Friday, March 7, 2014

Global Strategy Group, Director of Communications (or lack thereof)

After mentioning Jennifer Burner and Carolyn Sargent in a tweet about Ackman's planned Herbalife China conference call, Ms.Burner, Director of Communications at Global Strategy Group(one of Pershing Square's Media Relations/Crisis Management/PR firms) DM'ed me out of the blue last Friday February 28th. Most press releases that Pershing Square puts out have either Carolyn Sargent, Jennifer Burner or both listed as the contact. In fact they are both listed as the contact on the press release for the conference call. You can see from the DM's that she really wanted my phone number. She asked no less than three times what my number was and was unwilling to provide her own. Back in December when I posted my beliefs that Mariusz Adamski and Shane Dinneen were no longer at Pershing, even though she and I disagreed on the content of my post, at least Carolyn actually gave me her cell phone number so we could speak. I was very curious why Jennifer wouldn't give me a good contact number in our messages back and forth especially since she is in "communications".

Feb 28
Re: China Questions, Sure-what number can I reach you at?

The Skeptic
Feb 28
Sorry, you're saying he'll take calls?

The Skeptic
Feb 28
just saw this, would've responded sooner.

The Skeptic
Feb 28
what's your cell ph#? I'll give you a call in 10 mins if you want to talk.

Jennifer Burner
Feb 28
Busy right now. I can call you later on if you're free. What's the best # to reach you?

The Skeptic

Feb 28
sorry but, not comfortable giving out my cell. If you have concerns about giving me your# confirm with Carolyn that I gave her's to no one.

Jennifer Burner
Feb 28
Do you have a different number other than a cell?

The Skeptic
Feb 28
If you have any real. Desire to speak with me other beyond counter surveillance you'll give me a # . I swear I will not distribute.

Then she went dark. Even though I suspected she simply wanted my phone number for purposes other than speaking to me, I couldn't completely discount the possibility that she actually wanted to chat about Ackman's planned conference call. So, I called her office. I've only gotten voicemail and I'm a bit disappointed that she won't take my calls, particularly since she seemed to want to talk quite badly to me in her messages. I even called again today and got sent straight to voicemail after being transferred to her line by the receptionist.

Oddly enough, that same day around 4pm on Feb 28th, I received a very strange email. It was a domain activation email from GoDaddy for

The problem is I didn't register that domain. In fact, I haven't registered any domains as The Skeptic. I only have the blogspot venue. A simple WHOIS search returns the following:


  The Skeptic
  200 Madison Avenue
  New York, NY 10016
  United States

  Domain Name:

   Created on.............: 2014-02-28 15:43:44
   Expires on.............: 2015-02-28 15:55:42
   Record last updated on..: 2014-02-28 15:43:44

   Whois Server:
  Creation Date: 28-FEB-2014
   Updated Date: 04-MAR-2014
Expiration Date: 28-FEB-2015

It was then brought to my attention that somebody was sending around a Herbalife distributor survey yesterday. The signature on the survey was Direct Media Survey

If you also search for all domains registered to the same contact number (+1.9177082367) in addition to, another site also pops up. Should you really be surprised that the second site is is yet another falsely registered site and is the source of this Herbalife distributor survey. And wouldn't you know, when you WHOIS search this second site it shares the same basic registration information as Both websites used the same fake phone number +1.9177082367 as the registrant contact number and the same address: 200 Madison Avenue in New York. The primary difference between the two is that was created a few days after 

What is pretty hysterical about the whole thing is that whoever is trying to spoof me used my email address to activate registration for, which has since been suspended. Their ignorant lust apparently made them forget that the email would come to me and would require my activation. Reasonably enough, I would never activate a domain that I did not register, so I didn't activate it. I am not certain who registered it, but it was not me. At least they didn't make the same mistake twice.

Intriguingly, is hosted and registered via GoDaddy and the domain went live without me ever having received an email. What's interesting is that when you search for both using the phone number both sites come up, but when you search by using the email address originally used to create email address as the search term, it creates a different result in which only comes up. That indicates the original registrant of registered the domain under a different email address, (so they could activate it) and then retrospectively changed the contact information for the domain. Effectively, they used a traceable email address, which they verified with GoDaddy to register and activate the domain and then went back and updated the domain name contact information in an effort to cover their tracks and point their stinky thumb in my direction.

Couple funny things about the survey is that it reportedly got sent around to Wall Street-types and not Herbalife distributors. Although my modest sense of self importance makes it hard to believe, I suspect that Pershing Square, Global Strategy Group and Rubenstein view me as some sort of a threat and perhaps they concocted the domain registrations and the survey in an effort to compromise me in some manner. Either that or some short investor spun up the whole thing. I can only assume that whoever is responsible falsely registered the two knowing full well they were falsely using my information to register and that it would perturb me and force me to respond in some way. Whoever did it must be extremely naive though. In addition to being very easy to debunk and deactivate those domains there are some interesting legal considerations.

The Fraudulent Online Identity Sanctions Act (a.k.a. FOISA, H.R 3754)  created some pretty serious penalties for those who submit materially false contact information in connection with a domain name used to commit a crime or engage in online infringement. In addition to shifting relief to punitive from injunctive in non criminal cases, if one were shown to materially submit false contact information in connection with enacting a felony, it automatically adds seven years on top of the sentence received. No negotiation, no pleading, just seven more notches on the bedpost of your federal penitentiary bunkmate. That's serious time for any midtown softy convicted of, oh I don't know, securities manipulation maybe?  

I guess that after yesterday's press conference in honor of NCPW2014, I shouldn't be surprised about the false attribution. NY AG Schneiderman revealed the top ten complaints received for the state of New York, and number one on the list? Internet (privacy issues; spyware; consumer frauds) with 4,753 complaints.

And for the record, I emailed both Jennifer Burner and Carolyn Sargent asking if  
"any member of Global Strategy Group or Rubenstein, their affiliates, assigns, agents or clients participate in any way in falsely registering domains under my contact information?" 
Despite their prior interest in talking to me, I have not heard back from either Global Strategy or Rubenstein.

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