Friday, October 3, 2008

Another update on The High Road


Readers are doubtless familiar with my first and second posts on the situation at The High Road (THR) forum. Briefly, the tech support administrator, Mr. Derek Zeanah, has misappropriated the domain name; locked all others except himself and his cronies out of high-level access to the board; and is insisting he shares ownership of the forum. The evidence contradicting his claims is overwhelming, as shown in my earlier posts.

He now appears to have compounded his earlier shenanigans, and added insult to injury. According to Oleg Volk, the (rightful) owner of THR, and also of another forum, Armed Polite Society (APS):

At the start of this week, I asked Derek to make the database of armedpolitesociety.com available to my designates for backing it up to other servers. He dragged his feet but promised to make it available on Thursday. That didn't happen.

When I called him, he said that he was busy. It's the same claim he made to THR staff. Asked when he would make APS database available, he said: "I talked to a couple of moderators on THR and I think it should be part of the whole settlement with THR. I won't release it."

Feel free to publicize this event.

I own armedpolitesociety.com domain name, so I can move the forum. I would prefer to move it with the current content intact. My lawyer will be in contact with his.


If this is the case, then Mr. Zeanah's arrogance can only be described as breathtaking. Not content with stealing one forum, he's now trying to hold a second forum hostage, in the hope it can help him escape the consequences of his criminal actions! As one member of APS commented:

This last step of Derek's was the proverbial last straw. I have refrained from posting as I could not couch my reply in civil terms.

There is no other way to describe Derek's actions other than betrayal, and pure theft. Driven by greed and a massive inferiority complex. I hope you drag him into court and he gets thrown in the pit.

Given enough rope, he will hang himself. I see he has cornered the market on that twisted fiber substance.


Succinctly put!

I've also been trying to find out more about the financial situation at THR. I'm informed that Mr. Zeanah claims that he's borne the costs of THR for a prolonged period, and cites this as grounds for his claim for part- or co-ownership of the forum. However, as stated in earlier posts, I was under the impression that any time money was needed, it had been provided by staff and/or a public fund-raiser. No accounts were ever presented by Mr. Zeanah to support his claims: and no belated or ex post facto accounting now submitted can be accepted as true and accurate. He's had almost six years to submit such accounts, and has never done so. After his recent actions, any retrospective accounting will be immediately suspect, as potentially "cooking the books". I certainly won't accept it as valid or authentic grounds for any claim, and I doubt very much whether others will (particularly the courts).

I was of the opinion that if Mr. Zeanah abandoned his (dishonest and untrue) claim to part- or co-ownership of THR, and returned its domain name and all assets to Oleg, it might be worth allowing him to walk away from the mess he's created. No longer. In the light of these developments, I now believe that only a felony conviction and appropriate jail sentence will adequately address his having compounded his initial crime by his most recent (and equally dishonest) actions.

I've had some useful feedback from my former colleagues in the US Department of Justice. I'll be seeing the local US Attorney next week (I've already made an appointment), and I'll lay all the details before him, with a request that he forward them to whichever US Attorney has the best claim to jurisdiction in this matter (there are three candidates). I'm also aware that at least four District Attorneys have now been contacted, in various jurisdictions, and that matters are in hand to press charges under State laws as well. I'm hopeful that Mr. Zeanah will face multiple criminal charges, in multiple jurisdictions, and be convicted in all of them. (This is, of course, over and above the civil case that Oleg's preparing, which I fully expect him to win, and which should result in substantial damages being assessed against Mr. Zeanah.)

I hope and trust that all law-abiding users of the Internet will note Mr. Zeanah's name, and that of his company, Well Built Networks (as well as any other companies he may currently operate or set up in future). If they know anyone currently using the services of either, or considering using them, I hope they'll advise such current or prospective customers about the present state of affairs concerning THR and APS. It's the responsible (and neighborly) thing to do.

Strange how some people, whom one once thought to be trustworthy and honest, can turn out to be beneath contempt: and even stranger that they can't see the damage they have done, and continue to do, to themselves, their reputation and their future prospects. As the proverb reminds us, "There are none so blind as those who will not see."

Peter

21 comments:

Zed said...

And thus Derek has shown what he is made of.

Dog Excrement.

Anonymous said...

Odd...

Shortly (couple of hours) after Oleg linked to this post at APS, APS went down with a message saying "moving to a new home."

Either Derek relented or Oleg is moving APS sans the database that is (or was) being held hostage. Only two things I can think of...unless Derek is taking it down out of spite, like he temporarily did with THR.

Anonymous said...

Hijacking THR (after thinly claiming ownership) is one issue.

Hijacking APS is entirely another matter (and another set of federal charges.)

Where is the end? Is Derek going to claim an interest in my car if he puts gas in it? (and then bills me for the gas?)

libertynews said...

APS is still pointing to the same server as THR, and DNS still lists wellbuiltnetworks.net as one of its servers so I'd bet that the dick has shut it down.

Its too damn bad that people like this give It folks a black eye.

Anonymous said...

As I have said before, he could only do this to right wing law abiding citizens. Left wingers would have burned anything he had interest in long ago. Sometimes me thinks we are too damn "nice".

HokiePundit said...

I've been staying away from and warning people off from THR until the situation is resolved. It's a shame all this has happened.

lennier said...

Too busy?
Male Bovine Excrement.

mysqldump -uroot -p APSDATABASENAME >APS.dmp

Then you go have coffee, or do real work while that finishes.

gzip APS.dmp

Then you do real work while that finishes

scp APS.dmp somebody@newserver.com:somelocation/or/other

Then you do real work while THAT's done.

That's basically it.

Regolith said...

Yup, looks like Derek's hijacked APS.

APS is back up, and the thread that Oleg had posted the link to this blog post in (titled: "APS is moving") is gone. No traces. And a WHOIS query shows that the site is still being hosted in Georgia, which is where Derek is located.

Not only did he hijack the site, he did it in such a manner that made it look to users like Oleg was actually moving the site, when in fact Derek was just hijacking it.

I think criminal charges would be very appropriate in this case. I wasn't sure before, but after the hijacking of APS I'm now convinced.

"lee n. field" said...

Just changed my signature to include the url's of Preacherman's three blog posts on the THR situation.

We'll see how long it (and I) lasts.

--"lee n. field" THR member since 12/2002

Anonymous said...

"APS is back up, and the thread that Oleg had posted the link to this blog post in (titled: "APS is moving") is gone. No traces. And a WHOIS query shows that the site is still being hosted in Georgia, which is where Derek is located."

Actually if you click on the old link it is still there but cannot be seen from viewing the APS forum, here is a link if it works:
http://www.armedpolitesociety.com/index.php?topic=15012.0

Whois can take a long time to propagate through the system so it may not show up until tomorrow if it was moved.

I'm anxiously awaiting updates from Oleg to see what his take on the APS is.

lee n. field said...

It appears to be back now. Whois on the ip that nslookup reports shows some place in San Fransisco. And Oleg's thread on moving APS is visible again.

What a soap opera.

Anonymous said...

mr. zeanah's claims of having paid for thr out of his own pocket won't wash.

i've contributed 2 or 3 times for a total of about $20-$30. it's not much, but if 200-300 members did the same it adds up.

there also used to be a donation sticky on the forum giving directions on how to donate. it seems to have "disappeared."

i asked about it and the reply was "it was taken down recently" iirc.

coincidence? or maybe to hide how much was donated.

lee n. field said...

APS appears at this instant to be DOWN, with a database error of some kind.

And, a THR thread I replied to yesterday on the APS move has vanished. Poof.

Anonymous said...

I made a Paypal donation in May, 2007 to help keep THR up and running. The $100 went to "Derek Zeanah Photography". I now have cause to wonder if this donation actually made it out of Derek's pocket and to THR expenses.

Anonymous said...

"""APS appears at this instant to be DOWN, with a database error of some kind.

And, a THR thread I replied to yesterday on the APS move has vanished. Poof."""

Up/down/up/down... that is the way site migration works out. I'm amazed it went as smooth as it did.



To the Bayou Renaissance Man and everyone else, I grew tired of trying to keep track of all the different links so I threw up a website: "www.wellbuiltnetwork.com"

In the end I took "The High Road" and left out the editorials & other things.

Hope someone finds it useful.


Derek if you are reading this I want to thank you for getting me motivated to learn some html and how to put up a website. Thanks!

Karen said...

"too busy" is Derek's standard excuse when he screws people over. It's the excuse he used multiple times when we ran a business together and he didn't follow through with things he was supposed to do (like printing client orders). And it was the excuse he used when he failed to pay our studio rent and got us evicted. I was in Texas at my mother's funeral and he decided that he was "too busy" to pay the rent and would rather "spend the day with my wife". So being "busy" seems to be Derek's default excuse for anything he doesn't want to do.

Simeron Steelhammer said...

Sigh.

Wish I was wrong about stuff like this but, unfortunately, not my first roundup under these conditions.

I posted in the previous thread this is something that might (and probably would) come to pass.

Also, if ANYONE that is siding against this guy has things on his network...grab it off now if you can.

It will only domino until he is pressed by law to give in and even then, he might "nuke the databases" and claim "hardware failure."

Dale Preston said...

Sorry, Renaissance Man, I don't mean to make your blog into a forum but I have to say to the cowardly Anonymous that created WellBuiltNetwork.com and, according to him, took the high road by posting links and not editorials. Mr. Anonymous, you did not take the high road by not taking a side. You took the easy road. And perhaps the low road. Taking the high road is not always taking the middle road. Sometimes it is the hard road where one might have to get their hands dirty in defense of what is the higher morality. This issue is about right and wrong and not about compromise. Gun owners and supporters of the 2nd Amendment should know that the only thing that happens in a compromise is that no one gets what they want or what is right. I always saw too much of that on THR where people equate compromise or the middle road with the high road. They're wrong. Stand up and take a stand for what's right. THAT is the high road.

dalepres on THR, Levant on APS

Paul-Michael Bauer said...

Mr. Zeanah claims that he's borne the costs of THR for a prolonged period...I was under the impression that any time money was needed, it had been provided by staff and/or a public fund-raiser.

Was he ever compensated for his time running the two sites?

Conservatively, if he were spending 5 hours per week, at $25/hour, that would be $6500/year just in labor donated if was not compensated.

Even if he were donating much of his time or was being partially compensated for it, he may now feel he's owed something on this account. Not saying he's right, but that's probably how he looks at it.

All I'm saying is, people who never maintained or ran their own servers/site have no appreciation for the time commitment.

Oleg may "own" the site and domain, but he's never been responsible for running and maintaining it.

It does appear that Mr. Zeanah is in the wrong, but I doubt anyone (including Oleg) has spent as much time developing THR.

Having said that, if the understanding was that Mr. Zeanah was donating time, then he should be a man of his word and either not expect compensation or transfer the work to someone else.

Paul-Michael Bauer said...

P.S.

However, if/when Oleg wins his case, I don't think it's right to pursue punitive damages. We keep hearing how this is "Oleg's Site," but I always recal Mr. Zeanah being the one doing all the site maintenance and work. Does Oleg even moderate?

Maybe Mr. Zeanah is a greedy grabber, I don't know. But considering the work he's put in the past, it seems a little petty to root for damages and jail time.

Then again, that's just a 3rd party observer's opinion.

Low said...

The High Road is an excellent forum and I hope it continues. Conversely, Armed Polite Society is far from polite and is very poorly moderated. If APS is lost forever, it will merely be kharma at work.