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Old 10-24-2008, 07:02 PM
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Streetbeasts attacks our free speech with a frivolous lawsuit against me

I wanted to let everyone know that Streetbeasts has filed a frivolous lawsuit against me over the Streetbeasts wiki article that reveals their connection to Classic Motor Carriages, who pleaded guilty to Federal wire fraud charges for defrauding people over kit car purchases. I'm being sued for defamation, and they're pushing for a takedown on parts of the wiki article.

For those of you who may have received "unusual" PMs about this from "new" members, thanks for remaining cool until the lawyers got the first step hammered out. Obviously, I'm limited about the details of this case that I can discuss publicly.

This lawsuit, filed in Florida, is what's known as a SLAPP suit -- a "Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation". SLAPP suits are lawsuits that typically lack any legal merit, but are used to silence people from speaking out, by burdening them with the cost of defending themselves against a frivolous suit.

The lawsuit alleges that I committed defamation against Streetbeasts, for various statements allegedly made in the wiki article about Streetbeasts, including:


--Saying that Streetbeasts are reputed to have a poor resale value when compared to other kit cars, and to other fiberglass-bodied street rods.

--Saying that most aftermarket or original parts will not interchange with Streetbeasts vehicles.

--Saying that "George G. Levin" pleaded guilty to wire fraud, instead of saying that "GGL d/b/a Classic Motor Carriages", owned by George G. Levin, pleaded guilty to wire fraud.

--Saying that Streetbeasts sales tactics are notoriously aggressive.

--Saying that Streetbeasts people impersonated Curt Scott, the last person to blow the whistle on Streetbeasts, in this post.

--Saying that Streetbeasts uses deception in its sales efforts by telling people that a special offer arose as a result of a customer becoming sick, or by using a "Factory Operations Pitch". (Interestingly, I didn't even make this statement, and it's being attributed to me. It's right out of a Streetbeast Insider post, and it's been "added" to the wiki article before "someone" has been copy-pasting it to other websites.)

--Saying that Streetbeasts uses fear tactics to suppress free speech.


Yes, I know that many of these were comments that other people made, both here and on other forums. And yes, I also know that it's ridiculous to sue me for things that Streetbeast people said themselves, and it's preposterous for Streetbeasts to call foul after all of the shenanigans they pulled in the Streetbeasts forum discussion. I've also noticed that a "mystery" person has been "adding" information to the wiki article, and spreading it around to other websites, while posing as me, for example, in this AboutUs.org wiki article. To be perfectly straightforward, it looks like I'm being framed.

I've covered the costs of my immediate defense, but Streetbeasts hopes that I can't afford to endlessly defend myself against a frivolous lawsuit. If Streetbeasts wins the lawsuit, we could have limitations on what we can say about them, and we don't know who they will pursue next. More importantly, people will be afraid to exercise their free speech, because "what happened to the Hotrodders.com admin could happen to them too". This is what's called a "chilling effect".

Streetbeasts is trying to bully us out of our First Amendment rights. It's not "fair", but we all know that "fair" is where they put blue ribbons on pigs. If we beat back Streetbeasts, we can make sure that the wiki article stays online forever, people won't be afraid to speak out, and we can send a message to other companies that we won't be bullied.

Obviously (if you haven't guessed by now ), we're going for it.

Certainly, we're going to vigorously defend against the frivolous lawsuit. We're also going to set up a legal fund so that the next time this happens (yes, this will happen again), we can defend anyone whose free speech is attacked for posting their opinion on a forum.

If you want to help out, you can lend a hand by:


1. Making a non-deductible donation to the legal defense fund, by sending a contribution via PayPal to freespeech@hotrodders.com, or by mailing your contribution to:

Hotrodders.com
PO Box 20445
Boulder, CO, 80308

Please be sure to include your forum username with your donation if you want to be credited for it. Any leftover funds will go towards the defense of the First Amendment rights of any Hotrodders.com members, and to the establishment of a Hotrodders.com "Free Speech Fund" to protect against any future attacks.

2. Auctioning off a spare part for the Free Speech Fund. You can auction a part (here or on eBay), and donate 50% or more of the proceeds to the fund. For more details, see the Free Speech Parts Auctions forum.

3. Researching Streetbeasts, Classic Motor Carriages, Auto Resolution, Classic Auto Replicas, Fiberfab, and Innovative Street Machines. Search Google, forums, or anywhere else. You can add any link you find to this list of links in the wiki. They'll be researched further, and evaluated from there.


The goal here isn't just to tell Streetbeasts to take a hike. It's to show companies that we're not afraid to speak our minds, and that, now or in the future, we won't let any of them bully us out of our First Amendment rights.

This thread is, of course, open for discussion.

Last edited by Jon; 11-14-2008 at 03:43 PM. Reason: added details on Free Speech Parts Auction forum
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Old 10-24-2008, 07:31 PM
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All I have to say right now is you are a great AMERICAN.Good luck JON.
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Old 10-24-2008, 07:34 PM
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Snakes.

I sold a set of fenders on C/L today, so I kicked in some of the cash for the cause. (taco lady wanted some too, I couldn't let her down)

I have some parts that can go in the fundraising deal too, when you set it up.

Later, mikey
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Old 10-24-2008, 07:54 PM
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A small donation was just made via Paypal
What a bunch of scum suckers, and I mean that affectionately.
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Old 10-24-2008, 08:13 PM
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Even in these tough financial times I've hit the PayPal button to show I support Jon, Hotrodders.Com, and the Wiki 100%. This law suit is a blatant attempt to bully us ALL into silence and to prevent us from warning one another when we see a bad product and witness lousy customer service being foisted on our fellow hot rodders.

Jon has stood up for us in the past and provided this forum which for years and years has helped keep the spirit of hot rodding alive and well. Now it's time for the hot rodding community to stand up to Steetbeast...and any other companies like them...when they try to squash our right to free speech and open discussion of manufacturers and suppliers.
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Old 10-24-2008, 08:18 PM
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Good luck Jon !!!! I Just hit the paypal button too.....
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Old 10-24-2008, 08:27 PM
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I tried to donate $20 bucks but paypal just kept telling me to enter a value more than zero?

Damn computers!
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Old 10-24-2008, 08:33 PM
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The 1st Amendment is the corner stone of the rest of our freedoms. Its a real pain to see some scum sucker try to infringe on our RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH. But.... thats their modus operandi so why should I be surprised.

I have some parts to add to the fund raising effort, as soon as it gets started.
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Old 10-24-2008, 08:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weirdbeard
I tried to donate $20 bucks but paypal just kept telling me to enter a value more than zero?

Damn computers!
Click on the "update total" button right under where you enter your amount...

( I did the same thing 3 times....DOH!!)

Mikey
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Old 10-24-2008, 08:45 PM
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The check is going in the mail...If the beastie boys spent their money on building good product and good customer service they would be in a better position..We need to speak up when someone tries to pull the wool over our eyes..

Sam
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Old 10-24-2008, 09:00 PM
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Although most of the members here are Americans there are a lot of members from other countries around the world.

We too believe in free speech!!

All of us around the world can not allow these frivolous law suits to stop our ability to warn other rodders about businesses that do not live up to their claims.

My check will be in the mail tomorrow.

Good luck Jon.
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Old 10-24-2008, 09:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by powerrodsmike
Click on the "update total" button right under where you enter your amount...

( I did the same thing 3 times....DOH!!)

Mikey
Thanks Mikey!''\
I did it..
You are a genius!
I don't care what people say around here!
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Old 10-24-2008, 09:04 PM
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Geez, what has the kitcar business come to when they need to sue a hotrodding website for something one of their own employees has posted on the internet.

I knew about the possibility of this happening but like the gentleman you are you have been quite hush hush about it Jon.

Oh well, strength in numbers Dude, cheque is on the way.

The best thing that will happen from my perspective is this criminal organization will finally get put to rest because once this nonsense hits the internet they won't be able to sell an oxcart in Timbuktu.

You have to wonder what their customer relations department is like, must be an answering machine without a tape in it.

I would caution those member with Streetbeast kit parts on backorder, they might never receive them because this type of legal action can be a last ditch action by a company about to go bankrupt.

Might want to try and get your money back if you can. Here's the weblink to the Streetbeast site with the rules for getting a refund.

Streetbeast Purchaser Terms and Conditions
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Old 10-24-2008, 09:09 PM
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It just ain't right to use the courts to try to stop somebody from telling the facts.

What Jon calls their "shenanigans" in that Streetbeast thread, I call slime-ball tactics. It sure looks to me like they don't want informed customers; they just want people who don't know the history, whose desire for a kit overwhelms their resistance to pressure sales tactics, and who have money to spend.

My money's in the pot because using the courts to bludgeon critics into silence should not become a viable business plan for anyone. We sure don't need to get into a situation where the only information we can get about a product comes from the seller.
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Old 10-24-2008, 10:57 PM
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I have been quiet, but not ignoring... I sent my donation.

-Samuel R.
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