jensen & Company, LLC perfectly fits the needs of our expanding operations," said Ellis.

Carley added, "I am very pleased with the retention of Jones, Jensen & Company, LLC, which should clearly signal to our customers, shareholders and other stakeholders that Starnet is committed to the highest standards in every aspect of its business, from technological innovation and implementation to financial reporting."

Ellis concluded, "Today's announcements continue steps we have taken over the past several weeks to secure continued growth, ensure shareholder value and protect the integrity of the company. The announcements of new auditors, continued expansion into international markets and formation of our new subsidiary Inc. clearly demonstrate our commitment to maintaining leadership in online gaming and leveraging our technology to exploit additional high potential markets, while acting in our shareholders' best interests."

Appeal Filed To Drop Continued Freeze Of Accounts

The company also announced that on Friday, October 22, 1999, the company filed an appeal in the Court of Appeal for British Columbia of the September 22, 1999 decision by Justice Patrick Dohm to continue an interim order freezing two of Starnet's bank accounts in Vancouver totaling approximately $6.7 million. Justice Dohm originally granted the order on August 25, 1999.

Starnet officials hope to have a response within two months.