The political domain name controversy in town is coming to an end, but hard feelings remain.
Steve Backman, the president of Citizens United in Forest Park (CUinFP), acting on his own in 2003 before CUinFP existed, purchased the domain names anthonycalderone.com, mayorcalderone.com, tonycalderone.com, timgillian.com, timothygillian.com, and markhosty.com.
Backman says he did so as a deterrent after witnessing what he termed a dirty campaign run by Mayor Anthony Calderone and Commissioners Tim Gillian and Mark Hosty, in 2003 and to prevent the internet from being used as a place for political mischief.
For a time, Calderone’s campaign organization Citizens for Calderone also owned a domain name that included the name of Calderone rival Patrick Doolin, but it later released its rights to the name.
Two weeks ago in a lengthy letter to the Forest Park Review, Backman said that he would transfer the domain names to Mayor Calderone and Commissioners Gillian and Hosty if they would contribute $150 to Friends of the Forest Park Library for each domain name transferred.
Backman sent the three e-mails detailing his offer on March 14 and also wrote that if he received no response by 6 p.m. March 16 that he would begin the process to release the domain names and they would then cease to exist and be available to anyone.
Backman received no response to his offer.
“I was a little disappointed that Friends of the Library didn’t get a nice influx of cash, but it didn’t happen,” said Backman. “I think that with the Calderone administration, or somebody there, buying the Doolin name, proved my point. And my friends and advisors on the topic who I sought out said you proved the point, it’s going to become the third rail, so to speak, if anybody goes there again so why not just give them up and get rid of the baggage”so I agreed and did it.”
Commissioner Mark Hosty was not impressed by Backman’s offer to transfer the domain name with Hosty’s name in it in exchange for a contribution to Friends of the Library.
“I felt I was being extorted,” said Hosty. “I donate probably thousands of dollars to different charities a year. I will not have a man like Steve Backman telling me where and how to donate my money. I consider him an arrogant, condescending jerk.””
On the night of March 16 Backman began the 35 day process of releasing the domain names so that they would cease to exist. After the 35 period is completed anyone is free to put in a claim to create those specific domain names if they wish.