- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 30, 2003

A Web site that had leveled charges of fraud against a group seeking to place a statue of Abraham Lincoln in Richmond was shut down yesterday by its Internet host.
The Web site (www.lincolnstatuescam.tripod.com) claimed that U.S. Historical Society Chairman Robert H. Kline and society President Martin J. Moran have engaged in fraud by soliciting funds under a name owned by a for-profit company that is selling replicas of the proposed statue. The Internet service provider Tripod.com, which is owned by parent company Terra Lycos, shut down the site.
Terra Lycos spokeswoman Kathy O'Reilly said the site was shut down because it had posted the salaries and home addresses of Mr. Kline and Mr. Moran in violation of her company's terms of service. The terms state that users may not "collect or store personally identifying information about other users for commercial or unlawful purposes."
Ms. O'Reilly could not explain how those terms apply to the information posted on the anonymous Web site. "In the sight of our abuse team it was a violation," she said.
Richmond attorney Chris Malone, who represents the U.S. Historical Society, sent Terra Lycos a letter complaining about the Web site last week, and asked it to shut down the site and disclose the names of its creators. He said he did not threaten any litigation.
The society has been soliciting funds for miniature replicas of the life-size statue it plans to place in April in the Richmond National Battlefield Park Civil War Visitor Center. It will commemorate Lincoln's arrival with his son in Richmond on April 5,1865 two days after Union troops captured the city and four days before Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House.
The society is offering the replicas for $875 each, plus $25 shipping and handling, but under the name United States Historical Society.
The name United States Historical Society is owned by for-profit company FKAO Inc., according to records at the Virginia Corporation Commission.
Mr. Malone has defended the U.S. Historical Society, a nonprofit group, saying the accusations of fraud on the Web site and a request for investigation by Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr., Virginia Republican, are without merit.
Mr. Malone has said that it is all a misunderstanding, that he has received a release from FKAO Inc. giving up ownership of the name United States Historical Society, and that he is filing papers with the Corporation Commission terminating their ownership.

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