Bill Graber and Paula Brooks: open questions

I’ll publish a post with more details tomorrow morning at BlogHer.com, but for now, here are a few questions about Paula Brooks and Bill Graber. [ETA: the post is up: Lesbian Blogger Hoax: Warnings & Questions about Paula Brooks

white dude supposedly bill graber

1. Does Graber really have a wife, and if so what is her name? Is she Paula Brooks? Why hasn’t the “real” Paula come forward — or anyone who knows her? There is a real Paula from Fairborn, Ohio, at the same address as Graber, who appeared in court as a witness against him in a domestic violence case.

paula brooks or just some chick in a bar in Fairborn, Ohio?

2. Is the female, real-person Paula Brooks okay?

3. Is Graber potentially violent or dangerous right now? Is he harassing any of his former colleagues? Since research by Mel and Robin and others in comments here pointed to the Fairborn, Ohio court records, we can see that Graber has been convicted of stalking, domestic violence, assault, DUI, and other more minor offenses. I checked the Ohio state correctional system and didn’t see Graber or Brooks recorded there.

4. It may be worth looking into North Carolina (Outer Banks area) court records in case they did live there. Did anyone in the Outer Banks blogging community have strange correspondence with Paula Brooks? Did they know Graber in real life?

5. Who are these twin children Paula Brooks claimed were her babies? Did Graber steal some other blogger’s baby photos? Are they stock photos?

twin babies supposedly paula brooks' children

6. Are the other lezgetreal staffers, LInda S. Carbonell aka Linda LaVictoire, her daughter Brigitte LaVictoire, and others, sincere? (Adam from the Bilerico Project appears to think so, and he’s pretty awesome.)

7. Are Carbonell and La Victoire still working with Graber? What about the things they’ve said and done in the past — for example, Carbonell claiming to have close relatives in the government?

8. Who were those other people who spoke for Brooks at Bill Graber’s number, who said they were NBC staff – the younger man and older women?

9. Did Brooks or Graber actually have any contact with NBC, or the Olbermann or Maddow shows?

10. Was Graber in the military, as he claims?

11. How did Brooks know about inside political information before it broke — about various military/political figures? (http://juliephineas.com/?p=2599)

12. What is Graber’s real background and resume? Can we find other traces of his involvement with Middle Eastern politics? (Because it seems a little odd, especially given the contents of some private chats and emails people have showed me.)

13. What LGBT activists or writers has Graber/Brooks attacked in the past, and is there any pattern in those actions?

[ETA: Adam Polaski has just published part 4 in his series on this mess on The Bilerico Project: The Unreliable World of Bill Graber, which makes some good points about Graber’s inconsistent claims.]

54 thoughts on “Bill Graber and Paula Brooks: open questions”

  1. I remain fascinated by the story “Paula” gave in May as to having recently adopted a boy who had been living with Mennonite missionaries, considering Tom MacMaster’s mother is a Mennonite minister. Yes, I know it’s a tiny thing out of a veritable landslide of bizarreness, and I’m also well aware that life is quite capable of producing, of its own accord, weird coincidences and synchronicities–but that little detail needles me.

  2. “5. Who are these twin children Paula Brooks claimed were her babies? Did Graber steal some other blogger’s baby photos? Are they stock photos?”

    I read a post today from a blogger — I don’t remember which one, as there have been a lot! But I found it by following links from the comments in Renee’s post — that said that when Brooks was trying to get her to come write for Brooks’ site (which I think at that point may still have been Lesbiatopia?), she sent a photo of the babies holding signs asking her to come work there.

    That initially led me to believe that it was a real photo, perhaps of an acquaintance’s children. That’s not necessarily the case, though, if she/he’s good enough with Photoshop to have made it pass muster. (I couldn’t :). But I know most other people aren’t Luddites wh2ere that’s concerned.)

  3. LGR co-founder Julie Phineas blogged about a phone conversation she had with Graber after his “Paula Brooks” forgery become public. Some fascinating insights in this:
    http://juliephineas.com/?p=2599

    This explains how he made his fake id so plausible for many of the folks who worked for LGR. Using contacts at the Rachel Maddow show and the WH, he was able to provide internal infos that made it look as if he he worked there. Smart. Of course, everything he said has to be taken with more salt than comes with a tequila, and some of it leaves a more sour taste than a slice of lemon, but the explanations make sense. And despite all the fraud, his commitment to LGBT matters looks genuine. Not a totally bad guy, but with serious issues.

    1. Liz, Julie’s blog post provides answers for many of your questions, pls check it! For instance, Graber claims the twins are actually his grandkidz. And that he had contacts at TV. These explanations at least sound plausible.

      As for Bridgette (sic!) LaVictoire and her mom Linda, WaPo reporters contacted them. Bridgette claims the journalists checked the id of the six remaining LGR “staffers”. However, from the reports at WaPo, it isn’t clear if they met them in person. Maybe you could contact Elizabeth Flock or someone else at the paper and ask for a clarification, Liz? The future of LGR depends on the readers being convinced that the new team consists of real persons, with a real LGBT baqckground, and certainly many have doubts about that now…

      1. Bilerico had a conversation with Bridgette and Linda over Skype, which is their basis for saying that they’re real. I don’t know whether they checked IDs or not — article doesn’t say specifically.

        1. Oh, I must have skipped over that detail when reading the stories at Bilerico. Thx for the info, that’s good!

          1. Bridgette just posted her apology, one that actually I can respect… She says that right now she has to be civil to Graber (presumably meaning he still has site access or some hold on things) And she apologizes for attacking anyone Paula said to attack. That is kind of what I’ve been picturing – Graber manipulating earnest but perhaps naive writers and activists to follow his political line.

    2. “And despite all the fraud, his commitment to LGBT matters looks genuine. Not a totally bad guy, but with serious issues.”
      Of course he is “committed to LGBT matters”! It’s the site on which his sick fantasies were played out. You could similarly say that all homophobes are “committed to LGBT matters,” the Klan is “committed” to black people, anti-Semites are “committed” to Jews, etc. How else would they enact their hatred and displace / project the failings of their own sorry lives onto someone else?
      If we didn’t know there was a “real” person behind “Paula Brooks,” I would think Tom MacMaster had invented him at this very moment to take the heat off himself. The bullying psychopathic lesbiphobe “Bill Graber” makes the heinous Tom MacMaster look benign by comparison.

      1. I agree and though I do feel like I suspended judgment fairly decently through most of this, Graber’s patterns of behavior make me really not able to give him the benefit of any doubt.

        1. Ah… then that would be why, despite the fact Liz has full knowledge who actually benefited from LGR, she has failed to report that in all this I never made a dime for any of my efforts…. while other bloggers and contributors indeed benefited, both materially and financially from my creations called Paula the Surf Mom and Lez Get Real.

  4. Oh, I must have skipped over that detail when reading the stories at Bilerico. Thx for the info, that’s good!

  5. Here are some odd details coming to light from comments and emails to me.

    From more court records: Graber in 1996 lived in Enon, Ohio with Stephanie. This Stephanie may also be the one who shows up in Oregon in 1997. A Stephie, age 57, shows up in some online profiles. I recall that Paula Brooks was about to get married to a “Steffie”. This is a super tenuous connection but seems worth looking into.

    http://www.peoplefinders.com/search/searchpreview.aspx?searchtype=background-name&fn=stephanie&ln=bowman&mn=a&city=&state=OR For the details on the relation between Oregon Stephanie and Graber:

    Stephanie —–
    (Age 62)

    Portland, OR
    Hillsboro, OR
    Crescent City, CA
    Columbus, OH
    Duluth, MN
    South International Falls, MN
    Cornelius, OR
    Dayton, OH
    Enon, OH

    Her listed relatives include William P. Graber. She could perhaps be Graber’s ex-wife.

    There’s a Paula Brooks from Fairborn who is in her early 40s and lived with Graber. But there is also an older Paula Brooks, age 61, who has lived in Fairborn, West Carrollton, Medway, Lakeview, and Miamisburg — all towns in Ohio.

    1. How fair is it to publish [Stephanie]’s information in a Googlable forum? Do we have any reason to believe that she’s complicit in Graber’s behavior? Raising her visibility (not everybody is clued enough to use the tools you’re using) makes her less safe, and she hasn’t done anything to earn that.

      1. I edited the full name out. I think you’re right and I screwed up and possibly kind of over-outed someone who might really have good reason not to want to be associated with Graber. I don’t feel any such compunction about making Graber’s convictions more googleable, though.

  6. Oh, I left out a question #14: Bill Graber’s photo. I think there is only the one photo, which Graber provided to the Washington Post. His physical description in court records is:

    Race: WhiteCaucasian
    Sex: Male
    Eye Color: Brown
    Height: 6’01”
    Weight: 160 Pounds
    Hair Color: Brown

  7. God. I find the violence part unsurprising but still horrifying. Thanks for your continuing research.

      1. The more I look at all of this the more suspect I am that “Paula Brooks” is Bill Graber.

        I you look at some of the links on the Surfermom sites you will that it appears she is saying that the person behind this blog is her father. They correspond regularly and he acknowledges that he is her father.

        She also has links from somebody that is presumably her ‘sister’

        http://queen-of-the-surf-pirates.blogspot.com/2007/08/to-imperialist-surfing-grandpa.html
        Follow these threads?

        The tone of all of all of this just doesn’t resonate with the real life profile of Bill Graber in terms of what we know about his economic/criminal history or even his ‘self described’ background.

        Very murky.

        1. Well, that picture she posted of her Dad in the link you provided certainly looks like a younger version of the Bill Graber picture he’s given to the media. I mean no question it’s the same man.

      2. Disposition Information
        Conviction Date: 12-12-2005
        Dft’s Plea:
        Dft. Found: D Fine Amt.:
        Susp.:
        Costs Amt.: 51.00
        Susp.: .00
        Jail Time:
        Susp.:
        O.L. Susp. From:
        O.L. Susp. To:

        Here is my explanation… the “D” in Diff found…. means the charge was dismissed.

  8. Also, I can’t help but question anyone who says, “He doesn’t seem like such a bad guy”….if that’s how you feel, you are suspect in my book. You know Graber is hitting up most of these blogs. There is no way he’s spent YEARS in this lie, dedicated his life to this lie….and he’s just unhooking the internet just like that.

    As late as last night he was still using Paul Brooks emails accounts to contact people!

    1. He seems to be saying a lot of weird and screwed up things to people still and riding on a sort of manic wave of conviction that he is famous and bound for glory….

      1. How would you even know what I have said?

        Now the one person I did talk to…. Bil Browning…. had a decided agenda…. and the first thing he did was try to shake me down for my contacts list… and then made it quite clear he would like to see a very good competitor disappear forever…. needless to say that conversation when down hill quickly.

        This whole deal has been a supreme exercise in supposition and speculation on Liz’s part….. despite her having been offered several times to talk to me.

    2. Uh, correct quotes, pls! I wrote “Not a totally bad guy, but with serious issues.” In other comments, I also wrote that I suspect Graber may be a sociopath. I don’t think acknoledging that guy’s positive achievement in creating LGR, while at the same time saying that he’s a bully and a psychologically disturbed person, is contradictionary. If that makes you suspicious of me, d’oh.

      I’m no friend of Graber at all, I wasn’t even a regfular reader of LGR before the scandal hit the news. I’m just a hetero male in his late 40s from Germany, a supporter of equal rights for LGBT’s. I like to comment pseduonymoiusly on a wide range of topics. You can find my profile here:
      http://www.blogger.com/profile/16926354968306362321
      “Gray Goods” isn’t my real name, as should be obvious. If you’re still suspicious, ask Liz where my IP originates. Ok?

      1. ” that guy’s positive achievement in creating LGR, ”

        Did you miss the point where he created LGR after creating a split in the successful Lesbiatopia and taking some of its writers with him, and then created another split at LGR, forcing out one of the original founders?

        Without Graber, all those writers would have been perfectly capable — were perfectly capable, because they were already doing it — of creating their own successful sites. He did nobody any favors.

        1. Yep, you said it all. There was nothing positive or “accomplished” about LGR either…all he did was scam a bunch of people into paying for it and writing on it just to give himself the look of credibility to spew his vitriol. The man hates women, no matter what he says, there is not other reason.

          Particularly disturbing was the link from the blog above where the woman posted a chat with him as Paula where she called “her twins” mean girls and she was glad to have adopted a sweet boy.

          WTF! Those “mean girls” were his own grandchildren and the “sweet boy” was clearly fictional.

          He’s spent 6 years of his life online harrassing and verbally abusing women under the guise as a lesbian….THATS the credibility he wanted as a lesbian, to be able to verbally abuse and control women without question. He’s sick.

          1. Gosh, Liz…it kills me how this woman is almost making excuses. WTF??? I guess they need to not feel so stupid or something? This woman think she would like to still chat with him now and then? I’m DYING.

        2. No, I didn’t miss that point. I’m very well aware that Graber only started LGR when he became pissed off that even with his bullying he wasn’t in control at Lesbiatopia. He wanted it to be either his way or the highway, so he started the new site. However, nobody can reasonably deny that LGR had a lot of readers, and was recognized by the media. That’s what I meant with “positive achievement”.

          Sry, if that’s too nuanced for you girls, but I’m not a guy who’s thinking in “black vs white” terms. Thus my pen name.

          1. He started LGR…. because the crew at Lesbiatopia what to be all about petty drama and fluff rather then equality.

  9. http://64.56.107.134/pa/

    Up above. Liz wrote, “From more court records: Graber in 1996 lived in Enon, Ohio with Stephanie.”

    Enon is in Clark County. That is the website to search for court records for Clark County. Use it-the search by name advanced. William P. Graber. There is a closed court case, a messy one that is now closed. A divorce case. Garnishment of wages taken from unemployment for arrearages in child support. Sift through it. Time fits except in Feb 1995 a service was attempted and was marked “does not live there”.

    The wife’s name was Mary K. Graber

      1. and yes… there was a William Jr…. my son…

        who was shot to death by supposed gang bangers in Aug of 95

  10. The case is on child support. It would made sense to refer to him as Sr. if there is a son that is Jr. Or at least it would make sense to me. Also, the way I read the link for Stephanie is that Graber is the maiden name.

  11. Yeah, remember, this guy is going to have adult children. And admitted the twins he was passing off are his GRANDCHILDREN. God, so creepy.

  12. 1995 his unemployment was being garnished for back child support. That child or children could more than likely be in their mid twenties by now. Certainly old enough to produce the twins he claims are his grandchildren. Key word, “claims”. Maybe Bill has taken them all to his job at the Smithsonian to see the “Invention at Play” exhibit.

  13. The pattern of Graber’s attacks, the specificity of his violation in pretending to be a lesbian blogger — if he were so concerned with “LGBT matters” and later DADT, he could have pretended to be a gay man — indicates to me that his hatred of lesbians is quite personal. He reminds me of the “Black Shirts” in Melbourne (yes, that is the name they chose for themselves), a “Father’s Rights” group. The Black Shirts trolled the Family Law Courts in Melbourne and would offer “support” to distraught men who left the courts. They had their headquarters in Brunswick, a suburb in which many lesbians live, and harassed women who had left their husbands, in particular the ex-wives of members. Their vitriol was especially directed towards women who had left their husbands and were in a relationship with a woman. They would leaflet houses in the streets surrounding their victims, protest with megaphones on their lawns, yelling abuse for hours on end.
    This hatred borne out of envy is invoked every time I read the horrible details of Graber’s abuse. It was personal for him.

    1. I know what you mean. I also recall from Queen of the Surf Pirates, “Paula’s” story of how and why she left her “boring” husband. At that point I did have to wonder if Graber had a wife who left him (for whatever reason, but perhaps for another woman)

  14. I am not the tech-savviest person I know, but someone around these parts is likelier to be. Graber is systematically removing his trail of internet evidence…just like MacMaster. I can’t submit the now-locked blog entries to the Wayback Machine for archiving because of robots. But for now, you can get cached versions of them to appear if you google search properly. Is there a way to document everything? Is anyone already working on that?

  15. I’m pondering the question of whether there are more fake identities out there in this whole thing.

    There was another person who writes for Lezgetreal and was also a friend of Paulas and guest writer on queenofthesurfpirates:

    BeckyC/Becky Chandler/Rebecca Chandler – aka ‘A Girl in Short Shorts’.

    She seems to have quite a similar talent for raking up controversy all of the web.

    Anybody know her?

    1. Libby, that very well could be but I can’t tell for sure. Also “beckychr007”. Note this page explaining her weird pattern of talking about children and spanking:
      http://facebookwatcher.blogspot.com/2011/04/becky.html

      Whether that’s Graber or not, “Becky” certainly sets off some alarms and is probably some creepy dude. Of course LezGetReal linked to this “sassy libertarian” totally uncritically.

  16. I’ve always been a huge believer in “follow the money”

    The original Paula “surfing sites” I think were part of a fairly tightly linked ring of blogs (papersurfer, daddypapersufer etc) involved in the wider Fuelmyblog.com program.

    Fuelmyblog creates programs whereby companies can “pay” bloggers in certain niches and demographics to write positive reviews of their products. Having a look at the Surfer mom sites there is a notable number of “reviews” of various things.

    The broader issue is that these types of programs, (apart from the obvious ethical questions), provide a considerable financial incentive for people to develop ‘fictional’ personas in niches that are attractive to particular advertising sectors.

    So using Paula as an example you could pick any of the following: surfing, mother, twins, lesbian, pet owner, outerbanks.

  17. FWIW, the IP address that “Becky Chandler” was using appeared to be from Arizona. I could dig it up if anyone was curious. The strange thing was that she’d posted lots of anecdotes related to spanking over the years, but the ages of her purported “kids” didn’t seem to line up right. This was almost reassuring, since the idea of her having children was pretty disturbing.

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