Sean Weber: Charlatan, Bully, and Criminal
Two years ago I made the fateful decision to post the below blog post. At the time, I saw someone seeking public office making statements that were demonstrably false. My intention with the post was to draw out the reasons I felt the statements were false, and illustrate my conclusion with court documents and examples.
In retaliation, Mr. Weber sought and obtained a temporary civil restraining order against me. In subsequent interviews, Mr. Weber has admitted his claims to the court were false, and made clear the purpose of the temporary civil restraining order was to punish me for writing about his false claims and criminal background.
In the years since, there has been an ongoing court battle, which I’ve spoken about publicly in an abbreviated form, and an ongoing campaign of harassment towards me and my family at the direction of Mr. Weber.
I regret publishing the original blog post, not because I felt it was wrong to demonstrate the falsehoods of someone seeking public office, but because I did not anticipate the blowback and orchestrated harassment from a psychopath.
Sean Weber decided the proper course of action was to make unsubstantiated claims of harassment, and abuse the legal system in an effort to punish and/or silence me for criticizing him in this post.
Techdirt has written a piece about it here: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20170726/18062537868/exaggerated-claims-out-context-tweets-used-political-hopeful-to-slap-restraining-order-critic.shtml
I wrote an update post here: https://bretthaddock.com/2017/07/17/update-sean-weber-saga/
Eugene Volokh and the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed an Amicus Curae brief, supporting me which can be found here: https://bretthaddock.com/2018/08/24/electronic-frontier-foundation-amicus-curiae-brief-in-support-of-brett-haddock/
There will be an additional update post shortly, in which I will detail the lengths to which Sean Weber has manipulated the court system to punish a critic.
As my friends and family can attest, I’ve made something of a second career helping to expose frauds and bullies. Quite often, these people have a long and storied history of their behavior, and until my involvement haven’t had too many people stand up and try to hold them accountable. In the past, I have had no qualms whatsoever in shedding light on these people, so the world can see them for who they really are.
This time is different.
I have struggled for weeks in bringing this particular case to light. Chiefly because of the magnitude of the behavior involved. The subject in question has aspirations for public office, as do I, and the last thing I wanted was for this to be seen as a mere political squabble, or as typical mudslinging.
For reasons that will be enumerated below, I am morally obligated to bring this to light. There is a vested public interest; potentially at stake are substantial tax dollars, public funds that could be pilfered by a charlatan, bully, and criminal.
The following will detail the outlandish behavior, abhorrent statements, egregious lies, and literal criminal behavior of Sean Weber.
My first exposure to Sean Weber was seeing his posts and comments in several local Facebook groups. Weber had made it known that he was going to seek to be appointed to the Santa Clarita City Council seat vacated by Dante Acosta. From the onset, he was highly critical, arrogant, and disrespectful. At times, he was outright attacking people who asked basic background questions, as many of the politically active members in the community had never heard of him. With each query, Weber apparently took it as an affront to his character, and lashed out at the perpetrator who dared question him, instead of taking his statements at face value. At first, I thought perhaps this was an online persona designed to cultivate controversy and get his name out there. In the months since, it is clear to me that this was giving his intelligence far too much credit.
It was evident that Weber had not encountered much resistance in his life, and clearly often received whatever he so desired up to this point. His sights were set on the City Council seat, and anything less than merely handing it to him was treated as a personal attack against him.
Anecdotally, during the city council meeting where they decided to appoint Bill Miranda, Weber was seated a few rows behind and to the left of me. Upon the council’s vote in favor of Mr. Miranda, Weber — visually displeased– stormed out of the room in a huff. Many of the nearly 50 other applicants stayed, engaging in conversation and networking opportunities. Despite my best efforts, I was unable to find any video that covered this angle. I mention it here as it gives a good example of the character we’re discussing.
In January, our local radio station, KHTS, invited all of the city council applicants to their studio for a brief interview [Watch Here]. We expect seasoned and aspiring politicians alike to embellish at best, or lie at worst. During the interview, Weber made a couple claims. First, he stated that “Over the last 10 to 15 years, I was part of or helped with the homeless shelter they have out here.” The context is ambiguous enough so the listener is left to infer that he had been volunteering with the local shelter, a noble cause. The second statement he makes is that “Within the last year I met with Hart High School to discuss with them the active shooter or active threat problem. […] Currently Hart High School needs guidance from the City on how to deal with that.” Again, we are left to infer that his involvement has helped create a safer school district, able to defend against scenarios where someone may decide to cause harm to innocent children. The conclusion being that he obviously desires to keep children safe, and is doing his best to ensure it.
Both these statements are heavily embellished and distorted beyond being factual at best, or demonstrably false at worst.
Active Shooter Program lie
Starting with the “active shooter program” claim, Weber infers in his KHTS interview, and outright states in various public forums, that he has been working with the Hart District on the program. The reality is, unfortunately, this statement is completely fabricated. Weber’s “day job” is, as he classifies it, a “managed service provider.” Essentially outsourcing technology needs for smaller businesses. This is a growing industry, companies are provided everything from telecom solutions to websites, a social media presence, or maintenance of business systems. In this role, Weber has continually attempted to sell the Hart District his services for an “active shooter program.” Cold call sales pitches, brief meetings with district staff, persistent emails, and attempting to publicly shame Hart District Board Members does not count as “working with the Hart District.”
The relationship is entirely one sided. Weber claims a teacher reached out to him with concerns about the preparedness of schools, or lack thereof. From there, he had a conversation with Valencia High’s vice principal. The vice principal deferred to the district. Numerous public records requests and conversations with Hart personnel could not verify Weber’s assertions of the chain of events; that this endeavor got started at the behest of a concerned teacher.
Weber also took to local Facebook groups to make accusations that the Hart District was ill-prepared for such a scenario, and refused to address the threat of an active shooter. After being alerted to the statements, Joe Messina, a member of the Hart District Board, launched an internal investigation. He was concerned that staff had fallen short, and sought to verify Weber’s statements.
In an email [Link] received after a public records request, Hart District’s Director of Technology Services Jon Carrino recollected the interaction with Weber:
This is the sequence of events regarding Sean Weber to the best of my recollection.
On December 16, 2015, Sean met with Josh McDonald, Assistant Principal, at Valencia High School. The topic of the meeting was what Sean’s company, the Sedan Group, could do to help the District update and modernize our communication platforms to be better prepared for emergencies. Josh then brought in Kathy Hunter as Sean was wanting to offer a district wide solution and was really outside of his purview.
On January 25, 2016, Sean met with Josh McDonald, Kathy Hunter, and Sonia Pishevar at the District Office. Realizing that the solutions Sean was offering was something that would need to involve Technology and Maintenance, Kathy worked to gather information Sean requested to prepare a proposal and setup a subsequent meeting. There were a few delays in scheduling the next meeting based on time needed for information collection and conflicting schedules.
On June 21, 2016, Sean met with Josh McDonald, Kathy Hunter, I believe Jack Kapp from Maintenance, and myself at the District Office. Sean discussed ideas he had for updates to existing paging and telecommunications systems including a VoIP solution district wide. We discussed our current environment and answered his questions. My recollection from the end of the meeting was that Sean was going to finalize his proposal and schedule a follow up meeting to present it to the District. I have not heard from Sean since. Based on your email I thought maybe I missed an email from him that went to Spam. I just searched our entire email system and could not find any email from Sean’s email address to anyone in the District since June of 2016 (before our last meeting).
I considered this a cold call sales pitch (something we did not initiate) and did not think to follow up with Sean.
I do not remember any discussion regarding the District needing guidance from the City for active shooter situations, so I am not sure what he is referring to in his interview on KHTS.
The Hart District Director of Student Services, Kathy Hunter, corroborated Mr. Carrino’s recollection of events in another email [Link]:
Jon’s chronology of events is completely in line with my recollection of events. Sean never delivered a final
proposal and I have not had any further contact. It was a cold call sales pitch and the City was not discussed.
From these emails we can see that Weber’s assertions are clearly false. His statement that he “worked with” the Hart District implies a mutual relationship, where there clearly was not. In reality, this was a sales pitch which resulted in several meetings and a handful of email exchanges.
Additional emails obtained show the exchanges between Weber and various members of staff. These emails highlight the tactics used by Weber in his sales pitches; tactics when used by “pick up artists” is called “negging.” In short, negging is the concept of backhanded compliments, personal attacks, and guilt trips to undermine the target in an effort to gain their trust and/or procure a “date,” or more often a sexual conquest. Weber appears to use these same tactics in his sales pitches when he doesn’t immediately get his way.
After his initial success meeting with Hart District Staff from December 2015 to June 2016, Weber failed to followup with a completed presentation. No one else heard from him until his statements in January of 2017. When the facts were brought to light, the attacks began. He would lash out at people in local Facebook groups who questioned him, or offered the counter statements that his assertions were factually deficient. These keyboard tirades occurred on many occasions, often resulting in the deletion of comments Weber had made in the exchanges.
April 21st 2017, Weber again took to a local Facebook group to attempt to shame the Hart District. Seizing on a threat to a local school, he posted a screenshot of an email to Valencia High School Students, warning them of a threat against the school, and captioned it “Unprepared School Board — SAD.” Efforts to get Weber to clarify the position on the post went unanswered.
In a series of posts to the same group the following day, Weber continues his assertion that the Hart District isn’t prepared for an active shooter scenario, but offered zero evidence for his claims.
Obviously tiring of my persistent questioning, he disabled comments on one of his posts with outrageous claims, despite asking directed questions in the post. I opted to create a new post to direct my questions at him.
After pestering them online and being told the same thing the Hart District had told him — to gather information, contact the technology team, and prepare a presentation — Weber took to his newly formed Facebook group and made the following blatantly false statement:
Homeless shelter embellishment and lie by omission
Weber claimed to have worked with the homeless shelter for the “last 10 or 15 years.” What I believe he meant to say was that 10 or 15 years ago, he worked with the homeless shelter. Public records indicate that in 2004, Weber spent 192 hours at Bridge to Home, no more, no less. I was unable to find any additional time or interaction with Bridge to Home since the completion of his 192 hours. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t spent time there, just that I was not able to find any other information on the subject.
If you’re thinking to yourself “192 hours is awfully specific,” you’re right. Between May and August, he assisted with the Bridge to Home website, in addition to other ad hoc tasks. Weber did not volunteer at the homeless shelter; he was legally required to do 192 hours of community service as a stipulation of being released on probation.
Weber can’t withstand the heat
Without exception, each time Sean Weber was asked questions in an effort to gain further background information, or to hold him accountable for actions or statements, he went on the offensive. The evening following the Signal’s City Council Applicant Forum, he was quoted in a Facebook group for his statement “I don’t need this, this community needs me.” The quote was incorrect in verbatim verbiage, but correct in it’s spirit. When people started to poke fun at his line, he started attacking people, threatening (grossly incorrectly for someone who previously worked at a law firm, and has created a legal app, Legal Knock, with fewer than 100 downloads) that “slanderous” statements were made. He also accused others of supporting people that weren’t Weber, and insisted that they were attacking him solely because they sought to undermine him. These accusations evidently have no basis in reality, and could not be verified. He then accused someone of using their “official title” to try and influence the process. This accusation was lobbed toward former Santa Clarita Parks Commissioner Kevin Korenthal and is false.
On several occasions, I attempted to ask Weber to clarify statements, or asked him questions which should have been easy for him to answer. In each instance, I was met with resistance, deflection, and attacks. Seeing that this may be due to it being a public forum, I took to Facebook Messenger to try and have a private conversation in an effort to clear the air. It did not go well.
Wobbly Weberworld, a forum he can control
Clearly unable to tolerate criticism of any kind, Weber created a new Facebook Group: “SCV Town Hall / SCV Politics / SCV Politics – Local Issues” — A group which he continuously renames and re-categorizes on a seemingly daily basis. Members of that group have reportedly received threats of being kicked out for the sole reason of “liking” a post where I question Weber. Or as he defines it “encouraging pervasive behavior.” I have confirmed that a handful of people have received the same, or similar message below:
Additionally, the group appears to be a primary advertising channel for product and services Weber has direct financial ties to. For instance a post shared to the group about reporting crime anonymously, links to WeTip.com, a website that is maintained by Weber and his cluster of LLCs, SedanGroup, LegalKnock [Screenshot]. Another post is for a local business “VIP RECON,” which is also a client of Weber’s constellation of businesses. There is also a post for a “SCVPress,” a reported new “local media company.” As of this writing, I was unable to find documentation to definitively prove Weber’s direct involvement, but I’ll show you the Facebook “cover” images of the two groups and let you decide their connection:
Weber posted some questions directed at the KHTS news manager, Perry Smith, in an effort to . . . hold him accountable? I’m honestly not sure what his motives are with this one:
The only other activity in the group are constant posts regarding member count, and bizarre “thank you” messages to members — ostensibly for adding members. It should also be noted that an overwhelming number of the groups members are decidedly not residents of the Santa Clarita Valley, despite the groups namesake.
My Interactions with Sean Weber
The very first interaction I had with Weber was at the city council meeting before the appointment process. As I remember it, I was standing talking to a couple other people when Weber approached, interrupted, and introduced himself. He said something about knowing a second cousin of mine, and how he and the family go way back, and he’d like to get to know me. Again, I don’t recall specifically what I said in response, but I acknowledged his presence and comment, and tried to return to my previous conversation. It was very brief, and I don’t recall specifics because the conversation was utterly unremarkable, and brief.
Weber recalls the conversation completely differently. According to his recollection, he was introduced to me, and I was dismissive of him and my family. After learning his perspective of the conversation, I apologized. I could certainly see how someone could see me as dismissive if I was trying to return to a conversation they interrupted, but it wasn’t my intention.
It seems this first interaction was the thorn in Weber’s side that lead him to repeatedly make attempts to attach improprieties to my character. In a since-deleted post on Facebook, the usual comments and jokes were flowing freely, I joined in making a reference to a well known Homer Simpson meme. This spun into a back and forth couple of jokes, at which point Weber said “Brett Haddock – as another applicant I do not understand how you feel your post is appropriate ethically.”
The exchange in question:
As you can see, I genuinely thought he was joking in the thread. After a bit, I realized he might be serious, so I reached out in a private message to see if I could set the record straight. I said “Forgive me, but I genuinely can’t determine if you take exception to something that was posted. With all the bluster and hyperbole being tossed about in that group today, it’s hard to discern if your comment was in jest or not. I just want to make sure nothing I’ve said has come across in an unintentional way.”
Weber responded: “Mr. Haddock, I like your personality and I feel contributing towards that behavior isn’t appropriate. I know you mean well. I would like to learn more about you.” I asked for further clarification, but after several hours it became clear he wasn’t going to respond to my question, so I wished him well, and dropped it.
March 20th, Weber made an effort to throw me under the bus once more. In a comment thread on a post for the Talk of Santa Clarita Podcast where I was the guest, Weber attempted to characterize my stories of “whistle-blowing” as “whining.” When asked for clarification, he continued digging, attempting to apply intent to statements I was, or rather wasn’t making. Each time he was asked a question, he would deflect and doubledown. Each subsequent comment would be more abhorrent than the last, and usually included a wild accusation. You can read the entirety of the exchange here. The conversation took a drastic turn when Weber stated “have you stopped beating your wife?” This crossed a line, in fact, it crossed dozens of lines. It is never acceptable to make a statement like that. As I said in my reply to him, it belittles actual domestic violence cases, the fact that he was using it as a tool of deflection was disgusting.
I opted to take the conversation private in an effort to get him to apologize and retract his statements. Instead, he decided to continue his full assault and made more egregious statements, more attacks, and more deflections. You can read our entire conversation history here. He made claims about knowing my girlfriend, insinuating an explicit connection. They’ve never met, and none of the other women I’ve dated knows who he is. At best, they’re only aware of him because of overlapping social circles. Weber then claimed various things from “tortious interference,” to “knowing my skill set better than you,” and accused me of manufacturing “drama.” In a bizarre cycle, he would lash out, then after a short time make an effort to walk his comments back, to make it seem like it was lighthearted joking between peers. He also threatened to report me to my employer. In short, cowardice and forgetting the first rule of holes — stop digging.
In person meeting requests
Whenever Weber finds himself in a corner, he retreats to saying something along the lines of “we should meet in person to discuss.” There seems to be no exception to this rule, when presented with overwhelming evidence or questioned intensely, he retreats to his attack state, or starts saying it should be discussed in person. Typically the reason is that he doesn’t want to “release private information publicly.” Frequently utilizing the dubious claim that there are “people in the community” feeding him information; a claim which appears to be complete bluster, as he’s never made public any statements to backup his claim.
Weber’s frequent requests to meet in person take on an ominous and decidedly threatening tone when you find out that his past contains an incident of a severe nature; Dissuading and intimidating a witness or victim.
Sean Richard Weber is a criminal
February 9th, 2004, Sean Weber was arrested on two counts of California Penal Code 136.1: Dissuading and intimidating a witness or victim; a crime described as a “wobbler” since it can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. Weber pleaded no contest to the charges, served jail time, was released on probation for 36 months, and required to do 192 hours of community service. He later had the conviction expunged; a California law allows some defendants to expunge their convictions upon successful completion of probation. [PDF Link to Redacted Court Case]
I have been unable to find further details on the incident leading to his arrest. The charge itself is a serious one. We can see Weber’s behavior of attacking people stretches back well over 13 years. In conjunction with his constant requests to take conversations “face to face,” we can get the impression of the types of conversations he would like to have. His requests take on a more ominous tone now, it seems evident he sought in person contact in an effort to persuade or intimidate those that would disagree with him.
Sean Weber is not the person this community needs. He’s a charlatan, as demonstrated above by the Hart District Emails, he doesn’t have a clear understanding of what he is trying to sell. As one Staff Member noted, he was “outside his purview.” He’s a bully, made clear by his many interactions where he attacks and deflects whenever he perceives being attacked. And finally, he’s a criminal, with a conviction on his record for the very intimidation tactics he continues to use to this day. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that his frequent in-person meeting requests were attempts to continue his tactics of intimidation and dissuasion.
[Update #1]: Removed name of a local business that disputed and disavowed the connection to Sean Weber.
[Update #2]: In Update #1, I removed the name of a local business, “VIP Recon,” whose owner, Matt Stanchfield, reached out and disavowed any connection to Sean Weber, claiming only that he was taking advantage of an offer for free publicity. In actuality, Mr. Stanchfield is a close friend of Weber. After contacting me he sent the screenshots of our conversation to Sean Weber, where parts of the conversation was taken out of context and used by Weber in his fabricated legal claim against me. A month after this post, Mr. Stanchfield filed paperwork with Weber to create a pseudo “non-profit” for Weber’s “SCV Town Hall” group.