Ronald J. Riley's Response To Friedman Demand Letter
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Ronald J. Riley
Edward B. Friedman
Delivery Via Fax Monday, 9-25-2000 - AM
I received your letter objecting to your listing on the web site as a known associate of record of an invention promoter and I understand your concern. Please rest assured that I am taking your complaint very seriously and doing my best to resolve it as fast as possible. I have worked all weekend on addressing your concerns.
I most certainly appreciate your advice to consult with counsel. But since I received your letter mid morning Friday 9-22-2000 I was unable to talk with counsel until briefly at the end of Friday. I did fax your letter to him Friday evening but will not have an opinion until Monday or Tuesday.
I can understand why you might interpret what was really a compliment to your effectiveness as a litigator as an insult. For that reason, and without the advice of counsel, I have made changes and offered a public apology to you on each of those pages and also a link to an apology from the main page. In addition I have posted your letter to ensure that all readers have the benefit of your point of view.
But the rest of your points, in that you are reading a quote from a clearly cited public document as being personal remarks by me has me baffled. I trust that you may have been angry and not fully considered the scope of your demands. Frankly, asking me to remove material which is derived from public documents is stepping way over the line and no journalist worth their salt would ever agree to such. My understanding of the law is that I may quote such documents in whole or in part. If I am wrong, and I am the first to admit that I am not a lawyer, I will remove the material and apologize. But since your opinion on these issues runs contrary to everything I have ever been taught I will remove the material only after I confirm that your position on the issue is correct.
Even more egregious is your demand that I remove all references to you from the web site. For example, a public letter which Mr. Berger posted to InventNet mentions you. It has been on the site for several years. Am I supposed to remove the letter, or just your name. You are counsel of record, and the case being dismissed or not, especially when such was apparently dismissed because the junior party was virtually broke, does not negate the fact you were named in a RICO complaint and as such is newsworthy.
Like any good journalist I do want to present the whole story. So in the interests of fairness I am willing to post one document from you that presents your side of the RICO complaint issue. As always, I am more than willing to correct any errors of fact, but so far you have not shown me any such errors.
I do thank you for supplying the letter which Mr. Neustel signed, for I had not seen it. Mr. Neustel was adamant that he could no longer discuss the case or even ISC. I have to say that I am familiar with Mr. Neustel's writing style and this letter does not appear to have been drafted by him. Considering what he had told me about the case before the gag agreement went into effect I have no choice except to think that he was coerced into signing this document.
I suggest that you should release Mr. Neustel from the gag agreement and allow him to speak freely, without fear of retribution. Whether you realize it or not your client, and you by association, have threatened many people in the inventor community. Threats cause everyone to distrust and resent both your client and you. Your logging hundreds of hits on the InventorEd site is an implied threat and that threat caused me to drop many other tasks to research the Neustel case - which in turn led to my reporting on the RICO action.
A better approach would be to invest more money in marketing ISC client's inventions. What would it cost to raise the success rate from under 0.2% to 1-3%? A few million a year, maybe five million? Considering the total cash flow this would be a good investment and would completely change public perception of both the value of the services and the rather negative image that threats to silence critics have created.
Last, my wife and I are leaving for combination business - pleasure trip which will last for three weeks. My phone will be forwarded to the cell phone at least part of that time but I will not be able to respond to you in as timely a manner. And web site updates or posts will take longer but I will give posting any statement you would care to make on the site about the RICO issue priority.
Very truly yours,
Ronald J. Riley www.InventorEd.org
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