Editor's note: This is the second part of a series about former Olympian Michael Douglas Hyatt who was suspended by USA Table Tennis and has been let go of his job from the Guam Table Tennis Federation.
A few quick online searches and phone calls to verify former table tennis Olympian Michael Douglas Hyatt's background would have given the Guam Table Tennis Federation pause before hiring him.
However, the federation claimed it didn't find out about Hyatt's past – an arrest warrant in Calfornia for alleged welfare fraud; at least two women who claimed they were financially conned; and a suspension by the USA Table Tennis for alleged sexual misconduct – until the Post asked for comment.
“The GTFF welcomed Michael Hyatt’s enthusiasm to the sport of table tennis," the federation stated in a prepared statement late Sunday evening as the Post was about to go to press on a story about Hyatt. "After 10 years of executing our development plan, it was heartwarming for us to know that an Olympian saw our efforts and our shortfall in taking table tennis to the level where we would like it to be – Michael wanted to use his expertise and caliber of playing level to help us achieve our goals."
The federation added toward the latter part of the statement it has cut ties with Hyatt and he is no longer allowed to represent the federation or use its logo until after he clears his name.
Last month, 48-year-old Hyatt convinced Guam's table tennis federation he would groom Guam's first future table tennis Olympians. The federation gave him a role in marketing and developing young talent on the island. Hyatt was featured in a recent Post story about his goals for Guam's table tennis talent.
Hyatt represented Jamaica in table tennis in the 1992 Barcelona Games and the 1996 Atlanta Games. However, Hyatt remains suspended from playing in USA Table Tennis tournaments until Sept. 1, 2019, and isn’t eligible to coach until Sept. 1, 2021.
USA Table Tennis Chief Executive Officer Gordon Kaye told the Post that Hyatt was suspended for "a violation of our SafeSport policy for sexual misconduct not involving a minor.”
Hyatt has denied the USA Table Tennis sexual misconduct charge, calling it a nonissue.
California accusers alerted
The Post story about the former Olympian caught certain eyes an ocean away – in California.
Certain women in California have been watching where Hyatt would pop up next.
After the Post story titled “Guam table tennis gets an Olympian” published on Oct. 19, several women from California reached out to the Post with their documented allegations that they've been left in financial ruin allegedly because of Hyatt.
That same day, four women contacted the Post alleging that Hyatt is not who he claims he is.
In at least one case involving the women, Hyatt promised to share the financial rewards of a business venture, PongNation, but he needed help with cash while the business was trying to get established.
All four claim to have had relationships with Hyatt, claiming to have met him through various online dating sites.
Kimberlie Reed alleged that Hyatt scammed her out of nearly $100,000, promising a return on investment from Pong Nation LLC, a table tennis business owned by Hyatt. Both women are listed as PongNation LLC board members.
She claims she met Hyatt on Tinder and had a romantic/business relationship from May 17, 2018, to Aug. 30, 2018.
Looking to secure funding from Reed on June 14, Hyatt sent her a WhatsApp message.
“I have several rich friends in the Bay Area that can easily give me $30K for 30 days,” Hyatt stated. "Just about all of them will want a piece of PongNation ... I don’t want to get too many outside people involved in our business, it’s another formula for problems. So ... let’s come up with 27K to 30K so that I can show (a venture capitalist from the Bay Area) that we have our (expletive) together and so we can get his $1.2M next week.”
Reed, a 49-year-old Sacramento Valley first-grade teacher, got hooked.
During an interview with the Post last weekend, Hyatt described the business relationship as mutual, stating that securing financing was a collaborative effort.
"We got it together," Hyatt said. "We bought all the equipment together. We did everything together."
After three months of securing credit and loans for Hyatt using her name, Reed describes her current financial situation as devastating. She showed collection and delinquency notices as a result of accounts she opened for Hyatt and Pong Nation.
"After Michael, I have 26 voicemails, all from creditors for not making payments," the woman said. "I have approximately $120,000 in credit debt. I don’t have the money to make the payments and I am facing bankruptcy. I had to borrow money to pay my August house payment. I have never felt my survival is at risk. Now I’m terrified. I feel awful knowing that I was conned and now my survival is threatened."
Reed stated she was fearful that Hyatt would hurt her.
“Michael said that he knows how to make people disappear,” Reed said. “I was intimidated and afraid.”
Hyatt claimed that it was he who was afraid of Reed, stating that her father threatened to shoot him.
Elizabeth Toro, a 51-year-old paralegal from Sacramento, claimed that Hyatt stole her identity, alleging he used to it secure $65,000 in bank loans and credit cards.
Hyatt responded: For "her to allege fraud – it’s not true," Hyatt said. "It’s a jaded girlfriend that wants to bury me, that wants to destroy me, because of who I am."
Toro said that she and Hyatt met on Tinder, an online dating site, and had a six-week relationship with him from Feb. 15, 2017, to March 30, 2017.
"She agreed to be in the business, then she broke up with me and then we didn’t communicate for a long time," Hyatt said.
As with Reed, Hyatt said that he was scared for his life, claiming that Toro had access to guns and threatened him.
He said she made threats, too. "Her brother has a gun. I lived with her, and he has two guns."
Jodi Cummins claimed she met Hyatt on Bumble, an online dating site. She said she and Hyatt were in a relationship from July 28, 2017, to Nov. 24, 2017.
“Basically, he squatted in my house for two weeks,” Cummins said. “He exhibited unstable behavior.”
She filed a restraining order and had police remove him from her house.
"None of that is true," Hyatt responded. "She filed an illegal restraining order."
Cummins showed WhatsApp messages from Hyatt stating: “No one walks away from Michael Hyatt and just operates like normal, the next week. People get sick, maybe some even di.”
Cummins responded to Hyatt.
‘Next bride here in Guam’
Hyatt told the Post he’s in search of a romantic partner on Guam.
“I moved to Guam, solo, to help locals achieve their Olympic dreams, just as I did,” Hyatt said. “But, as an eligible bachelor, I hope to meet my next bride here in Guam.”
Sandra Blanco, a 46-year-old strategic planning coordinator from San Ramon, California, who has a minor child with Hyatt, said the Guam Table Tennis Federation should not be involved with Hyatt.
"The Guam Table Tennis Federation has made a big mistake by allowing Michael Hyatt into their organization,” she said. “The reason why he moved to Guam is because he has several court cases open in California for various types of fraud, and refusing to pay child support for the children he abandoned years ago.”
“He should not be allowed around children,” she said.