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Monday, July 2, 2012

Charles Carreon Gets Schooled by IndieGoGo and EFF

“Smart people stop while they’re ahead. Really smart people stop while they’re behind.” – MawMaw Bransom

When my friends and family see me posting about this Charles Carreon debacle they have generally had two questions.

“Someone can really sue you for writing a blog post?”

Immediately followed by…

“Doesn’t that scare you?”

The answer to the first question is, of course, yes.  People can sue each other for anything.  That doesn’t mean they’ll win, but it does mean that the answer to the second question is yes, as well. 

Of course that scares me.

It should scare you too.

I have been struggling to come up with a suitable anecdote to which to liken this mockery of our legal system, in terms of the dangers of awarding tremendous power to someone and then having them abuse that power along with our tax dollars.  It’s difficult to pinpoint one that captures the magic of the insanity, without overstating the lack of integrity signified.

Penn State v. All the decency in the world - Too heavy handed
Rakofsky v. Internet  - Eh….but no. Too obvious.
Pearson v. Chung – Points for being known as the “pants lawsuit”, but too Austin Powers in $$$
The city of Versailles, KY – Exaaaaaaactly.

It is not important to the story, but you should know that Versailles is pronounced “Ver” + “Sales” around here.  You should know it, because if we were ever to meet in person, and you were to pronounce it like the city in France, I would have to correct you, and then you would give me a look, and then I would have to hang my head in shame.

Also, you should know that there’s a castle in Versailles, KY.

Photo by unfrenziedspace.

Again, it’s not important to the story; it’s just weird.

But I digress.

When I was in college, I interned at a company in Versailles, KY.  Having grown up in Lexington, KY, which is a mid-sized city, I was not acquainted with how it “works” in small towns.  My first taste of the small town legal system was when I had to go to court to pay a speeding ticket for going 35 in a 25. I walked down to the court house at lunch one day (yes, naturally the courthouse was within walking distance).  I was directed to the basement where I was confronted with an entire wall of perhaps 10 windows, each bearing a sign over it for the various things for which one might find herself in the courthouse: taxes, license renewal, traffic tickets, etc.

There was but one woman sitting behind one of the windows labeled “Taxes”.

I approached the harassed looking woman who asked aggressively, “May I help you?”

I politely stated that I was there to pay a speeding ticket.

“Honey, this is the tax window. You need to go down to Window 7 for speeding tickets,” she said, completely irritated by my obvious inability to read basic English on the sign above her head.

“Oh, sorry,” I said, and then walked the ten or so feet down to the seventh window.

The woman then got up from her stool, walked down to the seventh window, sat down, and looking me straight in the face asked, “May I help you?”


Another time during my tenure in Versailles, I was working on a Saturday when my parked Camry was struck by a man in a van who then fled the scene.  I was startled by a woman banging on the office door, who then regretfully informed me that she had witnessed the incident, but thankfully had gotten the guy’s license plate number.  We called the police who didn’t even have to look up the perp’s information.

“Oh, yeah, that’s Jimmy.  Don’t surprise me none.”

It seemed like at least this would be cut and dry.  We had an eye witness who got the man’s license number, his van had left paint on my vehicle, and the police officer was already aware of his record of traffic incidents without even the aid of a computer.

So imagine my surprise when the following Monday, police blocked off the street my office was on, so that they and Jimmy could recreate the scene of the crime with traffic cones, at Jimmy’s request.

I share these anecdotes, because people following this story online and personally in my own life have expressed surprise and outrage that the actions of Charles Carreon would be tolerated even this far by our legal system.

When thinking of this case, you have to accept that the brain of a Carreon is Versailles, KY.  Otherwise, you will not even begin to understand the many layers of disorganized thinking and word salad, lurking below the iceberg of his legal practice and home life.  With that in mind, let’s look at what has happened over the weekend.

It’s been a busy weekend for those caught up in the swirling vortex of butthurt, known as Carreon versus Inman.  If you are new to the case, you can catch up over at Popehat for the legal commentary, here and here and here for my lulz, and the Nader Library for the truth about how this is really just a campaign on the behalf of the Illuminati to allow Matthew Inman to commit murder.

In addition to filing a lawsuit against Inman, IndieGoGo, the National Wildlife Federation, the American Cancer Society and Does 1-Infinity, Carreon filed for a temporary restraining order (TRO) to prevent the IndieGoGo funds from ever making it to Matthew Inman.  While packaged as an attempt to ensure that the funds make it to the intended charities, the restraining order request is really just Charles Carreon trying to thwart Matthew Inman from getting the money and taking a picture of himself with it, as he had originally promised to do.

Those of us who have been following this case closely, and enduring the wrath of the Carreon family in the process, have been on pins and needles waiting for the various defendants to respond.  This weekend we FINALLY saw the responses from both IndieGoGo and Inman’s attorneys….

And they were epic.

Essentially, the defendants outline in the most stunning symphony of lawyerly snark this blogger has ever read what everyone in the world except Charles Carreon knew, including, but not limited to:

1.    Charles Carreon’s timeline in filing for the restraining order is glaring proof that he did so, not out of concern for the tax issues surrounding the donations or out of concern that Matthew Inman might use the money for his own selfish ends, but so that he could try and silence a critic through brute force and achieve a flaccid participation medal in the Internet’s most ridiculous lawsuit to date.
2.    Neither Inman nor IndieGoGo constitute commercial fundraisers and are therefore not required to register under the law that Carreon cites.
3.    The fact that Charles Carreon only donated $10, but was willing to spend $350 filing for the TRO is further proof of his dubious motives in filing.
4.    All of the information that Carreon points to as misleading is fully outlined on IndieGoGo’s website and FAQs, which are easily accessible from any page on their website.
5.    Charles Carreon was maliciously and purposefully trying to manufacture an emergency, in an effort to get a ruling in his favor.

The last is probably the most nefarious of the lengths Carreon was willing to go to try and stall the charities receiving their money.  IndieGoGo summarizes Chuck’s shenanigans in their response:

“Carreon’s application is gamesmanship. When Carreon filed his original complaint on June 15, he knew that funds would be disbursed within five business days of the close of the fundraising campaign, which was set for June 25. Indeed, on June 26, in conversation with IndieGoGo’s counsel, he admitted that he was aware that the funds could be disbursed at any time between the time of that conversation and Monday July 2. (Tangri Decl., ¶ 4.) Yet Carreon waited nearly two weeks after filing his complaint to present the court with his TRO request at the eleventh hour. Had there been any threat of real harm, Carreon would have made this application with more than hours to spare.”

According to law graduate Adam Steinbaugh a hearing on the TRO will likely happen this week, and we will have the first judgment on a Charles Carreon motion in this case on the record.  I’m not a lawyer, but I would say the judgment will likely set the tone for how his lawsuit against the defendants will be ruled upon, as well.  In the meantime, it would appear that at least one other person has had enough of Charles Carreon’s thuggish “gamesmanship.”  More on that to come.

Charles Carreon is an asshat.  As I previously stated he is a leader among asshats.  He is also human, and sometimes we can get so swept up in our own over-developed sense of justice that we fail to see the larger picture, and this is compounded by how easy it is to file legal paperwork in this country.

When I was working in Versailles, I did what any computer information systems major with a pirated copy of Adobe Suite would do.  I started hocking my graphic design services to any bum that sauntered through the computer repair shop door that was adjacent to my office building.  Logos, business cards, and tri-fold brochures were streaming out of that office for bargain barrel prices.

Then one day a local roofing company wrote me a bad check for $50.

My boss told me all I had to do was take the check down to the Sheriff at the courthouse, and the sheriff would go try to collect my money.

And then it was on like Donkey Kong.

Every week for close to a year, I would use a lunch break to go down to the Sheriff’s office and check on the status of my $50.  Some week’s he would have picked up a scent and I would get excited, thinking I was going to get my money.  Other week’s he lamented that the dirty varmint had slipped through his fingers again.  Blinded by the drama of my very own ongoing episode of Law & Order, I failed to see the obvious.

My time was worth money.

And with every trip to the courthouse, I was going deeper in the red.

Charles.  Dear heart.  You are chasing $50 that you were never owed, with the help of a Sheriff that is clinically insane.   The world, as you know it, is not what it seems. 

The time has come to stop while you’re behind.

Remember, you have until Friday to donate to LLB’s Delicious Oatmeal that Might Have Been.  At the time of this writing, we are just shy of $2,000.  I cannot imagine the number of hours that EFF had to put into responding to Carreon’s suit and TRO motion, nor can I imagine the amount of beer necessary to drink afterwards.  Half the money from the campaign will go towards defraying EFF’s cost to defend Inman, IndieGoGo, and the two charities that have been named in the suit.  The other half will go to Americans for the Arts, so that hopefully we can secure a better ratio of Matthew Inmans to Charles Carreons for the future.


Anonymous said...

One of my best friends is from "Ver-sales" Missouri. They do it here too.

On topic, keep up the good work.

Ann Bransom said...

OMG, @Anonymous. That makes me feel so much better. I thought KY was the only state to just arbitrarily change pronunciation of well established words. ;)

Chris R. said...

It's like Houston Texas (yew-stun) and Houston St NYC (How-stun) I guess. Ann you really should be a columnist, I'd subscribe to whatever paper you wrote for.

swiggett said...

Even though I may use French pronunciation any time it comes up in regular life, Versailles, KY is always "Ver-sales."

And the castle is always important, regardless of topic.

Captain Obvious said...

Another great write up. Good job on the charity drive. Amazing how much the Internet hates bullies.

Anonymous said...

(a different anonymous)

My family has a cabin in rural Alabama. It got burgled and the conversation between the cops had another oh-yeah-that's-Jimmy character.

Cop 1: This seems like something [so-and-so] would do.
Cop 2: Isn't he in jail?
Cop 1: I dunno, I'll call and check. [calls]
Cop 2: So?
Cop 1: Yup, he got out yesterday.

They went to his mothers house to find out where he was; they picked him up and he had the stolen goods that he hadn't pawned yet on his person. He'd broken into three or for other places too.

It was confirmed to be for meth money, of course, which I'm sure makes sense if you lived in small-town KY.

Another interesting law enforcement situation came up in the neighbouring town, where an Arctic Cat ATV had just been reported stolen. My father had just bought a used one from a local so the cops pulled him over to check it out when they saw him hauling it home in a trailer he'd borrowed.

So they went through a whole rigamarole of the owner coming by and confirming it wasn't the stolen ATV. But then it turned out all that hassle could have been avoided; when the officer asked where my father had purchased the ATV and my father said "from so-and-so", the cop excitedly responded "oh I know so-and-so! He's a great guy!" So had my (big city) father mentioned it earlier it might've just been a matter of a quick cell phone call to the seller.

Finally, the real estate agent had neglected to mention it (granted, it doesn't make much practical difference), but the cabin we bought had gone a few years unoccupied and before then had been used as a grow house -- the owner/operator, in his 70s or so, actually died of a heart attack on site when the helicopter came and he realized he was being raided. Poor guy.

So of course, with that dark past plus a few years of delinquency attached to the house, when we showed up the "neighbours" (it's on 40 acres of wooded land so they're not exactly a few steps away) were all talking amongst themselves, we found out, trying to decide who we were and what we wanted -- especially because we only came by every two or three weeks, which turns out to be similar to the patterns of the previous owner, who was actually part of an Ohio trafficking ring and came down periodically to tend and harvest the plants.

Jonnelle said...

On the subject of "Ver-sales":

In Tennessee, there are 2 distinct pronunciations of Lafayette.

There is:
if one is referring to Louisiana, the French General "Lah-fee-yet" as one would typically think of with word with a French accent.

Then there is:
if one is referring to the town in Tennessee or that street in downtown Nashville: "Luuh-fay-it"

And being a Nashville native, I use these 2 distinct pronunciations with great ease and somewhat misguided sense of amusement.

Anonymous said...

Posting late, but you know how it is:

Detroit (d' TROIT) has some interesting street pronunciation:

Schoenherr? "Shayner."
Livernois? "Liver-noise."
Freud? "Frood."

I could go into some interesting town names as well. Believe me, Kentucky isn't alone in its WTF-ery.

Ann Bransom said...

"Frood" made me LOL!

Mike Kayser said...

Casa Grande, AZ is another differing pronunciation (Cas-a Grand vs. typical Spanish)

Norfolk is another popular town name (Norfork for those not in the know)

One city I've found to have an interesting pronunciation though is Edinburgh (Ed-in-ber-uh).

On your actual topic, the only dealings with the law I've had (other than getting a driver's license) were a pair of accidents. I'd say they were both my fault, but in the first one the other guy didn't have a license so he got a ticket for it, lol. The other was nice fresh ice on a dark road, and I only broke the axel a little, really.

John Bitzer said...

Got a North Ver-Sayles newr Pittsburgh too, as well as a La Faye ette county, and the town of Dubios (do boys) oddly, there is not a penn state campus there, though they have one in beaver...