When the Message Boards Turn Blue - TheStreet

When the Message Boards Turn Blue

Our reporter recounts the personal attacks a message-board poster served up following an article that offended him.
Author:
Publish date:

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

Silicon Investor

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

Bear Stearns

and

Barron Chase Securities

while he was receiving disability benefits from

MassMutual

. 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.

Richard Gere

and

Vogue

Editor

Anna Wintour

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

TheStreet.com

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.

Silicon Investor Managing Director Bryan Burdick said he removed some of the posts that "went over the line." The posts about Cramer are gone, but what about the ones about me? I asked. Don't they violate Silicon Investor's "terms of use" guidelines, which say you have to be civil and not "abusive, threatening, improper or otherwise objectionable"? "When a member is criticizing a public figure it's not always so clear-cut," says Burdick.

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.