|It all started when AOL bought movie ticket firm MovieFone in 1999. One entry discovered on MovieFone's books was a $22.75 million arbitration award from an old legal fight with a vendor. |
The money hadn't been paid yet by the vendor, so AOL asked the vendor to pay off the debt by buying online ads on AOL - and pay $3 million less than the award's final amount, including interest.
It was a British gambling company that operated greyhound tracks in Rhode Island and Colorado, but it didn't know what it could advertise, since track gambling was illegal in many states.
AOL suggested setting up a greyhound racing site, 24dogs.com. But when the vendor dragged its feet, AOL raced to set one up itself. AOL was trying to get the ads booked before it reported sales to Wall Street.