Third Impact announced the hiring of Zachary "Text" Allen to be their new director of operations on June 10th, marking his return to the scene after he was fired from Polar Ace due to allegedly embezzling $6,000-$10,000 from the organization during his tenure.
Dust2.us reached out to Text about his hiring by Third Impact and the allegations leading to his dismissal from Polar Ace. He confirmed to Dust2.us that he did embezzle upwards of $5,000 from the Polar Ace credit account — rejecting the alleged $6,000-$10,000 claim — to finance an addiction that he is continuing to receive therapy for.
He says that during the final months with Polar Ace he was a "functioning addict" and the organization were largely unaware of what he was doing. This came to a head in March when he stole upwards of $3,000 from the team's account in a short period of time which drew the attention of Derek Dobosz, the team's owner, leading to his ultimate termination.
In the months following his termination, Text states that Derek was able to "[get] back $3,500" of the $5,000 that Text alleges was stolen, and that he "can never be sorry enough" for what he did to the Polar Ace organization. However, he went on to state in our interview that he believes that he "did more for the brand than hurt it" ultimately. Text mentions that he "worked for the brand for months on end for free", helped "secure [Polar Ace] their only investment of $20,000", "single handedly hired every staff member", signed "every contract", and ran "the brand for over a year with zero help of [sic] the other owner." He also states that he personally invested $2,000 to pay for Polar Ace expenses.
In closing he mentions that while he understands that some people will never be able to accept him in the industry for what he did, Derek has forgiven him, and he hopes to continue supporting the CS:GO scene and esports as a whole while working with Third Impact.
Dust2.us reached out to Derek regarding the claims Text made in our interview. Derek stands by his claim that it was $6,000-$10,000, stating that Text stole "an outrageous amount of money" from Polar Ace to finance his addiction. Additionally, he seemingly has not forgiven Text as he said that he is "absolutely offended by Text working for Third Impact" and is surprised that Third Impact are willing to hire a "thief" so soon after his termination from Polar Ace. He also mentioned that he worries that with Text moving over to Third Impact so quickly, it would allow them to steal "plans and ideas from Polar Ace."
Additionally, while Derek agrees that he was able to get back $3,500, he says it was without any help from Text as it was accomplished solely through credit card chargebacks, and that overall he left Polar Ace with more than $1,500 worth of debt to account for.
In summing up his feeling about Text's move to Third Impact and the damage he did to Polar Ace, Derek stated:
Zack left Polar Ace is an incredibly bad spot with tons of debt from money he stole, we lost our sponsor at the time, all our teams, and almost all staff. Instead of getting treatment for his supposed addiction, he jumped ship and went to Third Impact. I think that’s wrong by Zack and Third Impact.
In closing, Derek stated that while Polar Ace has recovered fully from these losses, he believes that Text "should have taken a break from esports" and that he "can't believe Third Impact would promote him to Vice President [sic] so quickly."
Returning to Text with Derek's reaffirmation of the alleged amount of money stolen, Text stated "Derek’s claim comes from him never once viewing the finances for 4-5 months and having no idea what was what". As the person responsible for Polar Ace's finances, Text stands by the fact that he only stole around $5,000. He also stated that during the four months he embezzled money from Polar Ace, their nominal operating budget was around $8,000, so he argues it would have been impossible to siphon off anywhere close to $10,000 while still playing players and staff.
Additionally, when presented with the fact that a chargeback had to be processed to get some of the money, Text expressed his belief that it was "the same to [him]" as returning the money on his own.
He then moved away from our discussion of his embezzling and subsequent dismissal, going on a tangent about other issues he had with Polar Ace during and after his time with the organization.
He told us that we should check Polar Ace's SocialBlade as he believes that Polar Ace bought 3,000 fake Twitter followers after previously only gaining about 50 a month during his tenure with the organization. He also argued that the departure of "the whole upper management team + around five staff" was retaliatory "since anyone who Derek thought was even loyal to me was fired."
Likewise, unprompted, he brought up stories of graphic designers and managers who also had strained relationships with Derek, seemingly trying to draw a broader picture of mismanagement within the company, and stories of issues between Derek and a Southeast Asian Rainbow Six Siege team.
Derek denies all of these claims, stating that Polar Ace has never bought followers, nor did he engage in retaliatory firing of staff members, with them leaving of their own accord following Text's termination.
Dust2.us also had the chance to interview Third Impact CEO and Co-Owner Ken "sp0rk" McGaffey regarding the hiring of Text. Prior to his termination by Polar Ace, Text had a cordial relationship with sp0rk, with the two discussing the possibility of merging the two organizations although the move never came to fruition. sp0rk said that he had a strong impression of Text, being impressed by his "leadership style, his passion for esports, and his ability to connect with people." sp0rk also noted that "after meeting the staff at Polar Ace", he believes that Text was primarily responsible for their success so his eventual termination for embezzling and subsequent entrance into rehab came as a complete surprise.
In describing his take in what happened with Text and Polar Ace, sp0rk said:
I was really surprised but I think it was a mistake from Polar Ace because it was a really hands off management and leadership style from whoever Text was supposed to be reporting to. I feel like this is not the kind of thing that happens overnight you know. [Text] has developed a problem and finances begin to go weird, awry, and all of a sudden numbers don't start add up and it takes how many months before someone actually responsible for the finances to notice? It's kinda weird.
Sometimes people have problems and bumps in the road that they go through and they need support and I think I think there is some amount of leadership, lack of leadership, that allowed this to happen the way it did. But yeah when I talked to [Text] about the situation and I saw the release announcement, I was impressed that all this had been going on while he was still serving his role [within Polar Ace].
He stated that he initially brought on Text as a volunteer, requiring him to build a degree of trust before letting him take on more serious duties within Third Impact.
Going on to further describe his personality, sp0rk said that Text is "a bit of a cult of personality because of how genuine he is" and that he "gives a crap about you and about the people he works with... you feel like you want to work for him" and this is why he decided to hire Text.
sp0rk says that Text's role with Third Impact will not involve financials in any way, and that from his perspective, "if [Text] is willing to work without having access to being first-hand responsible for finances at Third Impact I don't see [his prior actions] as a problem."
Prior to hiring Text, Derek also reached out to sp0rk, warning sp0rk that he should not hire Text which sp0rk viewed as an "unacceptable" attempt to influence the hiring decision, ultimately "not caring about what [Derek] had to say about Text."
sp0rk said that he is thoroughly impressed by the results Text got while he worked for Polar Ace and outside of his prior history he is a "professional" and sees his decision to hire him so quickly as justified and an asset to Third Impact. "While Derek is entitled to his opinion, the information I have gathered by my own interactions and seeing what he has accomplished, I made the decision to give him the position that he has...despite what happened, that doesn't change everything Text accomplished when he was at [Polar Ace], it doesn't just disappear because of a mistake he made."
With sp0rk seemingly confident about Text's potential value for Third Impact, time will tell if Text will be able to put his checkered past behind him at his new home.