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Thursday, July 16, 2015

"Conservative" mega-donor Foster Friess helps fund Ali Akbar, whose sketchy background includes trolling for gay sex online, plus multiple criminal convictions

Ali Akbar's ad at the Grindr gay-sex trolling app

We've presented evidence that members of a right-wing bloggers club might have been involved in, or at least had knowledge of, my unlawful incarceration. Would it be a surprise if members of the group, called the National Bloggers Club (NBC), engaged in such underhanded activity? Given that the club president has a history of engaging in underhanded activity--including some that might be described as downright sleazy--the answer probably is no.

NBC president Ali A. Akbar threatened to sue me for reporting accurately and fairly about a letter Alabama lawyer Jill Simpson wrote to Obama re-election counsel Robert Bauer in 2012. In the letter, Simpson wrote that her investigation turned up evidence that Akbar and Republican electoral guru Karl Rove had engaged in a homosexual relationship. Under the "neutral reportage doctrine," Akbar had no case for defamation against me--and his lawyer Baron Coleman, of Montgomery, Alabama, should have known that.

Threatening baseless lawsuits is pretty underhanded in itself. But that is a mere blip on the radar compared to the other shady stuff in Akbar's background, which includes trolling for gay sex online--plus multiple criminal convictions, including felonies.

Let's start with the online trolling because that's what prompted Simpson to take a closer look at Akbar. She obtained a copy of an ad Akbar placed at Grindr, a geosocial networking application "geared toward gay, bisexual, and bi-curious men." According to Simpson's letter, Akbar's ad stated that he "was looking for bisexual sex with men who were Republican, political, and loved to discuss politics and philosophy and just wanted to hang out and chill with them."

How is this for irony? The NBC reportedly received seed funding from Foster Friess, a wealthy Wyoming businessman. How wealthy is Foster Friess? Reports vary, but assets in his investment-management firm total $15.7 billion, while The Wall Street Journal reported his personal net worth at $530 million. Friess is touted as an "active patron of religious and conservative causes," and he perhaps is best known for backing the 2012 presidential run of the virulently anti-gay and anti-choice Rick Santorum. Friess appears to be setting the table for a 2016 Santorum run at the White House.

How forward-thinking is Foster Friess? Not very. In an interview with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell, Friess was asked about contraception. "This contraceptive thing, my gosh, it’s so . . .  inexpensive," Friess said. "Back in my day, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly."

The National Bloggers Club is not Friess' only foray into the right-wing media. He invested more than $3 million to get Tucker Carlson's Daily Caller Web site off the ground. On his blog, Friess touts a study that shows crime goes down as the sale of guns increases. Santorum is not the only anti-gay candidate to draw Friess' support. The investment guru also has thrown money at Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who has consistently opposed same-sex marriage. For good measure, NBC blogger Robert Stacy McCain seems to consider "lesbian feminists" to be a major threat to American culture.

One of Ali Akbar's various mugshots
So Foster Friess supports anti-gay candidates and bloggers, and seems to be a "tough on crime" conservative, but he financially supports a bloggers club with a president who has trolled for gay sex at Grindr and has an extensive criminal record? Hard to figure.

How did Ali Akbar rise to a prominent role in the Republican media galaxy, despite his criminal record? That also is hard to figure, given the GOP's stance as the supposed "law and order" party.

According to a report at the progressive Web site Breitbart Unmasked, (BU) Akbar was convicted in 2007 of theft of property and in 2008 of credit-card abuse. Both charges, in Texas, were felonies.

Borrowing from public records, BU describes the theft case as follows:

Five MP3 Players, Twenty CD’s, Three Camcorders, Two DVD Players, One Back Massager (How ghetto is this thief?) One Clock, Four Shirts, Two Belts (WTF?) and a Piece of Luggage, which had the value of over 1500.00 USD but less than 20,000.00 USD. This theft was obtained pursuant to one scheme or a continuing course of criminal conduct which began on or about November 1st 2006, and continued until on or about November 29th 2006. In other words, he was stealing from this person more than once, and over a course of time that lasted almost a full month before it came to an end.

That's quite a crime spree--and the ugliness doesn't end there. BU reports that Akbar also was charged with burglary of a vehicle, but that charge was dropped in a plea bargain that resolved his theft and credit-card cases.

How many other unattractive qualities does Ali Akbar possess? Well, let's consider that he likes to brag about his ties to the Alabama political/legal communities and issue thinly veiled threats based on his access to powerful friends. That's exactly what he did to Jill Simpson, in apparent retaliation for her letter to Robert Bauer. (By the way, how did Akbar develop such contacts in Alabama? Perhaps from Karl Rove, who is known to make his Alabama home base at the Montgomery law firm of Capell Howard?)

In a post dated October 24, 2013 (one day after my arrest), right-wing blogger Stacy McCain referenced the Simpson/Bauer letter and its allegations regarding a homosexual relationship between Ali Akbar and Karl Rove. Akbar piped up in the comments section and stated the following:

There's no alleged affair. It's made up an (sic) irresponsible to print. I'm a human fucking being and Jill Simpson should lawyer up buddy. Tell her not to worry about coming to Texas. I can come to Alabama. I'll dine with the Governor and then spend the afternoon cashing in favors with Alabama lawyers.

Since current Governor Robert Bentley almost certainly would want nothing to do with Ali Akbar, the reference must be to former Governor Bob Riley, who owes his two terms in office largely to the Karl Rove and Jack Abramoff political machines. (By the way, that hints that Akbar is chummy with Riley's son, Rob Riley, who just happened to file the dubious defamation lawsuit that led to my incarceration.)

Foster Friess (center), with Ali Akbar
and Robert Stacy McCain
What kind of favors would Akbar be "cashing in" with Alabama lawyers? What did he do for certain lawyers in order to earn favors? If Akbar had a valid claim against Jill Simpson, why didn't he file it and why would he need favors to move forward with it? Does it mean Akbar had some form of "extra legal" remedies in mind for Simpson?

And who are these lawyers who owe favors to Ali Akbar? Could they be from Capell Howard, Karl Rove's favorite Alabama law firm?

Public records show that Ali Akbar has a history as a thief, a burglar, and a credit-card abuser. His comment regarding Jill Simpson strongly suggests that he's not above abusing the Alabama legal system.

(To be continued)


Anonymous said...

So, the whole point of Grindr is to "meet guys near you." For what? I assume they aren't gathering guys for a game of poker.

Anonymous said...

Burglary . . . theft . . . credit-card fraud. That's what the GOP has come to stand for? Good God, where do they find these people?

Anonymous said...

Oh, and don't forget gay-sex trolling. You can't make this stuff up.

Chuckles said...

Imagine if these guys weren't such committed Christians?

Jason said...

Why does Akbar say he is looking for bisexual sex? If he is looking to hook up with men, he's after homosexual sex?

Is Akbar so uncomfortable with his homosexuality that he has to try to come up with another name for it?

Mona said...

I wonder how many married and "hetero" guys use Grindr. I guess they would claim to be "bi-curious."

legalschnauzer said...

I bet it's a lot, Mona. And I bet a lot of them self-identify as "conservative Christians."

Anonymous said...

I think Ali Akbar has discovered that rabid Republicans are an easy group to con. And he's right about that. In that sense, he's a pretty shrewd guy. As a slippery young man of color, he's discovered that he can get away with most anything--all because Republicans are desperate not to look racist, even though their whole agenda is driven mostly by racism.

Anonymous said...

Great point, @1:42. Ali Akbar is sort of the "Clarence Thomas of GOP digital media." He's the black face in a sea of white faces, and they are so desperate to have a handful of "token nigras" that they don't worry about how sleazy they might be, or whether they are any good at what they do.

legalschnauzer said...

Here is a Breitbart Unmasked story that shows how bad Ali Akbar is at whatever it is he's supposed to be doing. The guy is a walking, talking train wreck. And if you read any of his club bloggers, they are horrible--their stuff is poorly written, inaccurate, nonsensical, poorly research, and so on.

I would say Foster Friess has been fleeced.


Matt Osborne said...

"How did Akbar develop such contacts in Alabama?" Indications are that Rove is part of that story, but there's more to it than that. Consider these two close relationships: (1) Shelby County billionaire Shaun McCutcheon with Dan Backer of DB Capitol Strategies = the McCutcheon v FEC decision (2) Dan Backer and Ali Akbar = lawfare insanity RE: the infamous Brett Kimberlin from 2012-present. Akbar first pops up on the radar in Alabama in 2010 when he was hired to help promote viral videos online, including the (in)famous Dale Petersen ad.

(BTW, Akbar was an adviser to Peterson's PAC.)


legalschnauzer said...


Thanks for the link you provided. I think the BU story about Ali Akbar's incompetence also is intriguing. The guy would be a liability, even if he was really good at certain things. But it doesn't appear he is. That seems to go back to another idea that BU recently raised--that Akbar must have some dirt on powerful GOP insiders. You let a guy like this into your midst, I suspect, it's a bit like having a cancer cell in a body. My guess is that some powerful individual will at some point realize Akbar's negatives far outweigh any positives, and he will disappear from the scene.

legalschnauzer said...

That's an excellent BU article about Dale Peterson's second shoplifting arrest. I wonder if they got the "inspiration" for the goofy Peterson ad from the Foster Friess "man atop a horse" photo.

Anonymous said...

So where does Dick Cheney, his lesbian married daughter, and politically active "straight" daughter fit into Friess's Wyoming, Jackson Hole, and the rest? These people have to all fit together like any other network. The population of the entire state of Wyoming is roughly the same as the city of Raleigh, NC or Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida. It would be difficult to find a stranger among those operating at higher socio-economic levels.

legalschnauzer said...

It certainly makes sense that Cheney and Friess would know each other.

e.a.f. said...

its all so funny. I saw the name Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconson, who is going to make a run for president. How does that interest Canada. well we have a Prime Minister (president sort of) who refuses to meet with the provincial premiers (sort of like a state governor). Yet right before old Walker announced, what happened? well the Prime minister of Canada, Stephen Harper decided it would be a good time to go visit his good buddy Scott taking along one of his cabinet. Why should Canadians care, well we're heading into a National election and the Prime Minister of Canada has made a number of appointments to government positions and so many have been charged with fraud, being investigated for fraud, in jail for fraud, out of jail because of fraud they look more like a criminal organization than a political party. He has one senator on trial for 31 charges of fraud. One of his appointments to our national security unit was charged with a $22 Million fraud and then there was his senate appointment caught having sex with a teenage girl. So whatever the Prime minister of Canada is up to, it appears it involves Scott Walker. Oh and the Prime Minister of Canada is one of those "tough on crime guys", isn't keen on a woman's right to choice, took money out of the RCMP's anti child porn unit, et.c But the boy is a good Christian as are 60 of his Members of Parliament. They all belong to the Christian and Missionary Alliance church which believes the bible is "inerrant" and the second coming is "imminent". They're not keen on climate change theories either.

The P.M.'s party, Conservative party of Canada, has been caught cheating in every election to date, that they won. So if our P.M. is meeting with one of your Republican presidential candidates, both countries have something to worry about.

our Prime minister, stevie harper does have a cute habit, if a social organization or church doesn't agree with him and does advocy work for such things as poverty reduction, they get audited by Revenue Canada, sort of like your IRS. Yes, they audited the Quakers and a bird watching group because the wrote a letter to a cabinet minister expressing concern for bird habitat.

If one looks at the history of George Bush's run for the title, you will find some interesting people and tactics used to get him the nomination. If Scott Walker uses the same people and tactics, life might not be so great in the U.S.A. If Prime minister harper brings the same tactics to Canada, we won't be doing so well either. The only thing which saves Canada, is there are very firm limits on what some one can spend when they run for federal office. Over spend and you go to jail, just like one of our P.M."s former cabinet ministers did. (he only stayed over night, he got bail while awaiting appeal)