Now-retired smartphone leaker Evan “Evleaks” Blass is in a tussle with TK O’Connor of TK Tech News over claims that O’Connor has used Blass’ multiple sclerosis as a vehicle to line his own pockets from the proceeds of a crowdfunding campaign in Blass’ name.
Shortly after Evleaks announced his retirement in August, O’Connor proceeded to set up an Indiegogo campaign to help Blass with his medical bills to pay for his MS treatment. To date the campaign has raised $9,275 of its goal of $100,000.
But on Saturday things between Blass and O’Connor took a turn for the worse, with Blass posting on Twitter that he had been the victim of fraud by O’Connor as he said — providing a screencap of an email from Indiegogo — that the funds from all who paid by credit card were routed into the bank account of O’Connor’s wife.
The reply from IndieGoGo to my inquiry regarding the delay: pic.twitter.com/paflwTL3vf
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) October 12, 2014
For his part O’Connor denies the claims put forward by Blass and uploaded a video to Instagram purporting to show that he’s transferred the funds to Blass’ bank account. But in a tweet Blass claims that the video is fake.
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) October 12, 2014
O’Connor denies any wrongdoing. It should not be presumed that O’Connor is in anyway guilty of fraud as this case has not been heard before a court.
The plot thickens
While on the surface this is a case of he said-he said, a recent expose posted by Phandroid’s Derek Ross on Medium adds a level of complexity to the issue. According to O’Connor’s bio he is a former professional hockey player that’s played in the NHL, IHL and Japan’s regional league. During his tenure in the NHL, O’Connor said that he played for the New Jersey Devils and the Anaheim Ducks. After his retirement, O’Connor said that he coached two professional junior league teams.
But if Ross’ expose is to be believed this isn’t the case. Ross went through team rosters and found that the only person that could fit the timeline presented by O’Connor is someone named Myles O’Connor. When asked by Ross, O’Connor said that he changed his name to Myles in 2007. Some Googling by Ross cast serious doubt to claims made by O’Connor. The real Myles O’Connor is a clothing store proprietor from Calgary, Canada that runs a family owned shop recently featured in Oilfield Pulse magazine.
According to whois results obtained from Ross digging through previous online properties connected to TK and his wife Patricia Pizer, TK Tech News is not owned by an O’Connor. From the records, TK’s real name is Thomas Connors and he appears to have no connection to professional hockey aside from being a fan.
Late Sunday Blass tweeted out an October 2012 press release from the Department of Homeland of Security which said that an individual named Thomas W. Connors from Winters Park, Florida, where Thomas “TK” Connors resides, was arrested for impersonating a DHS agent. The release also says that Connors was wanted on several felony probation violations in Florida including attempted murder of a police officer, felony assault, and felony fraud charges.
This matches a court docket from the website of Winter Park’s county, which lists court proceedings. A story published by an Atlantic Media property at the time said that Connors also outfit his car with emergency lights.
A case against Evleaks?
During exchanges on Twitter, Connors suggested in a YouTube video which has since been made private that Blass was facing an investigation by US authorities (the investigating agency was not named) for allegedly illegally accessing trade secrets (leaks). Though Blass has always maintained that his sources feed him information, he could be facing an uncomfortable legal situation if it’s found out that he has commissioned leaks or if he improperly accessed confidential information himself (for more, read this on a possible precedent Microsoft has set going after a leaker). Connors posted to Instagram screenshots of what appears to be Blass asking Connors for legal assistance.
The authenticity of these screenshots cannot be verified at the time. At the time there is no official evidence to suggest that Blass is facing an investigation, nor are there any related civil or criminal proceedings occurring against him at this time.
There will be more on this issue on Bright Side of News* as it no doubt develops throughout the week.