NYC transit union chief seeks to unmask blogger

Nov 12, 2010 By JENNIFER PELTZ , Associated Press

(AP) -- The head of New York City's transit union wants to go after an anonymous blog that has blasted him, and he asked a court Friday to make Google tell him who's responsible.

John Samuelsen says in court papers that the blog has repeatedly attacked him with false accusations of incompetence and financial improprieties.

The allegations are "being made for no purpose other than to damage my reputation" among union members, Samuelsen said in a sworn statement.

His legal papers say he plans to pursue a defamation suit, but he hasn't been able to learn who's behind the blog, housed by Google-owned Blogspot.com.

There was no immediate answer to an e-mail sent to an address posted on the blog.

Inc. declined to comment. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company says it doesn't discuss individual cases to protect users' privacy.

A growing number of people are turning to courts to try to unmask their online detractors, and such lawsuits have gotten more attention since Vogue cover model Liskula Cohen successfully sued Google last year to get the name of a blogger who had denigrated her. Samuelsen's court filing points to Cohen's case.

Samuelsen also is asking a court to order Site Meter Inc., a company that tracks visitors to websites, to turn over any information it might have about the or bloggers. The Los Angeles-based company didn't immediately respond to an e-mail inquiry.

Samuelsen was elected last December to lead the union, Transport Workers of America Local 100. It represents about 38,000 workers who run city buses and subways, plus some private bus lines in the metropolitan area.

His tenure followed some rocky times for the union, which was hit with stiff fines after a three-day strike in December 2005; the walkout was illegal under state law. Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Transit Administration - the agency that runs city buses and subways - has struggled with massive budget gaps in recent years, prompting service cuts and fare hikes.

The blog in Samuelsen's cross-hairs is largely devoted to the union's internal politics. It has made a spray of complaints about him, some concerning the handling of money that union members donated for relief efforts in Haiti after the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake there.

All the members' gifts, plus $50,000 from the union as a whole, went to relief work, Samuelsen said in his sworn statement.

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Husky
not rated yet Nov 12, 2010
blame obama? no to easy, blogs are increasingly vehicles for well organised smear campaigns including setting up hundreds of accounts to create an image of grassroot support or general public outrage. Some smear campaigns take it over the top however, on liveleak.com the theabaggers throw anything including the kitchensink at obama and are we to believe he is the unlawful son of stalin and the antichrist, not that the obama administration is with serious flaws, but C'mon...
Husky
not rated yet Nov 12, 2010
oops did i just admit visiting liveleak to get my daily dose of pedestrians runover by trucks and butyrated russian skateboarders doing a 360 faceplant ? I guess it's the relief of not being there in the victims place at that time and learn to recognize/learn dangerous situation that makes us humans want to observe misery from a save distance.
tjcoop3
not rated yet Nov 14, 2010
Look. This guy is a public official. He is a politician and don't try to say since he is a union official it is not the same. Every union official I ever met, and my Dad was one, was a politician. when you step into the public arena you have no more expectation of privacy or a right not to be defamed.
If the guy is allowed this info so he can sue for defamation then every other politician would have the right to sue over mis-characterizations, exaggerations and mis quotes. Do we really want to live in a nation like that?
This guy needs to get over himself. Or better yet quit so someone else with cajones can take his place.
tarheelchief
not rated yet Nov 14, 2010
One startling fact came out of an investigation of the Long Island Railroad employees. 97% of the retirees claimed disability. It's an indoor world record. Now,let's see how the doctors,arbitrators, and lawyers in Long Island can justify this.