It had the makings of a great made-for-TV movie: betrayal, a lawsuit and -- my favorite part -- mean postings on the Internet. No, I'm not talking about my latest breakup; I'm talking about my Web relationship with Anthony Elgindy.
When I got in touch in July with Elgindy, a short-seller and
regular known for his colorful posts, we got along great. But then I wrote a story about him that he didn't like, and he unleashed on me creative bursts of vitriol previously reserved for the stocks he shorts and the message board characters who disagree with him. And the message boards, reserved ostensibly for stock talk, became a sounding board for an Internet celebrity taking the democratization of the Web one more step.
Last December, I
wrote about federal fraud charges Elgindy faces relating to compensation checks he allegedly received from
Barron Chase Securities
while he was receiving disability benefits from
. The trial is set for March 6; Elgindy has said he'll fight the charges, which carry substantial fines and jail time. He has also been fined by the
National Association of Securities Dealers
and had his NASD registration revoked in 1998.
A few days after the story was posted, the barbs started coming. On Dec. 6, Elgindy, who goes by the handle Anthony@Pacific on Silicon Investor, wrote, "I will ... buy The houses around Beth Kwon, and then Ill ... start a landfill around her house."
It was an interesting thought, if highly illogical. Elgindy lives in San Diego and may not realize that the real estate surrounding my Manhattan apartment is prohibitively expensive at recent levels. Not to mention the hassle of getting a permit to set up a dump in Greenwich Village.
I started fantasizing about starting a no-new-landfills campaign. I would spread the word at community board meetings and get my high-profile neighbors involved.
both live on my block -- I'm not sure they would want to part with their houses just to satisfy a message board celebrity with a sharp tongue.
A couple of weeks later Elgindy called
a "turd nugget." Then Elgindy said that our co-founder Jim Cramer looked like a "thin-crust pizza" and that he's a "fat slob." Nice try, but if he tuned in to
Fox News Channel
at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Saturdays or at 10 a.m. Sundays (check local listings!), he'd see otherwise.
I guess that makes me a public figure. Cool!
But Elgindy was just warming up. On Jan. 14, he wrote, "I wonder if that idiot BadBreath Kwon still has a job." Note that I've spoken to him only on the phone.
Elgindy topped himself in a post on Jan. 26, which read, "Beth might qualify to work at our local Hungarian Shmorgasborg eatery." Um, don't you mean Swedish? He continued, "But less mentally challenging jobs such as digging ditches, moving granite boulders, nugget mining/rolling or moving sprinklers around your yard are all good opportunities ... Beth may not be able to do the sprinkler stuff but she may, with a few months of training, figure it out."
I'm flattered that Elgindy assumes I have the upper-body strength to move around granite boulders (while I do try to go to the gym, I've never managed to change the water-cooler jug at the office by myself).
The latest attack came Wednesday. "I will ... fire Beth but not till she cleans the toilets in our boathouse," Elgindy wrote.
Sorry, I think I'll stick to lawn maintenance. After a few months of training, that is.