EarthQuest's Don Holbrook Threatens to Sue Critics into Submission
We couldn't help but laugh our asses off at the latest move by EarthQuest "consultant" Don Holbrook to silence two of his loudest critics: Last week, he hired an Ohio attorney to send cease and desist letters to Garland, Texas, resident Heather Dobrott, who runs a site called realscam.com, and to a former official of the town of Parumph, Nevada, where Holbrook has done consulting work.
EarthQuest's Don Holbrook just wishes people would shut up and believe whatever he shovels their way.
We have a copy of the letter sent to Dobrott. In bold all-caps (that's how you know a lawyer's not fuckin' around), Sue Seeberger gives the self-described scambuster two choices: stop writing "defamatory" things about Holbrook, or else "provide me with complete evidence of the truth of each and every statement and comment that you have posted anywhere on the internet."
The funny thing is, that's exactly what the Houston Press and others have been wanting from Holbrook: evidence for the weird stuff he says. Yet it's apparently only a one-way street: Holbrook can make outrageous, unsubstantiated claims about his business acumen, and no one else can question him.
For example, Holbrook claims to have "worked on over 100 projects representing over $1 billion...in capital investment, generating more than 50,000 jobs in his nearly 20 years in the profession." Holbrook has never responded to requests from both the Tribune and the Press to identify these elusive projects and jobs.
News articles and public documents from his brief economic development agency stints in Arizona, Minnesota and Indiana don't suggest anything close to that. When we tried to find out more from these agencies, we were left hanging. The Lake Havasu City Partnership for Economic Development, which didn't renew its contract with Holbrook after two years, didn't want to tell us anything about him; no one from the Wayne County Economic Development Corporation or Red Wing Port Authority wanted to talk, either -- not a surprise, considering how he threatened to sue folks associated with the former and actually did sue the latter.
There's also the bizarre claim that he "launched the first economic development Web site in the world in 1991." Really? In 1991? For a guy whose dead-link-littered personal site looks like it was created by a distracted eighth-grader circa 1999, we're somewhat skeptical that Holbrook was that far ahead of the curve. Could he at least provide someone with a screen cap?
Then there's the curious matter of the 2010 itinerary of the National Rural Economic Developers Association's conference, in which Holbrook is described as being "awarded a federal grant from the Obama Administration's Center for Rural Affairs to prepare a report highlighting best practices in creating green collar jobs across Rural America [sic]."
We're not aware of any such government entity, and when we asked a representative at the NREDA where in the world they got this information, she told us that the NREDA just prints whatever comes their way without bothering to verify. (The only Center for Rural Affairs we could find was a Nebraska-based nonprofit.)
Oddly, no grant money is listed on Holbrook's Nevada bankruptcy filing from late 2011, which is not to be confused with his Arizona bankruptcy filing from 2010. And, for that matter, we haven't found a copy of this report anywhere. (And we can't very well request a report from a government office that doesn't appear to exist.)