I hope all of you are sitting down because, well, here's something that will come as a shock:
It appears that Steven Cohen may have been the moving force behind the online "Supporter's Petition" as well as the website set up to collect donations for his show.
I'll give you a minute to recover from the shock.
Thanks to an alert correspondent, I've been watching a site called GINGE TALKS THE FOOTY, a gentleman named Zach Woolsley who is an Everton supporter - not a Liverpudlian as one might expect - and a DC United supporter as well.
Ginge has been looking into the whole Cohen/Liverpool kerfuffle and has found some extremely interesting stuff.
Early on Tuesday he posted THIS INTERESTING ARTICLE tracing the genesis and evolution of the two supposedly fan-generated Cohen backing websites.
The "Supporter's Petition", purportedly written by one Nick Iannone, originally blasted Who Are Ya Designs, claiming that they were in breach of their contract with World Soccer Daily and asking fans to boycott the company in retaliation.
Ginge reports that a source is telling him that Who Are Ya was not particularly pleased with this characterization, particularly since, in fact, their contract with Cohen expired on May 31 of this year and they had simply chosen not to renew it.
As a result, WAY reportedly threatened to sue Mr. Iannone, who quickly CHANGED THE LANGUAGE on the petition, which now reads:
"It should be noted that Who Are Ya Designs in fact did not breach their agreement with WSD. The contract between WSD and Who Are Ya Designs had simply expired on May 31, 2009 and was not renewed. This forum had incorrectly called for a boycott of Who Are Ya Designs.
The writer sent Iannone an email asking for comment, but the first response he got was not from Iannone but from Cohen himself, leaving one to suspect that there is a bit more of a connection between the two than either is admitting.
Indeed, it's hard to imagine where Iannone would have gotten information regarding Who Are Ya's contractual agreements with WSD except from Cohen himself.
Something else I find interesting is that in asking people to boycott Who Are Ya Designs, Iannone (and, presumably, Cohen) is engaging in the exact same "bullying" tactics which he calls "terrorism" and compares to the "Taliban" when it's directed at WSD.
It appears that our boy Nick has no feel for the concept of irony.
Be that as it may, even if Who Are Ya Designs (I'm buying something from them today, and I don't even know what they sell yet. I urge you to do the same) was somehow in breach of an expired contract, Cohen and WSD have no legal way to enforce it since, according to the California Secretary of State, as of May 13 of this year, Cohen and Gerber's Soccer Weekly, Inc. is A SUSPENDED CORPORATION" under California law.
AS GINGE RIGHTLY OPINES it would seem to be a reasonable assumption that the reason for this status is non-payment of taxes and/or the required franchise fee. I would hasten to add that it's just a guess of course and if Cohen has another explanation I'd be more than delighted to correct the impression.
Now as a practical matter this really isn't a huge deal except that, according to my limited understanding of the law - and I'm hoping some kind soul will help me out with this - among other things Cohen's company can't legally enter into new contractual agreements or enforce existing ones, rendering their ability to do business rather limited.
(If I lived in California, I'd race right over to the Secretary of State's office and file on the name "World Soccer Daily", since Cohen cannot legally protect it at the moment. Just a thought.)
Even more interesting, however, is the evolving language on the "Fundraising" website.
Ginge notes that as of June 30 the Fundables site stated that:
"This group action expired before meeting its target. Pledges will soon be deleted".
What's intriguing about this is that, as of today, Fundables is now saying that "PAYMENT HAS BEEN DISBURSED TO THE GROUP LEADER".
The main question of course is just who it is that's behind these two websites: megafan Iannone, who's just leading the fight for truth, justice and the American way in support of the unfairly put-upon Steve Cohen, or is it, in fact, Cohen himself?
It appears that Iannone himself clarified the relationship, as THIS SCREEN SHOT OF A RESPONSE TO A COMMENT at the Fundables website seems to demonstrate:
"Sorry, I thought I did answer it, I attempted to post a response to someone asking me this, I guess it might not have gone through. Steven wrote both versions himself. I can't take credit for either actually.
The reason you'll need to see the screen shot is that the comment has since been deleted.
This is in reference to the continual changes that the Fundables petition underwent, first criticizing the Loiverpool Supporters, then deleting any reference to them, then claiming that 5% of all donations would go to a Hillsborough group, then deleting said reference when the group itself responded that they didn't know anything about it and he could take his money and stick it where the sun don't shine.
READ THE WHOLE THING and then maybe shoot an email off the Stevie Cohen and ask for his version.
If anyone can get a response I'll be happy to post it. But I'm not holding my breath.