Hoping to defuse suspicions that it paid for a series of deceptive campaign websites, the advocacy group Capistrano Unified Children First has released a webhosting receipt from the Internet company involved in the controversy.
The invoice shows Children First paid $134.61 to Internet host GoDaddy.com for its own domain names, not the sneaky website addresses that led visitors to incumbent school board candidates' and the Children First websites.
Questions remain about the possible involvement of a Children First volunteer, Chris Korpi.
that Korpi's company was listed as the registered owner for at least two of the deceptive domains:
- www.juliecollier.com, which redirected visitors to CUSD President Gary Pritchard’s campaign website. Collier runs a nonprofit called Parents Advocate League, which works for educational reforms opposed by Children First.
- www.parentsadvocateleague.com, which redirected traffic to Children First.
And, on Friday, school district critic Dawn Urbanek learned from GoDaddy that the now-disabled www.dawnurbanek.com domain, which directed visitors to Trustee John Alpay's campaign site, was also registered to Korpi Marketing Services, with all of Korpi’s contact information attached.
Korpi has denied purchasing the domain names, blaming an impostor.
Korpi is a volunteer with Children First who took a public role in the November 2010 election. This time, he is working more in the background and actively sends out email blasts. Alpay has paid him more than $2,500 this year for "campaign management services."
GoDaddy indicated in its letters that it cannot confirm the accuracy of the names given at the time of registration. GoDaddy declined Patch's request for the name on the credit card used to pay for the sites.
However, attorney Wayne Tate, who is representing Collier, her organization and another called Hold CUSD Accountable, said he will pursue the identity of the person who paid for the misleading websites.
As for Korpi’s assertion that someone used his name and contact information to purchase the domains, Tate said: “It doesn’t seem plausible.”
Children First included a $134.61 transaction with GoDaddy among its financial disclosures released Oct. 5. The receipt sent to Patch on Friday shows the same amount spent securing three versions of the Children First domain, in the dot-com, dot-net and dot-org configurations.
On Monday, Children First President Fran Sdao told Patch: “We have no control what individuals do on their own. There are rogue characters in every campaign."
Six of the seven misleading domain names have since been disabled. The other, http://www.holdcusdaccountable.com/, still takes visitors to the Children First website.