Four million dollars. That's the amount ringing up on accountant, Leo Kehoe's calculator these days. The CPA in Whitestone, NY, is suing Craigslist over several advertisements that called him a "crook."
The anonymously placed ads, posted on the Web site by a dissatisfied customer on March 5, claimed: CPA FRAUD ALERT! (BEWARE OF CROOK) Watch out for this fraudulent scumbag! ... He will botch up your tax returns and forget to submit them. He has been associated with TAX EVATION and falsifying records . . . Warn everyone you know!
Kehoe has been licensed as a CPA in New York since 1991 and state records show he currently has no disciplinary action against him. He's seeking $1 million for each of the two counts against Craigslist and each of the two counts against whomever posted the ads.
In a response, Kehoe's lawyer said in a recent article that Craigslist "should have known the posting was false and untrue" and would expose Kehoe to "ridicule, disgrace and prejudice."
The Gothamist blog noted that the Craigslist ads have since been taken down and replaced with ads touting him as an "excellent CPA", and saying",Leo Kehoe is a great CPA. He charged me a lower fee than what I had payed [sic] with someone else and he did a much better job." Another new ad compares him to a hit Broadway show. "Leo Kehoe: Much better than Cats. I'm going to see him again and again."
Kehoe is not the only person to sue Craigslist due to controversial ads. In 2009, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart and his office sued Craigslist, citing its "erotic services" ads encourage prostitution.
Kehoe could not be reached for comment, but told the New York Daily News on March 16, 2010 that he has "suffered great pain and anguish and has been irreparably injured in his good names." It is expected the case will be dismissed under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. A spokesperson for Craigslist could not be reached for a comment.