Who is John Scott Horner III?

Orange County’s social media channels via Facebook have been buzzing with comments from a retired army dentist who goes by the name of John Scott Horner III.

Horner is married, lives in Mission Viejo, and is from Ripon, WI, a tiny town of less than 8,000 people. He’s a graduate of Marquette University and Marquette University School of Dentistry.  And he is a retired US army dentist — a Veteran.

Horner is a regular on the “Orange County Progressives” and OCVMP Facebook pages railing for the cemetery to be placed at the Freeway site. Horner, loves OCVMP’s Bill Cook, Irvine council member Melissa Fox, and hates him some Larry Agran big time.  But his status as a Veteran is probably why he is so engaged in the Veteran’s Cemetery issue.

 

 

He’s a handsome fella too; rugged and earthy in a flannel shirt and work boots kind of way. Not bad for a guy who turns 50 on June 12, or so his profile says.  See these photos:

 

 

Horner has a ton of progressive friends in Orange County. Electeds, candidates, media types, union officials, and progressive leaders populate his Friends page on Facebook.

Friends like Mohammed Aly, Martin Wisckol, Ari Grayson,  Dr. Jose Moreno, Naz Hamid, Harvey Liss, Octavia Tuohey, Katherine Daigle, Ajay Mohan, Louise Larson, Amy Stevens, Craig Baumbusch, Brian Fazio, Robert Leahy, Amar Singh Shergill, Tiffany Ackley, Staycie Sena, Rachel Payne, Scott Rhinehart, Mary Narravo, Omar Siddiqui, Jason Mills, Sharon Toji, Jesus Silva, Boyd Roberts, Barbara Nelson, Mary Carter, Ron Varasteh, Jennifer Delson, Ed Garza, Mirvette Judah, Sherri Loveland, Denise Penn, Ray Cordova, Gary Bennett, Karen Hinks, Karina Onofre, Felicity Figueroa, Arnel Dino, Jeff LeTourneau, Ken Stahl, Victor Valladares, Cynthia Aguirre, Doug Pettibone, Doug Applegate, Kimberly Ellis, Ryan Ruelas, Josh Newman and more.  Heck, we have 65 friends in common.

Quite the list. And he’s so outspoken.

I’ve had some interactions with Mr. Horner back in March over the cemetery; he seemed very focused on support for Irvine council member Melissa Fox, so I suggested he be careful because she’s a married woman. He admonished me for “loving Mike Levin” and suggested a joke I made was “Beavis and Butthead” humor.

Certainly a spirited debate with someone knowledgeable about OC politics and the issues surrounding the Veteran’s Cemetery.

 

But…..

 

There’s.

 

One.

 

Small.

 

Problem.

 

John Scott Horner III is not real.

He or She is an Orange County Political Troll using the same tactics Russian bots and trolls used in the 2016 election.

Let’s start with “his” hometown. Ripon High School in Wisconsin reports no one by the name John Scott Horner III is a graduate of their high school in the mid-1980s.

Marquette University and Marquette Dental School have no record of attendance or a degree granted to a John Scott Horner III. Marquette did have a John E. Horner from Virginia attend an event logged by their database but this event happened at Purdue University.

The public affairs unit of the U.S. Army has no record of a retired John Scott Horner III; they referred me to a site called Archives.com and there is no John Scott Horner III that served in the US Army dating back to the 1800s.

The Dental Board of California has no listing for a John Scott Horner III with credentials to practice dentistry in this state. None.  Even under “inactive” there is no John Scott Horner III.

Lastly, there’s no listing for a John Scott Horner III in Mission Viejo and no one registered to vote in Orange County under this name.  So June 12 can’t be a birthday for someone who doesn’t exist.

That handsome, rugged fella whose portraits and snapshots adorn John Scott Horner III’s Facebook page is real though. His name is Michael Vickerman and he is a program and policy director for RENEW Wisconsin, a non-profit company that promotes renewable energy in Wisconsin.

The Real Michael Vickerman who is not John Scott Horner III

So, he’s a clean and green energy guy

Unfortunately, Mr. Vickerman is a crime victim.  His likeness was used to create a fake Facebook profile page used by someone to speak out on political issues on behalf of several possible candidates.  And that means whoever John Scott Horner III is, they have committed the crime of misdemeanor Identity Theft.

And because he or she pretended to be a retired military dentist, this amounts to what OCMVP’s Bill Cook would call “stolen valor.”

There is a movement underway for making harsher penalties for those who claim to be military veterans when getting involved in identity theft, but the legislation moves slowly and faces court challenges and free speech issues. See this story for more. http://www.capecodtimes.com/article/20140408/News/140409711

I contacted Vickerman to make him aware his photograph was being used by an imposter. He called back Wednesday afternoon and was a little apprehensive about why a political blog from Southern California was calling him in Wisconsin.  I asked him to go to John Scott Horner III’s Facebook profile and Vickerman was unable to see it.  This is a common practice of social media identity thieves; to block their profile page from their target so they can’t see it.

So I emailed him the photos posted here to Mr. Vickerman.  It took a few minutes, but he opened every photograph.

“This is definitively me,” said Vickerman.  “I’m flabbergasted to see all these photos.  The one of me in the Badlands.  The one of me with my brother on a boat.  It’s clearly identity theft.”

Then he asked me where our blog is from again.  When I told him Orange County, he said he knew someone from Orange County and she’s on a city council.

“Who?” I asked.

“Melissa Fox,” he replied.  “I went to school with her husband Michael.  I came to a conference in Orange County and stayed at their house.”

Vickerman thought this conference was in 2010, but wasn’t sure.

Vickerman revealed he’s known Michael Fox since the 1970s when they were students at UW-Madison; Vickerman was an undergraduate and Fox at UW’s Law School.  It’s quite the coincidence and completely unexpected.

This development surprised me.  I’m not pointing any fingers here without hard evidence, but did tell Vickerman some believe one of the Fox’s was behind the profile and one or both of them might likely contact him after this story posts.

*****

(this section was written prior to the Vickerman interview, but I’m leaving it here).

 

So, who is John Scott Horner III? Well, it could be a variant of the Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme “Little Jack Horner.”

It’s not.

Since so much about Mr. Horner is Wisconsin-based, it’s a nod to Wisconsin politician John Horner, also referred to as “Little Jack Horner.”

John Scott Horner was a U.S. politician, Secretary and acting Governor of Michigan Territory, 1835–1836 and Secretary of Wisconsin Territory, 1836–1837.

Horner was one of the original settlers of what is today Ripon, WI and he helped establish Ripon College; Horner died in Ripon and is buried there. During his life, Horner was a probate judge in Marquette County, WI, but he attended Washington College (now Washington and Jefferson College) and not Marquette.  He was a farmer by trade and not a dentist and Horner never served in the military.

My friends in IT security suggest whoever John Scott Horner III is, has some traits that expose his/her real identity. He/she is likely from Wisconsin or the upper Midwest.  This person is a student of history and they know their way around Facebook pretty well.  Based on cultural references in Facebook posts, they are also likely between the age of 45 and 65, have a political agenda to promote certain candidates.

If you know someone who likes to drop references to the old TV show “Beavis and Butthead,” that’s a clue.

And it’s highly likely that John Scott Horner III is a campaign worker, a consultant, a volunteer or a family member of a political candidate or an elected official. “John’s” social media experiment is to protect that candidate/official’s reputation/policies/votes or advance that candidate’s reputation/policy/votes.

My friends in IT security also suggest the creator of this project is somewhat arrogant and believes they are so smart that they won’t be caught.

We’ll see about that. 😉

Digital fingerprints always lead somewhere and my white-hat hacker pals are already digging (or should I say, have dug?  he-he).  White hat hacking is ethical hacking for those who needed detail.

Know anyone who fits the bill? I have some ideas, but I need solid proof first. And I am not pointing any fingers.

Who needs Russian trolls when we have our own in Orange County; and someone who is a Democrat or a Progressive to boot.

Much of the debate from the pro-freeway location of the Veteran’s cemetery focuses on the honesty of those who support the ARDA site. The social media efforts of John Scott Horner III are as dishonest as they come.  And Veterans ought to denounce the stolen valor of this person claiming to be an retired Army Veteran when all evidence proves John Scott Horner III is a liar and a work of fiction.

If John Scott Horner III is on your friends list, unfriend him.  Before he/she deletes the profile altogether.  I’m wondering how quickly that profile disappears once this story goes live.

  24 comments for “Who is John Scott Horner III?

  1. junior
    April 25, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    You can scratch me off your list – I am not he.

  2. Carole Levers
    April 25, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    Excellent sleuthing Dan! One comment that I will make is that if this is the person who I think it is…that person is NOT a progressive! I am not on that person’s FB list for a reason…..

    • Dan Chmielewski
      April 25, 2018 at 4:28 pm

      Thank you Carol — the trail JSHIII left to follow was pretty easy; I’ve been working on this for several days

  3. Arnel Dino
    April 25, 2018 at 4:29 pm

    Unfriended and Reported. Thanks Dan,

  4. Sybil
    April 25, 2018 at 6:24 pm

    One term.

    #byefelicia

  5. Sherri Loveland
    April 25, 2018 at 7:25 pm

    Great reporting, Dan! Thanks for the heads up. If the person we think it is, is in fact, correct, I’ve noticed that he hasn’t attended DPOC meetings lately. Hmmm…..

  6. George P
    April 25, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    Anyone want to take bets that “john Scott Horner III” was also behind a few other fakeries in Irvine of late? Maybe a “Concerned Neighbor Letter” or other blogs of ill repute? It’s absolutely shameful that Irvine officials are party to these misdemeanors. Let’s see if IPD has a pair and will actually do something about this? Is Mr. Zuckerberg watching? They should take action against JSH as well for using their site for identity theft. This should be fun to watch!!!

  7. Jeff Perlman
    April 25, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    John Scott Horner was a real person who was acting governor of the Michigan Territory, 1835-36. He died in Ripon, WI, which is where the fictional cemetery activist hails from. Someone is having a good laugh at voters’ expense.

  8. katherine daigle
    April 25, 2018 at 10:26 pm

    Thank you Dan, this person has disappeared. Glad to have you as my friend.

  9. OC DEM
    April 26, 2018 at 7:05 am

    You have to hand it to whoever did this, when Paul Lucas created the FAKE Henry Lipton profile, he was so lazy, he could only like a dive bar in Placentia, he used to frequent with Drunk Vern and Commie Girl!

    Then again, Paul smokes more weed than your average sh!tty lawyer.

    • AEROSMITH
      April 26, 2018 at 8:03 am

      Ready for coffee with Ricardo?

      It’s almost ready and a short walk from your office. You can talk all about your fake profiles then.

    • Dan Chmielewski
      April 26, 2018 at 10:32 am

      The profile of John Scott Horner III is gone from Facebook

  10. Chris Kreymann
    April 26, 2018 at 10:53 am

    Thanks for the great investigation and analysis. Unfortunately, technology unlocked a Pandora’s box that apparently no bottom to the filth spewed by the ethically challenged.
    Coincidentally, I’m just reading Comey’s book and he makes a point of stressing that we must keep challenging ourselves and exercise leadership in pursuing truth.

  11. David Vasquez
    April 27, 2018 at 5:07 pm

    Wow, and Ricardo Toro, Greg Diamond and company call me “FAKE” Vasquez, despite Ricardo driving to my house in his crummy little red car.

    I wonder if they are going to call out the guy who did this AND his wife? Something tells me NO.

    • 4th District Resident
      April 27, 2018 at 8:36 pm

      Fell better. I call you fake OC Dem.

      • David Vasquez
        April 28, 2018 at 9:05 am

        Thanks Dave,

        I fell better already. Don’t you need to get over to the depot, Tony has some sweeping up to do.

        BTW, Vern says thanks for the ride to the dental clinic yesterday, unfortunately. They could not replace his missing teeth, they suggested getting a job and insurance.

        • Dan Chmielewski
          April 28, 2018 at 10:42 pm

          Has it been five years since Dave got fired from the county? Time flies when you’re painting crappy landscapes.

  12. Stolen Valor
    April 30, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    So how does Melissa Fox or Michael Fox explain this away? Stolen Valor Bill Cook. Everyone believes one or both of the Foxes have something to do with JSH3.

    • Dan Chmielewski
      May 3, 2018 at 9:07 pm

      OC Dem, your last comment was a little over the top. Dial it back please

  13. Fred Smith
    May 3, 2018 at 11:29 pm

    Maybe it was the drunk/drug addict/wifebeater Victor Valladares. Has he been seen at any more gay strip clubs?

    • Quality Blogging
      May 4, 2018 at 6:19 am

      There, that’s better.

  14. Dee Fox
    May 19, 2018 at 8:19 pm

    Was Melissa Fox or her husband ever asked about this?
    And did the fingerprints definitely confirm it came from one or both of the Foxes?
    If so, is someone going to report it? More importantly … Why is she still on our City Council?
    It seems whenever one side accuses the other of something, is because they are doing it themselves.
    (i.e. HRC and The Russians)

    • Dan Chmielewski
      May 19, 2018 at 10:25 pm

      I don’t know

      I cannot confirm technical proof. Writing style is remarkably similar to posts written by the Fox’s and it’s quite the coincidence that Mr. Vickerman went to college with Mr. Fox. Care to place odds on the likelihood of JSH3’s identity?

      Report this to whom exactly? The profile is gone and it’s unclear if JSH3 took it down or Facebook did.

      She was elected in 2016. Barring a recall or some grave mistake that warrants her resignation or removal, voters will decide on Fox in 2020. She has endorsed Lauren
      Johnson Norris. She how Lauren does this fall after insulting Beth Krom and Sukhee Kang when she was trying to go after Larry Agran. Lead balloon.

      No argument from me on last statement

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