CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Jerid Kurtz, the current proprietor of Ohio's Buckeye State Blog, has shipped to The Bellwether a string of private e-mail from March and April 2007 between himself and Democratic political consultant Paul Ackerman, a founder of the blog with whom he's had a falling out. The correspondence won't be reproduced verbatim here -- suffice it to say there are some personal things discussed. Those portions are neither racy nor outrageous so don't get the wrong idea. They simply touch on neighbors, or events that happened while growing up, and they really are nobody's business.
However, in the pertinent portions of the e-mails about the feud, Ackerman and Kurtz swap and exchange sharp words about Buckeye State Blog content, the reach or circulation of the blog, how much an ad would cost, and who might be likely to see it. Strip away the personal animosity between Ackerman and Kurtz that erupts in their private exchange, and the correspondence is pretty bland fare. Recently, Kurtz has said he felt Ackerman was trying to shake him down because of some of the words used in the March set of e-mail, which is something that I was not able to read into the e-mails that I have seen. Kurtz has also explained in a separate e-mail to me the shakedown remark was an unfortunate comment not meant to imply extortion. It was a riff that grew out of his opinion of Robin Weirauch, an OH-05 congressional candidate who was a client of Ackerman's consulting firm. I will quote from that e-mail:
''However, I won't let anyone maintain a chip that they think they can use against me or the site. Please keep in mind this particular blowup sparked from a Columbus political consultant that is unhappy with how I describe one of his former (and perhaps future) clients, Robin Weirauch (who for all I know is a perfectly wonderful woman). I'd say his threat reflects poorly on Paul's acumen.
"And, that claim that I made that forced Paul to threaten me?
"'His problems linger from past issues with that site, and with not being able to shake me down when he's contacted me previously. First time I ever conversed with the guy he was an ass (was pissy asking for site statistics, and gave me some lip about Russell lying to him.'"
"A simple misunderstanding. He interpreted the statement I made to mean I was claiming he was extorting me for money. In the context of the sentence, I just meant he was shaking me down for current site statistics (which I try to avoid advertising are in fact accessible to the public via blogads. Generally, nothing good comes out of a request for statistics). Regardless, an email my way from Paul during our blowup could have clarified that that wasn't what I was implying.
"Sorry to bug ya' or drag you in."
Kurtz also forwarded a copy of Ackerman's message from Monday Sept. 10 that demands a formal retraction of the shakedown allegation. Ackerman contends he has been defamed. (I won't quote verbatim what he says because he didn't send me the message himself).
The feuding between the now-fractured Buckeye State Blog family members appears to be continuing. Will Ackerman accept Kurtz's retraction? Or will there be some sort of legal action? At the moment, it still seems to be up in the air.