Last August, Casie Cathrea became the youngest Monday qualifier for an LPGA event at Blackhawk Country Club, where she made a hole in one on the first day of the tournament. Casie, a freshman at Livermore High School, missed the cut at that tournament, but later won the California's Women's Amateur Title. "Thinking that someone could go out and find my name and use it as their own is pretty weird," she said.
Casie's official website is Cathrea.com. The total stranger called his Casiecathrea.com. Harry Cathrea tracked down the man who registered Casie's name, Leonard Meng Lee, and threatened to sue Lee under the Federal Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. "It cost him two bucks and he wanted to charge me a thousand dollars," said Harry Cathrea of Lee's attempts to sell Casiecathrea.com to him. "And he was also nice enough to say he accepts Paypal."
As it turns out, Casie is just one of 1,300 domain names Lee has registered. They include many famous people, although sometimes they are a little hard to recognize. Eldrickwoods.com is one. We tried to visit the 34-year-old Lee at the Union City home he shares with his parents, but he did not answer the door. Lee did send ABC7 an e-mail, defending his use of Casiecathrea.com. "As far as I know, the name is not trademarked and I was legally in the right to register the domain," Lee wrote.
According to ABC7 legal analyst Dean Johnson, Lee's registering of so many famous names, without any legitimate claim to them, and attempts to make money off those domains, could certainly violate federal law. In Casie's case, the law is less clear since she is not yet famous outside the local area. However, according to Johnson, Lee's attempts to sell the name to the Cathrea family at a large profit could be a basis for a lawsuit.
Harry Cathrea threatened Lee with just such a lawsuit, which this week prompted the Union City man to surrender the name to the Cathrea family, without collecting a penny.
Despite the fact that he listed golf equipment on Casiecathrea.com, Lee wrote ABC7 that he thought Casie was an "R & B singer."
"He knew exactly who she was," an angry Harry Cathrea said. "He knew exactly what he did when he did it. He's an out and out liar."
Laura Anthony will have more on this story tonight on ABC7 News at 6 p.m.