The business dealings of Democrat John Stevens are under attack by two local radio show hosts just two weeks into his campaign to unseat 22-year incumbent Rep. Frank Wolf, R-10th District.
Don Geronimo and Mike O’Meara during their “Don & Mike Show” on July 16 alleged that the 33-year-old Loudoun software developer bought up Internet domain names like www.donandmike.com and www.homojoe.com to make money off of them with merchandise. They also claim he published a false story on the Web.
“I hate the guy. I really hate him,” Geronimo said on the show. “If this is who the Democratic Party is putting up against Wolf, I am dumbfounded.”
Stevens said the fan Web site he set up was a “training exercise.” Geronimo and O’Meara are making up a controversy for its entertainment value since they have never contacted him to ask for the domain names, he said.
“I know their show is not based in reality so I don’t take their comments personally,” said Stevens, president of Dragonslayer Applications, a database software firm in Leesburg.
The remarks by Geronimo and O’Meara shed light on Stevens’ business and create an unexpected twist in an otherwise tepid congressional race where the entrenched Wolf is favored to win. Wolf’s district was tweaked by the Republican-controlled General Assembly in 2001.
The show broadcasts on 106.7 WJFK-FM in this area and is heard on about 50 stations nationwide.
O’Meara lives in the Manassas area.
Stevens also owns other Web addresses associated with personalities on the show: www.mikeomeara.com, www.buzzburbank.com, and www.donandmikefans.com, according to Internet domain information Web sites.
“Homo Joe” is a character who makes frequent appearances on the show.
The www.homojoe.com Web site is blank, as is www.donandmikefans.com, but the sites formerly sold official Homo Joe boxers for $11.95, according to old Internet newsgroup postings by Stevens and old Yahoo search engine entries for the site.
“It was a training exercise, and as it turned out it was not a very good one,” Stevens said Thursday. “It was a big mistake taking that on.”
Stevens said his business mostly builds databases, and the fan site was a project to develop new skills. The site was for the fans’ enjoyment, and any money made was in an effort to break even, he said.
He declined to say whether he would sell the domain names or at what price because he does not know the intentions of Geronimo and O’Meara.
“They’ve never asked us for those domain names … They say that because it sounds interesting,” Stevens said. He pointed out that during one show the disc jockeys were asking for someone to find his phone number so they could call him even though he knows they have it.
“They know how to get in touch with me if they are actually interested in what’s going on,” he said.
Stevens launched his campaign July 1 to run as a “community congressman.” His political career consists of an unsuccessful run for the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors in 1995 and work for Rep. Nicholas Mavroules, R-Mass., in 1990.
Geronimo alleged that Stevens went after well-known fans of the show for business and got one fan, Tom Gavin, to set up a Web site and sell T-shirts.
Stevens said Gavin is a friend of his and takes in all the money made on the T-shirts after costs for the Internet hosting and the T-shirts.
After the radio show was pulled off the air temporarily by Infinity Broadcasting on May 28 because of feuding with another Infinity-owned show, the Stevens’ fan Web site posted a story that Geronimo was dead.
Fans who visited the site thought the story was funny, Stevens said, but Geronimo and O’Meara didn’t. Stevens pulled the story hours after it was posted.
“It was a joke, a parody … The fans who visited that Web site thought it was funny,” he said.
An announcement before the May 28 show stated the hosts were extending their Memorial Day vacations.
Stevens said he holds nothing against the show’s hosts because he knows it is entertainment.
“They’re off telling their stories, and I’m busy working for my district,” Stevens said.
The 10th District includes a northwest to central slab of Prince William, all of Manassas and Manassas Park, Loudoun, Clarke, Frederick, Warren, Fauquier, Page, Shenandoah, Winchester and parts of Fairfax and Rockingham.
The Web site for the Stevens campaign is www.stevensforcongress.org.
The domain name www.stevensforcongress.com is not owned by Stevens. It is owned by the Republican Party of Minnesota for a candidate Dan Stevens. Robin Prigge, the administrative contact for the Web site, said no one has called asking to buy the domain name.