Earlier today, I posted “An Open Appeal to Levi Leipheimer’s Sense of Decency.” Imagine my surprise when a couple hours later, I saw this in Twitter:
I assumed this “response,” if any, would be in the form of an email, or a comment in my blog. But then about half an hour later, Leipheimer tweeted this:
Exactly one minute later (suggesting these actions were coordinated), I got a knock at my door. I answered it, and I got served the following letter, which I was required to sign for.
(Scanned letter below, transcribed version follows):
And here’s the text of the letter:
Dear Mr. Fatty,
This law firm represents Levi Leipheimer and we have been directed by our esteemed client to write this letter to you. Many of your statements about Mr. Leipheimer in your blog postings are untrue, defamatory, and sufficiently vicious as to suggest you have a serious death wish. You made them maliciously to injure Mr. Leipheimer in his trade, office, and profession. As such, they are defamatory per se, and generally aggravating to the conduct of our client’s rarefied profession. Under the California Civil Code, Sections 44 through 48, this letter constitutes a demand for immediate retraction in writing of these false and libelous statements. Or else we make a little visit to Utah. And we bring the chihuahuas. Don’t pretend you don’t know exactly what we mean.
In accordance with the aforementioned statute, Mr. Leipheimer demands that your retraction and correction be accompanied by an editorial in which you specifically repudiate your libelous statements. Such an editorial better be sincere, you stinking rat, because we’re not asking again.
Your web postings and conduct also constitute tortious interference with the business and contractual relations of Mr. Leipheimer. As such, they are actionable and expose you to the imposition of compensatory as well as punitive damages. By damages, we’re referring to the propensity of smart-aleck bike-bloggers to fall down stairs and get hurt. Real hurt.
Below, we have noted some of the more patent, malicious, and libelous comments made by you on your blog. We are also in possession of sworn statements from Mr. Leipheimer’s “colleagues” regarding your general lousy, snake-belly no-goodness. Best we figure, some of these evidence your tortious interference as well. If Mr. Leipheimer is forced to file suit to stop your wrongful conduct, he will also seek an award of his attorney fees and litigation expenses, on top of a tooth or two, just to make sure the memory sticks.
1. In your posting of September 28, 2008 (http://goo.gl/WsXSg), you suggest that my client had a endorsement association with The Ultimate Cyclist Sports Hypnotism CD Series. This is completely fabricated and the further ancillary suggestion that my client was under the influence of a unique Spanish brand of this product during the 2008 Vuelta de Espana is deeply damaging. Your allegation that he was uncontrollably clucking like a chicken and mooing like a cow at a press conference indicates that someone needs to teach you the meaning of respect, you bastard.
2. In your posting of August 11, 2010 (http://goo.gl/p1GV), you condescendingly and with considerable sarcasm disparaged my client’s ability to successfully operate a mountain bike on a long-distance course at high altitude in Colorado. While my client assumed your sincerity and responded in kind, his reputation and ability to excel as a cyclist constituted mental anguish, hampering his performance that day. That said, he still nailed that race, set a course record yet to be broken, and was having a brandy by the fire when you drug your sorry keister across the line.
3. In your posting of October 7, 2010 (http://goo.gl/5m4ja), you are photographed licking a premier auction item that was to be sold at the stunning and exceptionally glamorous Levi’s GranFondo charity auction to benefit a variety of youth-based and cycling-forward beneficiaries. The Trek Madone in question was an actual Team Radioshack frame and fork that was rendered useless due to the corrosive effect of your reptilian saliva on carbon fiber. Should my office file suit, we will be seeking damages to cover this loss as well. We’ll skip snapping a pinky finger this time, since you clearly were raised in a cave by a pack of dogs who never taught you manners.
4. In your posting of October 10, 2010 (http://goo.gl/dSj2Y), you accused my client of bearing the responsibility of an unsightly divot in your forehead after his most amazing 2010 GranFondo cycling event. My client is a man of deep feeling and was quite hurt by this suggestion, especially when it’s clear that this was the result of your inability to install the helmet cam on your own big head.
5. In your Vimeo posting of September 8, 2011 (http://goo.gl/ZlE1F), in conversation with Andy FREAKING Hampsten, you suggested that my client goes around “punching people in the throat,” including Ibis Cycles founder Scot Nicol. While this is clearly a malicious allegation with no basis in reality, I will advise my client to punch you in the throat as soon as possible.
6. In your posting of September 12, 2011 (http://fatcy.cl/leviletter), you forgo all previous restraint and issue slanderous and libel speech in such volume as to render it unreferenceable in this limited space. Suffice it to say, my client is four-alarm pissed and you are about to enter a world of pain. Ask Jens. He knows.
While this is indeed the first actionable correspondence from our office to your attention, we fully expect you to repudiate the above statements in a sincere apology and editorial. The nature of the above statements satisfy the requirement of malicious speech under California Civil Code, Section 44 and 45, further adding to civil damages and criminal penalties Mr. Leipheimer and the State of California may seek against you.
My client is a stone cold honey badger and the idea that a mole like yourself would even stick his head up from his dank burrow only proves you just want to get whacked. As a guy who’s felt the “Leipheimer embrace,” I’d have thought you’d have more sense.
If you do not immediately publish the requested retraction, and cease and desist from tortious
interference and making false and malicious comments about Mr. Leipheimer, his officers, and his programs, we will file suit against you, for starters. Please govern yourself accordingly. Or we’ll do it for you, you putz.
Frank “The Necktie” Ragano
cc: Levi Leipheimer, Scot Nicol
I’ve started my response to Misters Ragano and Leipheimer several times, but I just don’t know what to do. Should I give them what they want — a retraction and apology? Should I pretend that my original post was satirical and therefore protected by free speech? Should I tell Levi that I’ll be nice, but only if he gives me an awesome bribe?
I don’t know. But I expect I’ll have to reply soon. Any ideas on how I should handle this?