November 20, 2012
Identity of Suben video poster unknown
Person who made YouTube video faults media for not investigating DA’s porn past
With District Attorney Mark Suben admitting Friday he starred in pornographic films in the 1970s, the question of who made the YouTube video that prompted his admission remains unanswered.
“Irwin Schmeck,” the YouTube user who posted the video, maintains his anonymity in emails to the Cortland Standard. He cites disdain for local media that did not investigate the story when given leads about Suben’s pornographic past.
“I can not think of another elected official in any position in the entire country who has performed in pornographic movies ... let alone over a dozen movies,” states Schmeck in an email sent Monday.
The YouTube user name was created Nov. 9 and is based on one of the aliases Suben used in the adult films he appeared in during the early 1970s when he was in his late 20s and living in New York City.
Another alias, Gus Thomas, was the center of the YouTube video, which alleges Suben and Thomas are the same person, an allegation Suben admitted Friday, more than a week after being reelected. Suben also admitted to, and apologized for, lying to the news media when asked about the allegations in weeks leading up to the elections.
Suben declined Monday to comment to the Cortland Standard on the matter any further but in news reports he has pointed to Republican opponent Keith Dayton as possibly being behind the video.
Dayton says he had nothing to do with the posting.
“I don’t know the origins and it was never part of my campaign,” Dayton said Monday.
Dayton said he would have nothing to gain by the video since the election is over.
Instead, Dayton thinks the origins of the video could be from one of the “hundreds of people” he says he encountered during his campaign whom he says were not happy with Suben.
Dayton said he is also affronted that Suben would try to cast the blame on him.
“It’s sad that rather than Mark owning up to his indiscretions and self-serving lies, he’s trying to place the blame on me when I had nothing to do with it,” Dayton said.
Dayton said during the campaign he learned through an anonymous email of a 1976 movie named “Angels,” which Suben appeared in under his own name and is not pornographic. Dayton said he later heard rumors about the pornographic films but did not know anything specific about them until viewing the 15-minute YouTube video.
Republican Committee Chair John Folmer, who was Dayton’s campaign manager, said Monday he does not know who was behind the YouTube video and that he would have tried to prevent it if he had known about it. He expressed sympathy for Suben’s predicament, saying everyone has things in the past they would not want people to know about.
Jim Kenyon, a CNY Central television reporter who first broke the story about the YouTube video, said in an email Monday that he heard about the movie “Angels” as far back as February, from a source he is keeping anonymous. A couple of weeks prior to the election, Kenyon said he received emails from users with pseudonyms drawing connections between Suben and Gus Thomas.
He said he then did his own research through the website www.IMDb.com and came across the old pornographic movies.
Because Suben repeatedly denied to Kenyon having appeared in pornographic movies, and Kenyon could not independently verify that Thomas was in fact Suben, he did not run the story until after the YouTube video aired after the election.
“We felt it was only fair to report that because anyone who Googled Mark Suben, would automatically see that YouTube video,” Kenyon says.
Schmeck avoided questions about his identity in his emails. Instead, he refers to the popularity and the newsworthiness of the video. It has been viewed 111,721 times as of this morning.
“If you noticed the reaction to the story ... it was international breaking news ... how big does a story have to be for a journalist to spend a little time Googling it to see if it’s true ... and pursuing it,” “Schmeck” states.
YouTube allows for anonymity in posting videos. Jack Hess, Cortland County information technology deputy director, said determining the identity of Schmeck would be very difficult and require either a court warrant or illegal computer hacking.
It is unclear how Suben’s admission of his past and the fact he later lied about it will impact his role as district attorney. The New York State District Attorneys Association has declined to comment on the matter. Cortland County Bar Association President Victoria Monty has not returned phone calls for comment.
Suben has said he has no intention of resigning.
At a meeting of the executive committee of the Cortland County Democratic Committee Monday night, 11 members unanimously stated their support for Suben, said Democratic Committee Chair Sandy Price.
Price said committee members had a “healthy discussion” on the topic but decided to continue to support Suben in the hope he will stay in his position.
“What we’re basing our support on is what we have witnessed of his work as DA in the past and right now what we expect in the future,” Price said Monday night.
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