By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
"He says, 'I don't want your personal information going anywhere,'" Pack said when he called back.
"That's interesting," I said. "But he was totally fine with me writing that you are the same Dennis Pack who served time in federal prison?"
"No," Pack said. "He said he will address that issue after you have written all that you are writing."
"Would you like me to speak with your lawyer directly?"
"Well, he charges $400 an hour," Pack advised. "Would you want to pay him $400?"
"That's not how it works, Dennis."
"It works in this case," he said.
I was getting the feeling that his lawyer was a six-foot-tall rabbit visible only to Dennis Pack and Jimmy Stewart. "That's not how it works," I repeated. "Lawyers charge clients. They don't charge everyone...Do you want me to talk to your lawyer or not?"
"Obviously, from what he told me, he doesn't give a shit about you. He's like, 'Go ahead, print.'"
But it turned out that Pack's phantom lawyer wasn't the only counselor on my case. When I called Stumpf to suggest he and Pack level with me about their criminal histories, he said he had been talking to his lawyers as well.
"They consider this to be extortion, Craig," he said. "And they would love to talk to you. They already are talking to some people..."
At this point I was scared. His lawyers were talking to some people!
Stumpf said he'd given his lawyers all the voicemails I left him, pleading for him to return my calls.
"And that's extortion how?" I asked.
"You're seeking payment from me for somebody who's a friend of yours," Stumpf said. He went on to explain that he discovered that I was longtime friends with the investor. It turns out that, the last time Pack called the investor to chew him out, the investor's bonehead friend had the magnificent idea to have the investor tell Pack that we were old buddies. I made a mental note to get that friend's name to add him to my ever-expanding Bitch-Slap List.
"Would you like me to call your attorneys?" I asked.
"When I hang up, I'll call them," Stumpf said.
I'm still waiting for the call.
There turns out to be a happy ending. Sort of.
Last Friday, the Atlanta investor's wife e-mailed me to say Pack refunded the money. Pack then called me to say he was faxing a copy of the check. What arrived instead was a notarized statement by the Atlanta investor swearing the following:
"Craig Masilow hereby agrees to not print any story in any newspaper, magazine, tabloid, weblog, RSS feed [my note: what the fuck?] e-mail, instant message, web page, or any other type of media, electronic, print or otherwise, concerning Edward Stumpf IV, his business dealings past, present or future, if Edward Stumpf IV pays to [the investor] the amount of...$7,500. In exchange for this amount of money, [investor] and Craig Masilow [my note: spell my freaking name right, dude] agree to keep completely silent about Edward Stumpf IV to any and all individuals, persons and entities of any kind whatsoever about any past, present or future business dealings of any kind of Edward Stumpf IV."
I called Pack to advise him that I had no idea what he just faxed me, but that the story was still running. He then asked how he could find it. When I told him the web site, he asked what page the story would be on. I told him that, since it's online, there really aren't any page numbers. I also suggested that, since he claimed to own a newspaper, he should have the mental acuity to spot the story without my help. But he needed more info, like what the headline would be.
When I told him I didn't write headlines (editors write headlines), that cinched it for Dennis Pack.
"Oh, you don't even write headlines?!" he sneered. He had me dead to rights.
No, I don't write headlines. But if I did write one for this, just to make it easy to find, it would probably be: "Hey, Dennis -- Here's The Story, Dude."