Saturday, July 18, 2009

Arrest in USCF Dispute

The New York Times reports ("U.S. Chess Federation Lawsuit Becomes Criminal Issue") that Susan Polgar's assistant, Gregory Alexander, was arrested and arraigned for alleged "computer fraud and aggravated identity theft" in stealing email messages between attorney and client in one of the USCF lawsuits. The stolen emails are just one of many apparent internet misdoings alleged in the various USCF lawsuits, which include the proven allegation that people working for or associated with Polgar posed as Sam Sloan to make obscene forum postings (often referred to as "the fake Sam Sloan posts"). Ironically, the real Sam Sloan personally witnessed Alexander's arrest on Thursday afternoon in the U.S. Court House in San Francisco (where they were both attending a mediation hearing), as he reports online: "Gregory Alexander called out to me 'Mr. Sloan' as the handcuffs were being put on. I am not exactly a friend of his but I suppose that he wanted to notify somebody, anybody, before he disappeared into NeverNever Land."

Will other arrests follow? Does the chess public really care anymore? Personally I am waiting for the matter to be resolved and hope someone finds an interesting way to use the case to illustrate problems of the internet and the law. At least then something good might come out of this mess.

1 comment:

Wahrheit said...

I think some people are starting to care in a kind of National Enquirer way...unfortunately the USCF is spiraling into this just as its relevance and, indeed, its very existence is being undermined by the Web.

They need to turn a negative into a positive; the story has everything! Sex (Truong/Polgar, Sloan/redacted), marriage, spying and spoofing and all that computer mumbojumbo, backbiting, lawsuits, treachery, and now, finally, someone being dragged off in shackles.

The USCF needs a reset. It needs to keep good records, publish timely ratings, run some good championships, and shut up. It needs to come to a comprehensive settlement in the litigation or it will fade away to oblivion.

I don't see this happening. I do see it being replaced by something else, like the "American Chess Rating Association." The ACRA will have a staff of five and charge $10/year + $.50/game, take the existing USCF rating numbers and run with them. Will the USCF claim they own your 2089? That would be a new, more interesting law suit.

Anyway, radical change or death is my analysis.