Remember that time earlier this afternoon Gawker took some guy’s sleazy story about the time three years ago on Halloween he hooked up with Christine O’Donnell, the would-be Senator from Delaware, and published it anonymously after paying the guy off?
UPDATED: Well, it’s not Brad Kurisko, as we first asked. Brad Kurisko — who sounds slightly traumatized by the experience of lending a friend his Boy Scout uniform, we apologize if you’ve had a shitty day, and for asking whether or not you were the costumed boy scout in question. We asked, however, and we got our answer, after you outed your friend, Dustin Dominiak to The Smoking Gun. Everyone, meet the kind of friend who ends up fucking up your day after borrowing your old boy scout uniform three years ago, Dustin Dominiak, Gawker’s “Anonymous.”
That said, the story starts with Kurisko, who’s the first in a series of fun characters involved. After we found him, The Smoking Gun has confirmed that it is, in fact, Brad Kurisko’s boy scout uniform used in Gawker’s post, yet Kurisko denied to them that he was the protagonist of Gawker’s story, but refused to quote on whether or not he made any money from the story. Gawker.com editor Remy Stern says that “The person you identified had nothing to do with it.” Except, well, it is his uniform and he does, as The Smoking Gun reports, “have to go home and kick [the storyteller’s] ass.” Meanwhile, TSG also notes that a friend of Kurisko named Dustin Dominiak deleted his Facebook account this evening. Dominiak shared an address with Kurisko in Philadelphia. We asked Remy Stern over email and Twitter (!) whether or not he recognized Dominiak’s name. He has yet to respond. Dominiak is — like Kurisko and his roommate who dated Christine O’Donnell, Brent Vasher — a 28-year-old graduate of Albion College. We can also now verify that the listed address Dustin Dominiak had was 5550 Ridge Avenue, where Brad Kurisko and Brent Vasher also lived. We’ve reached out to Dominiak at a listed number in Philadelphia, and he has yet to respond.
Finding Brad Kurisko wasn’t hard. Gawker did a post on Christine O’Donnell’s former boyfriends earlier this month, entitled Meet the Men Who Have Sleepovers with Christine O’Donnell. One of them was described as such, riffing off of a Rebecca Dana piece written for The Daily Beast about the same matter:
Neighbors couldn’t help but note, for a candidate who’s been so vocally opposed to any pre-marital sexual activity, O’Donnell had frequent overnight visits from her boyfriend Brent [Vasher], a Philadelphia attorney who bought her house just before it went into foreclosure and still owns it to this day.
In the Gawker story, a few clues as to who gave them this otherwise mundane bar anecdote emerge:
Vasher’s relationship with O’Donnell ended because, among other things, she never paid him back for saving a house of hers in Delaware from foreclosure. Most of that is already out there. But with this, all you need to do is
(A) Find the house once lived in by Brent Vasher in Philadelphia and then
(B) Make sure it’s owned by Christine O’Donnell’s aunt and
(C) Do a reverse lookup on the address to see who comes up.
Well, we did both of these things. The apartment building in Philadelphia owned by Carole T. O’Donnell (Christine’s mom) and Karen O. Jackson (Christine’s aunt) is at
5550 Ridge Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19128.
The standardized name on the house has Carole O’Donnell’s name coming up first, so had Gawker actually tried to verify the story, they probably would have found out that it was a six-room building owned not by her aunt, but with her aunt, and primarily by her mom.
Whatever, because it gets more exciting when we do the reverse lookup. The name that came up? Brad Kurisko.
But that’s not good enough for us to run Brad’s name as involved in this. What is? The fact that Gawker’s storyteller dressed up as a Boy Scout that Halloween!
The costume that I wore for the Halloween a year before — a boy scout’s uniform that belonged to a friend — was still sitting in my closet. So that made it easy.
And it just so happens that one Brad Kurisko — the one who lived with Christine O’Donnell’s ex-boyfriend — has worked for the Boy Scouts for four years and one month as a Senior District Executive.
We contacted Kurisko for quote at his work twice and he didn’t respond. We tried to reach out to Brent Vasher, also unsuccessfully. Finally, we got hold of Ms. Jackson, Christine O’Donnell’s very nice and pleasant-to-talk-to aunt. She had never heard of “the Gawker,” but did have very nice things to say about her niece, and noted what an ugly campaign it was and would tell us on the record that all the nasty things said about her niece were “false.” She also confirmed that Brad and Brent were indeed once tenants, and that she had yet to read the story, but not much else to say. We left our contact information with her and await any further details from her in the event she ends up reading another nasty thing about her niece.
Later this evening, after we published the initial inquiry, The Smoking Gun posted on the matter, having spoken with Brad, who admitted that the Boy Scout uniform was his, but that he wasn’t “anonymous.” Remy Stern at Gawker later confirmed that it was indeed not Brad Kurisko, and told us “The person you identified had nothing to do with it.” That meant there had to be a third roommate. And as it turns out, there was.
An hour after their initial conversation, The Smoking Gun updated their post: a friend of Brad’s on Facebook had all but completely deleted his presence this evening:
The man with whom electronic ties were abruptly cut is Dustin Dominiak, a 28-year-old buddy who attended Albion College with Kurisko. Records show that Dominiak has previously shared a Philadelphia address with Kurisko. One online posting reports that Dominiak, a Michigan native, has worked as an auditor at the Federal Reserve in Philadelphia. Soon after Dominiak’s name vanished from Kurisko’s list of friends, Dominiak’s entire Facebook page (which listed 356 friends) was suddenly deactivated. Perhaps this was Dominiak’s attempt to achieve a greater degree of anonymity
We did a background check, and as it turns out, Dominiak not only lived in Philadelphia, but lived in Philadelphia at 5550 Ridge Avenue, with Kurisko and Vasher. And then, at 9:36 p.m., Bill Bastone at The Smoking Gun got a confession out of Kurisko.
In a phone interview tonight, a besieged Kurisko told TSG that Dominiak is the man pictured with O’Donnell in the Gawker photos. He said that while Dominiak had borrowed his Boy Scouts uniform, he was unaware of the existence of photos of his roommate with O’Donnell. Dominiak is “well aware of the situation,” said Kurisko, who added, “I was not aware this was going down.”
It doesn’t really seem like it was worth doing on either side, now, does it? Christine O’Donnell has become a sympathetic character to some. Gawker’s sister site, Jezebel, actually stepped up to the plate to (kinda) defend it. But: Christine O’Donnell never said she was a complete prude and she never objected to getting drunk and making out in a bar with someone (how this is worse than masturbation is beyond us, but that’s neither here nor there).
It’s not exactly hypocrisy, and it’s not a shocker, it just kinda seems like a low blow into someone’s personal life without much substance in it. The fact that it comes from Gawker — an outlet known for these kinds of stories, but of higher quality — is just kind of depressing in that they couldn’t come up with anything better. Selling this mediocre bar story as a huge exclusive ostensibly to subvert someone is like sewing a designer label on a dress Christine O’Donnell picked up from Talbots. Kind of underwhelming, mostly sad, slightly desperate, and creepy, too, no matter how they spin it. Maybe next time, everyone.
Also, Dustin, wherever you are, come on. Rule Number One: A gentleman never, ever tells. As your friend Brad could tell you: scout’s honor, BRO. Learn it.