Harold W. Vadney III is a wannabe translator who lies about his credentials. In August 2007, I exposed him on the now-defunct Network of Independent Linguists’ Discussion Forum. He has now set up a blog devoted to telling lies about me and others. This is my reply. To comment or for further information write to Richard_Benham_AU-StopVadneysLies[at]yahoo.com.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Vadney4Justice or Justice4Vadney?

Please try not to puke. This is a picture of the Vadney from his 2007 election campaign for the post of Town Justice of New Baltimore. You will be relieved to read that I don’t want you to look at his face. I would like rather to draw your attention to the flag in the background. It’s a 13-star American flag from the days of the War of Independence. So you would think the Wad was trying to tell us something about his attitude to Britain with this picture, wouldn’t you? Well, probably he is, but like most information emanating from the Vadney, the message of this picture is totally false. At best, his attitude to Britain is ambivalent. Vadney doesn’t look down on Britain; rather, he aspires to be British himself. Remember, he claimed (falsely, of course) to be a Member of the Institute of Linguists (MIL) and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA), both august British institutions. And he claimed to have attended, among many other institutions, the University College of London. That would have been more impressive if he had got the name right: it is simply University College, London.

Vadney is a Merkin, Vadney is a thief!

And then there is the sycophantic puff piece in the Schenectady Daily Gazette (24 April 1998, p. B-11), in which the pseudo-journalist Cheryl Clark describes Vadney making “a little pot of chamomile tea” and serving it on a “silver tray”. And, of course, speaking “with a cultured European tinge that belies his Albany upbringing”: in plain language, a fake English accent. How quaint!

So, for something novel, let’s see how the Vadney would fare in the British legal system. As I have mentioned, we know that the Vadney claimed, on his ProZ.com and TranslatorsCafe.com profiles, as well as his own commercial website, to have qualifications he lacked. I also know that one UK agency, until relatively recently when they found out about his fraudulent claims, hired the Vadney on a regular basis. So where does this put him legally?

Also, feigned qualification cases, to my knowledge, have been brought/prosecuted - with the higher criminal standard of proof of beyond reasonable doubt - only under the UK Theft Act 1968. The gen. category is obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception. The spec. count is s. 16(2)c)-> a deception i.e. as to qualifications allowing a person to be given an 'opportunity to earn remuneration or greater remuneration'. See MPC v. Charles; R. v. Lambie; and esp. R. v. Callender (1992)- an unqualified book-keeper pretending to be a Chartered Accountant.

See <http://www.iol.org.uk/discussion/viewtopic.asp?id=1026>,
post by Maurice, a UK solicitor.

So, in simple terms: Vadney is a thief under English law! (Section 16 of the UK Theft Act 1968 has now been replaced by Section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006, which came into effect on 15 January 2007. Vadney’s deceptions took place both before and after this date; so he is a fraud (in the UK legal sense) as well as thief! Note that there is no longer a requirement to have actually made a gain or caused someone a loss; intention suffices. And the maximum penalty is 10 years.) Wouldn’t it be nice to see him locked up where he belongs?

A day to remember

22 August 2007. The day Scott Waldman’s article about the Vadney and his lies finally appeared in the Albany Times Union. On the top of the front page of the D (Capital Region) section, with the headline “Candidate lists false credentials”, and a picture of the Vadney’s grotesquely grinning countenance (cropped from the same picture as is shown on this page, by the looks of it.) The subtitle was “Harold W. Vadney III, running for New Baltimore town justice, claimed degrees, memberships he doesn’t have”. There was also a teaser on the very front page of the paper. The Vadney was finally exposed as a fraud, not just on an obscure forum for translators, but in the mainstream press on his home turf!

This magnificent achievement was the culmination of a lot of very hard work behind the scenes by a lot of people I can’t name due to the Vadney’s practice of harassing people who disclose inconvenient truths about him with vexatious and frivolous lawsuits. A bit late for Scott Waldman and the Times Union, though! The limitations period is only one year. My thanks and congratulations go to all those people who helped, and to Scott Waldman and his publisher for having the guts to run that excellent story.


Scott Horne said...

Cultured European tinge, my ass! I've seen yoghurt that's more cultured and European.

Congratulations and thanks once more to Mr Scott Waldman for his brilliant exposé of the local fraud who was running for town "justice." I'm going to open some good wine tonight, just as I did this time last year. Decent people everywhere will agree that fraud must not be tolerated. Of course, there are not-so-decent people who feel differently. See, for example, the following:


Richard D. Benham said...

Yes, I would thank everybody concerned, some of whom are of course lying low for fear of one of Vadney’s nuisance writs. Pity I am too sick to drink wine tonight, and in any case can't find my corkscrew (I did buy a bottle in anticipation).

Richard D. Benham said...

Dear Mr Benham:

We [sic!] have tried to contact you otherwise by telephone and by e-mail but you do not respond.

We [sic!] know you are operating this blog and that you moderate comments so we [sic!] are serving you with this notice to ensure you are aware of this situation.

We [sic!] need you to confirm you address for service of legal papers as


If this is NOT your address for service, please provide your complete address for service or we [sic!] will have to serve you at your last known address which might delay your receiving the documents and prevent you from responding within the time allowed.

Please don't try to avoid service or to continue hiding.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Harold W. Vadney

[Edited version of attempted comment by the Vadney.]

Richard D. Benham said...

My response to the above drivel is as follows:

The address quoted is my parents’s address, As one might expect, I left my parents’ home in 1976 to get married. My parents are both in their 80s, and, quite apart from my being, as you know, on another continent, serving documents on them would be both harassing to them and ineffective legally.

I currently do not have a stable address, due to the imminent end of my studies here in Geneva. I expect to return to Indonesia, but I will in any case not be staying in the same apartment complex as I was before. (Despite some earlier claims on your blog, attributed to DegreeChk.com, the apartment block was still there when I checked on Google Earth.)

If you wish to effect service, fine. I am agreeable to that. All you need to do is to get an attorney, and, after verifying his or her bona fides, I will appoint a US attorney who will accept service from your attorney.

Clearly, you do not have any claim against me, and no attorney would take on your alleged case, but that is your problem.

Also, please do not lie. You made no attempt to contact me either by telephone or by email. I have not received anything in the email account I specifically asked you to use to contact me, and you have already been repeatedly informed that you are filtered from my main email address. You did not attempt to telephone me; you telephoned my parents in Adelaide (most recently at 12:30 am), knowing that I was in Geneva.

Richard D. Benham said...

Excuse the typo above; that should be “parents’”, of course.

Scott Horne said...

Oh, heavens to Betsy! Doesn't he know that he's only making things worse for himself with all these meaningless threats and hopeless lawsuits? If he had had the sense to lie low, his fraudulent history would have been largely forgotten by now. He could have moved away and started anew, if he took care to treat his new neighbours decently and modestly. I told him as much. Did he listen? No. And now he's in a real pickle, because his attempts to pass black off as white have predictably backfired, and he has only succeeded in spreading the truth about his chequered past. The more he goes on with these insane venomous attacks, the worse his situation becomes.

If he persists in making threats and filing new vexatious and frivolous lawsuits while failing to pay his creditors, he is headed for big trouble. He may be found in contempt of court and hauled off to gaol.

Honestly, I don't know what he can do at this stage. I can only suggest that a social worker be brought in, or maybe some reasonably sane person to whom he'll listen. I suppose I don't blame him for not wanting to listen to me, what with the prevailing enmity; but he needs to understand that he is, as Richard said, on the road to perdition. Indeed, he's already halfway there, and his only option for rescuing himself is to put an end to the insanity and take a close look at himself--or get someone else to set him straight. Then he should find something meaningful, satisfying, and POSITIVE to do with what's left of his life, and set about achieving it. It could be something as modest as starting a new hobby, or finding a job. But this campaign of attempting to destroy everyone around him just isn't going to work; it will only destroy HIM. That's abundantly clear to those of us whose vision is not obscured and warped by narcissism and megalomania.

I'm trying to be helpful here, but I really don't know what can be done. My best suggestion, once again, is to get a social worker or maybe (blecch) a clergyman involved. He could also talk with a lawyer about these insane lawsuits of his, for any competent lawyer will tell him, as the judge did, that he has absolutely no case, and that he's only going to end up in deep shit if he continues.

He obviously has not come to realise that actions have consequences, and that he has to accept the latter if he undertakes the former. That's the big problem here. One cannot have one's cake and eat it too. If you tell a lie, you may get caught, and then people may consider you dishonest. If you insult, attack, and alienate people, you are likely to end up on their shit lists. If you file a vexatious and frivolous lawsuit with absolutely no merit whatsoever, you will almost certainly lose, and you may be stuck with some bills to pay.

If, however, you take the high road rather than the low, things are more likely to go well for you: people will like you and respect you, you will succeed, your will have fewer worries, you will feel genuinely accomplished. It's never too late to repent; think of old Scrooge's dramatic turnaround. But the will has to be there.

None of us is getting any younger, and the thought of our demise must give us pause. Do we like what we have made of ourselves heretofore? Will we be remembered favourably, or will our death move noöne to tears (and perhaps even move some to gleeful laughter)? Are we full of the milk of human kindness, or are we rather selfish, nasty, abrasive? Have we hidden our light under a bushel, if not extinguished it altogether? or does our little candle glow steadily, unyieldingly, as bright as it can? Do we squander our time on pettiness, vanity, folly, and pride? or do we touch other lives in ways big and small? Do we think in terms of "us", or only in terms of "me"?

More than two thousand years ago, historian Sima Qian wrote "人固有一死,或重于泰山,或轻于鸿毛": 'Every person will suffer death, be it weightier than Mount Tai or lighter than a goose feather'. Now is the time to rectify our behaviour and work towards what is important to us, for if our name blows off like a goose feather in the breeze, it will be too late to make something of ourselves.

Well, enough of that. Those words will probably go to waste. Perhaps I shouldn't have bothered to write them.

Richard, I'm very sorry to hear that you're not well. I wish you a speedy recovery. Don't worry, I'll drink an extra glass of wine on your behalf. O the burdens that we bear for our friends!

Richard D. Benham said...

Hello. Thanks for that comment. I note that the Vadney has posted some crap about "Psalm 152". I have made some comments about that on the Biblical Quotations blog.

I am sure, even though not religious myself, that the Vadney’s clergyman could at least give him some sensible advice. He is on a slippery slope, and praying isn’t going to help him, and wouldn’t even help him if the Christians were right, until he learns to distinguish right from wrong and truth from falsehood.

Scott Horne said...

Although irreligious (to put it mildly), I agree that Mr Vadney's priest would probably be able to set him in the general vicinity of the path to righteousness. Priests are also bound by confidentiality, so it should be safe enough for Mr Vadney to shrive his soul to a man of the cloth.

Mr Vadney needs the detachment and astuteness of a sensible observer. He is probably surrounded by enablers who feed his self-destructiveness.

In Catholicism, the mortal sins are pride, greed, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth. I'd say that Mr Vadney is guilty of the first four, at a minimum. So a visit to the priest is in order.

Richard D. Benham said...

I specialize in the last three; so I suppose that makes me the antithesis of the Vadney. That justifies some pride on my part.

Scott Horne said...

My offer is the same as Richard's. If Mr Vadney should wish to serve anything on me, he may retain a real lawyer and get that person to communicate with me. If the lawyer is serious, I shall assign one of my North American lawyers to accept service from him. I do not allow my lawyers to communicate directly with Mr Vadney, as he is known for burdensome communications seemingly intended primarily to drive up other people's legal bills. Because I travel so much, service must ordinarily be effected through one of my lawyers.

Scott Horne said...

Hi, Richard,

I do hope you're feeling better. I'm just savouring the last glass of last night's Alsatian gewürztraminer. A joy! I shall have to replenish my stock.

By the way, don't forget that documents served in Québec must be in French, or else must be accompanied by a French translation. Vive la différence !

Scott Horne said...

Oh, dear. It appears to me that Mr Vadney may be suicidal. He has just posted a desperate prayer that is obviously a cry for help. I would suggest that he call 800 SUICIDE before doing anything impulsive. By a stroke of luck, the Samaritans in the US also happen to be based in Albany; their number is 518 689-HOPE. See also this announcement at the Web site of the Times Union:


Threescore years wasted primarily on vexatiousness, harassment, self-aggrandisement, and fraud may indeed seem like a hollow and sad existence. But help may perhaps be available. Nice people are standing by at those hotlines, and they don't even charge money for their services. I should certainly hope that Mr Vadney would seek their intervention before acting out his impulses. And I'm sure that his priest would be willing to say those prayers with him, and also suggest both religious and secular ways to deal with all those painful feelings of guilt and self-loathing. It's not too late to make some changes, even at Mr Vadney's age. Let us hope that he will seek the help that he needs.

Richard D. Benham said...

Yes, he does seem to be in need of help. It can hardly seem a pleasant prospect serving out the few years remaining to him in his current condition. He needs someone to help him turn around what's left of his life.

I don't know the US situation. In Australia there’s an organization called “Lifeline” for people in distress. I assume the US organizations you mention are similar.

Mr Vadney, if you read this, please stop your foolish games and get help!

Scott Horne said...

800 SUICIDE is a toll-free hotline that works throughout the US. The Samaritans, originally a British organisation (that fact may appeal to some), provides assistance via telephone and e-mail. If for some reason those numbers do not work, there is always 911, the number for emergencies in North America.

Things may indeed look bleak for Mr Vadney, but that doesn't mean that killing himself is the answer. Support is available for people whose lives appear to be ruined. Often they can get help. It's certainly worth a try.

Ours is sound advice, but Mr Vadney won't listen to us. Is there anyone whom he trusts?

Scott Horne said...

By the way, Richard, congratulations on earning the Diplôme approfondi de langue française (C2)! We should celebrate our new diplomata (if I may indulge in this classical plural just this once).

About Me

I am a professional translator in the combinations French>English and German>English. I hold qualifications from the University of Adelaide (BA, DipCompSc), the Australian National University (LittB), the University of Geneva (Certificat de spécialisation en linguistique), and the the UK-based Institute of Linguists (Diploma in Translation for both my language combinations). I am an implacable opponent of bullshit in all its forms.