Louis Kestenbaum, Joel Kestenbaum and Fortis Property Group v. Julie Globus – Using the Courts to Chill Free Speech
Hello. I am the person behind LostMessiah. My name is Julie Globus.
I am an attorney, a triathlete, a mom, a writer, a journalist, a blogger, a fraud investigator, a wife, a friend, an activist and someone for whom integrity is, full stop – a line in the sand that I will not cross. I am also the Defendant in a lawsuit intended to chill free speech.
On Saturday, August 25, 2018 I was served with a lawsuit claiming alleged defamation against Louis Kestenbaum, Joel Kestenbaum and Fortis Property Group, LLC. The Plaintiffs are represented by Anthony Genovesi, Esq. of Abrams, Fensterman, Fensterman, Eisman, Formato, Farrara, Wolf & Carone LLP. The Index Number of the Case is 516803/2018, received on August 17, 2018.
As a human being I am far from perfect. I am flawed. Like many others, I am human and fallible. But I am through, accurate, honest and passionate and believe in the difference between right and wrong, ethical and unethical, moral and immoral and I hold myself to standards that sometimes I cannot attain. I am my own worst critic. But I have taken stock in knowing that anytime I have been contacted, through the gmail address (firstname.lastname@example.org) by someone demonstrating that I had offended either their sensibilities or erred in an article, I either corrected or removed. My integrity depends upon it and sometimes the battle is not worth fighting.
On August 7, 2018, the first time I knew that my identity had been breached, and the first time I heard anything from the Plaintiff’s, Plaintiff’s attorney Mr. Genovesi contacted me at my office demanding that I remove an allegedly offending article. Without debating the article or its contents, I took it down – in good faith. Why? At the time my anonymity was important, and I expected that would be the end of the story.
When I asked Mr. Genovesi how he found me, he told me quite simply “Google.” He was disingenuous, to say the least. I had not intended to start posting. I assumed that he had “Googled” my name.
If you “Google” my name in full, you will find accusations that I am a murderer, accusations placed online in the early days of this blog when there were many people trying to uncover the identity of the blogger and sully my name, both because I was writing publicly on Rockland County based websites and because of this site. Someone took the time to painstakingly go through everything I have ever written to make an affirmative identification. I give him or her credit, not only for the analysis but for being a driving force behind various changes I made to my writing style in the time since. I am not a murderer, though the genesis of those comments do elicit some interesting discussions when I meet new clients who do thorough research. It would be nice if those comments were removed from the internet; but I have no intention of bullying someone or suing them into compelling removal.
I take great pride in LostMessiah. It cannot be pride of ownership or authorship because, as I have said on many pages contained on this site, this has been a great collaboration. I take pride in the nearly 1.6 Million views the site has achieved in two and one/half years and in the nearly 800K unique visitors to the site, a number that is constantly growing. I value the worldwide audience, our readership. I am glad we are reaching you. I am amazed by the site’s ability to join people together toward a common good, making the world a better place for all who live in it. I am humbled, to no end, by the contributions, the comments, and the perseverance of those who have kept in touch. I am a far better person for it and for you.
I am a Jew, something that runs through my veins, both culturally and to some extent religiously. I was raised in a secular home, lighting candles on Shabbat not because it was a religious expectation but a cultural one. I grew up listening to conversations in Yiddish, and speaking to some small degree, because it was the common language of all of my grandparents. I attended the Yiddish Culture Congress meetings as a child and I heard the great Elie Wiesel (z”l) speak in Yiddish. I was introduced as the grand-daughter, the great-niece and niece of Yiddish professors and writers. I was introduced as family of some of the early founders of the Jewish Forward and Jewish Standard, though I am not exactly sure what the correct names were at the time. Writing and the ability to express oneself has been an integral part of my upbringing and I believe that I am obligated as a Jew and as a person, to use it in my professional and personal life to leave the world better having me walk it.
Religiously I identify most closely with the Conservative community, though I do travel on Shabbat, I don’t keep a Kosher home and I will eat in non-Kosher restaurants. I spent several months identifying with the ultra-Orthodox community during that period when, as young adults we are finding ourselves. I discovered within that community a great beauty. People were inviting and kind. They showed love and compassion. I was welcomed into families as one of their own. I spent holidays within the different communities. That was a lifetime ago.
My decision to leave the community was borne of the darkness that I saw at the time. I was called a non-Jew by someone who had invited me for Shabbat because I grew up not observant. I was told that I was dirty because I wore skirts just below the knee and showed my ankles. I was called a whore because I wore open-toed sandals and stones were thrown at me in a Mea Shearim neighborhood because I was not wearing a high necked shirt on a sweltering day. I have seen far greater darkness since, much of it the impetus for this site.
My defense is being led by New York First Amendment and media attorney, Henry R. Kaufman. Mr. Kaufman has been active in this field for more than 40 years. He served as Vice President and General Counsel of the Association of American Publishers. Later he was one of the co-founders, and served for 16 years as General Counsel, of the Libel Defense Resource Center (now known as the Media Law Resource Center), a national coalition of almost every major US media company, journalism organizations and journalists and of attorneys in all 50 states specializing in defamation and media defense issues. Since 2000, Mr. Kaufman has been the head of his own boutique firm, again specializing in defamation, First Amendment and other media and intellectual property issues and litigation.
Mr. Kaufman has agreed, in light of my lack of liquid resources, to reduce his normal commercial litigation rates by one third, from $750/hour to $500/hour. If you would like to assist, both in paying for the litigation, any necessary security for my safety, and, if there is money remaining to build LostMessiah into something bigger, more insightful and staffed, please send checks to Henry R. Kaufman, attorney escrow account, for friends of LostMessiah or in Defendant’s name “Julie Globus.” They can be sent to 60 East 42nd Street 47th Floor, New York, NY 10165. GoFundMe information will follow.