It’s been just over a year since we published a story about a NHPR reporter named Lauren Chooljian who had bricks thrown through her windows, her parent’s windows, a colleague’s windows, and the window of a home she used to live in. These incidents happened shortly after Chooljian published a story about Eric Spofford, the CEO of Granite State Recovery, who made hundreds of millions of dollars opening recovery homes for addicts in New Hampshire before selling the business. The story contained allegations from multiple women that Spofford has sexually harassed and assaulted drug addicted clients, sent them unsolicited dick pics, and pressured them into sleeping with him. These women felt they had no choice but to go along with it since Eric was a wealthy, well-connected celebrity to those in the recovery community.
The story is strengthened by the fact that Spofford admits to dating clients, and impregnated one of them.
Spofford threatened people who spoke out as sources in the very well researched article about him, including a former business associate and his original sponsor named Piers Kaniuka, who was pressured by Spofford into writing a retraction letter that Spofford posted on Facebook. It read like a North Korean prison confession.
Eric is extremely wealthy, but not because he’s smart. This is a guy who barely graduated from high school and struck it rich off the backs of people battling drug addiction. He flaunts his wealth on social media like he’s some sort of business guru, but if it weren’t for fentanyl he’d be broke. His inspirational videos and speeches read like something you’d find in a fortune cookie.
To be clear, this guy doesn’t know the first thing about business. His entire business plan can be summed as, “Inherit home from Dad, pack it with junkies, get money from Medicare and health insurance, open more homes, sell homes, buy jets.”
Because Eric is so dumb he believes that this confession from Kaniuka, in which Spofford literally announced Kaniuka was coerced at the threat of expensive litigation, would get NHPR to remove their story. Of course it didn’t (because NPR has deep pockets and on principle would never give into a douche waffle like this), and since he’s just a common street thug at heart, Eric didn’t know how to handle that. That’s when bricks started getting thrown through windows in broad daylight.
5 incidents of vandalism targeting journalists.
The c-word spray-painted in red on my parents’ garage. 2 separate times.
The c-word in red on @danielbarrick’s front door. And on a house I used to live in. Bricks thrown through windows.
Here’s my house. It’s not okay. pic.twitter.com/N6KJnOmsJt
— Lauren Chooljian (@laurenchooljian) May 31, 2022
Anyone with a brain knew that Spofford had something to do with this. He’s not man enough to do it himself, but since he’s rich and has unlimited access to drug addicts, it would be extremely easy for him to hire someone to do it. Everyone around Eric Spofford sucks up to him and tells him what he wants to hear. He’s not used to people who aren’t afraid to call him out for what he truly is. He wanted to send a message to this liberal woman from NPR – nobody fucks with Eric Spofford.
Since then Spofford filed a defamation lawsuit against NHPR and three sources Chooljian used who refused to back down. One of these was Justin Downey, who one of the victims confided in. Justin has been very vocal about Spofford and is clearly not afraid of him. He’ll be joining me on the Live show tonight at 9 PM, and you can click here to watch.
The lawsuit was thrown out in April and Spofford has appealed it. Recently Judge Dan St. Hilaire ruled that Chooljian must hand over her notes to Spofford so he can review in an attempt to find that she acted with malice.Order-on-Spofford-Discovery-Request-5-31-23
NHPR has thus far refused to do so and has opposed the request.
As someone with a lot of experience in deformation lawsuits, Spofford had a 0.0% chance of winning. He is doing what Julia Mejia is trying to do with me – use his lawsuit as a fishing expedition to find the name of sources so he can retaliate against them. He believes that having money means he can buy anything, but it can’t buy your way out of the First Amendment. In classic meathead fashion he bragged about having a “street fighting attorney,” as if that would somehow give him an advantage in court.
Spofford’s lawsuit didn’t even get to the discovery phase because it was thrown out with the initial motion to dismiss. Obviously NHPR isn’t going to publish something that isn’t sourced, and they have their own team of attorneys so it was no sweat off their back. I hope Chooljian burns her notes and tells them she doesn’t have any.
Two weeks after we wrote our story about it Spofford’s close business associate Eric Labarge was arrested for beating a man in an alley. Labarge has a long and documented criminal history, including convictions for violent crimes against women, and has spent a lot of time in jail. He is extremely loyal to Spofford because he was “saved” by Spofford, and consequently owns at least 7 recovery homes of his own. When you’re loyal to Eric Spofford you get paid.
Labarge claimed that the guy he beat up actually was a former client who relapsed and tried to kill him, so Eric had no choice but to stomp him in the face and slam him head first into the pavement.
Just like Spofford, Labarge had an army of enablers behind him after his arrest.
This is what these people like Spofford, Labarge, and Victor Oliveira do. They use other people’s money to help a few people with their recovery, spend most of it on themselves, pretend to be Jesus for junkies, and then the people they actually helped act as a public relations shield for them.
At the time I predicted that the guy Labarge beat up in a parking lot was one of the guys who threw a rock through the reporter’s window and needed to be reminded that he had to keep his mouth shut.
Turns out I was probably right.
A year after the incident occurred it appeared as if it might go unsolved. Chooljian did a popular podcast about her experience called the 13th Step, in which she expressed frustration about no one being arrested. Then yesterday the FBI Boston Office announced that three men had been charged:
Today, #FBI Boston charged three New Hampshire men with conspiring to harass and intimidate two journalists employed by New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR) -vandalizing the homes of the victims & their family members. Details @DMAnews1:https://t.co/e8RyCRpJxy pic.twitter.com/cfjmk0PuEt
— FBI Boston (@FBIBoston) June 16, 2023
Following a year-long investigation, federal authorities have charged three men in connection with an intimidation campaign aimed at two New Hampshire Public Radio journalists.
“The alleged harassment and intimidation of the victims included the vandalism — on five separate occasions — of the victims’ homes,” according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Massachusetts. The vandalism attacks, which included bricks, large rocks and spray paint, also targeted the home of one journalist’s immediate family.
According to prosecutors, Tucker Cockerline, 32, of Salem, N.H., Michael Waselchuck, 35, of Seabrook, N.H., and Keenan Saniatan, 36, of Nashua, N.H., conspired to commit stalking through interstate travel. Cockerline and Waselchuck were arrested Friday morning and detained after appearing in federal court in Boston. Their next hearing is scheduled for June 20. Saniatan remains at large.
I regret to inform you that “Tucker Cockerline” is not a ratchet name we’ve given him on Turtleboy. The egg donor who spawned him actually chose that name. They knew his last name would be Cockerline, and they determined that the only way that could be worse is if they made his first name Tucker.
He unfortunately has a Soundcloud channel in which he does cringe worthy covers and ruins perfectly good songs.
He is no stranger to handcuffs.
Cockerline apparently paid for the bricks at a Home Depot in Methuen, then crossed state lines to throw them through windows in homes in New Hampshire.
Michael Waselchuk was the guy in the blue jacket who threw the brick through Chooljian’s window in Melrose.
Waselchuk is a career shitbag with several priors.
Keenan Saniatan also has an assortment of Google trophies that includes witness tampering, strangulation, and assault. He has a tendency to choke out his girlfriends, then try to get people to offer false alibis for him to the police.
I do not have access to the entire statement of facts in the charging documents (federal courts should really be more accessible), but they have Cockerline and Saniatan talking on the phone with a subject 2. Subject 1 is Eric Spofford.
It is believed that “subject 2” is Eric Labarge. In a March story from New Hampshire Business Journal, it said that the people who threw the bricks were possibly linked to Labarge, and one of them was the guy he kicked the shit out of last June.
Hanover Police began investigating vandalism on April 24 when the resident reported someone threw a brick at the home and spray painted the word “C–T” on the building, according to the reports. The home was not occupied by anyone connected with NHPR during the vandalism, but Chooljian had lived in it a few years earlier, according to police. Hanover Police soon learned the spray-painted vulgarity and thrown bricks matched the vandalism that took place in other communities where NHPR reporters lived. During the investigation, detectives talked to police in Hampstead and learned Labarge was a suspect in that town, according to the report.
The Hanover police report has been retracted, but it appears the victim in the Manchester assault may have also been a suspect in the vandalism, according to the Hanover report. The Hanover report obtained through a Right to Know request obscures the names of the suspects, but it does include the Manchester Police Department’s incident number for the assault, which matched the court records for Labarge’s arrest.
The complaint states that a “a close personal associate” of Eric Spofford orchestrated the attacks.
Last year Spofford claimed that the person who threw the bricks was probably a former client he helped in recovery.
Because Eric Spofford is the cat’s ass, and has helped so many people that they blindly will defend his honor by breaking the windows of reporters who refuse to take down stories after being threatened with deformation lawsuits.
In classic Spofford form the Granite State Junkie Flunky said that NHPR “took advantage of the vandalism,” by suggesting he was responsible for the bricks, and cancelled settlement talks. But in reality there would be no settlement, as Spofford’s lawsuit was laughable. He’s just too stupid to see that his attorneys were running up the bill on him and giving him false hope that mean words on the Internet could come down if you paid enough money.
There is no proof that Labarge and Spofford orchestrated these attacks, but these three random career criminal junkies didn’t just decide to travel to four different locations, all of which were associated with the reporter who wrote about Spofford, throw bricks through their windows, and write threatening words on their property. Labarge wouldn’t just order these attacks on his own, and shortly afterwards Spofford posted “Dues paid” in an Instagram post with Labarge.
Labarge believes he owes everything to Spofford, because he does. He owes Eric Spofford dues, and orchestrating a hit on his behalf would be dues paid. Labarge is facing a lot of time in prison due to his priors so lets see if spending decades behind bars is included in those dues.
I don’t normally hate the people I blog about, but I truly hate Eric Spofford with a passion. I hate how cocky he is, I hate how he acts like he’s some sort of real businessman, and I hate how he puts on a faux tough guy persona when in fact he’s just a spoiled upper middle class kid from the burbs who inherited from his father and made hundreds of millions of dollars off of people’s drug addiction. More than anything I hate the people who follow and support him even more.
What Spofford and Labarge did wasn’t just an attack on a NHPR reporter, it was an attack on the First Amendment itself. In her podcast Chooljian said that her parent’s pressured her to stop writing about Spofford, which is exactly what he wanted. I’ve faced this predicament many times as Turtleboy, as people I write about have gone after my family members in the hopes that they would pressure me to stop. I’d rather die than accept the fact that I live in a country where that would be tolerated. I’m glad that Chooljian didn’t give in either, because we can’t live in a country where wealthy thugs like Spofford get to use violence to force the media to write nice things about them.