Installment Two: The Continuing Saga Of William Victor Bernson III, AKA Greg (Lloyd) Smith, Jennifer Monroe, Dr. Tobias Bernstein, David Alexander & Brian Richards, Con-Man

Elizabeth Boleman-Herring

Ruminant With A View

by Elizabeth Boleman-Herring

(For Installment One of this saga, please return to the Weekly Hubris archives via this hot link: Greg Lloyd Smith, William Victor Bernson III, AKA . . . Legion)
Elizabeth Boleman-HerringTEANECK, NJ—(Weekly Hubris)—8/12/10—Joel Chandler Harris, who wrote the Br’er Remus stories and, in particular, the Southern yarn about Br’er Rabbit and the Tar Baby, has been much with me of late, as the saga of my currently imprisoned former editor, and former “buddy” in Greece, Bill Bernson, unfolds in Great Britain (in Wales, largely, where he’s doing 16 months for identity theft).

Br’er Rabbit, the protagonist of Harris’s rural animal fable, comes upon a baby made of tar (sticky, silent, darkly menacing) on the road, and attempts to engage the human-seeming creature in conversation. Getting no response—naturally; this is a toddler made of tar—Br’er Rabbit becomes exasperated and hauls off and hits the silent sculpture, becoming ensnared (to a greater and greater extent) in the tar, himself.

Br’er Rabbit & The Tar Baby

Br’er Rabbit & The Tar Baby

Just now, with British journalists hounding me on a daily basis for interviews about and photos of Bernson (I being the only person on the planet, it seems, to have known him under his real name and his stolen identity as Greg Smith), I feel as though I’ve succumbed to the chill, Velcro-like embrace of the homunculus that is . . . every sociopath, every con–man or –woman; every “Tar Baby.”

On our home answering machine, on Facebook, in my e-mail box every morning, there are earnest, overworked young British journalists asking: “Do you have any photographs of Bill and you together?” (No, Idiot: he has a 200 IQ. Think he’d let someone snap a photo of him with the only person on the planet who knows him by his real name? Get a grip.); or: “Is he a charmer? Were you attracted to him? He’s loved and left so many innocent women and babies in his wake? Were you ever tempted?” (Well, no. I, too, have a pretty high IQ, and Bill’s a disaster you see coming a long way off. An eight-years-younger-than-I disaster, too, who can’t conjugate a verb to save his life. But, yes, he’s funny, if short. And we were ‘Best Buds’ many years ago at The Athenian Magazine in Greece. To be honest, all of our Athenian Advertising Directors, but one, were mad as hatters, if bright and engaging, too, and Bill was no exception.); or: “How in the world did you end up working as Editor-in-Chief for a con-man if you knew he was a con-man?”

That last question is a difficult one. Presbyterian-Yogini that I am, Dear Reader, I suppose I thought I could reform him; teach him empathy; jump-start a heart in his chest. Like Br’er Rabbit, I thought I could get The Tar Baby . . . to talk; to make like a human being. Starfish can re-grow arms, I reasoned: Bill might stay put with his umpteenth wife (Katerina Theohari, of Mykonos), and remain faithful to his current brood of children. Miracles might happen.

Sigh.

Bernson on Mykonos in 2008

Bernson on Mykonos in 2008

The FBI really had a hard time believing that I, and my stable of some eight, hand-picked-by-me Op/Ed columnists actually edited and wrote for Bill, as the Publisher of www.OfficialWire.com, for free, but we did. In fact, I believe, still, that it was my and their hard work, and the archive of columns we amassed for Bill, that enabled him to attract Google’s advertising, and pass the site (a thinly-veiled, money-making-through-paid-press-releases machine) off as an actual news and commentary publication.

When I began work for him, though (my first column, “Just Google It,” now purged from the site like Trotsky from those Soviet-era group photos of Stalin et al, ran on September 16 of 2007), I believed Bill had turned a corner and, the father of three little half-Greek children, was trying to go legit. I wanted to help. I didn’t want money. Heck, seemingly, he had no money, as he kept hitting my husband and me up to fund this and that make-money-fast scheme (Water Taxi, Spuds-to-Go, etc.). Bill’s ideas were often brilliant, but they required hard slogging work and capital, neither of which we two old codgers (Dean and I) could supply.

But I could edit his site, for free. And I, and my writers, wanted a large reading audience—which we set about cultivating for OfficialWire.

One by one, the writers fell away, though, insulted by Bill in his frequent fits of pique. Two of them—men, of course; cultivated, educated, older men, with whom Bill has always had difficulties—really got to him, and he savaged them in e-mails. I should have seen the writing, the tar, on the wall, then.

Finally, in the fall of 2009, from one day to the next, I and all my remaining staff were axed from the Masthead (Bill called me, shouting loudly down the phone; enumerating all my many failings and inadequacies; essentially ending the friendship I thought we had from one minute to the next). I cried and cried, as he was so brutal. Mr. Hyde, with the gloves off.

Had the Feds come too close? Did he realize he was about to be exposed? I may never know.

Precipitously, he had moved his entire family from SE77QF, in London, to rural Wales. Immediately, he’d got into wrangles with authorities at the local grammar school (which his son attended), writing about it manically and off-the-wall in OfficialWire. Suddenly, his business schemes had become more hare-brained (a Yoga Centre essentially “lifting” Bikram Yoga’s entire “Hot Yoga” curriculum). I told him he was going over the edge. And Bill doesn’t like to be told he’s going over an edge. I had now become The Other; The Adversary; Danger, Danger, Will Robinson!

And so . . . he now believes it was I who “put him away.” I did not.

Bernson in Ornos, Mykonos, at work on OfficialWire, 2008

Bernson in Ornos, Mykonos, at work on OfficialWire, 2008

Ironically, in 1998, under the nom de plume (and another favorite alias), Brian Richards (still listed on OfWi’s Masthead), he wrote up his entire life story of crime and deception (up till then)—Footnotes To A Scoundrel: A True Story of Love Lies & Crime (sic)—and was brazen enough to have Katerina mail me a copy from Mykonos. The book came out under Bill’s own imprint, The Origin of Books, and was published in Great Britain. The FBI has a copy, too, it turns out.

As does Bill Bernson’s first son, born William Victor Bernson IV, c. 1978, I reckon. “Billy,” who now uses his mother’s maiden name (understandably: Bill abandoned him virtually at birth), and I are in touch, and I’m awaiting a copy of his parents’ marriage certificate, and photos of a just-out-of-high-school-Bill holding his first-born.

Apparently, when Bill left Billy, he gave him a watch and promised he’d return on the boy’s 18th birthday. Didn’t happen.

Billy’s mother, and Billy, himself, are still bitter. As are the other wives, fiancées, and mothers of fatherless children Bill’s left in his wake.

But the abandoned first son’s very much looking forward to seeing his father, eye to eye, for the first time, and that time may come soon for him, when Bill is extradited to the US to face charges here.

To address Bill and Katerina directly, which I have been reluctant to do, I really just want to ask them Why? and How? Why, Katerina, are you in denial about this man’s being who we all know him to be: William Victor Bernson III? And how, Bill, could you imagine I’d turn you in to the FBI? I’m not the one who turned on you: you turned on me, and my writers. And, largely, we went quietly. It wasn’t our place to threaten M., P., and C., your three-children-bearing-the-stolen-last-name-of-Smith.

Katerina, it’s time to go home to Greece, taking the kids, because soon, all kinds of things are going to hit Bill’s fan—none of them pretty. It’s also time to investigate whether or not your marriage is legal. I hope, European law being more humane than American, you are legally married, no matter what phony ID’s Bill used in Greece at the ceremony. But, if I were you, I’d do some hard thinking about “your sisters in misery”: I, myself, would want to seek out and speak with the Mrs. Bernsons 1, 2, 3, 4, etc., etc.

Very soon, Billy’s mother, and perhaps Carol, Bill’s British wife, and mother of an abandoned infant for whom I bought baby clothes in Athens many years ago, will be heard from, at last. He mentions them in that roman a clef you sent me in 1998. I assume you read your husband’s first book when it came out. Your name is on the packing slip.

And the book is even dedicated to me (God, the man has gall): “9/5/98 E, For all its (sic) worth—here it is. Based on your model, I’ve failed terribly—but with your counsel, there may still be time for me to become a writer!! L Spam [one of our Monty Python, in-jokes dating from Athenian days] XX”

Bill, forget becoming a writer—unless you write the scenario for the film of your life. Concern yourself, please God, with becoming . . . human, now. And a real father. There really is lots of time. You’ve got a big, honking brain in your noggin’, and a lot of lost children out there to whom you need to make amends.

Stop spinning those wheels, and scheming to make your next million or seek revenge on chimeras . . . fast and dirty.

The Tar Baby did not, I think, come to a good end.

PS Nice penal system you have there, Wales! After this admitted felon was jailed, he managed to smuggle out and post a column (on May 2, 2010), written under his stolen name, on OfficialWire.com that libels me, my family and friends no fewer than 43 times . . . if one counts the title, as well. I won’t give Bernson the pleasure of suing him for libel: it’s not worth the aggro or money. I only hope the US authorities will keep a closer watch on his activities while he’s in their care.

 

Elizabeth Boleman-Herring

About Elizabeth Boleman-Herring

Elizabeth Boleman-Herring, Publishing-Editor of “Weekly Hubris,” considers herself an Outsider Artist (of Ink). The most recent of her 15-odd books is The Visitors’ Book (or Silva Rerum): An Erotic Fable, now available in a third edition on Kindle. Thirty years an academic, she has also worked steadily as a founding-editor of journals, magazines, and newspapers in her two homelands, Greece, and America. Three other hats Boleman-Herring has at times worn are those of a Traditional Usui Reiki Master, an Iyengar-Style Yoga teacher, a HuffPost columnist and, as “Bebe Herring,” a jazz lyricist for the likes of Thelonious Monk, Kenny Dorham, and Bill Evans. (Her online Greek travel guide is still accessible at www.GreeceTraveler.com, and her memoir, Greek Unorthodox: Bande a Part & A Farewell To Ikaros, is available through www.GreeceInPrint.com.) Boleman-Herring makes her home with the Rev. Robin White; jazz trumpeter Dean Pratt (leader of the eponymous Dean Pratt Big Band); Calliope; and Scout . . . in her beloved Up-Country South Carolina, the state James Louis Petigru opined was “too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum.” (Author Photos by Robin White.)
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13 Responses to Installment Two: The Continuing Saga Of William Victor Bernson III, AKA Greg (Lloyd) Smith, Jennifer Monroe, Dr. Tobias Bernstein, David Alexander & Brian Richards, Con-Man

  1. Avatar Arthur Rimbaud says:

    While I agree with your overall description of this man (pick a name), you emphasize one aspect of his character with which I must take exception, and that is his intelligence. While he is unquestionably clever in concocting various scams to forward his personal interests and massaging his sadly inflated ego, I would categorize his intelligence level as being more akin to that of an Idiot Savant, highly proficient in one narrow area of endeavor (self-aggrandizement in his case) and utterly vacant in everything else. To my knowledge, this guy has never had one creative idea, original insight or unselfish thought in his life. His writing skills are a joke and his regard for other people and their feelings is non-existent. He basically has the mentality of a stunted child, resourceful in getting his own way but focused entirely on himself, and true intelligence is built of sterner stuff than that.

    I normally sign whatever I write, but in this case I will abstain, not because I’m worried about inflaming his infant wrath but because I have an aversion to mosquitoes. I don’t relish wasting my time swatting at insects whose sole purpose in life is to feed off of other people’s blood.

  2. eboleman-herring eboleman-herring says:

    Yep, Arthur, you know Bill! Call it my underutilized maternal instinct, or whatever, but the thing that gets me about him is how MUCH someone else could have done with his energy, motivation, drive and mind, whatever his IQ. That, and the kids. In the libelous article he wrote about me (and a friend of mine) actually FROM jail, he slammed me for being infertile, which is about as low and ad hominem as you can get. I tried for decades to have children, while Bill’s abandoned we-don’t-yet-know-how-many kids in his headlong flight from responsibility. I considered myself his current brood’s honorary aunt . . . and he even finds fault with that. I know The Dodo and The Neanderthal died out due to sundry inadequacies: what on earth is the purpose of The Sociopath, I ask you? Why do they still walk among us?

  3. Avatar Michael House says:

    “Ad feminam”, surely.

  4. eboleman-herring eboleman-herring says:

    True, Oh King! Point taken: Our–and my own–use of Latin is particularly sexist. I really DID think it was a particularly low blow, considering, though, and very, very ad feminam. But then, our Bill is not known for his gentle treatment of the fairer sex.

  5. Avatar a friend says:

    I know the “Smith Family!!!!” as they are known in South Wales and I have come to know Katerina quite well, i have read your article and also the article in Official Wire “What’s a crooked house etc”, if all that is in the media, posted on the internet, how is this man able to still call himself Greg Smith and send letters to his wife from “Greg” surely he would have to use his “true identity”.

    A lot of stigma regarding this surrounds South Wales and my heart goes out to Katerina and the three lovely children whom i have met and my goal is how to prove to Katerina if all this is true.

    Katerina is in a foreign country, no friends, husband in an English prison, with no one to turn to in this difficult situation, no one in authority talking to her, questions need answering, with no one providing the answers.

    I am still in contact with Katerina although contact is limited i am able to pass any information on to her.

    I read in your article when you said “time to go home katerina” but bear in mind her son’s diagnosis of Diabetes, her children constantly moving schools, Katerina needs answers and at the moment only has “Greg” to ask, and if he is as good a sociopath as the media is making out then she doesnt stand a chance of knowing the truth which i am sure all would agree she deserves

  6. eboleman-herring eboleman-herring says:

    Hi, Dear “Friend” of Katerina and thank you so very, very much for writing. I, too, admire and care for Katerina, and so wish she had family and friends there in Wales. Fortunately, she has you. If Katerina would only call me–she has all my phone numbers–and just talk. I’ve never lied to her, and she’s known me for years. I kept a secret for her husband I now regret keeping, but I truly thought he’d done with his old ways and turned a corner with her. Her brother owns the Dionysos Hotel in Ornos on Mykonos in Greece. Diabetes is easily treated in Greece, as well. She has a host of cousins, her parents, and friends there, all of whom would welcome her with open arms. If she wants to know the truth about her husband, she can talk to his first son, William Victor Bernson IV, who now goes by his mother’s maiden name, and lives in California. I think Billy and his mother could convince her of the truth. all best, Elizabeth

  7. Avatar Bob Jenness says:

    I knew Bill when he worked for me as a manager. He stayed at our house and we opened a small concession stand for fairs etc. Like so many others, he left with no notice and some bills. He was and is brilliant. I was his best man at his 2nd or 3rd wedding and knew him when he dated Debbie Foster (6 years his elder). I hope that he pays for his discretions and the various families he hurt.

  8. eboleman-herring eboleman-herring says:

    Bill, thank you for writing in. It seems many, many people are scouring the internet in search of Bill. You might be interested to know that Bill writes about you–not by your real name–in a roman a clef he wrote titled “Footnotes to a Scoundrel,” released under one of his aliases, Brian Richards. I doubt it will be easy to find, though, as he’s suppressed the title. I don’t understand the the man’s psychology but, thank Heaven, I think it’s fairly unique. Anyone who routinely savages his small, tiny, circle of friends WOULD be unique, I think. In any event, be back in touch, will you? Best, e

  9. Avatar a friend says:

    Thank you for the book you left for me while i was in Mykonos, it made very interesting reading. Sorry we didnt get a chance to meet.

  10. Avatar ROBERT JENNESS says:

    It might have been about two years now, the FBI visited me at my office and wanted in depth info concerning my knowledge of Bill. I was wondering if you had the most recent updates?

    We have communicated prior!

  11. Elizabeth Boleman-Herring Elizabeth Boleman-Herring says:

    Robert, I’ve not been contacted at all. The last I heard was that Bernson was fighting extradition to prison in the US (after prison in Wales). But there was no further update for me from US authorities. Depending on whether or not you’re in Wales of New Hampshire, where the case against him continues, you may have some luck contacting local officials.

  12. Elizabeth Boleman-Herring Elizabeth Boleman-Herring says:

    Att: Robert Jenness
    http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/260900/Conman-of-Dunblane-skulking-in-the-UK

  13. Avatar Jai says:

    I knew William(Bill) Victor Bernson III In 1988/89/90. I knew him when his company Registered Office was 67 Suffield Close, Long Stratton, Norwich, Norfolk. The company was Anglo Building Supplies Limited & Safeplate Limited. He was in business with a guy Stephen Eustace.

    He told me he was unable to return to Boston, USA, as he was wanted and would be arrested on entry. He had left Greece at this time with his then wife Carol Bernson and settled in the town of Diss, Norfolk. They had a child who was diagnosed with Phenylketonuria (PKU), he left Carol and baby soon after birth but they had some contact albeit not of his doing. He also said he couldn’t return to Greece either for similar misdemeanours.

    I was privy to some ‘dodgy’ financial dealings within the company as I was engaged to Bill at the time and had changed my name to Bernson (requested by him for business reasons, apparently). I didn’t want anything to do with his colourful behaviour and left him, my job, my entire livelihood and ran as fast as I could and never looked back. Apart from looking over my shoulder constantly in case he had found me. I was terrified of him tbh. Horrors that I chose to block out.

    It was some years later, approx 1996, his name or a variation of his name was mentioned on our local TV station, I was shocked and had to watch the story. Police were looking for any information anyone had on then William Bernstein. Relating to the Dunblane disaster Fund/Charity. I did make the call.

    I am amazed he is still indeed alive! Does anyone know what his current location or demise is so I can rest in my bed at night. I hope he has been deported back to the USA and never leave their shores again. Please update me if anyone knows anything. He is part of Lyn past I wish I could forget but he left me with a constant reminder, something he was proud of a STD, I’ll always remember him unfortunately. There is also the memory of the unlawful pregnancy and subsequent abortion I had to put myself through too. He definitely left me damaged! Any updates welcome. Thank you,

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