Archive for January 28th, 2010

Linda McMahon Chronicles: Strange Tale of the Stamford Police and the ‘Benoit Wikipedia Hacker’ (Part 1)

INTRODUCTION

Chapter 9 of CHRIS & NANCY, my book about the Benoit murder-suicide, delves into the bizarre tale of the 19-year-old Stamford resident and UConn student who posted on Wikipedia the nugget that Nancy Benoit was dead – some 14 hours before the family’s bodies were discovered.

For the special edification of those following the U.S. Senate race of Linda McMahon, co-founder and former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, it is time to review that tableau and its implications. Toward that end, this piece introduces a new multi-part blog series.

Matthew T. Greenberg, now either 22 or about to turn that age, was not involved in the Benoit crimes. And indeed, his Wikipedia edit may have been nothing more than an eerie coincidence. Greenberg’s significance is that the police in Stamford (where WWE headquarters also happen to reside) went out of their way not to press the key questions of how and where he acquired his possibly accidentally accurate information.

To show the full extent of Stamford PD’s bungling, I had to go all the way to the “courthouse steps” of an appeal hearing at the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission, before the city’s corporation counsel finally coughed up the videotape of the shoddy interrogation of Greenberg. That footage is now viewable on my YouTube channel, http://youtube.com/WrestlingBabylon.

Just as Greenberg surely was not involved in the Benoit rampage itself, neither was WWE. Vince McMahon didn’t do it. Nor did Nancy’s goofy previous wrestler-husband. Or the one-armed man from The Fugitive. Or the butler.

However, this billion-dollar publicly traded corporation did heavily manage the account of what it knew and when it knew it. And the thesis of CHRIS & NANCY is that this backstory goes a good distance toward explaining the overall death pandemic in an industry whose mega-profits are underwriting Linda McMahon’s $50 million campaign for high public office.

The Wikipedia Hacker subplot of the Benoit story emerged in the context of the two different timelines of Benoit events promulgated by WWE. One was published on the company’s entertainment website and quickly expunged. The other was published on the corporate business website.

What exactly did happen with Matthew Greenberg? That is not something CHRIS & NANCY presumes to answer. In addition, the book doesn’t explore why Stamford PD was so passive and inept. For all I know, it was just another day at the office, despite the fact that the Benoit case was the focus of frenzied international media coverage.

But with Linda McMahon’s Senate candidacy, it is now worthwhile at least to put out there for deeper consideration a few other aspects of the biggest public relations crisis in the history of one of Stamford’s and Connecticut’s leading corporate lights.

For example: Dan Malloy, the mayor of Stamford, is now running for governor. Like another Democrat, Susan Bysiewicz, Malloy last year endorsed Governor Jodi Rell’s appointment of Linda McMahon to the state Board of Education. (Though, unlike Bysiewicz, Malloy does not show up on the Republican McMahon’s list of campaign contributions.)

Read on and enjoy. Or not. If you have a tip, you can send it to tips@muchnick.net.

Irv Muchnick

WWE Stars Chris Jericho And ‘Hurricane’ Helms Arrested

TMZ.com was the first to report that World Wrestling Entertainment wrestlers Chris Jericho and Gregory “Hurricane” Helms were arrested for public intoxication early Wednesday in Erlanger, Kentucky, a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. The mug shots of these WWE employees — excuse me, independent contractors — can be viewed  at http://www.tmz.com/2010/01/28/wwe-star-chris-jericho-arrested-in-kentucky/.

Chris Jericho was one of the late Chris Benoit’s best friends. But that didn’t keep Jericho from joining the cast of CNN’s Larry King Live to yuk it up in a pre-WrestleMania promo appearance in March 2008, nine months after Benoit murdered his wife and their seven-year-old son, and killed himself. Here’s an excerpt of the LexisNexis transcript of King’s exchange with Vince McMahon, the WWE chairman and husband of current U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon:

KING: How is the business since the death of Chris?

MCMAHON: Business wise it’s excellent.

KING: Really? You weren’t affected at all?

MCMAHON: No. Not — certainly not in the short-term. You know, it’s one of those things that will live with you forever, you know what I mean?

And it could have happened to any company. It could have happened to any sports team. It certainly happens, you know, in the post office a lot or whatever. And it’s really, really…

(LAUGHTER)

Eight days before Chris Benoit went on his rampage, he had an exchange of bawdy text messages with Greg Helms. The latter’s contribution was, “[H]ow is a woman’s pussy like a warm toilet seat? — They both feel nice but u can’t help but wonder who was there before you!”

More recently Helms has bragged on Twitter about the joys of getting shit-faced drunk.

I know, I know … tabloid trash, as John Edwards used to say.

Irv Muchnick


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