Missouri suing over use of state images on Web

Thursday, July 10, 2003

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri has filed a lawsuit against the operator of an investment Web site for allegedly using images of Gov. Bob Holden and state symbols to deceive people into believing the state endorsed the business.

Attorney General Jay Nixon said Wednesday the state has filed a lawsuit against a person who claims to be Bob Holden of Bigfork, Mont., for posting the Missouri images on the Web site www.egold-double.com.

Nixon said the site also included what it said was a message from Gov. Bob Holden.

The lawsuit filed in Jackson County Circuit Court seeks to prohibit the Montana Bob Holden from using Missouri state symbols or the governor's picture.

A temporary restraining order was granted in Jackson County on Tuesday and a hearing on a preliminary injunction is set for July 17.

Nixon sent a letter last week asking that the Missouri images be removed from the site. So far, images of the state flag, state bird (bluebird) and state tree (flowering dogwood) have been removed and the picture of Holden has been replaced by one of actor George Clooney.

"To say that the state of Missouri and the Missouri governor was endorsing this, that is just absurd and bizarre," Nixon said in an interview Wednesday. "In their haste to remove the state and it's various symbols from this, they have apparently gone to plan two, which is George Clooney."

There was no listing for a Bob Holden or Robert Holden in Bigfork and an e-mail from The Associated Press to the company's Web site was not immediately answered on Wednesday.

When Holden was asked by a reporter about the use of his picture on the Web site and his image being replaced by Clooney's, Holden merely smiled and declined to answer the question.

But Jane Dueker, Holden's chief of staff, said later the issue was a simple one.

"We don't want it to look like the governor is endorsing anything like this," she said.

The operators of the site claim e-gold is a gold standard-based currency created offshore for international use on the Internet, Nixon said.

Nixon said his office is also investigating whether the offers made by the by the company may violate other Missouri law with regards to securities and investment law.

The lawsuit asks that the Web site provide a disclaimer that the site is not endorsed by Missouri. Nixon also asks the Web site operators to provide the names and addresses of Missouri consumers who made investments through the Web site while the images of Holden and Missouri symbols were displayed so they can receive refunds.

The Web site is often used in connection with online casinos and pornographic sites, Nixon said. The site promises to pay investors 10 percent daily interest on e-gold deposits.


On the Net

  • Attorney General: www.ago.state.mo.us

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