Friday, June 15, 2007

Paul Truong Has a Question to Answer, However...

In my last post about Paul Truong, I explained how a 1986 Chess Life interview with Life Master Kenneth Clayton acted as confirmation of his Vietnamese chess career and national titles. Recently, however, USCF Issues participant "Theodulf" dug up strong evidence that Paul has, in the past, publicly claimed an academic honor that he does not possess.

By searching at the Internet Archive, Theodulf found a page that had been part of the http://hometown.aol.com/paultruong site. This was the home site for AOL's paultruong user--which is most definitely Paul Truong, candidate for USCF Executive Board. We know this because Paul has publicly listed his paultruong AOL inbox as the place to contact him by email in his capacity as Polgar Committee chair. The page was archived 8 times between November 2001 and January 2005, and each time, the heading of the page is "Paul Truong, Ph.D."

The problem here is that Paul has never (as of this date) received a Ph.D. It is quite possible that he has pursued graduate studies with the goal of earning a Ph.D. However, I consider the possibility that a future USCF Executive Board member has at any time falsely claimed qualifications to be troubling. One important quality we desire in a leader is unquestioned integrity.

The heading of "Paul Truong, Ph.D" also shows up on a page that bills itself as the "Personal Chess Page of Paul Truong, Ph.D." While it is not impossible that the page could be a spoof, all the available evidence points in the direction of authenticity. The comments page shows that it has been in existence from September 2001 until today, and that lots of commentators have begun their messages "Hi Paul" or "FM Truong" and the like. Many comments speak of recent games played on internet chess sites with Truong:

Robert from Las Vegas:
"I have had a lot of great games with you, and i hope to have a lot more."

Chris "Blacksheep" Jones from Greenville, SC:
"Dr. Truong, I just wanted to thank you for challenging me to those lightning games on Monday. Many players of your strength would not bother with someone as low rated as me. "

John Panther D. from Pennsylvania:
"Hey Truong! its Panther from USChesslive!"

Of course, a mitigating factor is that Paul has never during his campaign for an Executive Board post claimed a Ph.D. Still....

As soon as I post this article, I am going to ask Paul to respond via a comment. I look forward either to convincing proof that he never authored the pages in question (although that appears to be highly unlikely, especially the AOL hometown page) or to an expression of deep apology. Either would restore my confidence in Paul's ability to provide capable leadership for the US Chess Federation.

Note: It is possible for site owners to ask the Internet Archive to remove their content from the Archive's database. It is also possible for whoever administers the nationalyouthchess.homestead.com site to alter it. Therefore, I have preserved images of the relevant pages below.




15 comments:

Theodulf said...

It is so rare that in the middle of a fight someone will have the moral courage to turn around and ask the hard questions of someone he has just been defending. This makes you my hero of the day.

For the record, I didn't find the web.archive.org record of the AOL page. Someone else posted it to USENET, back in April I think. (I did stumble over the homestead.org page.)

Finally, just to be clear, in case somebody asks "Why is it such a big deal if Paul Truong put 'Ph.D.' on a couple of web pages five years ago?", in fact I don't think that's a big deal. Not at all. But, if he did it, it's worrisome that he has been stonewalling about it all this time, claiming he had nothing to do with it and charging that his enemies forged the pages. Two days ago he messaged two of his own supporters (that I know of) who post to the USCF forums, again reassuring them that he had nothing to do with these pages. If that was untrue, it's not a great return to them for their loyalty.

Mr. Truong's talents and energy are not in doubt by me anyway. But I fear (a carefully chosen word) that Mr. Truong is one of those talented people who cares so much about his reputation that he will go to just about any length to enhance it or defend it.

Chris, good luck with this blog and for that matter with your life :-)

Admin said...

Hi Chris,

Thanks for letting me know about your question. Someone asked me this question a few days ago. I have absolutely no idea who created the site(s) and why. I can only speculate but I prefer not to point fingers unless I know it for sure. I do not know how to create a website or maintain it, even until today. As you can see, someone else created and maintains Susan's website.

I would challenge anyone to show any evidence that I even once promoted or mentioned about this site. I did not even know about it until someone pointed out to me. Whoever did it took the pictures from Susan's old website which was created and maintained by her ex-husband. That site no longer exists.

I have never made a living in chess. Therefore, I have no reason to create any site to promote me. And if I do, I would not do something with such low quality.

To sum it up, I stated before and I am saying again now. I know that Sam Sloan and a few other individuals falsified my resume for political reason. They took what they saw on file and decided to "add" a few items. I have no idea and no proof of who created the website and why. I wish I have a better answer but I don't.

Best regards,
Paul

Chris Falter said...

Paul,

I greatly appreciate your taking the time to respond. I am aware of what happened with the resume, as well. When your critics started publicizing/distorting your resume that had been posted to http://hometown.aol.com/paultruong, you removed the resume page from the site. In my opinion, your decision to pull the resume in order to keep your business contacts private was fully justified by the treatment that some pugnacious critics were giving you. And continue to give you. :(

At the same time, this history leads to the conclusion that the site http://hometown.aol.com/paultruong was indeed under your control at the time that page2.html, complete with "Paul Truong, Ph.D.," was available. I am not sure how to reconcile your control over the http://hometown.aol.com/paultruong site with your current statement.

I am also puzzled by the notion that Susan's husband would have posted a picture of Susan with the man who would become her future husband. (BTW, I consider your marriage to be a wonderful thing, and I do wish you and Susan all of God's blessings as you go through this life's adventures together.)

If you could consider these further questions carefully and respond as you see fit, I would be most grateful.

Yours in bepuzzlement,
Chris Falter

Admin said...

Dear Chris,

I checked with AOL. They said that they could not help me. They said something about not having an agreement with that company anymore. They said that if I have the password, I can make changes / delete it. However, since I did not create the website, I am stuck. I asked what does page 2 mean? They said that it is strange because it usually would show no page # or page1. It means that if I create a site, it would show page1 or no page and not page2.html. Again, I do not know enough about the web technology to fix this. I would appreciate any advice or help.

Thanks!
Paul

Chris Falter said...

Paul,

First, allow me to express my appreciation for your willingness to respond to some pretty tough questions. A lot of folks in your shoes would stay as far away as they possibly could.

Secondly, page2.html is no longer at the hometown.aol.com/paultruong website. Therefore, there is no need to take any action with regard to editing or deleting a web page which currently exists.

Finally, the question that remains is: how did page2.html get there in the first place? It was first placed there in 2001. Yet your critics did not point out the existence of the page until years later. Assuming one of your critics spoofed the page, what was going on in the intervening years? Why wait so long?

I did an experiment at hometown.aol.com just now. I tried to register a new site as an unregistered visitor without a previous screen name. I attempted to assume the identity of an existing AIM account (my own). In other words, the site I was trying to create would have been http://hometown.aol.com/chrisfalter. (Except that I was not currently logged in to AIM.) The hometown.aol.com site would not allow me to create a chrisfalter site.

The implication is that only the AOL user with the screen name of paultruong would have been able to create a hometown.aol.com/paultruong site (and the pages inside it).

If you, Paul, or anyone else has further insights to offer, by all means offer them!

Admin said...

Dear Chris,

I checked again with AOL and they said that there is no page2 on record. They do not believe that it is an AOL originated page.

I also contacted homestead and requested for them to remove the full circle web page since I did not authorize this page.

After verifying my identity, they agreed and it should happen shortly.

Sam Sloan forged my resume. I do not believe he has anything to do with the bogus websites. He is not that sophisticated with web technology.

This had to be created by someone else. I think I have a good idea who it is and he is making a living in this field but I cannot say publicly.

Please feel free to let me know if you find others like this. Thanks!

Best regards,
Paul

Theodulf said...

For reasons which I went into in more detail on the USCF Forums, I think that Mr. Truong is in error in accusing Mr. Sloan of forging his resumé.

First, the purported resumé first appeared in two USENET posts in March, 2005. The full version was posted by then-Finance Committee chair Stan Booz. In the USCF politics of that time, Booz, Tim Hanke, and Beatriz Marinello were all critical of GM S. Polgar and of Truong. Sam Sloan's writings at that time are all supportive of Polgar and hostile toward the Booz/Hanke/Marinello bloc. Sloan had no obvious motive at that time to attack Mr. Truong, and Booz had no disposition at that time to accept forgeries from Stan. If Mr. Truong wants to accuse Stan Booz of forging his resumé, that's another matter, I suppose.

Second, the full resumé, if it is a forgery, is a very skillful one, and has the look-and-feel of a Truong resumé. In my view, the very consistent picture that it gives is of someone in mid-2001 who is looking for work in promotion, sales management, etc., outside in the chess field, and claiming an impressive list of turnarounds of local sales offices of real estate development firms from 1985 on, in addition to work with Internet games servers. I can't prove that the resumé was not forged, but I don't think that Stan Booz, much less Sloan!, had the subtlety of mind to forge a resumé this well. Sloan is many things, but he is not a Machiavellian forger.

Admin said...

Theodulf,

I never said he forged the entire resume. That is the speculation from people on the forum. They do the same with just about every issue and how many times they have been proven wrong? Only 6-7 lines were either switched, added, or removed. You were not around when this first came up.

Last August in Chicago, I suggested to Bill Goichberg and Bill Hall to require EVERY candidate and EVERY board member to furnish a verifiable resume. I would be happy to furnish mine. But it is not for the public. It is for the USCF and the ED can designate someone like Pat Knight to verify.

As you can see, people know about Texas Tech and one member of the USCF Forum called the Provost office to tell them that Mr. Barber has no authority and the agreement should be nullify. This is precisely why I would not post any of my information in public. Some of these people would not think twice about contacting my past employers (who are sponsors of chess) to cause problems.

I was told no. Then the same issue is being used to try to make me look bad. Even board members who know my background decided to stay quiet because otherwise it would hurt their candidates. This political game is a lot deeper than you hear about.

For your information, I did furnish contact info to the USCF. I was asked 2-3 weeks ago and I did (unofficially). Obviously everything checked out.

Best regards,
Paul

Chris Falter said...

Since there is no Paul Truong resume page in web.archive.org, there is no way to dispute his claim that some political enemies distorted a few lines. Accordingly, I think it is unproductive to discuss it any further. Paul has stated that he was involved in real estate turnarounds, and one of the companies he worked with was ITT. Good enough for me.

The evidence that Paul's Hometown AOL site had a page that claimed a Ph.D. is much, much stronger. My own research in the matter has convinced me that the paultruong@aol.com user created the site and the pages on it. So either Paul is responsible, or someone hacked Paul's account. The problem with the hacker theory is that the hacker supposedly created the page the fall of 2001 at the latest, but did not reveal his exploit until 4 years later. This does not look like a credible scenario to me.

Bill Brock said...

Here via Mig.

I had visited this blog some months ago, but to the best of my recollection have never seen this *series* of archive.org pages before. (Or perhaps I was willing myself into naivete.)

Career hint to would-be forgers: I really do have a Ph.D., but I often leave it off my résumé (except when it's a c.v. and I'd have to account for missing years): often regarded as useless credential in biz world.

Good work, Chris & Theodulf.

samsloan said...

A more relevant comment from the Mig Greengard site is the following at http://www.chessninja.com/dailydirt/2007/10/slime_spillover.htm :

Hi all, I've never posted here before and normally stay out of these sort of things. I would just say that I worked with Paul (and Susan to a much lesser extent) for quite some time as an admin on Chess Live several years ago, as well as having met them both in person on a couple of occasions. I've found them to be very nice, generous people, but at the same time I've seen Paul do more than a few things that were less than honest.

I can certainly confirm that Paul told me he was working on a Phd on a number of occasions, and then subsequently claimed to have actually received it. I've also seen other people refer to him as "Dr. Truong" when talking to him without him correcting them. I have no idea whether he really did get one or not, but to see him feigning ignorance on Christopher Falter's blog of ever claiming to have a Phd is somewhat surprising.

I know the above is somewhat off topic, but it's probably also worth bearing in mind that Paul also had a bad habit of creating multiple accounts on various chess servers, and using them to pretend to be different people. That doesn't suggest that he's in any way guilty of what he's currently being accused of, but it also means it wouldn't be entirely out of character.
Posted by: MrStillwater at October 9, 2007 14:35

Miron Cristea said...

Hi, Chris, the links of homestead pages you cite are no more working, but at least the first page can be still reached via web.archive.org, so you might want to update the link(s).

We are eagerly awaiting the result of the trial Sam Sloan put on.

Please keep us posted.

samsloan said...

I find it amazing when those who are a queen down in the endgame claim that they are winning when the rest of the world can see that they are losing.

Remember, during the Invasion of Iraq there was this official Iraq government spokesman dubbed by the press as "Baghdad Bob" who daily showed up for his TV interview in which he would claim that the American forces were being decimated, driven back, wiped out, surrounded, had no way to escape and so on, when in reality the American forces were advancing rapidly, winning every battle (if you could even call them battles). Even when the American forces had entered Saddam's Hussein's palaces and set up offices there, Baghdad Bob was still on TV claiming that the Americans had been utterly destroyed.

Now, we are having the same sort of things going on here in the Polgar Wars. The Polgar Group has taken to declaring victory. Kind of reminds one of the way that George W. Bush declared the "end of hostilities" in Iraq. Here are some examples:

gregory on Fri Oct 26, 2007 4:43 pm #75593
I see that you too are upset that your evidence and case is falling apart Sam.

Last edited by gregory on Fri Oct 26, 2007 4:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Gregory Alexander


http://susanpolgar.blogspot.com/2007/10/saturday-open-forum_27.html

Things are really looking bad to Sloan and his supporters, isn't it?

http://goddesschess.blogspot.com/

Saturday, October 27, 2007 4:38:00 PM

wow gold said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chris Falter said...

As I was reviewing this thread, I realized that I had overlooked a blatant contradiction in one of Paul's comments. In his first comment, he stated:

"I do not know how to create a website or maintain it, even until today. As you can see, someone else created and maintains Susan's website."

Yet Paul had earlier sent me a private message on the USCF site in which he stated that he was strongly involved in maintaining Susan's website. So why did I not notice the discrepancy? Dunno. I miss a lot of stuff, including knight and queen forks.

During the discovery stage of Polgar v. USCF, et al., the fact that Paul has been involved in maintaining Susan's website became public knowledge when her site got updated while she was giving a deposition. Obviously, Paul was the one updating her site.