Mihos campaign tries to shut blog down

A couple of days ago, Hub Politics noticed that www.christymihos.net, which at the time was registered to Christy's of Cape Cod, was mirroring Christy Mihos's campaign site. Violation of state campaign finance laws, which require notification of "in kind" contributions, Hub Politics, a pro-Kerry Healey site, said.

Libel, the Mihos campaign responds. According to Hub Politics, the campaign has asked the blog's Web host to do something about this egregious violation of the host's acceptable use policies. The Web host responded by asking Hub Politics to delete the post in question.

Note: The domain no longer mirrors the campaign site; the Google cache from April 23 shows only a link to the campaign site. And the whois record has been modified to delete any reference to Christy's Market.

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    I’m writing to your blog

    By on

    I’m writing to your blog hoping to remove any doubt about what happened in regards to the ownership of the christymihos.net website. The reason I am doing this is it has personally effected me and my husband, Kenneth Camille. It also greatly impacts, and in a very negative way, Christy Mihos, a man my husband and I both respect, admire and work for.

    I am going to give you the facts, and my intentions are to clarify the situation so that political discussion can turn back to debating Christy’s political views and/or his political ideas to get Massachusetts back on track, and not hyper-speculation and accusations of a campaign violation that never happened. But I will be venting a bit first, as there are some things that have to be said prior to explaining what happened, in order to help every blogger out there know the differences in speculation and false accusation, along with some other internet facts and terminology.

    What’s important for you ‘web savvy’ folks of hub politics to remember, always, is that out here in cyberspace things are sometimes not what they appear to be or mean in text. I also need to express to hubpolitics that although they are semi-web-savvy, they stated (and continue to state) that christymihos.net was a mirror site when it was actually what is called a url-forwarding (this can be verified through dotster.) The semi-web-savvy hub-politics also may not be aware that you can set up a company name on domain registration using just about any name you want, even using ‘Jerry Springer Audience Enterprises’, which is pretty much what reading some of the blogs and comments about this felt equivalent to for those that knew the facts and knew of the human element involved within what happened. Funny and entertaining at times, but not so funny if you knew the facts and considered the potential that some would believe the false information and make an important decision in regards to voting based upon that false information.

    Not to tease you hub politics guys, I’ve had your blog on favorites for quite a while and enjoy the crunchy, cutting-edge way you tackle every ‘scandal’ you can find, but I did get a giggle out of hearing you call yourselves web savvy and then not understand the difference between a mirrored website and a url forwarding. I think you made quite a few internet geeks laugh at that unintentional comedy element. Laughing with you, not at you, as we all were ‘noobs’ at one time or another. ;)

    I don’t agree with the majority of what is written on hub politics, but it is a great read at times, which is why it has been bookmarked for a while. I do give hub politics kudos for knowing how to word things in such a way that make it enjoyable to read. Everything taken with a grain of salt, so to speak, as cynical and biased rantings can be interesting to read, even more so when they are well written.

    Even more so if they are fact, but in this case they were not fact. Which of course makes me wonder… how much of what I have read on hub politics was actually accurate? Were the facts twisted or not thoroughly investigated and/or disregarded as they were in the case of my husband, Kenneth Camille? As they were in regards in Christy Mihos and a ‘possible campaign violation’?

    Never thought I’d see my family’s home addy and phone number on hub politics, wish you’d called up to clarify the situation before you posted our information which then ended up all over the place with false accusations towards my husband and Christy Mihos. A phonecall would have resulted in getting the facts before putting to text extremely false information and accusations.

    The human element within this form of internet interaction sometimes gets lost in the mix. I completely understand how and why it could be assumed that Christy’s of Cape Cod LLC owned the website in question/debate. It would, to the eye and mind, appear that way. Using logic alone, I can see how one would come to those conclusions. And although this doesn’t happen often online or even offline, the human organ needed most to understand the facts of what happened isn’t just the eyes or the mind. It’s the heart.

    The heart of the internet is found behind each computer monitor. In this case, it’s the heart of my husband, who is such a good man and who did some good deeds that have been turned into this slanderous and inaccurate small mess.

    The truth is vital. The heart of things plays a role in truth sometimes and is vital out here, even though we often forget. It’s the heart of Christy Mihos, who is such a good man and who did nothing wrong, but found himself accused of some very serious allegations. It’s the heart of every political candidate running for office in Massachusetts this year, candidates I’m certain would not feel comfortable with votes garnered through false information and false accusations towards their political opponents. There’s not a politician out there who has not been a victim of either media or internet slandering and false information at one point or another. My heart goes out to each of them. We know now how that feels, as we were dragged into this one personally.

    I think it’s safe to say that people who read political blogs are registered voters who intend to vote at elections. I also think it’s safe to say that people who read political blogs are hoping to obtain information, valid information, with which they make their decision on what candidate to vote for. I think it’s important that watch-dogging happens, and I applaud hubpolitics for doing what they thought was right, in revealing a suspected violation. The wording used, however, was presented as fact in some instances, when it was not fact at all. Speculation and investigating is great and needed in politics, but stating something as fact that has not been thoroughly investigated and proven fact is in nobody’s best interest. Not hub politic’s best interest, not in the voters’ best interest either.

    So, back to the heart of this matter. My husband has worked for Christy’s of Cape Cod for over a dozen years. He started as a part timer, moved up to assistant manager and then manager. He at one point was managing three stores, and was looking for a way to make the application process easier for workers, so he purchased with his own money (which can be verified through our credit card and dotster) a domain name to set up a website for Christy’s of Cape Cod. Using his own time and inclination, he put together a website for the company he worked for, respected and believed in. He’d let people at the office know he did this, but did not want compensation for it nor did he request any help (financial or otherwise) for it. It was just something he did in order to make things run smoother for himself and the company. That’s the kind of man my husband is, and is a testament to the kind of people Christy Mihos is able to have work for him. People who respect Mr. Mihos as sincerely as Mr. Mihos respects them. At the time of setting up the dotster account, my husband put in the section of ‘company’ Christy’s of Cape Cod LLC, because that was the company he worked for and was designing a website for. With his own money, on his own time, with no prompting from anybody to do it or any compensation, strictly through and of his own personal work ethics and desire to make things as easy as possible for employees, the company, and himself as a manager. It was not done maliciously nor with fraudulent intent.

    Fast forward a few years to autumn of last year, 2005. When discussions about Mr. Mihos possibly running for governor hit the media, my husband and I, as employees but more so as individuals who respect Mr. Mihos, were concerned that squatters would snatch up websites making it a bit more expensive to obtain a domain that was easy to remember for Christy’s campaign website. So, without asking anybody’s permission and again using our own money, my husband bought the christymihos.net website. We then emailed Mr. Mihos and let him know what we’d done and why we’d done it, and let Christy know that should he want the website, it was his for the taking, a gift to him for all the years of employment, an expression of gratitude for running a company that treated employees as respectfully and kindly as Mr. Mihos treats his employees.

    The only mistake, if it can even be called that, was a human error, and it was not a mistake made by Christy Mihos. When my husband went to purchase the christymihos.net website, he used his already established dotster account, which, as you know, has the company name listed as the owner but it is not in fact the owner, only the company my husband had put together a website for. This is what has led to the confusion, and my husband and I apologize for the unintentional misrepresentation of the website’s ownership, as well as apologize to hub politics for creating a set of circumstances that would lead them to believe a violation had taken place, and we also extend our sincere and heartfelt apologies to Christy Mihos and his campaign staff, as this negative press and whatever time, energy and resources utilized by his staff to deal with it would obviously have been better spent on the positive campaigning and not spent on false allegations of such a severe nature as a campaign violation.

    I think the Mihos campaign people had to deal with the two statements that, now you know, were outright lies, in the manner that they did. I’m also against censorship and/or strong-arming a blogger into silence, but in this matter the wording of the two statements asked to be removed were indeed outright lies. It’s one thing to speculate, and another thing to state something ‘is what it appears to be’ when appearances can be deceiving, especially out here in cyberspace. Remember the human element… it’s where real web-savvy comes from.

    In closing, I hope each voter will continue to read blogs and media speculation with the wisdom garnered through this particular incident and self-propelled personal investigating that each of us as individuals must do in order to make a logical choice in political candidate. I also hope that political platforms themselves get more debate and discussion going, as it is the political platforms that should matter to each of us most, that matter to how Massachusetts is going to continue to decline in population and rise in cost to each citizen. How we vote this year is literally going to make or continue to break this state… the breaking down of Massachusetts is fact, not a speculation, as can be witnessed in every area of political, social and individual rights and financial costs.

    I hope in no way does this one incident lead to anything but better (and more thorough) watch dogging and investigating of political candidates by bloggers and the media itself. I personally do not wish to see any blogger get the plug pulled on them, but I also do not think stating patently false information that can be proven false (and this can) is a fair way to go about things. It certainly isn’t legal, either. Note that all the campaign staff requested was the removal of the 2 false statements. They did not ask the speculation be removed. And, ironically enough, in requesting hub politics remove the false statements, the Christy’s campaign was in effect protecting hub politics from a lawsuit that the Christy’s Mihos people could easily win, because the statements were lies/slander, as clarified by this personal letter to anyone reading these blogs. If this is not enough to prove the facts, I will give to hub politics the necessary documentation of dotster account information, credit card and other paperwork proving that everything I have stated is fact. I give hub politics permission to call our house to arrange a meeting to obtain that information, if further proof is desired. You have our phone number.

    In case anybody was wondering, I was not asked by anybody to write this. In fact, I think I’m going to get an earful from my husband for doing this, and maybe others, but I am doing this of my own accord, because I could no longer sit by and read what I had read and not stand up and speak out the facts about my husband whom I love and could not continue to watch his kind deeds being used in such a dark way, as well as to stand up for Christy Mihos, a man I respect and support politically. I’d like the political exchanges to return to fact-based debates and discussion of political platforms and no further time wasted upon the false allegations.

    Thanks for your time, I also apologize for the long-winded way I have of writing, it’s just my way.

    Respectfully,
    Mrs. Kenneth Camille

    This is great, and all...but

    By on

    This is great, and all...but it doesn't excuse the threats made towards the Blog in question. If we cannot question the actions of our elected officials, what CAN we do? Simply posting a heartfelt response and explanation, rather than responding with empty threats, would have generated far more goodwill, and dare I say, respect.

    The threat came from the

    By on

    The threat came from the agreement hub politics personally has with their host/server, not from the Christy Mihos campaign staff. The only thing the Christy Mihos campaign staff did was to request the 2 false statements be removed. There was no request for silencing of the accusations, a taking down of the blog, only that the 2 statements made that were stated as fact when they were not be removed.

    You should question everything in politics, and as I said, I think watch-dogging and investigating things is an important aspect that each voter must take upon themselves inidivudually, as well as collectively out here on the internet. But, bloggers must word things in such a way they aren't setting themselves up for legal action, and that is what hub politics did with the 2 statements.

    Were the Christy Mihos campaign staff mean-spirited, they would have just sued and won. The 2 statements were lies and slander. Instead, they gave Hub Politics a chance to protect their own blog as well as their reputation as honest bloggers by removing the false statements. The accusations, even though they are false, were not asked to be removed, that is the difference.

    Accusations are ok. Speculation is ok.

    Stating something as fact that can be proven not to be true is slander.

    I think even my husband and I could have taken personal legal action against the blog. Not that we would have, but we possibly could have.

    The Mihos Campaign staff did the right thing, and it was a reasonable request and actually was in hubpolitic's best interest more than anybody else's.

    "Were the Christy Mihos

    "Were the Christy Mihos campaign staff mean-spirited, they would have just sued and won"

    Now come on Mrs. Camille, that's ridiculous. The WHOIS record is public information and it is publishable (so there is no invasion of privacy), and Margolis was well within his rights to RAISE THE QUESTION (which is all he did) as to what it represented.

    Your explanation is eloquent and lovely, and I accept it 100% -- but rather than contact the ISP and threaten suit, all your husband and Christy had to do was contact the Margolises and demand that they print a retraction (even your letter verbatim) in their blog -- which I strongly suspect they'd have been willing to do.

    While I understand that you and your husband might feel this tempest in a teapot is a big deal, truly, it was not until the threat was made to the ISP and the (inadvisable) use of the word "libel" was tossed around.

    An unreported in-kind contribution is hardly a hangin' offense, especially when (as usual) it is made innocently or ignorantly. And as innocent as your explanation is (and it is), technically, it does constitute an (unwitting) in-kind contribution to the Mihos campaign -- which I assume will now be reported.

    The lawsuit would not be

    The lawsuit would not be about invasion of privacy, it would be about the two comments that were false, which were removed.

    Raising questions is absolutely in everybody's right. Making false claims in statements that can be proven false, even that is your right if you choose to take the legal risks associated with doing something like that. It's in the wording.

    I'm not as sure as you are that Hub Politics would have printed my letter verbatim in their blog, considering they have had it since this morning and still have not posted it in the comments section as of earlier this afternoon.

    I agree with you that this isn't a big deal, I said it was a small mess in the midst of my obnoxiously gigantic post. I thought the facts would clear things up, but then you suggest that it technically is an in-kind contribution and should be reported when the facts I explained to you clearly point out why it is not.

    Also, from strictly a technical stance, it's value/worth is under $20.00 per year (which is why we've used dotster, they are inexpensive), and correct me if I'm wrong but the reporting of in-kind contributions for the state of Massachusetts is $25.00 or more?

    Also, the manner in which is was offered was as our thanks for employment over the years, not as a political contribution. Without knowing Christy's political views back then or what party he would run under, I wasn't certain I was going to even vote for him, so why would we make a political contribution at that time?

    The website was wrongly listed as being owned by Christy's of Cape Cod, when it was not. It was not authorized by Christy or his company, this was just something my husband did of his own accord, with his own money, on his own time. Mr. Mihos was not told nor was he aware that the dotster domain used at that time was put in the company's name, which is why the company name has been removed from the doster domain registration area. It never should have been on it, as the company itself had nothing to do with any of it. My husband was the 'noob' back then. He didn't think he was doing anything wrong, and his intent wasn't for fraud or with malice, it was only to help out employees, the company and himself as a manager.

    That this has been turned into something like this is just, well, incredibly sad to me. As a coworker said to me "No good deed goes unpunished."

    The domain in question is not and never was owned by Christy or Christy's company. It still isn't. It is owned by my husband. A human error of misrepresentation of who the domain was owned, paid for and operated by.

    Aren't you a lawyer? I may be mistaken, but aren't you the one who told the Hub Politics guys you'd take their case pro bono if it got to that? You should know all of this. I get the impression your viewpoints towards another candidate may be shading your replies. I have been blunt and fair in my discourse with you bloggers, and I hope you won't play games with me in order to further misinterpret and misinform voters who read these blogs.

    Mrs. Camille, you really

    Mrs. Camille, you really need to take a deep breath and chill. As I said before, I accept your explanation 100%, and I don't think any reasonable person would question your husband's honesty or integrity.

    I have no dog in this race, although I must tell you that my impression of Christy is not enhanced by the initial event --

    Mrs. Camille, you may find it peculiar, but I am a lawyer who abhors instances where citizens recklessly hurl threats of litigation where they don't belong. In our increasingly tense daily living, we'd all be quite a bit better off if, when faced with a relatively insignificant instance of unpleasantness, we'd simply say "please stop that" or "I think you owe me an apology" instead of "I'm going to sue you!!!"

    When you say that the lawsuit would be about the two false statements, you reveal something interesting. The false statements weren't directed at you or your husband -- they were directed at the Mihos campaign. I think the suggestion that those statements were libelous toward Christy is absurd -- but they certainly weren't libelous toward your husband (or you). Are you speaking for Christy or your husband?

    My prediction was that Hub Politics may have been willing to post (not in comments, in a post) your explanation, if you had offered the information to them before the campaign accused them of libel to their ISP, threatening them with loss of service. I don't know them well, but I understand that they are reasonable and mature gentlemen. You expect them to cooperate with you now? Why, apologies go two ways.

    I suggest you read the article I linked to in the following comment. Useful indeed.

    In the meantime, I'd be willing to post your explanation verbatim at my own site -- simply to demonstrate to you that good will solves more problems than threats of litigation. But then, you'd have to understand that my site is not designed to drive blog traffic, it's just sort of like...the deck in my back yard.

    I'm not sure what you are

    I'm not sure what you are implying I revealed, as my comments about the lawsuit were in reponse to your post which quoted me saying "Were the Christy Mihos campaign staff mean-spirited, they would have just sued and won". So the comments I made were in reference to that, not about my husband.

    I agree with you, tremendously, the American justice system should not be used to solve all disputes. However, that is not what happened here. The Mihos campaign requested, not of the court system, but of the host for Hub Politic's blog, that two false statements be removed. And they were removed. The speculation remained, free speech was still victorious. Case closed, with no lawsuit or court involvement. Just like you (and I) would prefer it to be. Both Hub Politics and the Mihos campaign staff acted rationally and fairly without a court room. It would be great if more disputes like this ended as rationally, quickly and peacefully as this one did.

    No need to publish my comments anywhere else, as this debate has been cleared up and the facts are out here for each voter to make their own determinations upon. My intent, as I stated from the start, was to put the facts out there and move past this and get back to the political discussion that each of us really needs to hear and read about and debate, and that is each candidate's platform, ideas and stance on the numerous issues we, as Massachusetts voters, must consider when electing our next governor.

    Thanks for the interesting exchange of personal thoughts and reflections on this incident. It's conversations like this that present civil discussion from both sides that help each voter out there obtain information that helps them to make up their own minds about things.