Stein Hoff Gets Display at Ripley’s

The Fox II on Display at Home of Original Ocean Rower.

In 1896, the Police Gazette sponsored the first people ever to successfully row a boat across an ocean. Last year we were a sponsor of Dr. Stein Hoff as he attempted to duplicate the feat of fellow countrymen George Harbo and Frank Samuelsen. Stein would have been, at 70, the oldest ever to make the row. But a violent storm stopped his progress about three quarters of the way to England. Then for months, his boat the “Fox II”—named after Harbo & Samuelsen’s “Fox” which was named after Police Gazette publisher Richard K. Fox—drifted lost in the North Atlantic. Finally it turned up (see our previous story) and is now on display at a mall in Farsund, Norway, the hometown of Frank Samuelsen. In addition, Ripley’s Believe It or Not has created a display commemorating Stein’s voyage at their Odditorium in Key West, Florida.

The Fox II at the AMFI Farsund Shopping Mall in Norway.

The Police Gazette‘s sticker is battered, but still visible.

Stein’s daughter Elisabeth (left) and wife Diana in Farsund next to the monument to Harbo & Samuelsen.

The Ripley’s Believe It or Not display created for Stein at the Odditorium in Key West, FL.

Police Gazette Publishes New Plays by Famed Off-Broadway Playwright Leonard Melfi

Also Contains Shocking Details of Leonard’s Mysterious Death and Disappearance.

Two plays by world-renowned Off-Broadway playwright Leonard Melfi have just been published for the first time. The Violinist is the last play Leonard ever completed. It’s full length, just as stunning as any of his earlier works, and also one of his most autobiographical. “The Son of Redhead” is a mesmerizing one-act tragicomedy Leonard wrote in the 1980s. But he gave away his only copy and never thought to track it down. Years later, brother John did the tracking and found it.

Also included is “Leonard’s Final Odyssey” by his brother John, which reveals all the details surrounding Leonard’s mysterious death and disappearance. What happened could have been—and was—something from one of Leonard’s own plays. Leonard Melfi died in New York City on October 28, 2001, but was not laid to rest in the Melfi family plot in Binghamton for almost six months. The tragedy, the mistakes, the cover ups, the lies, the desperate search for a beloved family member, friend, and shining light of American avant-garde theatre… all revealed here for the first time.

Leonard Melfi is best known for his one-act “Birdbath”—which plumbs the depths of love, desire, and ambition—and his contribution to Oh! Calcutta!, the longest-running revue in Broadway history. In praise of Leonard, superstar playwright Edward Albee said “Years ago, there were many serious and daring individuals in Greenwich Village under 30 as well as young playwrights, myself included. It was a wild and vital time, and no one was more vital than Leonard.”

You can get The Violinist and The Son of Redhead: Two Plays by Leonard Melfi at Amazon. Also like the official Leonard Melfi Facebook page. And read this review of the book in the Wilmington StarNews.

Stein Hoff’s Boat Is Found!

The Fox II Had Been Missing Since His Rescue Last August.

On May 15th last year, Stein Hoff of Norway rowed a boat out of New York Harbor, intending to duplicate the trip made by fellow countrymen George Harbo and Frank Samuelsen 120 years earlier when they became the first people ever to row a boat across an ocean. Harbo and Samuelsen had been sponsored by the Police Gazette and named their boat the “Fox” after Gazette owner Richard K. Fox. Stein Hoff would also, at age 70, have been the oldest person ever to row an ocean. But on August 6th a violent storm destroyed the oars, rudder and sea anchor of his boat the “Fox II,” and his trip came to a premature end.

The freighter Ludolf Oldendorff rescued Stein, but was unable to save the Fox II. From that day until September 28th, Fox II’s GPS beacon continued transmitting as the boat drifted. There was hope she could be tracked and then picked up once she came close enough to shore. But the beacon’s battery finally died as the boat approached the coast of Scotland. And over six months passed with no sightings. Then, on April 16th, Stein received a phone call. “A young voice asked me if I was Stein Hoff,” he writes. “And when I said ‘yes’, he added ‘I found your boat!’”

The Fox II as it appeared this month in Spildra, Norway.

The Fox II had landed on the small island of Spildra in northern Norway. Fourteen-year-old Trygve Tidemann and his father Ivar Bjørklund were out fishing when Trygve spotted something and wanted to go in to investigate. When they got closer he recognized it as the boat Stein Hoff had used on his trans-Atlantic attempt, partly because he’d seen him in the news, but also because of a recently released Norwegian movie called Oskars America. In the film, a boy dreams of rowing the famous Harbo and Samuelsen boat, the Fox, back to America. Stein’s contact information was inside the boat, and that’s when Trygve gave him a call. The boy says Stein was elated at hearing the news.

Trygve Tidemann, who discovered the Fox II, holds the boat’s flag.

Since its discovery the boat has become quite a local curiosity. Jan Erik Pedersen, another local fisherman, has covered it with a tarp and placed a sign on it to prevent too much curiosity. It could be another four to six weeks before Stein and wife Diana can make the trip to try to recover Fox II. Spildra is way up in the land of the Northern Lights, and the boat is filled with quite a bit of ice and snow that will take time to thaw.

Stein’s attempt was sponsored mostly by Ripley’s Believe It Or Not—though the Police Gazette managed a small donation as well—and Ripley’s has promised to display the boat in one of its museums if found. Well, now it’s been found, and we’ll keep you updated with further developments.

Stein Hoff, aboard the Fox II on May 15, 2016, salutes the Statue of Liberty on his way out of New York Harbor at the start of his voyage.

$1 Million BKB Training Facility Planned for Belfast, New York

-BKB Champ Bobby Gunn Will Run Facility.
-BKBHOF President Scott Burt Donates the Land.
-Fund-raising Campaign to be Launched.

Brand new, state-of-the-art as well as old-school training facilities for boxers will be built in Belfast, New York, according to a joint statement issued yesterday by bare-knuckle boxing world champion Bobby Gunn, Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame president Scott Burt, and Hall of Fame vice president in charge of training facility Joe Curcio. John L. Sullivan trained in Belfast for the last bare-knuckle championship fight before the modern era. Scott Burt converted the barns where he trained into the Hall of Fame, and Burt, Gunn, and Curcio decided the same benefits Belfast had as a training site then still hold true today.

Bobby Gunn had a dream for a training facility for bare-knuckle boxers and fell in love with Belfast while he trained there for his gloved bout versus Roy Jones Jr on February 17th. Scott Burt said yesterday he decided to help make that dream come true and is donating two pieces of land, one next to the two existing Hall of Fame barns and a larger tract just outside town. Joe Curcio will be in charge of supervising the development and construction. “I can’t thank Joe Curcio and Scott Burt enough,” Gunn said. “Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to build a state-of-the-art facility, not just for bare-knuckle boxing but for boxing and mixed martial arts fighters all over the world. There’s no better place for a proper training camp.”

Privacy was a big selling point in Sullivan’s time and still is today. Belfast is a tiny village; the closest large city is Buffalo, which is 66 miles away. Gunn said fighters need a place where they can get away from it all and not be disturbed. Plus, Burt added, “The people of Belfast respect privacy.” In addition, fighters who come to the area will have the opportunity to use either current, modern training methods or the same methods that got Sullivan in shape to win his epic battle against Jake Kilrain in 1889. Old-school training will include swinging indian clubs, blacksmithing, beating tires, chopping wood, and running the trails that Sullivan ran. But a large, brand new building will also house everything a fighter would want in a 21st-century gym.

There were originally three barns in Sullivan’s training compound. So the third will be rebuilt on the plot of land next to the others and blend in with their styles. It will, however, have modern amenities. “What Scott is proposing is really in keeping with the spirit of the existing barns,” said Curcio. This is where the “old-school, harsh and rigorous training” will take place. “But we also want to offer fighters everything you would want in a modern up-to-date facility.” This would be the new building at the larger site. “The absolute best of both worlds,” added Burt.

As if all this weren’t enough, also housed in the rebuilt barn will be the boxing ring that was used by the Apollo Creed character in the film Rocky II. This item is already owned by the Hall of Fame. For the rest, including the new construction, Curcio announced a fund-raising effort will be launched that they hope will raise $1 million.

From left, Scott Burt, Bobby Gunn, and Joe Curcio.

2017 Inductees Announced for Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame

Ceremony Will Be July 8th in Belfast, New York.

Must have fought completely bare fisted sometime in their career; no wraps:

Uriah “Hughie” Burton, Boxer (King of the Gypsies late 1950s-early 1970s; known as ‘Big Just’); Undefeated Bare Knuckle Boxing Champion of the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Ted Daley, Boxer; Living Inductee, Undefeated Bare Knuckle Boxing Champion.

Billy Edwards, Boxer; 1868-1872, Lightweight Bare Knuckle Boxing Champion of the World.

Bartley Gorman V, Boxer (King of the Gypsies 1972-1992); English born traveller of Welsh and Irish descent; Undefeated Bare Knuckle Boxing Champion of the UK and Ireland.

Daniel Mendoza, Boxer; Heavyweight Champion of England from 1792-1795 (34-3 w/30 KOs).

Shannon Ritch, Boxer; Living Inductee, bare knuckle record of 25-2 (25 KOs). Known as the “Most active fighter on the planet.” #1 Ranked Contender for America’s Police Gazette belt.

Must have brought positive spotlight to upstate New York:

Ed Atherton, Wrestler; 1902 World Champion from Belfast, New York, pupil of Wm. Muldoon.

Barry Broughton, Local Grand Master from Olean, New York; known worldwide.

Chris Guzman, World-renowned boxing artist; his work fills our Hall of Fame Room of Honor.

Roy Harding, Boxer; Local legend, fought 1929-1945, Soldier at Pearl Harbor during the attack.

Jimmy Holmes, Boxer; Indiana State Champion who trained in the Muldoon-Sullivan barns.

Tim Witherspoon, Boxer; 2-Time World Heavyweight Champion (WBC 1984, WBA 1986).

Gino Arilotta, Rochester Boxing Hall of Fame President.

Scott R. Burt, President
5 West Hughes Street; Belfast, New York 14711
(correspondence mailed to 3876 State Route 19; Scio, New York 14880)
For tickets: 585-610-3326 (cell/text) or


Dave Lang the Fraudulent Black Belt and Phony War Veteran Exposed: Part Three

-New Details Emerge About How Lang Used His Phony Martial Arts Credentials to Target Vulnerable Young Mothers Being Served at a Christian Non-Profit in Cortland Run by His Mother Patricia Lang
-Lang’s History of Manipulating and Abusing Teenage “Students” Further Uncovered
-How the Phony War Veteran’s Lies Undermined a Real Soldier on Deployment and Destroyed His Marriage
-Dave Lang, Dog Murderer?
-Dave Lang Ignoring an Open Challenge

By Briggs Seekins,
If there is one thing this writer has learned while researching this three-part exposé it is that truly despicable individuals like Dave Lang, AKA David Da Silva Lang, AKA David Dabean Silva Lan, leave a long trail of angry, outraged people. After each edition of this story, multiple unsolicited sources have emerged anxious to share information about the destructive and negative impact Lang has had on their own lives. Other sources, when contacted, have been anxious to chime in. As one person interviewed for this article stated, “Yes, I would love to help bring that scumbag down!”

Nobody in this world is perfect and most people probably have other people who don’t like them and will gossip about them to other friends or acquaintances. That’s the nature of social interaction. But a person has to violate the social contract to a pretty serious degree to have people anxious to dish dirt to a writer they don’t know who is going to print what they tell him.

Lang has stomped all over the social contract time and again. And people have lined up to dish the dirt about him to this writer.

What Lang has done over the past several years goes far beyond simply lying about his martial arts credentials and making false claims about his nonexistent military background. There are pathetic slobs doing that in barrooms all over the United States every night of the week. Guys like that are certainly contemptible, but pitiful as well. They are merely attempting to cultivate a few hours of self-esteem before retreating back into their meager real-life existences.

Lang, on the other hand, has repeatedly used these claims to establish “schools” where he has conned members of the public into paying him money for instructions that he is not remotely qualified to provide. He has used his fraudulent status as a “black belt” to earn the admiration and cultivate the trust of young people, some actually underage. He has created an unsafe training environment in which “students” are encouraged to spar and exchange head trauma and potential joint injuries without the benefit of proper training and without the necessary level of expert oversight that would exist in a legitimate martial arts school or fight gym.

Since 2010 Lang has claimed to be a black belt under Brazilian Jiu Jitsu legends Wallid Ismael and Giva Santana, both of whom were contacted about these claims and eagerly recorded videos in which they denounced Lang as a fraud and stated that they had never even met him. Lang also initiated a pen-pal relationship sometime during the past two years with BJJ black belt and UFC veteran Hermes Franca Barros, who has been incarcerated in Oregon for sexual assault of a minor. Lang actually did manage to create a relationship of sorts with Barros and even managed to bring Barros’s nephew, Lucca Franca, to the United States under the pretense of being his manager and getting him fights in the U.S. Lucca Franca went back to Brazil after a short period of time, without ever fighting in the U.S.

Lang managed to use the pretense of his “friendship” with the Francas to insinuate himself into an affiliate relationship with Carlos David Oliveira, a well-known BJJ black belt from Virginia and long-time friend of the Franca family back in Brazil. During the course of investigating the first installment of this report, this writer contacted Mr. Oliveira and was able to help him uncover Lang’s deception and break all ties with him. Lang had claimed to Mr. Oliveira that he was a black belt under Hermes Franca and had trained with him for years in Florida.

This writer has spoken to numerous people who have known Lang at an intimate level over the past 15 years who all confirm that he has likely never been to Florida and certainly never spent any extended period of time there. Mr. Oliveira later confirmed with Lucca Franca that Lang had never actually met Hermes Franca Barros in person and had only begun to write to him after he was sent to prison.

All of this was covered in more detail in parts one and two of this series. These actions by Lang have been viewed as outrageous blasphemies by dedicated members of the BJJ and MMA communities, who understand the years of struggle, commitment and financial sacrifice that are required to achieve the credentials Lang has assigned to himself. But people who are not involved in those communities are understandably less outraged.

But these kind of claims are valuable tools for a remorseless, predatory con man like Lang.

David Lang: Maybe he should have stuck to playing drums?

From the perspective of public safety, perhaps no incident in Lang’s recent past is more disturbing than the period of time in 2011 when he was operating a “school” on Main Street in McGraw, New York. This writer recently interviewed an individual who was a “student” during that time period and what he revealed should be of grave concern to any people in Cortland County who are worried about dangerous and corrupting influences on the area’s young people.

The people conned by Lang during that time period were particularly young, many still students at McGraw High School. In at least one case, two girls who the source for this information described as “about 15” were allowed to walk in off the street and start sparring with each other without presenting any sort of parental consent. During this time Lang encouraged the petty, high-school confrontations his “students” became involved in and urged escalation. In other words, he was behaving in the exact opposite manner of any legitimate martial arts instructor, unless one counts the villain from The Karate Kid.

Lang had a partner at this version of his “school” who this writer is choosing not to directly identify by name. The partner, who was serving as the “striking coach,” is a relatively well-known punchline in the Southern Tier MMA scene, known for making ridiculous boasts about his history as a martial artist and a street fighter. A few years prior to his involvement with Lang he had been a semi-regular hang around at the famous “barn” behind Team Bombsquad founder Ryan Ciotoli’s house in Polkville, at the time when it was also the headquarters for the CNY MMA school.

This individual got a tattoo of the CNY MMA school logo on his neck within about a week of joining the school. He would rarely train in earnest, but would loudly shout encouragement to the fight team as they trained, occasionally hitting a heavy bag before becoming winded and going outside to smoke a cigarette. Some members of Team Bombsquad referred to him as “Radio” among themselves, after the Cuba Gooding Jr. character, who was an enthusiastic but intellectually disabled manager of a high school football team. It should be noted that this “Radio” was not actually in anyway intellectually disabled, and in fact attended Tompkins-Cortland Community College, where he was also well known for making claims about his martial arts bona fides. He was simply a loudmouth poseur, unable to gauge what a realistic level of BS would be for a dude who looked like him.

By the time Radio was “coaching” alongside Lang, Team Bombsquad had moved their headquarters to Ithaca and Radio had gone through a falling out with the owners of CNY MMA, which was particularly regrettable considering the neck ink he had gotten in their honor. Facebook posts by Radio during this time period feature disparaging comments towards CNY and boasts about the quality of Lang MMA, and “the proof” being “in the pudding.”

Although Radio was in no way remotely qualified to be teaching striking to aspiring mixed martial artists, he was actually closer to legitimate than Lang. And a sparring match between Lang and Radio led to one of the more despicable actions I have uncovered in Lang’s past.

According to my source, Radio was lighting Lang up. As somebody who has seen Radio spar and fight, this writer can report that this is truly hilarious. “(Name redacted) hit him a couple of times in the face,” the source reports, “and one of the kids watching made a playful little joke that Dave doesn’t have any striking.”

Lang became enraged by this. This writer can state with absolute certainty that Lang knew exactly what Radio’s reputation was prior to approaching him and targeting him as a partner for his newest school. It is this writer’s theory that Lang actually targeted him due to realizing that the level of buffoonery routinely displayed by Radio would only make him seem more credible by comparison.

So to get handled by the likes of Radio was a severely damaging intrusion on Lang’s own mythic self-image. Somebody had to pay for it. Lang selected the high school student who was playfully taunting him. The source continued: “Lang yelled at him to get up and spar with him. He started battering the kid with leg kicks and taunting him. It was sickening, because he had no idea at all what to do and was just getting abused. He fell over a couple of times and Lang yelled at him to get up and then kept kicking him more.”

The source said that Lang only stopped beating this minor after he and Radio intervened. “After that Lang got a really cocky attitude towards everybody,” the source reported.

At the time this incident was happening, Phil Gizzi and other members of the UG thread devoted to exposing Lang were closing in on this latest phony school. The source reported that within a week after this abusive incident, he and the other “students” had all been contacted with the truth about Lang and his history of deceptions. According to the source, Radio does deserve credit for helping to quickly convince everybody that Lang probably was a fraud after all.

Lang was supposed to meet with Radio and the “students” to explain himself and provide proof of his true credentials. Instead he removed all the equipment from his rented space while nobody was around and locked the doors. The source reports that Lang sent him an email a few days later. “He said he didn’t need to explain himself to me and that I should come train with him in the shed behind his house because he wasn’t going to refund the money I had paid for the month.”

Lang with “Radio”

Dave Lang has not used his phony martial arts credential only to negatively influence high school students. During the course of this investigation, this writer has also learned that Lang has actively recruited “students” from among the young mothers being served by a Christian non-profit operated by his own mother, Patricia Lang, called “Helping Hands Caring Hearts, Inc.” In at least one case this has led a vulnerable mother who went looking for help in the spirit of Christian fellowship down a path of debauchery that has resulted in public exposure and humiliation.

One of Lang’s most devoted and loyal students during the recent unraveling of his latest school at the Northeast Martial Arts Institute in Cortland is a young mother he met through Patricia Lang. Multiple sources have confirmed her involvement with Patricia Lang and “Helping Hands,” and one source who briefly attended Lang’s most recent “school”—and reported that Lang had also attempted to sexually seduce her—confirmed to this writer that this woman had told her that she and Lang had met at Patricia Lang’s office.

This student can be seen in numerous photos of Lang and his students, posing proudly. Sources who attended a Carlos David Oliveira seminar in Virginia, that this young woman attended with Lang, report that she behaved in a cocky, disrespectful manner throughout the weekend. She is clearly very enamored by her phony tough-guy boyfriend, so much so that she eagerly engaged in a sordid affair with him while he was still living with his second wife, reportedly even recording a homemade sex video with him.

This came to light when Lang’s most recent ex-wife posted this woman’s name and photograph on the notorious website “She’s a Homewrecker,” along with still shots from the reputed sex video. It should be noted that Lang’s second wife became involved with him while his first wife was pregnant with his first child. Lang’s second wife was also at one time an active accomplice in his fraudulent attempts to convince the world that he was a BJJ expert.

From what this writer has learned about Lang’s latest paramour, she is certainly of questionable moral character. She also contacted the Police Gazette directly to stand up for her man and to denounce this writer as a “fraud.” However, this writer can only really feel pity for her and hope that she comes to her senses at some point and realizes how badly she has been manipulated.

One can only imagine how vulnerable a single mother would be to the manipulations of a skilled con man who is presenting himself as a kind of ultimate alpha male, a martial arts expert and war veteran who offers to teach her how to “defend herself.” This fraud was introduced to her as the son of the woman running the Christian agency where she had gone for help. So it should not be surprising that she easily fell for his scam.

It is difficult to determine the degree to which Patricia Lang is aware of just how much of a fraud her son is. In the past few years as he has been exposed time and again, she has remained an active, vocal Facebook supporter of every incarnation of his school that has appeared, regardless of the shifting claims he has made about his martial arts lineage and the ever-changing aliases he has used to represent himself.

It is also known that Patricia Lang has told people that the Langs are in fact descended from Brazil, even though she knows very well that her husband was born in Canada and that members of the family have traced the lineage from Canada back to Ireland and France.

What cannot be doubted is that Patricia Lang has funded her non-profit endeavors with the tax-deductible donations of sincere Christian people in the Cortland County area who believed they were supporting a mission consistent with the teachings of Jesus Christ. Nowhere in my Bible does Jesus appear to condone lying to and sexually seducing those who come to you in need of help.

Patricia Lang with the student who her son David got posted on Homewreckers

Earlier installments of this exposé have already detailed Lang’s history of lying about his past as a member of the 101st Airborne who served two combat tours in Afghanistan. Multiple sources have confirmed that Lang in fact has a longtime acquaintance who did serve with the 101st and that Lang has consistently presented this acquaintance’s stories as his own.

This writer is himself a veteran who served as a mechanized infantry dismount during Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Desert Sabre. For this reason, the phony war veteran angle has always been a particularly infuriating aspect of Lang’s con.

But really, one does not need to be a veteran to find Lang’s miscreant appropriation of veteran status offensive. Most Americans, regardless of political affiliation or foreign policy opinions, have a great deal of respect and appreciation for service members. It’s built into the national DNA. This writer believes he has almost certainly received jobs and academic appointments over the past 20 years in part due to being a veteran.

So to lie and claim you are a veteran is really one of the most manipulative and offensive things you can do in American society. It’s a slap in the face to every man and woman who ever signed the blank check to Uncle Sam that is redeemable with their lives. It is a betrayal of the collective goodwill our society feels towards and offers those men and women.

But the most recent information uncovered during this investigation has revealed that Lang’s offenses against that member of the 101st Airborne go beyond merely appropriating aspects of that soldier’s identity for his own personal gain. David Lang did not merely appropriate that soldier’s tours as his own; Lang actively undermined him while he was on deployment, sending him false information that threatened his ability to carry out his mission and potentially put his life and the lives of his squad members at risk. Lang also appears to have played a chief role in destroying this young soldier’s marriage.

According to sources this writer spoke with last week, while this soldier was on deployment to Afghanistan with the 101st, Lang began to send the soldier messages reporting that he had seen the soldier’s wife at “swingers parties,” making out with different men. The young wife became aware of this when a MySpace contact she barely knew messaged her and said her husband had been sending him threatening messages from Afghanistan. The wife was also contacted by a higher-ranking soldier’s wife who reported that her husband was “going crazy” because of suspected infidelity.

Any veteran who has been on deployment will know that nothing screws with a soldier’s head worse than thinking that his wife or girlfriend is back at home being unfaithful to him. For young soldiers, this can be particularly difficult to put aside while focusing on the life-or-death realities of daily life. Grunts on deployment in a line unit have a lot of time to do nothing but churn over the poison thoughts in their heads. Worrying about what their wife is doing back home with “Jody” has caused more than one young soldier to blow out his brains, or go crazy and shoot a commanding officer or an NCO or a team member.

Nobody who truly cared about a soldier on deployment would ever send them messages about their significant other cheating on them. Even if it were true, it’s the sort of thing that should be withheld until they are back in a safe place. Putting that kind of information into a soldier’s head while he’s deployed to the front lines does nothing but make him a danger to himself and those who are depending upon him.

But trying to undermine the relationships of those Lang has cultivated a trust with is entirely consistent with his methods. This writer has spoken at length with a former “student” who spent hundreds of hours developing what he thought was a meaningful friendship with Lang and he reported that Lang had always subtly tried to undermine his relationship with his fiance, and eventual wife, by suggesting that she was fooling around with various Facebook contacts she knew from school.

In the case of the soldier from the 101st, Lang had convinced the young man to take out a large personal loan so that the two could start a business selling guitars. Sources have reported that the wife had always been distrustful of Lang, so his motivation for getting her out of the picture was obvious.

This young army couple had a dog together, a female pit bull named “Snow” who multiple sources have described as a sweet and intelligent dog. During the deployment, when their marriage began to falter, the wife moved back in with her parents and had to find some temporary housing for the dog.

Near the end of the soldier’s deployment, when he and his wife had reportedly made plans for marriage counseling once he was back in the United States, the wife dropped the dog off with Lang. The wife never saw the dog alive again.

Lang’s specific role in the death of the dog is not precisely known. SPCA investigations at the time were incompletely conducted. What is known is that the dog’s death was a ghoulish ordeal. First it was fed chicken bones. It was also shot approximately 20 times with .22 caliber bullets, with 8 or 9 bullets fired directly into the dog’s head at point-blank range.

When the wife learned about the death of her dog, she was no longer interested in any sort of reconciliation. The soldier came back from deployment to find his marriage over, with a restraining order against him.

* * *

A Final Note from the Author: This concludes the final installment of this three-part series on Dave Lang. Please note that the convoluted history of his lies and deceptions cannot even began to be covered in a space this small. There will be a book developed from this investigation.

Also please note that some of Lang’s most unspeakable acts have been omitted from this report, out of deference to his victims.

Various sources have contacted me stating that Lang has claimed he plans to take legal action and “sue” me. I laugh out loud every time I hear this. I dream of the day I can face down Dave Lang and his enabling mother Patricia in a courtroom and feel 100 percent confident that without any formal legal training I will be able to rout whatever lowlife bottom feeder they are able to muster for an attorney.

But I seriously doubt David Lang will ever take legal action. He knows very well that everything I have written about him is true and he does not have any basis whatsoever to sue for libel. His claims of planning to do so are for no other purpose than to continue deceiving those who are still naïve enough to believe in him. “Don’t worry,” this lowlife fraud is telling those poor souls, “I’m going to sue this guy and prove I am who I claim to be.”

It will never happen.

Those poor fools who still believe in this con man should also be aware that Lang has been actively ignoring a twice-issued challenge from an Ithaca-based BJJ blue belt. This challenge has been made twice on the UG Fraud thread and was passed along to Lang’s current girlfriend when she contacted the Police Gazette. It is known without a doubt that Lang follows the UG thread with devotion. Time and again, when his bogus social media postings have been posted to the thread, he has reacted within hours to remove or block access to that social media.

So he knows he’s been called out. And he knows that he’s a fraud and would get smashed by the blue belt who is calling him out.

Keep that in mind, those few of you who might be reading this who still believe that Dave Lang is anything other than a two-bit con artist and fraud.

Read Part One and Part Two.

Jiu-Jitsu Fraud David Lang Kicked Out of Martial Arts Facility… But Has He Opened Somewhere Else?

Police Gazette Investigation Continues into Notorious Jiu-Jitsu Fraud and Phony War Hero
-Droves of New Witnesses Emerge to Reveal Lang’s History of Dishonesty, Social Deviance, and Criminal Impersonation
-The David Lang Saga, Part Two

By Briggs Seekins
In the week since the National Police Gazette broke our investigation into notorious Brazilian jiu-jitsu fraud and phony war hero David Lang, citizens of Cortland County, NY, have been contacting this writer multiple times every day, anxious to share their own insights and experiences with the man multiple sources describe as “a sociopath.” The uproar caused by the Police Gazette‘s exposé made it impossible for Lang to remain at his location. And Jeff Edwards, owner of the Northeast Martial Arts Institute facility where David Lang ran his phony school, confirms Lang has been kicked out of the building. But rumors are already circulating that Lang is attempting to reopen at a new location, a situation we will be keeping a close watch on.

Sources who spent time training at Lang’s phony school in the past year report he is continuing to lie to the public about serving in the military and studying jiu-jitsu in Brazil. But over a half dozen sources who have known Lang since his childhood report he has never left Cortland County for longer than a few days at a time since moving there when he was seven.

Recent Lang “students” also report he has been actively trying to seduce young women who attend his school and that he has been telling absurd stories about prominent Cortland leaders running illegal gambling operations out of the basement of the school. Meanwhile, it was uncovered that the entire time Lang was running his phony BJJ school and claiming to be active in competing and training at the extremely arduous sport of jiu-jitsu, he has also been presenting himself as disabled to the Cortland County Child Support Collections Services.

This writer has been contacted by over a dozen people familiar with Lang from every phase of his life and they have all been universal in their condemnation of his pattern of antisocial and dishonest behavior, which seems to have been in place well before he took any interest in Brazilian jiu-jitsu or mixed martial arts.

Perhaps no source has been more anxious to speak out against Lang than Joshua Allen of Cortland. Mr. Allen has known Lang since the two of them were 13. In their late teens and early 20s he considered Lang among his closest friends as the two played together in a series of Christian heavy metal bands.

“I invested so much time in him as a friend,” Mr. Allen told me in a FaceTime interview. “I put a lot of trust in him. I spent hours and hours talking to him. He portrayed himself to be something, a devout Christian, but he was completely the opposite.”

Mr. Allen said he finds Lang’s claims of having served in the 101st Infantry Division especially disturbing. Not only does Mr. Allen know that Lang never left Cortland County long enough to attend basic training, let alone serve two tours in Afghanistan, he was also a witness to a paint-ball gun accident when the two were teenagers that left Lang blind in one eye and unfit for military service.

Multiple sources have confirmed that Lang actually had a friend at one point who served in the 101st and that Lang has been recycling this actual veteran’s stories as his own since the days when he operated an after-market car parts business called Narrow Gate Street Company in the early years of the century.

Mr. Allen and multiple other sources have described Lang’s business as a poorly stocked fiasco that quickly emptied his first wife’s savings account and left the young couple in a bad financial situation. Mr. Allen also noted that while Lang claimed an important part of the business was spreading the gospel, the walls of the shop were covered with posters and calendars of partially nude women.

The conditions under which Mr. Allen’s friendship with Lang dissolved leave him still seething nearly eight years later. On two separate occasions, Lang committed criminal impersonation and gave Mr. Allen’s name and date of birth to police officers when pulled over for traffic violations.

The first of these incidents occurred in Syracuse, NY, and Mr. Allen did not discover it until over a year later when he received a summons from the Syracuse City Court. When Mr. Allen traveled to Syracuse and met with the officer who had issued the violation, the officer immediately realized he was not the individual from the actual traffic stop. Despite over a year passing, he had a very clear memory of Lang. Like almost everybody who has dealt with Lang at a superficial level, he remembered the con artist as an extremely pleasant, polite and likable individual. The year and model of the car in the report also perfectly matched Lang’s own vehicle.

Mr. Allen described his reaction at the time as stunned. “It felt surreal,” he reported. Mr. Allen said he tried to coax a confession out of Lang at their next band practice by asking everybody to have a prayer circle so “we could bring up anything we might have done to wrong one another or others and put it in the open before God.”

“I was still that loyal and trusting towards him as a friend that I really thought he would just admit it and I would be able to forgive him and move on,” said Mr. Allen. Instead Lang kept quiet and then completely denied doing it when Mr. Allen gave up and questioned him directly.

Mr. Allen says that he then called the police officer in Syracuse and put him on the phone with Lang. Lang left the room and came back moments later. “His entire countenance was fallen when he came back to the room,” Mr. Allen reported. “His face was flushed red and his eyes were teared up. He gave me back the phone and the police officer told me that he had just confessed to everything.”

However, once Mr. Allen hung up with the police officer, he says that rather than apologizing and asking for forgiveness, Lang instead immediately claimed that the police officer had lied about everything. Lang proceeded to claim that the entire thing was merely the work of Satan and his demons, who were influencing the police officer in Syracuse to sow discord between Lang and Mr. Allen.

Mr. Allen said this first incident put a definite strain on his relationship with Lang, but that he felt so shocked and confused by the entire situation that he reacted slowly. However, shortly after this incident, he received another citation for a traffic stop in Cortland as Lang had once more given police Mr. Allen’s name and birth date when stopped for talking on a cell phone while driving in Cortland. Though Mr. Allen had not pressed charges in the Syracuse incident, after the Cortland trick Lang was charged with a crime. He’s been arrested on other occasions as well, and a search of online records for Cortland County reveals Lang has been involved in a steady stream of litigation over failure to pay taxes, child support, and rent.

This time the friendship was over for good. When describing all these incidents, Mr. Allen’s facial expressions and tone of voice indicated that he remains shocked and amazed by Lang’s callous and criminal behavior to this day.

In this writer’s opinion, Lang’s pattern of using religion to deceive and manipulate is entirely consistent with his use of BJJ and MMA. Mr. Allen and other sources who have known Lang for most or all of his life are not surprised to learn about his never-ending deceptions, though his choice of MMA has surprised them.

“We all laughed our asses off when we heard he had opened a school in Ithaca,” one source reported. “We thought somebody would have beaten him up a long time ago, though.” Mr. Allen and other sources remembered Lang frequently being teased by friends and family as a child and teenager due to his feminine running and punching styles.

But religion and martial arts training are both methods people use to develop themselves into better people. The atmosphere in both realms is almost always one of mutual support, openness and generosity. They are both perfect environments for a con man trying to cultivate the trust of unsuspecting people.

The fact that at least one or two people still appear to be deceived by Lang at this point, despite the overwhelming evidence now on the public record against him, is a good indication of how strenuously he has worked to get his hooks into certain particularly vulnerable individuals. Last year the Cortland Standard, the area’s paper of record, even published a puff piece hailing the launching of Lang’s BJJ and MMA programs at the Northeast Martial Arts Institute.

Sources close to Lang’s family report he was already exhibiting manipulative behaviors at a very early age, which appeared to have been reinforced every step of the way by his mother Patricia Lang. Mrs. Lang has worked with non-profits and church missionary groups in the Cortland County area.

“Dave could never do any wrong,” one source reported. “No matter what was said about him, it was always other people picking on him.” Lang reportedly slept with his parents until age seven. Then, in the third grade, Patricia Lang removed her son from Virgil Elementary and home schooled him for the remainder of his academic career.

Over the past few years, Lang has set up various Facebook pages under different partial pseudonyms, claiming affiliations with assorted legitimate BJJ celebrities. Patricia Lang is inevitably among his most enthusiastic supporters on these pages, and her posts generally feature a large amount of God talk.

It is clear that Lang learned the manipulative potential of religion from observing his mother. A childhood friend of Lang’s from Virgil Elementary remembers calling his house to talk to him one afternoon, only to have Patricia Lang come on the line and berate her at length for being an “earthly sinner.” “Keep in mind,” the source added, “I was all of nine years old at this time.”

In addition, there is one other extremely disturbing story from Lang’s past that I am not going to write about in this series due to the victims involved. But it is a story I have had confirmed by multiple sources, including Mr. Allen. As a writer who has been exhaustive in my research into Lang, I will state in no uncertain terms that for him to be placed in a position where he can cultivate the trust of a vulnerable young person is a situation that could have potentially tragic consequences.

Read Part One here and Part Three here.

Contact Briggs Seekins at

Police Gazette Investigation Uncovers Notorious Jiu-Jitsu Fraud and Phony War Hero David Lang Operating in Cortland, New York

-Cortland Citizens Have Their Trust Betrayed and Pockets Picked!
-Well-Known Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt Conned!
-Scam Involves Oregon State Prison Inmate Serving Time for Sexual Assault of a Minor!
-The Investigation and Its Quickly Developing Results!

By Briggs Seekins
In a story that is still developing, this writer has uncovered evidence that David Lang (aka David Lang Da Silva) of McGraw, NY—nationally known as a notorious fraud—has been uncovered once more operating a Southern Tier MMA school, this time in Cortland, NY.

Lang has a history that stretches back to at least 2010 of operating mixed martial arts and Brazilian jiu-jitsu schools while lying about his true identity, martial arts credentials and military history.

As a result of the investigation being conducted by us and others, events have begun to quickly unfold. On January 17, Carlos David Oliveira, a third degree Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt living in Richmond, VA, officially renounced any affiliation with Lang in a statement posted to his Facebook page. “I am very hurt, upset and embarrassed,” Oliveira said. “I trusted him and believed him and don’t know why he would do this. My credibility is everything to me and I don’t want anything that would hurt that for me, my family, my students and my other affiliations.”

Lang had tricked Oliveira into endorsing Lang’s school in Cortland. “I have to take back my second stripe certification and my affiliation with him,” Oliveira continued in his statement. “David DaSilva Lang is no longer affiliated with Carlos David BJJ and Evolution Fight Team. He needs to return my certification, take Evolution Fight Team logo off everything, and remove any pictures association himself with me and my school.”

David Lang, aka David Lang Da Silva, among others

Lang originally came to widespread attention in December 2010, when he became the subject of investigation in a thread on the UnderGround Forum at At the time, Lang was presenting himself to students as a black belt under Wallid Ismail. Mr. Ismail is a truly legendary figure in the sports of Brazilian jiu-jitsu and vale tudo fighting. And although he was an unfamiliar name to Lang’s students in Ithaca, NY, when word began to leak out on the internet that somebody was claiming a black belt through Ismail in a remote, upstate New York college town, people in the know got immediately suspicious.

As the thread developed, a member of the MMA UnderGround in Rio de Janeiro quickly tracked down Mr. Ismail. The clearly fuming Mr. Ismail issued a prompt video statement denouncing Lang as a fraud who he had never met in his entire life, let alone trained and promoted up to black belt.

In addition to claiming the phony credentials through Mr. Ismail, Lang was also presenting himself to students and other members of the Ithaca business public as a person who had grown up in Brazil with an American mother from Brooklyn. Lang told students he had first moved to the United States at age 19, already a BJJ brown belt, and that he had enlisted in the United States Army and served two tours of duty in Afghanistan with the 101st Infantry Division.

Every one of these claims was quickly discredited, as Lang was unable to provide any evidence to show he had done any actual BJJ training in his life, aside from watching YouTube videos and then imitating what he had seen to other people who also lacked any real BJJ training. Lang was quickly found to be an American-born citizen who had been home schooled by his Christian fundamentalist mother in McGraw, NY. It was established that he in fact had no military background whatsoever.

All of Lang’s duped students at the time were easily convinced of his fraud by members of the UG Forum, like Marine and combat veteran Phil Gizzi of Charleston, SC, who has put together a minor career investigating and exposing phony BJJ grifters like Lang. Mr. Gizzi has donated hours of his time researching these deceptive phonies and exposing them to their students and community.

Mr. Gizzi is a purple belt under Relson Gracie and runs an affiliate school. On the MMA UG Forum, he has a well-established reputation as one of the go-to guys for taking down a fraud quickly and efficiently. He has played a substantial part in eight BJJ/MMA fraud threads over the years and participated in a limited role on several more.

Mr. Gizzi says that Lang rises to a unique level as an MMA fraud. “Lang is by far the most elaborate [fraud] and he’s the only one that even years later after being exposed at every turn, still makes his claims. I feel strongly that he has serious mental health issues.”

From the outside, it appeared after his 2010 exposure that Lang had been routed thoroughly, sent back to McGraw with his tail tucked between his legs while his former students cursed his name and the day they had met him.

For the record, Lang has never offered any defense of his fake military claims and has never offered an explanation for claiming to be a Brazilian citizen while operating a business.

But Lang never really went away. His efforts to continue faking his BJJ credentials have been relentless and industrious, even after being fully exposed while operating in Ithaca. He redoubled his efforts to simulate the appearance of credibility as a BJJ black belt and embarked on an ambitious social media and letter-writing campaign that appears to have led him to become the prison pen pal of Hermes Franca, a real BJJ black belt and UFC veteran currently serving a sentence in the Oregon state penal system for sexual assault of a minor.

Through his association with Hermes Franca, Lang brought Hermes’ nephew Lucca Franca to the United States under the promise of managing the younger Franca and getting him MMA fights in the U.S. Lang also used his new association with the Francas to make a connection with Carlos David Oliveira, another well-known Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt who runs a school in Richmond, VA.

Lang used the recommendation of Lucca Franca to meet Oliveira and then approach him with a business opportunity to run an affiliate school of Oliveira’s Team Evolution in Cortland. This school was established by renting space at the Northeast Martial Arts Institute on Owego Street in Cortland. Lang even arranged to have Oliveira send one of his black belts, Paulo Izaias, to live in Cortland and teach at the school for several months to further create the appearance of authenticity for himself.

“I have known Lucca since he was a kid,” Oliveira told this writer when interviewed on the phone on January 13. “He said Lang was a great guy, was going to get him fights. Later he went home. He was mad because he said he never got any fights and it was too cold.”

In March 2013 Oliveira actually did give Lang a “courtesy” promotion to a second stripe black belt. Lang has been proudly displaying the certificate of this as a sign of his legitimacy on his various social media sites.

But when asked about it directly, Oliveira was clearly embarrassed to have issued the promotion. He admitted to never having seen Lang actually practice BJJ during what is known in the art as “a live rolling session.” He also admitted that one of his students who did remember rolling with Lang in March had reported since this story broke that Lang was “terrible” and that “he shouldn’t be a black belt.”

Video obtained during the course of this investigation of David Lang recently “rolling” with a white belt student at his school in Cortland makes it obvious to any BJJ practitioner blue belt or higher that Lang is clearly not a black belt in BJJ.

This writer has canvassed the opinions of numerous black and brown belts in BJJ and it has been the unanimous consensus that, among other things, Lang clearly does not have the posture, facility of movement, control of breathing, awareness of pressure and grips, or any of a number of other details that no legitimate BJJ player at even the intermediate level would be unaware of. One commentator described it aptly: “It doesn’t look like a black belt and a white belt. It looks like two white belts where one guy has two months more training.”

The status of the Francas in this story is far more complicated and difficult to unpack at this moment. Investigation on the UG thread last spring uncovered video and photographic evidence of Lucca Franca training and visiting with David Lang and members of his family in McGraw, NY, and at the Destiny USA mall in Syracuse. Facebook pages that are represented as belonging to various members of the Franca clan and David Lang, along with his mother Pat Lang, show a relationship and a history of encouraging Christian chatter posted to each other’s time lines. Lang has a documented history of faking identities and posting misleading profiles on social media like FB, so it is unknown whether any of this reflects an authentic relationship between the Lang and Franca families. It is known that some relationship definitely exists.

This writer has been in communication with a Facebook page set up for Hermes Franca. As this investigation has leaked emerging details to the UG fraud thread, this FB page has been very busy posting encouraging words and offering virtual hugs to David Lang.

In a call to the Oregon Department of Corrections on January 13, this writer had already learned that inmates in the Oregon penal system are not allowed access to the internet. The conversation between this writer and an Oregon DoC communications officer has also led to the launching of an Oregon DoC Internal Affairs investigation into Franca’s possible involvement in social media and its role in perpetrating a fraud and/or the possibility that Franca is the victim of identity theft by Lang.

The Facebook page claiming to represent Hermes Franca at first quickly accepted my friend request, then almost just as quickly deleted it. A message from the page claimed it was being updated by Hermes’ nephew, Guilherme Franca, who communicates with Hermes by letter, phone and Skype. When informed about this situation by the writer, the alleged nephew claimed his family knew David Lang well and that Hermes had trained with him in Florida for years.

A complication to this story is that another person named David Lang with a legitimate training history and possible prior relationship to Hermes Franca does exist, and Lang has in fact tried to present himself on the internet as this person before. It is unclear if Hermes Franca at this time realizes who exactly David Lang of McGraw, NY, actually is. There is strong reason to believe that he has been misled into believing that he has been in contact with a completely different person.

Then, on January 15, the person identifying himself as Guilhermes Franca on Facebook insisted that the David Lang of McGraw, NY, was indeed a person who had trained with Hermes in Florida “eight years ago.”

This claim completely contradicts anything Lang was telling students about his BJJ history in 2010. The person on Facebook claiming to be Guilhermo Franca also told me Carlos David Oliveira had reported to Hermes Franca that Lang had “tapped” (i.e. defeated) a brown belt and blue belt at the March seminar in question, despite having “a sore shoulder.”

When reached for comment about his alleged conversation about David Lang’s BJJ ability with Hermes Franca, Mr. Oliveira sounded frustrated and upset. He categorically denied having said any such thing. He also stated that Guilhermes Franca, like his brother Lucca, was somebody he had known “since he was a kid.”

He did not want to believe that an old friend from Brazil was telling lies about him on Facebook and he speculated that Lang was probably running the Hermes Franca page. “I think he is mentally ill,” said Mr. Oliveira. “I feel terrible for his children and I feel pity for him, but I can’t let him bring down what I have worked hard to establish.”

Mr. Oliveira further told me he had told Lang the night of January 14 that he had until the end of the week to provide the names and contact information for people he had trained with from blue belt up. “I told him, no certificates, only names, email addresses and phone numbers.” He stated he had not heard from Lang since and followed through with issuing his public statement on January 17.

As for the mysterious Facebook messages claiming to come from Guilhermo Franca, this writer and longtime operatives on the UG fraud thread are all inclined to believe that it comes from Lang himself. In addition to the blatant lies the message contained, it was written in very easy to understand English, except with random re-ordering of the words and clauses in certain sentences. This is a strategy Lang is known to have employed before when trying to pretend to be from another country.

Lang has a documented history of going to tremendous lengths to pull his scams off, and has exploited Facebook in the past, setting up page after page under aliases such as Dave La DaSilva, Dave Debean La Silva, and assorted others.

The David Lang story is far too complicated to begin to detail in one short article. Lang is an individual who has gone to bizarre lengths to defraud and trick people, when similar time and energy, and far less expense, could have allowed him to largely achieve his stated goal of wearing a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt with pride.

To detail the entire, three-plus year history of the David Lang saga, I will be publishing a three-part series detailing his outrageous claims and deceptions and updating this unfolding story with his newest, most outrageous attempt yet to steal legitimacy from the art of jiu-jitsu and betray and take advantage of the trust of anyone unfortunate enough to cross paths with him.

At this point, there are still people in the Cortland area who remain fooled by Lang. The lessons he has learned from his past frauds have allowed him to establish a more plausible-looking facade this time around. Operatives from the UG fraud thread have reached out to these people and offered them the information they need to be free of this parasitic con man.

The David Lang Saga, Part One: Somewhere in Rio, Wallid is Fuming
Guys lie about their martial arts credentials. It’s a well-known fact in guy culture. Anybody who ever spent much time in a gym, locker room, military barracks, or construction site will remember at least one or two blowhards who claimed to be masters of some deadly martial art like Kung Fu or Dim Mak. In the two decades since the Gracie family of Brazil launched mixed martial arts in the United States, Brazilian jiu-jitsu has become a go-to art for fraudulent tough guys to claim.

But while a depressing number of American males will fudge about their martial arts credentials to impress peers or women in bars, not that many will go to the trouble of actually establishing schools where they fraudulently present themselves to the public as a legitimate martial arts expert.

Not that many people do it, but it happens often enough that an entire genre of internet threads has developed on martial arts sites over the years dedicated to exposing these frauds when they do appear. Phil Gizzi and others on the MMA UG Forum are a prime example. When Mr. Gizzi initially contacted Lang in December 2010 he was honest about his identity and ranking as a BJJ blue belt, but he told Lang he would be visiting Ithaca and was looking for a place to train.

The prospect of an authentic and active blue belt visiting his school put Lang on the immediate defensive. He replied to Mr. Gizzi in a manner that would lead one to believe he barely spoke English, although at the gym he had told everybody his mother was American and that he had grown up speaking it often in his home in Brazil—which explained why he was fluent in it.

When finally questioned directly by Mr. Gizzi, Lang replied:

Phil your questions i will answer after the holidays.
i did go back and forth from brasil as someone posted.
tell your unnamed source that i am sorry we took 4 people from his gym.
it is sad that people feel the need to lie.
i work very hard for what i have.
God bless
12/20/10 10:47 PM

Within a short time of contacting Lang, Mr. Gizzi quickly received an email purporting to be from Brazil and claiming Lang was a legitimate black belt under Wallid Ismail. A quick ISP check showed the email had originated from the same ISP as Lang’s own emails.

One claim Lang had made while operating in Ithaca was that he had a cousin in Brazil named Rafael Lang, who was a black belt and ran a school down there. Such a person does in fact exist and Lang was friends with them on Facebook. Nearly every day Lang would send greetings on Rafael Lang’s main page, writing phrases in what appeared to be Portuguese.

Actual Portuguese speakers who came to the fraud thread quickly recognized Lang’s Portuguese as from Google Translate.

Lang’s entire deception at this point fell apart within a week. As Mr. Gizzi became more confrontational and direct with his questioning, Lang became more evasive and difficult to even understand. Eventually he wrote:

Phil thank you for being truthful with me.
my family in brasil and my two masters in jiu jitsu will speak on my behalf if need be.
i am a man that has faith in God. he will vindicate me.
I teach BJJ to help the weak because that is what i was called to do.
Some day when i have time i will visit these sites of web.
anyone is welcome at my academy.
my masters will say only good of me….if they need speak
12/21/10 9:23 PM

Research on Facebook quickly located enough of his students to get the word all the way out, and it was not very difficult, ultimately, to show Lang as a fraud. By December 23, 2010, Lang and his older brother Robert had packed up all the mats and equipment at Lang’s gym in Ithaca, and Lang had posted pictures of the empty space on Facebook.

During the investigation, it also came to light that David Lang had promoted students to blue belt and issued them certificates containing Wallid Ismail’s forged signature, spelled incorrectly.

While Lang’s former students in this first go around were not very hard to convince, many were shocked and very upset. A number of the younger students had developed what they thought was a really good friendship with Lang. The kind of friendly camaraderie that comes from training with people in grappling or MMA means a lot to most of the people who do it, and to have had that good feeling violated so outrageously was stunning. One former student reported to me that he really felt messed up about it for a long time. Another student, when the story very first broke, refused to believe it was even true, insisting the entire thread was just a big practical joke that Lang was in on.

At this point it seemed like Lang had been stopped, probably for good. For a good period of time the thread was lively with former students coming on and repeating the ridiculous claims Lang had made to them over the months they had known him, things like having defeated UFC veteran Kenny Florian in a finals at a NAGA, or about having trained with Rickson Gracie back in Brazil, or about being a long-time friend of former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra, or about having taught for Renzo Gracie at his school in Newark, NJ, or about having fought in Rio Heroes in Brazil during a leave from the army.

Lang told too many lies to really track down and record during this time period, but none of the lies involved his current claims about a long-standing association with Hermes Franca.

The pure shame and humiliation that were showered on Lang should have been enough to convince him to never again deceive the public in this manner. But, amazingly, Lang has continued to stick around the same Cortland-Tompkins County area, continuing to make new black belt claims.

His entire operation has recently become more sophisticated and deceptive than before, and details of it continue to emerge, even as this report is being written. A quick Google search of “David Lang” and “BJJ” will quickly lead a person to discover the UG fraud thread, but Lang has managed to create a facade that looks entirely convincing to somebody who would not know better and even to trusting people who probably should know better.

Read Part Two here.

Downtown-Binghamton Disaster Takes a Bright Turn

How does a construction project have an official groundbreaking and ribbon cutting on the same day? It could only happen in Binghamton, birthplace of The Twilight Zone….

The (second) official groundbreaking for University Lofts on December 18th. Outgoing Binghamton mayor Matt Ryan is center; Stellar 83 Court LLC managing member Larry Gladstone is at left; incoming Binghamton mayor Rich David is behind Gladstone to his left.

Three years ago, the worst fire in the history of downtown Binghamton destroyed a student-housing project, crippled one of the largest office buildings in the region—as well as a historic landmark—and completely shut down a major downtown thoroughfare for what would be a full year. In 2011, the Police Gazette ran a series on the unacceptable—and seemingly permanent—mess the fire had left behind. It had started in the student-housing site, and rumors—including one printed here in the Gazette—swirled about the cause that have never been substantiated by any police, fire, or insurance investigation. The cause remains unknown today.

The street finally reopened—we think partly due to pressure brought by the Police Gazette—but the buildings remained closed and silent. Mark Yonaty of Greater Binghamton Development LLC, owner of the office building—aka the “Press Building”—received insurance money for the damage but found it difficult to lease commercial space in down economic times and sold the property this past August to a company calling itself 19 Chenango Street Associates LLC, which plans to convert all the floors above ground level to residential use.

The gutted section of the University Lofts site where the December 2010 fire broke out. The Press Building, center, sustained damage during the blaze and has been empty since. A new owner plans to convert it to 90% residential use.

Then, finally, two-and-a-half years after the fire—like Pooh Bear budging after being stuck in Rabbit’s hole—the student-housing project came back to life… and quickly. Progress this summer went from zero to sixty in no time and an official ribbon cutting took place December 18th. Immediately after the ribbon cutting, the press was ushered to another location on the site for an official groundbreaking. At this point an explanation may be needed….

The owner of the property, Stellar 83 Court LLC, bought it in 2008 with the intention to convert the L-shaped premises—having entrances on both Court and Chenango Streets—into luxury student housing. Stellar 83 hired PMC Property Group Inc. to be general contractor to handle all aspects of construction and management. Then, in December 2010, the fire broke out. Stellar 83’s insurance company did their investigation, processed the paperwork, and cut a check to… PMC Property Group. PMC, of course, was not the property’s owner, just the contractor—on whose watch the fire occurred—hired by the owner. Stellar 83 had intended to restart work as soon as the insurance money came in, but ended up having to go through a protracted legal battle with PMC, no longer connected to the project, to get any of the money. Earlier this year, a judge finally agreed with Stellar 83, money was released, and work began again.

Binghamton mayor Matt Ryan, left, and Stellar 83 Court LLC managing member Larry Gladstone cut the ribbon December 18th at the section of University Lofts that will be ready to lease in January.

The ribbon cutting took place for the portion of the project fronting Court Street, while the groundbreaking took place at the portion fronting Chenango Street—the area where the fire broke out and completely destroyed everything, including all interior floors and walls; the only thing left standing was the outside wall facing the street. Opening for leasing in January will be 16 units with 42 beds. When the entire project is finished it will offer a total of 195 beds, which will be available to the general public not just students. Stellar 83 plans to have these beds available by July.

The view from one of the new apartments at University Lofts.