Rogue of the Week

spammer Jim Hobus

This week's rogue, spammer Jim Hobuss of Southeast Portland, earns his title not for his annoying e-missives but for his poor manners and lame excuses.

Hobuss, who says he has written six computer books over the past two decades, established an e-business this fall, matching prospective homebuyers with realtors and mortgage brokers. He penned three different come-ons and sent each one to 10,000 purchased email addresses.

One version ended up in the email box of Minnesota writer and consultant Michael Fraase, who sent Hobuss his standard reply to cyber-junkmail: Any further communication would result in a bill for consulting services.

Rather than removing Fraase from his mailing list, Hobuss sent a personal reply. "And if you even try to file one Judgement against me, I'll sue you and your LLC," he wrote in a Sept. 1 email. "Kiss my ass and fuck off." (Hobuss denies using profanity; Fraase
says the exchange, posted on his website, www.farces.com, is unedited.)

Fraase, as promised, sent him an invoice for $1,250.

On Nov. 12, Hobuss' attorney, Gary Kahn, sent Fraase a letter threatening " appropriate legal recourse" if Fraase didn't remove any reference to Hobuss from his website. Four days later, Fraase responded, refusing to change the website and noting that Hobuss' invoice was "seriously past due."

Hobuss isn't about to pay Fraase a dime and is unrepentant about his emailings. "I knew that what I was doing was spam," Hobuss admits. What's more, he blames his legal intimidation on his 72-year-old father.

Hobuss says his pop searched the Net for mention of his son's new business and wound up at Fraase's website, which refers to Hobuss as a "parasite." The elder Hobuss then reportedly chastised his son for shaming the family name. "It hurt," Hobuss says. "Nobody wants to embarrass their father."

The Rogue Desk is now accepting nominations. Call 243-2122 ext. 380 or email buzz@wweek.com.