John (Wise Old Sage) is a good and honorable man, and certainly needs no defending. But this is the internet, and so many of us know each other only by our words on these forums, I thought I'd jump in here anyway.
I've known John personally for over 2 years, we've swapped knives and leather, I've eaten at his house, we've swapped sea stories about our days in the Naval Services (yes John, the Marine Corps is a Naval Service ). I've acted as humble consultant on a few of John's folder designs, and I've suffered with him through this whole ugly affair with Reif. 99% of the time John's about as mild mannered as 6'6" ex- jarhead can be, but this one subject really lights him up, and rightly so. Sure, he can be faulted for putting all that money up front, but remember, it was only after he'd dealt with Dale personally, and came to trust him.
John will get over this no matter the outcome, but I for one would like to see Reif act like a man and make good on his legitimate debts, to John and to others he may have shorted. We've all been short at one time or another, but that's never an excuse not to try to do the right thing.
In the meantime, there are hundreds of great makers out there, no reason to waste your money on the Dale Reifs of the knifeworld.