Robert K. Brown, Ret. Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army and founder of 'Soldier of Fortune' magazine, is apparently a very sensitive kind of guy. This all started in February of this year, when I sought to redeem the ad for my T-Shirt company that I had paid for in 2014, but which due to extenuating circumstances, never ran.
I originially attempted to contact SOF mag to proceed with the ad, but received no response. I also attempted contact through FB Messenger, and while they were clearly 'read,' no one addressed my issue. It was until I found LtC. Brown's email on my old account and CC my final attempt before I took action against them in court, that I ever got a response.
LtC. Brown actually did express that he should have been contacted about the matter and offered me a generous ad compensation package, which at the time I thought was fair. I also issued the condition that I was only willing to work with him, directly. However, due to mitigating factors, I later was forced into a position where I had to opt for the refund.
attempts to reach the appropriate department were ignored, and it
was not until I again made it known it was my last attempt to
contact anyone (and which I CC'd directly to LtC. Brown, that I got
a response. The entire dialogue is as follows, from start to finish,
just to put the matter and LtC. Browns comments into their proper
If you are reading this and are not Robert K. Brown, please forward it to him. I've lost his email address or I would be sending this to him, directly.
I had the problems we discussed a couple months ago regarding the "War is Hell..." T-shirt ad I was billed for back in '14 but which never ran.
Your compensatory offer in as far as the complications I experienced trying to resolve the matter were very generous, but due to unrelated issues I need to opt for the refund of the $1,340.
I've relocated since we talked to the southern most region of WV, which as you may or may not be aware, was devastated by a storm and flood that resulted in the highest death toll in state history. We have been declared a Federal Disaster Area.
The property I'm on was totally devastated, and while I had actually planned on relaunching the business, at this point it is in no way feasible and I need the money for other purposes. I'm just eating the shirts I already had printed as a loss.
Please get back to me and let me know how we should proceed. I know you said in the event I needed a refund, due to the length of time you would have to consult with your people to locate the transaction, to further assist in this the charge was processed in my checking account on October 28th, 2014. The amount was $1,340.
I'm sorry this didn't pan out. I appreciate your help in the matter.
Last, considering the devastation and other surrounding issues I would really appreciate if this could go as smoothly as possible. You help in this aspect is (again) greatly appreciated.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE DROID
This is my last attempt regarding this specific matter, as I have received no response to my emails, or messages sent to Robert K. Brown's Facebook profile.
I have since located his email address (as you can see,) and am sending another copy of the original email (see forwarded content) to both addresses.
In the event no one wants to address this matter, please email me back with the best physical address to have court papers served to. I have two conflicting addresses; one for 3435 Bareback Dr., and one for 2135 11th St.
Please note that the civil complaint will be filed in the Commonwealth state of Virginia, which has jurisdiction over the case, being it is:
1) Where the transaction occurred.
2) Where all communication took place.
3) Was my physical location at the time the contract was entered into.
Your cooperation in the matter is greatly appreciated and bodes you well. Not only will it look bad that you're not cooperating regarding a crucial step in the legal process and are deliberately avoiding accountability, but will add to the punitive damages I will be asking for (in addition to filing fees, etc..., not to mention my travel expenses and lodging now that I've relocated,) due to the exorbitant amount of bullshit I've gone through since February of this year dealing with you (sofmag staff, not R.K.B.,) regarding this matter.
...Last, to point out the obvious (especially since no one has ever contested charging me or that the ad never ran,) please just issue me a full refund. You will spend a lot more in travel, etc.. fighting my inevitable favorable verdict and losing, than just giving me back my $1,340 to begin with.
If you're at all interested in hiring a competent individual to manage your advertising/customer relations and social media, I am available.
I'm reliable, responsible, and centrally focused on providing excellent customer service. I'm also very resourceful and have a relentless attention to detail.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE DROID
LOL, well (again, only when facing legal action,) this time L.C. Brown did reply.
K. Brown" <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
you know what
this is a pile of lies. we did put your ad up shortly
you said you would send another. Then contacted this email and said you were working more
just give us your address and the day the charge was made and amount . Its too late to refund CC.
We need done with this.
Mr. Brown was at least acknowledging and willing to issue the refund, but his recollection of events was quite distorted.
Actually Mr. Brown, you put up the ad and pulled it within hours due to some of your viewers confusion that my store was somehow affiliated with your entity. Before I could fix the website and remove the greeting banner, I was hospitalized.
While the ad was not running and when I was actually hospitalized, I was subsequently charged for the cost of the ad.
Had it never been pulled and ran in my absence, I certainly wouldn't pursue a refund. But, *you* pulled it, and it never ran - which you've never disputed in our previous emails.
As a matter-of-fact, you recalled someone speaking with my mother about the situation and her telling them about my hospitalization and (in your words) to "hold off, for now."
I had every intention of redeeming the ad after my discharge on 1.27.16, but after becoming thoroughly disgusted by never getting a response, I decided I wanted my money back, because services we're never rendered. (You and I specifically discussed this, though I opted for your ad compensation, which I found to be fair and honestly, pretty generous).
There's no reason to get nasty or try to lie about it, now. Besides, such behavior is beneath you.
I do appreciate your hostile cooperation in the matter. And, I agree - this needs to be put behind us.
...as I said in the first email, the charge was billed to my account on October 28, 2014. The amount was $1,340. The address is:
Renae Gelbhaar (Name prior to name change)
322 Meade Ave.
Charlottesville, Va. 22902
Im sorry you seem so frustrated, but I can assure you that it's nothing compared to what I've gone through, trying to resolve this mess.
I will be in Charlottesville from the 13th-20th. If I have not received any verifiable confirmation (e.g. USPS Priority tracking number) that your check is on the way, by Sunday, July 17th at 2359hrs, I will have no choice but to file my complaint before I depart.
I realize this only gives you a week to get it done (which should by all means be sufficient,) but I also remind you that had my original email from last week not been ignored, you would have had an additional five (5) days.
... Furthermore, had anyone responded in good faith, I would trust you more regarding mailing the payment, and would possibly have been willing to hold off on filing, until my next visit. (In the event I never received the check).
...You know what they say about flies, honey, and vinegar.
Thank you for your time. I'm sorry for your frustration, but I am not responsible for it.
Please, for all parties involved, do send it in some verifiable manner capable of assuring the intended recipient it has been mailed, and the sender that it has been received.
...I just want this nightmare to be over. Obviously, so do you.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE DROID
It actually gave him 11 calendar days to meet the deadline)
Well, this is what I got..
"Robert K. Brown" <email@example.com> wrote:
has reached the harassment stage.
The check will be sent from the bank. There are no paper checks here.
They keep records. It is your responsibility to cash the check as issue resolved.
This matter is closed.
Well, for one thing, I had *strong* concerns about not sending the check in a manner that could be verified - If nothing else, because of the possibility it could be late, which would have been construed as non-compliance. Also, it would have been in his bests interests to have verification it had been delivered by the deadline (or at all,) as if he feels Im "Harassing" him, it would stand to reson that he take precautions to ensure I could not say the check had not been received.
Your previous email required a reply and some clarification.
In it, I referred to you as "fair" and "generous," and apologized multiple times for your frustration. There was no menacing, hostile, or unpleasant expression contained, therein.
If you would like to pursue the matter as harassment, you are certainly entitled to do so. (Though you would be laughed out of court and face a substantial counter-suit, by me).
You're certainly free to disregard my advice pertaining to concrete documentation of the check being mailed, but, particularly if youre relying on a third party and in a location that takes roughly 5 days to get mail from point 'A' to point 'B,' you will be cutting the deadline quite close. ...Particularly since the 17th (your deadline) is a Sunday (mail doesn't run,) and as today's business day has almost come to a close.
It (sending verifiably) was a plea that anyone who reviewed the email would not only only find logical, but beyond all reason to be a sound and good idea.
If you need a safe place for your feelings and are feeling harassed (lol @ a Purple Heart, Air Medal, Bronze Star recipient, "harassed" by a 38 y.o. disabled, minority, female,) simply don't reply to this email. So long as I receive my check for $1,340 by the deadline, you have my word that you will never hear from me, again.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE DROID
Well, as anyone who follows this page or knows me is well aware of, I have a tendency to have great difficulty dis-engaging from certain things. In less than 48 hrs following the last email, I have drafted the following two.
The first is in the event the check is not received by the deadline, the latter my out of court settlement offer, in the even the check is not received prior to the complaint being filed.
07.06.16 Draft, Possible Email #7:
It is currently July 6th, and I'm drafting this letter because I foresee the inevitable need for it to be sent, pursuant to our earlier dialogue. ...If you are receiving this, it means I have not received the promised check.
Mr. Brown: If you have made arrangements for the check to be mailed, please have someone in a position to substantiate that claim contact me, *immediately.*
...I'm not going to wait all day (though I'm not specifying a specific deadline,) so you are encouraged to act or respond quickly. Keep in mind you're a couple time zones behind me, so the clock is ticking.
I do not know if you have elected not to send the money, or if (as I expressed concern about) the money is just late, as since you refused to provide verifiable resources to check when/if it was mailed - which I *strongly* encouraged for both party's benefit and which would have eliminated the need for this email ever being sent - I have no way of knowing and at this point, it does not matter.
The only reason I am sending you this email is to verify and/or obtain the best physical address in as far as where you can be served with papers, in the event the check is not en route.
I previously requested clarification as to if the Bareback Dr. or 11th street address was best regarding where you could be served via email, and received no acknowledgment in the matter. Unless I hear otherwise, I will use the 11th St. address associated with the sofmag.com registrar. (Enom). You should be aware that false or inaccurate registrant contact info can be cause for suspension of a domain. (Your website being shut down).*
If this is not the correct address and I find out the hard way they were unable to serve you, I will file a complaint with ICANN (the governing body on this matter) and I will carbon-copy that complaint to Enom, and both parties will be copied all of our emails as proof of your deliberate attempt to use inaccurate and/or misleading information to evade legal action being taken against you.
And, keep in mind, as they will receive a forensically sound, time-stamped copy of this letter, you cannot plead 'ignorance' or claim that you did not know it was out of date and that not maintaining said info is grounds for domain suspension, particularly under such egregious circumstances. (When and if the complaint is filed, in the event it is not updated with your actual information in the database).
I certainly understand your need for privacy and why possibly the contact info may not be up to date, or accurate. I do not care what you have as your contact info, as long as I have an accurate address to file with.
Allow me to reiterate: So long as I am provided a valid physical address you can be served at, in the event it (the address) is inconsistent with your WHOIS data, I'm not going to report it as long as there are no further complications. (Or ever, once I get my check, as long as you don't engage in any untoward behavior with me or further complicate my life). You have my word.
I have been nothing but pleasant, complimentary, patient, and highly tolerant regarding the situation we find ourselves in. I have sent you things such as this, taken directly from a private message I sent you on July 02, 2016, from my Facebook Messenger:
"...Happy 4th of July weekend, I discovered more of your history tonight, trying to find your contact info. My father was also a Vietnam Veteran, and I have a lot of respect for any current or former servicemen. Thank you for your service to our country. You're quite remarkable..."
...I have gone above and beyond any and all reasonable expectations trying to work with you. I have been nothing but polite and handled you with kid gloves, out of respect for several things. However, I have exceeded my threshold, and you have scraped the bottom of the barrel, regarding any patience I had left, dry.
That said, heed these words, and heed them well: Do not mistake my kindness for weakness.
With all due respect Sir, I piss barbed-wire and battery-acid. I pick and choose my battles very carefully. You're advised to do the same.
...It is not my desire for this situation to escalate any further than the ridiculous level it has already reached. There is no sense in further complicating this.
I implore you to think logically about your situation. If this gets to court, we both know I will get a favorable verdict, and on top of other misc. issues I will be able to collect on monetarily, you will spend a disproportionately higher amount in travel, lawyers, lodging, etc.. that would make this a very poor decision, for you. Also, bear in mind, the harder you make this on me, the worse it looks for you and the more damages I will be asking for.
...You're certainly not a "sympathetic" defendant. I, however, am a highly sympathetic victim of your behavior and that of your agents.
I was hospitalized for 17 months, when our conflict began, which all parties are aware of. You were asked in my first email mentioning the stress and duress of the flood and other surrounding factors, that making the situation as smooth as possible, would be greatly appreciated. (One of my nieces friends actually did not survive the storm. Three of the four family members died, and they lived four houses down from her). You know I'm on disability.
...These are things you know, not to mention the things you don't. And, the things you don't know, do not insulate you from the damages caused by them, in a court of law.
So please, act sensibly and have a little respect.
Rhianna Brighten Kane
(A.K.A. "Renae Gelbhaar")
*This is not up to the discretion of your registrar. (Enom). As part of their contract to be an accredited registrar with ICANN, they are obligated to. See the following clause of the agreement *all* registrars must agree to abide by:
18.104.22.168 A Registered Name Holder's willful provision of inaccurate or unreliable information, its willful failure to update information provided to Registrar within seven (7) days of any change, or its failure to respond for over fifteen (15) days to inquiries by Registrar concerning the accuracy of contact details associated with the Registered Name Holder's registration shall constitute a material breach of the Registered Name Holder-registrar contract and be a basis for suspension and/or cancellation of the Registered Name registration.
07.08.16 Draft, Possible Email# 8:
It is currently July 8th, and Im drafting this letter in the event the check arrives late and Ive already filed charges. Please note that in the event you responded to my last letter with anything along the lines of my attempts to resolve this matter being "harassment" or not to contact you any further, contact your atty, etc... I address that in the end of this email. If you sent me your attorney's contact information, they are receiving this. In the event you failed to provide the information to me to contact them with, thats why this is being sent to you and is in no way a form of harassment - as you failed to provide it to me in your response with the request. I actually have no intent on replying to anything you respond with, regardless of what it states. As I said, I just needed to get a physical address for you, so you could be served. You either complied, or you didnt. It does not matter which. Either way, I have what I need. Furthermore, your compliance was never necessary to proceed.
Since you did in fact mail the check (and funds have cleared,) Im open to an out-of-court settlement. As you failed to meet a reasonable deadline and the process has already begun, the situation has become somewhat more complicated.
For one thing, Im out additional money for court filing fees, the skip-trace, and the process of having you served out-of-state. For another, the blatant disrespect youve shown me and this situation as a whole is obscene. Last, you chose your course of action knowing if the deadline was not met, I would have no choice but to proceed while I was in town, since I no longer live in the area. My hands were tied on that matter.
That said, here is a breakdown for the current financial compensation I am seeking in court:
1,340.00 - original charge
1,000.00 - exemplary damages
2,000.00 - aggravated damages
N/A - equitable claim
85.00 - skip-trace
74.00 - transportation to the state for court and back home.
*Disclaimer: This offer for an out of court settlement in no way indicates any waiver of rights or entitlements to fees as originally sought. This amount is in no way to be construed as what I consider to be reasonable or fair. It is strictly an offer Im generously making, based on my urgent desire to bring this matter to a close and not waste further time or mental energy addressing this case.
Out of court settlement proposal:
500.00 in lieu of exemplary damages
1250.00 in lieu of $2000.00 aggravated damages.
0.00 waiver of skip trace
0.00 waiver of travel expenses
150.00 for travel and time spent traveling to Charlottesville, to drop the civil claim. (New fee to be incurred by me to drop the case against you).
Adjusted difference due, subsequent to issued refund of original ad cost:
My offer to settle out of court:
So, unless you have a reasonable counter-offer *or* in the event youre certain I cannot claim any of the waived fees or additional damages reflected in my original claim *and* that you can travel, eat, lodge, and legally defend yourself for less than $1,300 and you wish to waste more time on this matter, the proceedings will be pursued as indicated. (Though the amount requested in court will be adjusted to reflect the received check to the amount of: $3,159).
My offer reflects a forgiveness of $1,890.00 of the claim.
Before you adopt a self-indignant, defensive and righteous attitude on the matter, see the following quote from my email to you on July 06,2016:
"Youre certainly free to disregard my advice pertaining to concrete documentation of the check being mailed, but particularly as you are relying on a third party and in a location that takes roughly 5 days for mail to get from point 'A' to point 'B,' you will be cutting the deadline quite close. ...Particularly as the 17th (your deadline) is a Sunday (mail doesnt run,) and as todays business day has almost come to a close.
It (sending verifiably) was a plea that anyone who reviewed the email would not only find logical, but beyond all reason to be a sound and good idea..."
Had you responded appropriately to my plea to send the check in a manner verifiable to sending and receipt by both parties, I would have known the check was on the way and charges never would have been filed.
Instead, you conducted yourself in an obnoxious manner and replied you were just having the check mailed by the bank. ...You could have picked up the check and mailed it, you could have asked to bank to handle it accordingly, you could have gotten me a money order from Walmart, you could have wired the money from the comfort of your living room couch - you had numerous options yet chose to be obstinate. The only person responsible for the situation you now find yourself in, is you.
This was absolutely 100% avoidable.
Last, as I believe it is extremely unwise to engage in battle with an opponent you are unfamiliar with, you may want to view my website. You will see firsthand the nature of my mind, and how I operate. It even has QEEG imaging of my brain function, with layman's terms of what they reflect. You will see how very thorough and methodical I am. (I already told you I have a relentless attention to detail). You will also learn about my varied background, including DOD/DOJ/NSA-compliant data recovery and destruction, my history as a 4.0 GPA Psych major, the science of idiots, and how I handle things according to the nature of the issue being addressed.
...I feel an ethical responsibility to make this information available to you, so you know who youre dealing with and what youre up against. Considering your age and limited ability to utilize logic or common sense, I extend this to you in a further effort to avert the course of disaster this is headed towards becoming.
In the event you decide our further direct communication is no longer appropriate (or requested I proceed with all efforts through one,) please provide me with your attorney's contact information and I will be happy to deal with them, directly.
Also, keep in mind that while any Colorado lawyer could be your personal attorney, in regards to your defense, they must be licensed by the Virginia State Bar Association to represent you in court. I suggest you read (or ensure they are familiar with) the Overview of the Uniform Interstate Depositions and Discovery Act.
*Mr. Brown has been quite a strong proponent of the First Amendment, even to an obscenely skewed extent as documented in Norwood v. Soldier of Fortune Magazine. As such, Im sure he'll have no problems with this matter being made public knowledge. Furthermore, in preparation of his request this not be made public or there was any degree of reasonable 'Expectation of Privacy' regarding his email address and/or info, the U.S. Court has stated (United States v. Maxwell) that:
"With respect to the
content of an Internet communication (such as an e-mail), a computer
user generally has a legitimate expectation of privacy in that
content while it is in transmission over the Internet. To date, the
federal courts appear to agree that the sender of an e-mail, like
the sender of a letter via first-class mail, has an objectively
reasonable expectation of privacy in the content of a message while
it is in transmission. In United States v. Maxwell, the
court addressed e-mail privacy:
"E-mail transmissions are not unlike other forms of modern communication. We can draw parallels from these other mediums. For example, if a sender of first-class mail seals an envelope and addresses it to another person, the sender can reasonably expect the contents to remain private and free from the eyes of the police absent a search warrant founded upon probable cause.
However, once the letter is received and opened, the destiny of the letter then lies in the control of the recipient of the letter, not the sender, absent some legal privilege."
While he is very familiar with the court room and most people are not, see also the following statements made on findlaw.com's website:
"It should come as no surprise anymore, but your email isn't private. In fact, it's one of the least secure methods of communication you can use..."
"...The best advice is to treat every email as though it were open to the public to read. Don't say things you don't want others to read, and remember that even after you've deleted your emails, they will be available for years from other sources."
...Its been less than four days since the reply I got from him. Ive even had imaginary discussions Ill have with his lawyers, in my head. Its probably for nothing - theres no reason the check shouldnt be there - but, you know how i obsess over things. I cannot dis-engage from this subject, and I wont be able to, until it comes to a close.
email #7 was sent. And never responded to. See the