Poker Face: Retired Military Officer Sues USF Professor Over Alleged Bad Book Deal

Poker Face: Retired Military Officer Sues USF Professor Over Alleged Bad Book Deal

A professor at USF in Tampa and a retired Lieutenant Colonel of the United States Air Force are in a legal tango over a deal to write a book.

TAMPA, Fla. – A professor at USF in Tampa and a retired Lieutenant Colonel of the United States Air Force are in a legal tango over a deal to write a book.

On November 22, Mark Wiser, 54 of Land O’ Lakes sued Marvin Karlins, 81, of Riverview because Karlins allegedly did not ghostwrite a book on behalf of Wiser to satisfaction.

The lawsuit states that Wiser had a lifelong dream of publishing a book about his pilot career, supplemented with perspectives about the culture of teamwork, decision-making, and life lessons.

Karlins, who allegedly pitched himself as the best writer for Wiser’s book, fulfilled his contract to write at least 40,000 words. But Wiser accuses him of purportedly plagiarizing other authors’ works and duplicating his own works from other books he wrote.

According to LinkedIn, Wiser is currently a motivational speaker and retired U.S. Air Force pilot who graduated with a Master of Arts Degree in Military National Resource Strategy and Policy from the U.S. Naval War College. He also studied at the University of Phoenix after attending the U.S. Naval Air Force Academy.

Karlins is a Senior Full Professor of Information Systems and Decision Sciences at USF Tampa’s College of Business Administration and acquired a Ph.D. in Psychology from Princeton University.

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Karlins has authored a variety of books, one which another person known in the lawsuit as “TM,” may sue over as well, for allegedly similar complaints. Karlins has been employed by USF for over 48 years.

According to the lawsuit, “During their personal meetings, Wiser couldn’t help but notice that Karlins did not record Wiser’s words nor did Karlins take any notes whatsoever.”

The two met and gathered information for the book during 2020 and 2021 and Karlins produced a book manuscript in early 2022.

Karlins allegedly told Wiser to expect to make $25,000 to $100,000 in a “down payment” from publishers through a book pitch that Karlins would write. Karlins allegedly told Wiser he had written a book that generated $1.5 million in royalties.

But Wiser, who complains his life and career story are not accurate, believes Karlins’ work is unpublishable and “essentially worthless.”

Both gentlemen appear to be poker players currently or in the past through WSOP (the World Series of Poker), but Wiser claims that Karlins is a self-professed active gambler whom he believes took his $25,000 payment to help him support his “out-of-control gambling addiction.”

The lawsuit presents five counts against Karlins, including Civil Theft, Conversion, Fraudulent Misrepresentation, Unjust Enrichment, and Breach of Contract.

Wiser’s attorney is Eugene Castagliuolo of Tampa. The Free Press did not receive an immediate response when inquiring about the case.

Neither Wiser or Karlins could be reached for comment.

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