We’re getting closer and closer to the ultimate Yelpers Behaving Badly story, since this one manages to involve Groupon and Blogspot as well. A wine expert with the splendid name of Krunch Kretschmar, who says he was born in Lithuania, claims to have received a doctorate in economics from the Harvard Business School and to be one of only 24 holders of the title “International Grand Confrerie Sommelier” (a title which only seems to exist online in articles about Kretschmar), and operates a little wine shop in the Albany Park neighborhood called Bottled Grapes, sold Groupons for his wine and food pairing class. A woman named Cecelia Groark bought one, booked her attendance at one of the classes, only to find on the day of that she (allegedly) had failed to respond to some email and her place had been given to someone else. Groark took to Yelp to express her frustration in a one-star review; Kretschmar responded on Yelp. So far, your usual Yelp story, but then Kretschmar allegedly took it a little past what they teach you at Harvard.
Groark has now filed a $650,000 defamation lawsuit against Kretschmar, alleging that he created a blog in her name in which “she” acknowledged a (completely fabricated) history of embezzlement, drug addiction, imprisonment and prostitution. He then allegedly emailed it to her, basically wishing her good luck ever applying for a job in the future with that out there waiting to be Googled, but saying that he would take it down if she took down the Yelp review. When her attorney responded on her behalf, Kretschmar allegedly repeated the offer. Now, besides people commenting on her lawsuit, Kretschmar’s Yelp listing is full of people questioning the validity of his credentials. It all goes to show: you may be able to mix wine and cheese, but you really shouldn’t mix drinking and Yelping.
Lawsuit: Wine Expert Lashed Out At Woman After Bad Yelp Review [CBS Chicago]