Mail today, from Michigan. Lawyer John Di Giacomo of Traverse Legal writes us and the legal department of GoDaddy, our hosting service, on behalf of Patrick Visser, who runs Silva Tree, demanding that Bananama Republic is removed, killed, shut down - whatever you wanna call it. Read the letter here.
Fact is, however, that everything we wrote about Patrick Visser and his scammy ways was quoted from other websites, notably the Christian Science Monitor and the Ripoff Report (here and here). But of course it is much easier to go after a simple blog, right?
It's really not our fault that Patrick Visser's reputation is so bad that his business is hurt by it, or that he now makes it worse by turning into an enemy of the free press on top of everything else. We believe the public doesn't need to be protected from Bananama Republic; it needs to be warned against hustlers like Patrick Visser and their rogue business schemes. And may you all have a very nice day!
Good Day Mr. Ornstein, I am in Panama giving depositions about you. Procure lots of witnesses for your statement. 6.Witchy Woman says:
March 3, 2010 at 9:28 PM
“Dr.’ Monte offered to ‘help’ a friend of mine get some financing here in Canada too not so long ago, but all it took was a couple of hours on the internet to reap all sorts of interesting information about this character. Needless to say, my friend lost interest in meeting with the ‘Dr.’.
He must be getting a bit desperate now. It takes a lot of money to ‘operate’ at that level….. Ww
I am offering to purchase for you your own custom tailored stripped suite so that you will be comforatble with your friends in prison. The walls of justice are closing in on you. Call me if you weaould like to interview me in Panama.
Editor’s note: This is Monte Friesner again posting.
What a bunch of idiots….as a lawyer he should know that in the US a web hosting service is NOT liable for defamatory conduct. Most services (e.g., Blogger.com) will not remove allegedly defamatory content without a court order.
Remember that the truth is no defense en Panama. La verdad no es ninguna defensa en Panama.
Yes, but this is in the US where they still have rule of law and a first amendment and all that. Sort of.
Congratulations again on your fearless journalism. Uncovering the endless parade of scumbags that wash up like dirty diapers or used condoms on Panamanian shores is undoubtedly a worthy public service. (Although to the constant supply of potential suckers, blinded by the Panamanian Bull Shit mills and their own self denial, your reports must seem, at the time, to be an attempt to rain on their dreamy parades!)
What is really interesting to me is how the scammers once unearthed, instead of laying low and hoping your reports will get lost in the world of 24 hour news cycle, instead go on the attack slinging more mud upon themselves.
Their unconvincing denials, lame attempts to bring lawsuits and veiled threats only provide more cannon fodder by which to bring down their castles of shit.
Their angry thuggish selves soon tear out of the glossy or socially minded costumes like the proverbial wolf from his sheep do.
Your stories develop legs, powered by the constant new information that their threats and rants provide.
Okke sets the trap and they ALWAYS take the bait. They can’t seem to help themselves. Is it arrogance or stupidity that starts their self destruction?
@Faustino: I’ve often wondered about this myself. It is definitely true that each and every hustler, scammer or con man I’ve written about had an inflated ego, and often they create a sort of guru status for themselves. It’s always beyond just being a normal business person. That’s also why so many get caught while on the lam in Panama; they just can’t help themselves and have to become the leading figure in whatever crap it is they’re promoting.
Naturally, when you pierce that bubble it rapidly deflates, because there is no content, no beef, no nothing, no real capacities or knowledge, and they’re reduced to what they really are; mean and nasty pieces of shit who can’t sleep if they haven’t screwed someone over that day.
What follows then are always several forms and stages of underworld PR.
First is to gather faccie pulite, clean faces to give the scheme a respectable front. In Panama this is usually done by getting (“buying”, usually) politicians and/or authorities in the relevant field to associate themselves with the “business”. So we saw McMurrain with a vice-president, Prime Forestry with Torrijos, Silva Tree with a local mayor and ANAM hotshots, Emerald Passport with Alonso de la Guardia plus beauty queen and so on. This is wearing thin these days, we’ve seen it all before, and who takes these Panamanian “experts” seriously anyway, let alone our enlightened politicians? Not even Rush Limbaugh believes them!
Second is co-opting the media, either by royally buying ad space or by bribing and/or befriending journalists who think they now have the “inside scoop”. In reality they can’t publish anything any more, because it would be betrayal of their new “friends”. So these journalists or media outlets become press agents for the hustler or con man. This is what happens over and over with Don Winner, who is apparently an easy victim for this tactic.
If that doesn’t work, they move on to (threats with) violence. I’ve had my fair share of these as well, the “I know where you live” mobster talk, being followed, information coming in that goons will beat me up, death threats etc. The use of real violence is, fortunately, quite rare in Panama, but the possibility of course always exists and one has to be prepared.
If that doesn’t work either (and with me it doesn’t), they usually move on to legal action. Any legal action. The purpose of that is not to win persé – they often know they don’t really have a leg to stand on – but to harass and, if possible, financially exhaust the journalist and/or publication. This is what this guy Monte Friesner is currently doing and what Patrick Visser is threatening. Or what Marc Boswell a/k/a “Rex Freeman” and Tom McMurrain, Tom Rowley et al unsuccessfully tried with Eric Jackson and me. In Panama, it’s easy and cheap to file a criminal defamation complaint. Many lawyers – affectionately known as “abogangsters” down here – are ready to make a buck assisting with it, cheering on the wet dreams of the hustlers about having me shut down, thrown in jail or out of the country or both, even though they know it won’t go anywhere and often having no knowledge of the law at all (for example, Friesner’s lawyer asks in his criminal complaint to put me in preventive custody and apparently doesn’t know that this possibility has been eliminated from the defamation law more than a decade ago).
The last resort, often in conjunction with legal harassment, is the smear campaign. Releasing all kinds of rumors, invented stories, smear, urging people and even offering assistance to file frivolous or downright false complaints and what have you. This is again where Don Winner comes in, who seems to make a living off executing this tactic for his underworld clients and associates and who has successfully driven figures like Tomas Cabal out of that lucrative market. We’re currently seeing him in action again on behalf of Monte Friesner as well as a bunch of arms traffickers, and there is a very long list of other examples.
In the end it never really works, it only speeds up their downfall as you correctly observe. The lawyers and press agents don’t really care about that; they have made their money by the time Golden Handcuff Airlines arrives at Tocumen to pick up that special passenger – their now ex-client. For me and those like me who value truth, honesty and authenticity it can be fatiguing having to deal with this time after time or with multiple cases simultaneously, but I guess it comes with the territory and eventually these hucksters come crashing down with their failed schemes on top of them. Always.
Mr. Ornstein, you forgot to mention extortion and blackmail that you are invovled in. How about the web site notice that you are in receipt of an electronic mail from monet to his lawyer. You post it on your web site and confessed to that crime. In the US that is a major offence which you are about to find out. Keep writing because our lawyers are laughing and yes I do have more money than you and I do not to exhaust your assets, but merely have you face justice in Panama. Again I invite you today to come and interview me at your convenience. Do not be a coward! I am only 83 years old and not a poor poodle what can be poisened.
Editor’s note: This is Monte Friesner again posting.
Mr. Ornstein, no one wants to lock you up now. We want to protect you so no one slices your throat and you try to blame it on Monte. You should not have threatended his family nor poisened Koko. Three people who fit the description are now of interest to the police in Panama. Your constant barrage of abuse of the legal system in Panama is now quickly coming to a finale. I am not writing for you to post but directly to you and of course I am always hoping that you would modify the contant and post it. You are being shut down and you will be arrested for protective custody.
Editor’s note: This is Monte Friesner again posting.
Apparently, Mr. Friesner’s poodle died, and I am to blame for it? Does he have these dreams often?
Okke…You’ve got a 50 pounder on the hook. Reel him in slowly. I think it must be an ancient carp!
Dearest Larry Hee Hee…Lawrence B. Heath QC
My condolences to you, and the family of the dear recently departed KoKo. I know these must be dark times for you.
You mentioned that you are 83. Just to let you know, I truly believe it is never to late to learn a second language. I know a great ESL teacher who is very patient with the elderly. She can help you with your spelling and grammar.
You’re an old kidder though…aren’t you ..you little devil! Pretending to be a lawyer! May be a little late to send you to law school, but we can get your English up and running…lickety-split.
But try not to get too grumpy with Okke though dear…you know how your blood pressure rises. And are you taking those little pills that Dr Monte gave you…I hope so..If not your imaginary friends will come back! You know how they always get you in trouble.
Anyway dear I have to go now…take care…..
Be very afraid of Patrick Visser, as so many people here in Spain on the coast are – NOT. The only thing his victims here in Spain are afraid of is if they can withhold themselves from harming him if he dares to show his face here again. He is all mouth but when it comes to it a very sad little scammer!