Investigating claims posted on social media, starting with Terrence Keith Brejla aka Will Townsend Show Me Some Proof!

It's a Jungle Out There!

The internet is full of unsupported claims. This can be especially dangerous on social media sites. There is no vetting of the identities or credentials posted on profiles. There is no agency to appeal to when false information is uncovered, no authority to protect the user from unscrupulous individuals. The only recourse may be for volunteers to help educate individuals at risk.

Learning from House and Hitler

In the recently concluded "House" TV series, Dr. Gregory House is a brilliant diagnostician (with really cranky ways and a serious prescription drug problem). His credo is "Everybody lies". Finding the patients' lies is often the focus of an episode, as doctors search for the missing data needed to diagnose the patient. House makes the point that people lie for different reasons. It is not always out of an intent to mislead or any sinister reason. Sometimes they are just embarrassed about a particular fact--or they don't think it is important.

Hitler's contribution is "The Big Lie". He declared that everyone makes LITTLE lies, so they expect all lies to be similarly small. This leads them to accept the whopper, the grandiose, and improbable more readily than a simple fib. People who intend to mislead are very familiar with this principle. It's not that rare to find examples in sales pitches and political speeches.Often they will start with a grain of truth and then inflate the claim beyond all reason. "Because who would lie about something so big?"

Semantics and the Thread of Truth

A compulsive liar, like a criminal or a sociopath, gets very good at telling lies--to the point they could easily pass a lie detector test. Part of the reason for their success at dishonesty is that they often BELIEVE the stories they are telling. There is some thread of truth that could possible interpreted in a way that would make their statement true. They make use of technical truths that by implication, create lies.

Examples of use of technical truths

"I edited the first Harry Potter book."
That's right, I bought a copy at Borders, took it home, and sat down with my red pen and marked all the printing errors.

"I wrote for Time Magazine and National Geographic."
Yup, I wrote lots of articles for both places. Of course they didn't publish any of the articles--in fact I didn't even submit them, but by gum I wrote them.

"I taught at Princeton."
You betcha--right there in the basement of the Liberal Arts building. I reserved a room as part of the community access program, advertised in the laundromat, and taught the 3 people who showed up how to open a bottle of wine without breaking the cork.

"I'm a movie critic, carried by the New York Times"
I wrote up what I thought of one movie and posted it in the comments of the online entertainment section. It is a critique of the movie, and it is on the NYT website.

Warning Signs

In the writing and editing field, like the advertising field, folks know the value of publicity--so accomplishments are heavily documented, on websites, in newspaper articles, etc. It's a red flag if a major claim doesn't show up in a search.

Have You Seen This Man?
This is Terrence Keith Brejla aka Terry or Keith or PT Brejla or Will Townsend. Include possible misspellings like Terence, Terrance, Terance, Terri and Brejela, Brejala, Brelja, Brejler, Berjla, and Breyla (the phonetic spelling). Hereinafter referred to as TKB.

Brejla photos

There have been dramatic changes in TKB's profile as unsubstantiated items were corrected. See the side-by-side comparison of the content from bios posted on May 14 and on August 15. Below are some of the claims found online, with verification status. Mouseover the small boxes for more information (some are also clickable).

Vital Statistics Legend: found in an independently verifiable source=True contradicted by verifiable source=False Partial truth--Sources have mixed data=Partial no reliable source found=Unknown

Source: California court records Date of Birth: October 19, 1947
Source: LTHS online yearbook Graduated from Lyons Township High School in Illinois
Source: Drake alumni newsletter, CA newspapers BA in Journalism from Drake University in 1969
Source: Des Moines newspaper, witness confirmation Married Janet B. in 1969, two children (now grown)
Source: personal contact/witness TKB: widowed at an early age (Yahoo groups post ~2004)
Source: personal contact/witness wife died of breast cancer ~2006 (TKB's YouTube video ~2009)
Source: court documents Filed for divorce in 2008, final in 2009
no reliable source found TKB is very ill (prostate cancer, brain tumor, osteosarcoma, epilepsy)

Work History (includes subcontracts)

Source: Des Moines newspaper1969 KSO Radio, Des Moines Iowa
unverified Leo Burnett, Chicago
unverified DDB, Chicago
partial 7UP, CMO, CMO, ran "Uncola" or "No Caffeine"campaign
1989 foodservices Promo Manager
unverified Bates USA, Chicago Account Director of Miller Brewing Company
1998 Spokesman for Veldkamp's Flowers, Denver
(circa 2000 to 2003) The Phelps Group, Bay Area, VP
2002 Jamison/McKay (fired and sued for Fraud and Forgery)
short stints at Cintara, Robinson-Clark-Treacy, P3M
2005 Turner & Associates (dismissed for fraud)
Source: phone/email from Burson-Marsteller HR department 2006-2007 Burson-Marsteller (resigned)
old web sites 2008 Matter Communications/Providence PR Agency

Source: Amazon--only 4 books listed, all published by iUniverse Author of 5 books from multiple publishers used iUniverse
a few columns found from Santa Clara paper Syndicated entertainment columnist
unverified Blogger: TKB's article from 7/27/2008, Darren Rowse article from 10/30/2007

unverified Faculty member at UC San Diego
unverified Faculty member at University of Colorado/Boulder
unverified Faculty member at Regis University

Real Estate/Investor
2009 "corporate relocation contact" as WIll Townsend