The Hamilton Spectator
Friday, July 17, 1998

by David Akin, dakin@ham.southam.ca

A Las Vegas legal newspaper publisher says he knows who one of Philip Services Corporation's cyberadversaries is, and hinted it may be a former employee now living in Hamilton.

Scott Sibley, the 25-year-old owner and publisher of the Nevada Legal News, confirmed yesterday that four messages were posted to an Internet site operated by Yahoo! Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif. by someone using his Internet account.

That person posted those messages at the Yahoo! site using the pseudonym Imshort65, an alias Philip has been trying to unmask.

The person, who Sibley wouldn't identify, gained access to the Yahoo! site through an America Online account registered to Sibley.

He said Imshort65 is now living in Hamilton.

Sibley said he didn't post under any of the pseudonyms Philip is keen to identify.

America Online Inc. of Dulles, Va., has not received any court orders in connection with Philip's investigation and has not provided Philip with any information about its customers. Philip confirmed yesterday that no information had been forwarded to it from America Online. Nonetheless, Philip learned that Imshort65 was posting messages to Yahoo! from the same America Online account.

"I know who it was", Sibley said.

"I wasn't the one who posted the messages. Someone else was. I haven't talked to that person in a long time. I can't tell you (who it was) because of some other litigation we're involved in."

Sibley said he once held short positions in Philip.

A short-seller is someone who sells shares in a company he or she doesn't own with the expectation that the share price will drop and he or she will be able to buy back the shares at a lower price, making a profit on the difference between the initial selling price and the subsequent buying price.

Sibley also said he is a party to one of the class-action lawsuits filed in the U.S. against Philip that allege that misleading statements or misrepresentations by Philip officials artificially inflated the price of Philip's stock.

Sibley said that the person who used Imshort65 to post to the list was a male shareholder and may have been an employee.

Imshort65 posted a total of four messages to the Yahoo! site, all of them between March 14 and March 17.

More than 2,500 messages have been posted to the site.

Philip believes about one-quarter of all those messages may contain defamatory remarks.

It has filed defamation lawsuits in Ontario and in California.

It's not clear what phrases or messages Imshort65 posted that Philip believes are defamatory.

That kind of information forms part of the record in the lawsuit Philip filed in Ontario court on June 24. That file has been sealed by court order.

Today, lawyers from both Philip and The Spectator are seeking to set aside the court order that sealed the file.

The messages that Imshort65 posted may contain what Philip alleges are statements that defame Philip former chief financial officer Marvin Boughton, Philip's external auditors Deloitte and Touche. Some phrases in the messages posted by Imshort through Sibley's Internet service provider also suggest that some Philip officials were criminals.

Under Canadian law, it is defamatory to say that a person cheats, steals, or lies.

Imshort65 wrote in the first message, posted March 14, that he is a Hamiltonian who has followed Philip for years.

Then, on March 17, Imshort65 congratulates View Magazine columnist Terry Ott for some articles he wrote about Philip. In that post, Imshort65 refers to Herman Turkstra, a member of Philip's board, as Count Herman Turkstra.

One of the most notorious anonymous posters on the Yahoo! site identifies himself as CountBuster and regularly refers to Turkstra as the Count.

In another post on March 17 Imshort65 claims to have first-hand knowledge of interviews conducted by Deloitte and Touche auditors and also relays audit and accounting information that would seem to be available only to Philip employees or its auditors.

Philip has 14,000 employees in locations throughout Canada, the U.S., and Europe.

Finally, on March 31, Imshort65 warns that Philip will not be able to file complete financial statements with American securities regulators and, in fact, that's what subsequently happened.

Sibley has received no communication about the matter from Philip or from America Online.


Copyright © 1998 by The Hamilton Spectator. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.