A visit to the website fordandbonilla.com is not as entertaining as it once was. For a few weeks this summer, visitors to the site were redirected to a cell-phone video capturing a heated exchange between San Jose political consultant Ryan Ford and council candidate Aaron Resendez, who was then running against Xavier Campos, the brother of Ford’s then-boss, Nora Campos. (Whew!)
The vid was blurry and the sound was bad, and it would have made no sense to any potential client shopping for services from Ford and his partner, Rolando Bonilla. But local insiders got a kick out of it—that was the point. The redirect was a prank pulled by another political consultant, Jay Rosenthal, who had registered the URL when he found out Ford and Bonilla were launching their enterprise.
Rosenthal swears the whole thing was meant purely as a joke, and says he offered to turn the URL over to its rightful owners back in June. But by then, Ford and Bonilla had already filed an appeal with GoDaddy, the domain-registration service, and the account had been frozen.
Rosenthal couldn’t take down the redirect, and Ford and Bonilla couldn’t put up a site of their own. It only took GoDaddy a month or so to settle the matter in favor of the fledgling consultancy; Ford and Bonilla finally got around to launching a legitimate (unfunny) site last month. And earlier this week the two served Rosenthal with a notice that they are suing him for almost $5,000.
While Rosenthal sound￼s vaguely contrite if not embarrassed by the whole thing, he says he will “vigorously” fight the small-claims suit, which he labels a “shakedown.”