Thursday, October 2, 2008

A Blast From The Recent Past

I've been sitting on this story for a while...almost a month. I've been quite busy, and I needed to consult with counsel before I reported this to you.

On September 6th, I received an email from former Montgomery County controller, Eric Kretschman. Mr
. Kretschman was concerned about a post I made back in April concerning some real estate dealing of his that were reported on by Margaret Gibbons (reporter extraordinaire for the Norristown Times Herald), which was based on an article from the Washington (DC) Post. (click here to see Ms. Gibbons article)

Mr. Kretschman has asked me to remove the post, and I quote: "...because it is completely inaccurate". He then goes on to tell me where I got my information (DUH!) and begins a several paragraph diatribe defending himself and his businesses to me.

To put the proverbial "icing on the cake", the last paragraph contains a veiled threat, should I not comply with his wishes:

"[...] my partner and I will be suing DC for libel, slander and a series of other complaints in October. I am fine if people want to say things about me, either true or untrue, but when they are untrue, they have to pay for it, as I guard my reputation closely."
Well, well, well...your humble blogger finds himself in a quandry. Do I take the post down and make Mr. Kretschman happy, or, do I stand firm on the facts as they were presented in the Times Herald article that I cited? Hmmmm....

Well, I for one, love my Constitution, which reminds me that I have a First Amendment right to free speech. My statements in the post were inquisitive in nature-there is nothing slanderous in there, as they are "is Eric Kretschman a slumlord?" and "did he get any financing from Keegan Mortgage?"

Hardly accusatory, if you ask me. The post will remain. (click here to see the "questionable" post)

One final thought...Wasn't there a public official, a long time ago, who got caught up in something and stated, "I am not a crook"? Just throwing that one out there for you to ponder...
("...because it is completely inaccurate"-E. Kretschman, 9/06/08 email to your humble blogger).
Click on the red link below to see Kretschman's email to me, in it's entirety.


I am not sure I know you, but your blog contains an April 15, 2008 post about me which asks the question "am I a slumlord." And also if I get my mortgages from Keegan Mortgage, obviously a reference to Jim Matthews.

First, I'd kindly ask that you remove the post. Mainly because it is completely inaccurate. My business involves buying (usually very dilapidated) buildings and then renovating them and renting them to both blue and white collar workers. The basis of your post was a column by Peggy Gibbons who in turn got her "information" from a Washington Post article. That article was written because a 100-unit (not 85 unit) building of mine in DC burned down in March 2008. The cause of that fire is undetermined, but the city tried to insinuate that it was because of neglect, which was patently false. I had just spent $2 million in that building and the building was in wonderful condition. In fact, one of the major expenditures was on a life safety system that allowed every tenant to escape the fire without a single person dying or even sustaining an injury.

Just as a sidenote, the city has tried to sue me as a "slumlord" and a DC judge has tossed out virtually every charge claiming that the city was on a "fishing expedition" as opposed to having facts. In the course of the proceedings, 60% of the city inspectors were fired for being incompetent, which should tell you something.

It's funny, you strike me as a conservative (like I) on your blog, but you base a post on information from the liberal Washington Post and on information from Democratic city officials in DC who claimed point blank that their mission was to get rid of out-of-town landlords like myself...simply because we weren't from DC. DC is what this country will become under a truly Democratic regime...heavily taxed, subsidized, incompetent, bureaucratic, etc. The city didn't like us because we got rid of illegal aliens living in our buildings, rid the properties of drug dealers and prostitutes, etc. DC protects these people under the guise that they are "tenants." As an example, because in DC you cannot terminate tenant leases (they are tenants for life under rent regulations laws), we were stuck with a prostitute operating out of one of our units (this is a tenant we inherited). She and "her friends" vandalized the building and yet despite pleas by us for the police and AG's office to help, they decided to focus their efforts on some chipping paint in one of my halls. Great priorities.

On a final note, my partner and I will be suing DC for libel, slander and a series of other complaints in October. I am fine if people want to say things about me, either true or untrue, but when they are untrue, they have to pay for it, as I guard my reputation closely. Also, I received no mortgages from Keegan Mortgage for my apartment deals...they are too small for the size of deals we do...I have however, supported Jim financially in his campaigns, as I have Bruce Castor, Risa Ferman, MontcoPAC (Kerns), PA Future Fund (Asher), as well as candidates all across the county. In short, I have supported virtually every Republican that has asked me to support them. If that makes me a "Jim guy" than that's for others to judge.

Again, I'd kindly ask you to remove that post. Thank you.

Eric Kretschman


Anonymous said...

Supported virtually every Republican who asked? I recall him being a very active participant in the Republican faction against Ellen Bard, then a state rep who won the Montco GOP endorsement for Congress in 2004. She lost the primary to Melissa Brown who lost the general to Allyson Schwartz.

Anonymous said...

Eric=An evil little man!

Anonymous said...

This Kretschman guy is just creepy!

Anonymous said...

Stick to your guns, you did nothing wrong. This guy sounds like he is related to a neurotic public official in another municipality with this request.

The truth is always your best defense. It is highly unlikely that the Washington Post would go out of it's venerable way to pick on a nobody like this dude unless he did something worng. And as for Margaret Gibbons, she's hardly a reporter for the National Enquirer, so he's just pissy because he's been outed by a few traditional media outlets and has to read about him self on the internet.

If you have a photo of him, let's see what he looks like!

Douglas Muth said...

It's been my experience that when someone says that they will be suing someone, it almost never happens.

Had he been a bit less of an asshole, I could understand his viewpoint, but trying to intimidate anyone who even *refers* to that article about him screams of a desperation tactic to me.

To summarize: Eric Kretschman is 100% asshole. He is not fit for The Society Of The Future.

Anonymous said...

Amen to what he said...and FYI you have been SACced - a blogger on the SAC site picked up your post

their webmaster is known for hating first amendment threateners....he has taken them on before on even his own website

Anonymous said...

I like this claim about his Republican credentials.

He supported Diane Morgan, the Democrat for Controller, last year after he lost the endorsement and dropped out of the race.

He also launched public attacks on Risa Ferman and Bruce Castor and threatened Republican elected officials. He supported only Jim Matthews, no other Republicans, in the fall election and I don't know that that really counts anymore.

This guy got what as coming to him.

Anonymous said...

I truly don't understand every other poster's desire to jump on the bandwagon.

1. Owning apartment buildings in urban areas is a very challenging business, even for the most up-standing and ethical property managers.

2. You cannot believe everything you read in newspapers.

3. Since when is a person not allowed to get angry when they feel they are being mis-represented?

Bill Shaw said...

"Since when is a person not allowed to get angry when they feel they are being mis-represented?"

My beef ( and probably the beef with everyone else who has posted a response) is that he went after the humble blogger, who was just reporting on what he had read in a newspaper (I cited Margaret Gibbons and The Times Herald).

Did he go after the "Herald"? No, he threatened me via email. He's crud, in my book, for trying to intimidate me with the threat of a lawsuit.

The end.

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