A tipster (send in your tips here) pointed out to me that a site called “Morgan Drexen Blog” has posted untrue information about me and a story I wrote. Interesting.
So let’s talk about it.
A few days letter somebody posted on a website Getoutofdebt.org portraying himself as William [Redacted for consumer privacy]. Steve Rhode owns Getoutofdebt.org where he writes about the wrong doing of the debt settlement industry, he claims that he is doing this out of his good heart to help people while meanwhile he is selling leads to debt settlement companies who are supporting him. Steve Rhode is portraying himself as this big hearted guy who is always finishing his posts with words like “big hug”, where the fact is that he is just trying to make money off of confused and worried consumers.
Steve Rhode claims to be a journalist yet didn’t review the fraudulent information instead he jumped on it and published it on his website. He also advised his “fictitious” consumer to cancel the program with Morgan Drexen, he should have advised they speak to their attorney. He published personal information of the couple’s financial hardship, personal suffering, and details about their illness and long battle with cancer where [Redacted for consumer privacy] lost her leg, all in efforts to defame a competitor. Everything that [Redacted for consumer privacy] told him in strict confidentiality he posted on the internet as a typical cyber bully. – Source
I already covered this situation in detail here, Morgan Drexen Threatens Journalist and Free Speech. Demands All Mentions of Morgan Drexen be Removed. But let me hit the highlights for you.
- Morgan Drexen Blog Claim Made: “A few days letter somebody posted on a website Getoutofdebt.org portraying himself as William [Redacted for consumer privacy].”
Fact: A reader submitted a question and identified himself as William, no last name. – Source. The Morgan Drexen Blog publicly identified two people, [Redacted for consumer privacy] and William [Redacted for consumer privacy], not me. When the question was submitted I did not even have a [Redacted for consumer privacy] associated with it. In fact, when I published an article on this issue, it was a letter from the attorneys representing Morgan Drexen that first disclosed the name of the alleged wife as [Redacted for consumer privacy]. At that time, in my article, I redacted the name as to not disclose it. The Morgan Drexen Blog elected to not protect the identify of the alleged wife and instead later publicly reveled it. Not me.
- Morgan Drexen Blog Claim Made: “the fact is that he is just trying to make money off of confused and worried consumers.”
Fact I sell no products and services. The site is funded by ads on the site that I have no control over. I talk openly about the ads here. In fact, the Morgan Drexen Blog site runs the same Google ads as well.
I guess the claim made is that somehow Morgan Drexen does not sell services to “confused and worried consumers.” I answer questions for readers, they sell services. Let’s get the facts striaght.
- Morgan Drexen Blog Claim Made: “Steve Rhode claims to be a journalist yet didn’t review the fraudulent information instead he jumped on it and published it on his website.”
Fact: I do publish questions submitted by readers for me to answer. I make sure they do not contain any information which would publicly identify the person. I have no idea if the first name I ask for and they use is real.
The question posted did not list the readers last name, address or any other information that could have been used by a reader to identify the person.
Readers submit questions and I answer them.
- Morgan Drexen Blog Claim Made: “He also advised his “fictitious” consumer to cancel the program with Morgan Drexen, he should have advised they speak to their attorney.”
Fact: Here is the question submitted and my answer.
Reader Question: My husband and I are in credit card debt in the amount of $170,000. We have ad severe medical bills since 1997. My husband had quadruple by-pass and has severe CHF, he is 79 years of age. I have had cancer twice and had to have my right leg amputated due to cancer. I am in a wheelchair and I’m 68 years of age. We just signed up with a company called MorganDrexen out of Anaheim, CA. and I just found out that they have an F rating with the BBB. Can we get out of this contract? They recceived our signed copy on Friday of last week. Please help us in any way you can. We are desparate. Thank you.
Can we get out of this contract we signed on July 30th? If so, who do you recommend to us for help? Thank you
My Answer: No worries. Call your bank and change your bank account number to prevent any debits by Morgan Drexen. Then call morgan Drexen and tell them you are canceling your agreement with them, and follow that up by sending Morgan Drexen a certified return receipt requested letter notifying them you have cancelled your contract.
That should do it.
So the Morgan Drexen Blog site says I advised the consumer to cancel with Morgan Drexen and I didn’t tell them to talk to their attorney. In fact I did not tell them to cancel their account. What I answered was their question of how to cancel their account and I advised them to also call Morgan Drexen.
- Morgan Drexen Blog Claim Made: “He published personal information of the couple’s financial hardship, personal suffering, and details about their illness and long battle with cancer where Patricia lost her leg, all in efforts to defame a competitor.”
Fact: I published the question as submitted. If it was submitted by [Redacted for consumer privacy], that’s news to me. All I know is it was submitted by someone that identified himself as William and they wanted my advice. The question submitted made no mention of a [Redacted for consumer privacy].
There is no effort to defame a competitor since I am not a competitor of Morgan Drexen.
- Morgan Drexen Blog Claim Made: “Everything that [Redacted for consumer privacy] told him in strict confidentiality he posted on the internet as a typical cyber bully.”
Fact: Readers submit questions for me to publicly answer. Again, if the admission is it was submitted by [Redacted for consumer privacy] then what is the big deal and how in the world would I be a cyber bully for answering the question submitted by a reader for me to answer on the site?
- Morgan Drexen Blog Claim Made: “[Redacted for consumer privacy] were terrified and embarrassed that their personal information leaked out, visible for entire nation to see. They are very private and don’t even discuss their personal issues with their own children. And now anyone could look their debt amount and medical history. [Redacted for consumer privacy] are relieved that their Cyber Bully has been exposed.”
Fact: I am not the person that publicly claims or identifies that the question submitted was by [Redacted for consumer privacy], the Morgan Drexen Blog is the one that makes that public disclosure. So who is the one leaking confidential information here? If anything the [Redacted for consumer privacy], if that is who submitted the question, seem to have a pretty good case against the Morgan Drexen Blog for disclosing their confidential information. Much more information than I ever knew.
- Morgan Drexen Blog Claim Made: And then there is this really strange part of the post on the Morgan Drexen Blog site.
In a recent interview Harvey Warren, who is the published author of several books and he is frequently appearing on television and radio programs commenting on the consumer debt crisis in America, Mr. Warren is also a member of the Writers Guild of America, said, “if you are going to use that damage as a way to make credibility for yourself, you know I’m credible because I went through this myself, I don’t necessarily think that makes you credible. There are about 10 million people that went bankrupt in the last seven years. I don’t think that those people credible to write a blog. Clearly in this case this fellow is using information about other people and other institutions and other events in the world to draw traffic to his side and then to use that traffic to monetize himself. When your journalistic intention is to make a marketing outcome then that person is not to be taken seriously.”
Fact: It just seems very strange that Harvey Warren would be the person interviewed for a rebuttal for the Morgan Drexen Blog. I think you should read this article on Harvey Warren to see the connection. Why would the Morgan Drexen Blog turn to Harvey Warren to defend them unless Warren still has a connection with Morgan Drexen.
I’ve also never claimed that my bankruptcy experience alone makes me a debt relief expert. Here is my total debt background and I’ll let you decide.
And Just When You Thought We Were Done With This
But this happens to not be the only post on the Morgan Drexen Blog site about this event.
In fact on Christmas Eve, 2010, another entry appeared on the Morgan Drexen Blog site. Here it is:
An elderly Florida couple have been a victim of a fake posting on the ‘get out of debt.org’ website. The site is run by self confessed financial blogger Steve Rhode.
The posting Rhode alleged was written by the 79year-old veteran [Redacted for consumer privacy] regarding his financial and medical struggles. Steve Rhode operates this website and was responsible for leaking out the couple’s personnel information.
The story was posted as if [Redacted for consumer privacy], a 79 year old war veteran wrote it, and the fact is that the elderly man doesn’t even know how to use a computer. William and his wife [Redacted for consumer privacy] were horrified hearing about the fact that their personal information was exposed on some blogger’s website without their knowledge. They were concerned that Rhode may also publish their social security numbers and credit card information. The [Redacted for consumer privacy] are both going through tough medical treatments, now they had to deal with the cyber threats as well, which affected their health even more and delayed their recovery.
On being challenged by the [Redacted for consumer privacy] attorney, Rhode immediately altered the posting, changing some of the information and the name of its alleged author. On receiving an official complaint from the attorneys of the [Redacted for consumer privacy] couple and the company involved in the fake posting, Rhode claims, that his “freedom of speech was being challenged”. Steve Rhode forgot that freedom of speech can only be practiced as long as it doesn’t harm someone else. THis elderly couple felt that they had been harmed, they are simply trying to live honest lives without having to deal with cyber bullies and phony bloggers. – Source
Now compare the question I published from a reader and compare it to the information the Morgan Drexen Blog site releases. It is the Morgan Drexen Blog site, with both posts, that identifies the person that submitted the question as:
- [Redacted for consumer privacy]
- [Redacted for consumer privacy]
- [Redacted for consumer privacy]
- [Redacted for consumer privacy]
- [Redacted for consumer privacy]
- They contacted American Debt Associated or American Debt Company.
- They spoke to Bill Rice.
In fact it is the Morgan Drexen Blog site that provided the public information on the Morgan Drexen client, not me.
The claim by the Morgan Drexen Blog site seems to be that somehow I reached into the lives of someone and extracted out personal information only they would know. And this would somehow lead to me know their social security numbers and credit card information? I know only what readers submit. Nothing more. Is the Morgan Drexen Blog accusing me of theft? Could they be just that stupid?
So by me answering a reader question and not identifying them, how in the world does that translate to cyber threats and me delaying their medical recovery? That is just plain silly.
The Morgan Drexen Blog site also makes some wild claims about what actions took place after I received an email from an attorney representing Morgan Drexen. I published those emails and my responses here.
But the site forgot the very lesson they preached. The Morgan Drexen Blog site “forgot that freedom of speech can only be practiced as long as it doesn’t harm someone else.”
In this case the Morgan Drexen Blog site contains lies about me, misrepresentations and leaks confidential information about their own clients that was not otherwise disclosed or known to me. Who is harming who?
2-17-2011: Raychel Harvey-Jones of Morgan Drexen has emailed me and said the blog would be removed and was not authorized. Still makes me wonder how an unauthorized site called Morgan Drexen Blog would be able to get their client information.
I have invited Morgan Drexen to submit any statement they would like for me to add to this article.
I told Morgan Drexen I’d be happy to join them in any suit or action they want to take against the blog so we can find their leak and discover the person publishing false information about me and Morgan Drexen.
2-18-2011: I have reached out to the attorney for the couple and informed him about the leak of his clients’ information. I have also redacted out the personal information since the blog has now been pulled.