ASQ Section 209 Chair Bill Levinson has launched his third website aimed at defaming Oxebridge. The new site, “Osteinfo.net,” follows two previous attempts by Levinson, “Oxebridge.biz” and “Oxfake.com.” In all three cases, Levinson registered the websites in the Bahamas and has them hosted in Iceland, using a service that ignores US courts, mimicking what Elsmar moderators did with “Oxebridge.co” and “Osteinfo.com.” In the case of Oxebridge.biz, Levinson violated the US Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA), thus exposing him to a Federal lawsuit for trademark violation and cybersquatting. That law imposes statutory damages of $100,000 per infringing site (plus attorney’s fees), meaning it’s not up to Oxebridge to convince the judge of damages, nor up to the judge’s discretion.

The sites routinely defame Oxebridge by accusing me of crimes, and spreading false and defamatory claims such as the accusation that Oxebridge hacked its own website, and that I violated ISO’s copyright by illegally publishing pirated copies of ISO standards. The latter case was dropped by ISO when it failed to prove any such infringement had taken place, since the document was provided by an official ISO member for the purposes of distribution during a public commenting period during which Committee Drafts are distributed to the public for free; Levinson continues to publish ISO’s original complaint while ignoring the final conclusions and without knowing how ISO standards are developed.

The Bumbling Nebbish

Levinson accidentally registered the first two sites under his own name, despite using the offshore services to hide his identity. Levinson did not make this mistake for the latest site, but was exposed as the owner when an IP trace revealed he clicked a link inside a DMCA notice sent to the email address shown on the site.

Official Whois data entry for Oxfake.com

Ironically, Levinson is suing Oxebridge for defamation and has sent, as of this writing, 18 additional “pre-suit notices” even after the suit is already underway, potentially branding Levinson as a “vexatious litigant” in the eyes of the court. He is represented by Tampa attorney Mark Tischhauser. In one of those notices, Levinson admits he created the Oxfake and Oxebridge.biz websites, and that they “were taken down near the beginning of April per advice of counsel to de-escalate.”  Levinson has since back-tracked, or forgotten his confession, and now claims he won’t confirm or deny he operated the sites until “discovery.” But the admission in his “pre-suit notice” may have just cost him $100K.

Levinson has demanded that Oxebridge publish nothing at all that mentions him, an overreach which we view as a violation of the First Amendment.

For the latest site, I sent an official DMCA copyright notice to the anonymous address used by Levinson on the site. That DMCA notice included a link to a special page on the Oxebridge website which included an IP tracer. Only the person receiving that notice would have the link to that page. I then sent Levinson a direct email without the DMCA notice or link, saying “check your Ulysses email.” Within an hour, the IP trace recorded hits from the same Verizon IP address as that used by Levinson to email Oxebridge clients previously; Levinson himself then wrote to Oxebridge less than half an hour later, feigning ignorance, not realizing his IP had been captured. When I confronted him, he denied it; at which point, the tracer page was pinged by a German IP address used by an anonymous proxy server, suggesting that Levinson had begun using such an anonymizer service to hide his tracks. The IP trace page has been since shut down.

I have criticized Levinson for being a poor representative of the risk management profession, as author of a book on ISO 9001’s risk-based thinking, specifically for not assessing the risks associated with publishing racist materials under his own name, and then linking them to his professional activities. In response to a recent Quality Digest article, Oxebridge has criticized Levinson for whitewashing the Holocaust by spreading the debunked theory that Henry Ford’s lifetime of anti-Semitism was the result of “fake news.” Levinson framed the argument as an example of ISO 9001’s “risk-based thinking,” thus linking his controversial politics with his professional publications. ASQ appears as the primary advertiser on the pages for that article.

Levinson openly admitted he sent emails to Quality Digest editors defaming Oxebridge by saying (again) that I hacked my own website. Because, to Levinson, that makes total sense. Quality Digest has supported Levinson, going so far as to spend money on an attorney to defend themselves against any complaints about Levinson to their advertisers. Levinson claims that it’s not defamation because, in his mind, the false charges are “true”; in reality, Levinson is ignoring all evidence that disproves his false claims.

Using only a DMCA notice submitted by ISO’s attorneys as his only evidence, Levinson jumps to the conclusion that I am automatically guilty. He ignores the subsequent facts that show Oxebridge never distributed any ISO standards illegally. By his own measure, the DMCA notice I sent him makes him automatically guilty of a crime. The myth that I hacked my own website was launched during the Elsmar suit, and Levinson appears to be colluding with the parties in that case by spreading the debunked defamation originally published by Elsmar moderators; Oxebridge won that lawsuit, which now enters into a 2nd post-suit contempt of court phase, which Levinson is accidentally helping us prosecute.

Levinson ignored at least 4 months of olive branches by Oxebridge, when we removed all posts about him; during a phone call to me, Levinson insisted the posts were still up, but it became evident he was reading “scraped” copies republished on the Elsmar defamatory site Osteinfo.com, which inspired his latest website. Since Levinson launched a suit even after the posts were removed, I gave up and resumed reporting on him, as I would anyone else making news in the profession. The Elsmar lesson showed that ignoring internet trolls for more than a decade led to no reprieve, so we’re not granting Levinson — nor his friend Daryl Guberman — any special favors. The Elsmar sites are all down now, after a similar IP sting led to the discovery of who was operating the sites.

Levinson v. Levinson

Levinson’s ongoing pre-suit notices, endless long-winded emails, and defamatory websites create problems for his lawsuit in that they routinely contradict his actual court filings, while providing full-on explanations of his legal strategy, which is sparse.

In one case, Levinson contradicted official court filings prepared by his attorney, potentially undermining his own lawsuit. Levinson, who is also a professor at the University of California Irvine, wrote an article on the website Israpundit where he called UCI Muslim students “apes.” Levinson then added a comment to his own article, apologizing to apes for comparing them to Muslims, and then saying that “plague-carrying rats” are better than the American students. Tischhauser’s official court complaint denies that Levinson ever referred to minorities as sub-human, and obviously his Israpundit post disproves that. Making matters worse, Levinson’s subsequent “pre-suit notices” not only admit he said it, but that he meant it, claiming he did it because the UCI students engaged in “uncivilized behavior“:

“Calling Muslim students apes” also is willfully malicious, noting that you intentionally omitted the context. The “Muslim” students in question (1) intentionally disrupted a presentation by an Israeli visitor, i.e. violated his right to speak and the right of others to listen to him, (2) had to be escorted out by police, and (3) had charges filed against them in at least some cases. Their uncivilized behavior, and not their purported religion, was the obvious issue.

So, Levinson and his attorney are going to be having some very awkward conversations in the coming weeks. I fully expect Levinson to go pro se and represent himself soon, which will turn the case into a clown car crash very quickly.

Levinson has also convinced police consultant and firearms expert Massad Ayoob to provide testimony defending him; it is unlikely Ayoob was aware of Levinson’s defamatory websites, comments regarding Muslims, or pre-suit notices, however. But Ayoob’s filing is already entered into the court record, so he couldn’t retract it if he wanted to. Ouch.

Levinson faces an ethics complaint with the American Society for Quality, which recently updated its Code of Ethics to prohibit such activities. ASQ’s Scott Laman has provided some confusing interpretation on the new Code, implying it may not be retroactive, but with the publication of new material by Levinson, the point is moot.  Per the new Code, Levinson faces losing his Fellow status, ASQ certifications, Section Chair position and entire membership. If ASQ doesn’t enforce its new Code, it risks not only appearing hypocritical but of ignoring its own policies in order to support racism in its ranks.

Levinson also faces similar sanctions with the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS), where he is a “board member at large” for the Northeastern Pennsylvania section. In that case, the APICS ethics code has prohibited harassment and discrimination for many years, bringing Levinson’s entire history of behavior under its scrutiny.

It’s unlikely, however, that either ASQ or APICS will take action on code violations, since they would risk the same level of harassment by Levinson if they do so. It’s simply easier to ignore the problems until the members speak out.

Meanwhile, ASQ continues to support Levinson. The membership of ASQ Section 209 has not moved to remove Levinson from his Chair position, and Levinson is being promoted by ASQ as the guest speaker at an event for the Binghamton NY section this coming April, where he intends to discuss “Culture: A Decisive, And Almost Free, Competitive Advantage.” The Q&A afterward should be particularly interesting since, obviously, Levinson has interesting views on “culture.”

Levinson faces an initial hearing on the defamation case on January 18th before the Hillsborough County court in Tampa FL. Oxebridge is moving to have the case dismissed on multiple grounds.

To help Oxebridge defend against Levinson, as well as to mount litigation to improve the overall ISO 9001 certification scheme, consider donating to the ISO 9000 Users Legal Defense Fund. You can do so anonymously.

UPDATE 1/4/2018: Levinson is now denying that he ever created the racist Omdurman.org website, despite his name and address being in official ICANN Whois Records as the site’s registrant. Presumably, the entire internet machinery — and his credit card records which show he paid for the site hosting, I’d bet — were falsified because FAKE NEWS!

But he still really likes Muslim strippers. From an email today:

    About Christopher Paris

    Christopher Paris is the founder and VP Operations of Oxebridge. He has over 25 years' experience implementing ISO 9001 and AS9100 systems, and is a vocal advocate for the development and use of standards from the point of view of actual users. He is the author of Surviving ISO 9001:2015. He reviews wines for the irreverent wine blog, Winepisser.