Federal judge puts Internet pioneer in civil lockdown

Article written by Barbara Hollingsworth, Washington Examiner

 When Jeff Baron came to Washington this month, he was wearing a borrowed suit.

Once upon a time, the Internet pioneer -- who taught himself computer programming and created innovative software to register domain names -- lived the good life in a Dallas suburb.

His company, Ondova, was a cash cow, pulling in $1.5 million in profit each month.

It all started unraveling when Baron, now 44, hired some high-powered Texas attorneys to help manage his holdings, and he was approached by a potential business partner who promised to turn Ondova into the next Google.

Baron admits he was naive and failed to perform due diligence as his lawyers set up an "elaborate" network of businesses offshore and his erstwhile partner turned out to be a convicted felon who sold porn online.

After a lengthy series of legal battles, Ondova was eventually forced into bankruptcy. But it wasn't until Baron found himself in the Dallas courtroom of U.S. District Judge Royal Furgeson that his real nightmare began.

At a June 19, 2009, hearing in his civil case, Judge Furgeson warned Baron that "failure to comply" with a previous court order to renew Ondova's domain names would be considered "contempt, punishable by lots of dollars, punishable by possible jail, death. ... You are a fool, a fool, a fool to screw with a federal judge, and if you don't understand that, I can make you understand it. I have the force of the Navy, Army, Marines and Navy (sic) behind me."

A shaken Baron agreed to give up half of his Internet assets to "buy peace." In 2010, he signed a Global Settlement Agreement for all outstanding claims against him. "There were 1,500 filings. I complied with the settlement agreement 100 percent," he told The Washington Examiner.

full article at Washington Examiner

Comments

Although only published on the Opinions page of the Washington Examiner, nearly 80 readers posted comments to this article within a few days of publication. In other articles about Jeff's case, it appeared that Mr. Vogel or his associates posted defamatory comments. In contrast, all comments to the Washington Examiner appear to be from legitimate readers.

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