GerritsenBeach.net Attacked by SSJ Development and Jemal family?

On July 18th 2008, my website came under attack from a now known source, which I believe, based on information received, the attacker is CLOSELY CONNECTED to Mr. Stephen Jemal of SSJ Development. Lets recap.

I posted a story about Mr. Jemal being sued for an alleged non-payment of a loan connected to his real estate projects in our area. I later posted a story about a DoS Attack on GerritsenBeach.net after it was contained, informing everyone of the resulting down time. I reported the incident to Verizon, the attacking IP’s owner.

Later that night after the attack, I received a letter via email from Stephen Jemal’s attorneys, demanding that I take down my post, citing defamation. Here is that demand letter.

I believe that the demand letter makes completely ridiculous and unreasonable demands of me and the website, including:

  1. Removing the entire publication about Mr. Jemal
  2. Removing any reference of the publication from Google, all other search engines, and other blogs (like I run Google and control their root user name and passwords!),
  3. Publish a retraction / clarification approved by Mr. Jemal and distribute that throughout the internet,
  4. signing a non-disparagement” agreement, and oh yeah
  5. Sign an immediate settlement of TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS for legal fees, and additional consideration to induce Mr. Jemal not to file a lawsuit.

Whew! Mr. Jemals representation conveyed that the article painted him badly. (This Article)

Here is the problem with all of this: What statement did I make that was false? What statement did I make that was defamatory? Oh, that’s right NOTHING. Needless to say, that demand was flatly rejected.

This is where things take a very interesting turn.

After posting about the DoS attack, I received multiple emails from ####@SSJDevelopment.com stating that he knows that someone VERY CLOSELY connected to Mr. Jemal, used a bash script that he had taught this person.

Upon reviewing the website logs, the script described was indeed the script used to attack this website. Based on the connection between the two pieces of information, I have reason to believe the author of the email.

Mr. Jemals attorneys have since told me that the attack on the site was the work of a renegade employee who acted without knowledge or authorization of Mr. Jemal. They also told me that Mr. Jemal fired this employee.

While I am not in total agreement with this statement (the offensive IP originated from the Jersey Shore where the alleged offender claims to live, not in Brooklyn where this renegade employee worked), I accepted their statement. I was also accused of using this information in an attempt to extort a settlement, which I was not doing at all I was simply adding information to the negotiations, attempting to give all a fuller view of the circumstances surrounding the blog entry, and released the information with no thought to how it would painted or inferred.

Stay Tuned! We remain on Red Alert (but will take off the annoying red color)and anticipate negotiations ending shortly.

39 comments to GerritsenBeach.net Attacked by SSJ Development and Jemal family?

  • Andy

    Good job, GB! Now we know you hit them where it hurts

  • Sexton Hardcastle

    Wow I hope this scumbag gets what he deserves.

  • beachwalker

    Stand your ground! You presented the facts, not slander. What a pair trying to shake you down for 20K too!!What goes around- comes around.

  • Anonymous

    wtf is going on

  • Anon-Anon

    Ditto on all comments. You did nothing wrong but make available to others what is actually a matter of public record. What legal tactics they tried to impress upon you were truly unbelievable. Apparently, they sent the same to Gene?

  • Anon-Anon

    Mr. Stephen Jemal apparently has no understanding of the law. Oh wait, is that libel too? ;)

  • Avail26

    Good going now hopefully we will not see the development of Rivera Suites next to a poop plant for $600,000.00 a pop. HA HA that much money to breath in poop stink. Lets have SSJ take his venture some where else, he wants to be worldwide…Libia hasn’t been in the papers for a while. See ya SSJ.

  • Photojeff

    What is really lame is that these legal experts took the time to write such trash. You’d think they would at least make threatening demands that made sense. It seems like they were going for Shock and Awe but all they produced was something akin to little sparkler. The whole First Amendment attack is really just pissing me off though. I guess in the end the lawyers just don’t mind taking SSJ’s money. Boy he sounds like a jerk .. really JSS or his people should just state what specific statement(s) he found offensive. Of course that sounds a bit open for them.

  • anon

    wow demanding 20k is something else….lol…he thinks he should get 20k….that letter is very sad and embrassing for them stand your ground we are behind you all the way

  • Michael P. Judge

    Mr. Jemal is a candy ass and so is his “cracked” attorney, Mr Griffin.
    Hey Jemal, Griffin, I called you both a candy ass in a public forum!
    I dare you to sue me.
    20k? For what? All, if not most, of the information posted on this website can be found in public records. If Mr. Jemal is such a great businessman, why did The Wiz go out of business?

  • james123

    LOL he thinks he can bully anyone around that mentions his name on the internet.

    Since when was it illegal to speak the truth? If a product or a site is a scam, it is everyones right to say it is a scam. If this guy is a thief, it is everyones right to say he is a thief!

  • more annons

    Why are you protecting the “party closely connected”? Out the person who attacked you! Sounds like you have proof! Do it.

  • Nick Lak

    Awesome job! Get’m straight!! Your like the beaches Help me Howard ,Arnold Diaz, and Morton Downey Jr. all wrapped in one html. Seriously great expose’.

  • debbie

    Hang Tight GB.net. Keep replying to their empty threats with unbiased facts and there is not much they can do.

    If there is one thing you can say about The Beach,.. we Never Back down.

    If there is anything we can do on our end just say the word. We are all behind you!!!

    Give ‘em Hell!

  • Anonymous

    He’s a scum bag!!! Let’s call a spade a spade. He tries to ripe every body off. You for 20k and the Rivera for $600,000.
    That’s how he lives his life and makes his money.
    You did nothing GB he set himself up for the fall.

  • more annons

    I FOUND “the party closely connected”!

    Jemals teenage SON!

    http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven_F_Jemal/525235844

  • Anonymous

    Now that we all know how sleazy he is can you move on to more interesting news. I beleive you have been vindicated, you are reporting facts, that great but now it is just a bunch of personal attacks on a guy we should have stopped BEFORE he even got his hands on the properties (knapp & GB)
    What else is happening around town? Any updates on those surivors of the 2 accidents? Anyone find out who that poor sould was on Burnett?

  • Anon-Anon

    should have stopped BEFORE he even got his hands on the properties

    Ain’t that the truth. If only we could turn back time.

  • Anonymous

    Jerk! don’t worry you didn’t do anything go after him!

  • Anonymous

    Years ago I ran the fact checking department at a well known national magazine. Occasionally we would annoy the hell out of someone, and they’d have their lawyer write us a letter, threatening to sue. Our rule of thumb: the longer the letter, the less we had to worry about. Anything over one page could be ignored. Lawyers write long letters to assuage angry clients. If they wanted to get our attention, they’d do it very briefly, pointing to a statement in the story they felt was inaccurate.

    Of course we had very expensive lawyers on retainer, an effective shield against nuisance complaints that the typical blogger can’t rely on. On the other hand, another defense is summed up in an old print journalism aphorism: Never get into a pissing contest with someone who buys ink by the barrel. Something equivalent may work for bloggers.

    btw, In the all the letters I saw, never did anyone ever suggest a monetary settlement in the initial complaint. That’s just dumb negotiating. A real estate guy should know better.

  • KaosDG

    If you are interested, and need legal help, I believe the EFF could help.
    http://w2.eff.org/bloggers/lg/

    They handle a lot of issues similar to this.

    Hope that helps, and hang tight.

  • Ellen

    I’ve never seen a blog receive so many love letters from its readers. Makes me wonder.

  • anonymous

    Why would he get an attorney from Pennsylvania on this???? are they licensed to practice in new york??????
    ( OH they do have offices in florida and New Jersey) doesn’t make sense …Seems all of that information you posted is a matter of public record

    BTW Keep up the good work where else could we find out all of this interesting stuff.

  • I thought it was interesting that after I posted a comment on your last post — about what was coming, and I asked, quite correctly, apparently, whether it would be related to something legal — that my barely-noticed site got hits that were apparently coming from your adversaries.

    Back when I was in law school at the University of Florida, I did my senior writing requirement on online defamation. This was 1994, with the Web barely in everyone’s consciousness, so mostly what was there related to electronic bulletin boards. The one major case, Stratton Oakmont v. CompuServe, was also the case of a business suing for alleged defamation. Later, Stratton Oakmont was pretty much proven to be an investment “boiler room” and faced law-enforcement problems and was closed pretty abruptly. (The alleged defamation involved posts about the company’s stock and how it was overvalued due to the rather crooked doings of the firm.) There’s been lots of work and caselaw on online defmation since then, as a staff attorney at a think tank and in teaching first amendment law. There’s great material on the subject by Prof. Lyrissa Lydsky at UF Law and others, and it would seem to me that this action against you is going to be very, very difficult for them.

    Anyway, I wish you luck and would remind everyone of what the elements of defamation are:

    (1) a defamatory statement;
    (2) published to third parties; and
    (3) which the speaker or publisher knew or should have known was false.

    Truth is a complete defense to a defamation claim. This is simply the flip side of the requirement that plaintiff prove the falsity of the alleged defamatory statement.

    The First Amendment requires that a defamation plaintiff prove actual malice or reckless disregard of the truth when the plaintiff is a public official or public figure. New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964). This is a much higher burden of proof for a public figure plaintiff. Instead of showing objectively that a “reasonable person” knew or should have known the defamatory statement was false, a public figure plaintiff must prove the intent of the defendant was malicious, or that they acted with reckless disregard for the truth. This allows the defendant to prove its good faith intent and efforts as a defense.

    In cases where the media defendant is treating an issue of public concern, the First Amendment also requires proof of actual malice or reckless disregard of the truth, even if the plaintiff is not a public figure. Gertz v. Robert Welch, 418 U.S. 323, 349-50 (1974).

    Public figure plaintiffs may have to prove falsity by “clear and convincing evidence” as protected under New York Times v. Sullivan. Sharon v. Time, Inc., 599 F. Supp. 538, 558 (S.D.N.Y. 1984); Firestone v. Time Inc., 460 F.2d 712, 722 (5th Cir. 1972), cert. den., 409 U.S. 875 (Bell, J., specially concurring).

    The First Amendment protects statements of opinion, as distinct from statements of fact, against claims of defamation. However, the test is not the author’s mere characterization of the statement as “opinion.” Milkovich v. Lorain Journal Co., 497 U.S. 1 (1990). A statement is an opinion when:
    (1) the statement addresses matters of public concern;
    (2) the statement expressed in a manner that is not provably true or false; and
    (3) the statement cannot be reasonably interpreted as intended to convey actual facts about a person.

  • Anonymous

    I wont be buying anything from them! Sometimes developers are creeps

  • NickLak

    “Truth is a complete defense to a defamation claim.” – Quote of the week.

  • Anonymous

    your story has hit other sites: sheepshead bytes & room 8

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been checking this guy out & it seems we have been misinformed He is not the founder of the WIZ

    Marvin jemal who now has stores under the name the Zone is founder & CEO fo the wiz and in some items Lawrence Jemal is connected to the WIZ nowhere do I see Steven jemal connected to the WIZ

  • [...] jacob oneal pontillize on Update: Fatal Motorcycle Accident on Gerritsen and WhitneyAnonymous on GerritsenBeach.net Attacked by SSJ Development and Jemal family?GerritsenBeach.net on GerritsenBeach.net Attacked by SSJ Development and Jemal family?Anonymous on [...]

  • Plumb Picker

    Doesn’t Jamal look like Lurch from the Adams Family?

  • Hacking into a Web site and and denial-of-service attacks are federal offenses. Notify the District Attorney of the attacks and provide them with the logs you retrieved identifying the attacker(s).

  • stephen, lawrence & marvin, are brothers…their father started the Wiz, from one store in downtown brooklyn (fulton street) & was sold to (msg) in the late 80′s i believe….

  • Anonymous

    Thank you N F H for that info.

  • [...] If you don’t already know, back in June Stephen Jemal threatened to sue GerritsenBeach.net and SBPBCivic.org over a post that was made on SBPBCivic.org. It’s a long story, so read about it here. [...]

  • Anonymous

    gee a blogger with a one sided story. never heard that before. Why don’t you let eveyone know how the neighborhood has constantly vandelized and destroyed his property and how you’re hiding the fact that he is building everything as of right which fits in to the style and size of housing already there. he’s doing nothing but improving the land there. get a job and get off this guy’s back.

  • Anonymous

    It does NOT fit in with the existing neighborhood & the neighborhood does not want him here so f*ck off. You must be a Jemal lackey, loser.

  • Anon-Anon

    Maybe if he had put up a fence years ago, nobody would have been given the opportunity to destroy his property in the first place. The place was wide open for years – a completely abandoned building, parking lot, docks and lockers – a haven for the youth.

    As far as his plans of fitting in with this area, maybe he should take a walk around town and see that connected brick buildings certainly do not go with the flow around here. His plans fit the style and size of the houses here? Laughable. These proposed buidings are not “homes”, my friend.

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