By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
By Jesse Marx
IN THE FALL of 2009, Deborah Morse-Kahn was broke and desperate. After being laid off by her longtime employer, Morse-Kahn was taking sporadic writing jobs that barely paid the rent.
"There was no money left," she says.
One night, while scanning Craigslist for work, she came across an advertisement for Kavoosi's company and took a chance.
Kavoosi gave her an assignment and paid promptly within two days of completion. The money wasn't much, but it was enough to keep the lights on.
"There was a series of days in the first few weeks where I was working from seven in the morning to 11 o'clock at night," recalls Morse-Kahn.
Then one day, Morse-Kahn didn't receive her paycheck on time. When she contacted Kavoosi, he tried to bargain her down.
Payments became more infrequent. After one assignment, Kavoosi claimed that the student had gotten an F, so he wasn't going to pay. Morse-Kahn later received an email from the student thanking her for a job well done.
"You wrote an outstanding paper for me and you shared that you were not paid!" reads the email. "I really can't go on with my daily life knowing that!"
After the pattern of late or no payments continued, Morse-Kahn decided to cut her losses and look for work elsewhere. But Morse-Kahn wanted to ensure others didn't make her mistake. So she posted complaints on online message boards accusing Kavoosi's company of a being a con. Thanks to her, "Jordan Kavoosi Essay writing companies SCAM Complaints" is the first listing that appears under his name on Google.
When Kavoosi started losing writers due to the bad publicity, Morse-Kahn suddenly had his attention. First he tried to offer her money to replace the complaints with similar postings about his competitors.
"I have an idea," an email from Kavoosi reads, "ill pay you 80.00 to take off all the posting you posted on the internet about my company and me and stop harassing my writers, and then pay you 80.00 to post listings about some companies I don't like what you think about that? Will call you as well tomorrow to rap this issue up as well."
Morse-Kahn declined the offer. If she didn't want the carrot, Kavoosi would give her the stick. Under a pseudonym, someone from the essay-writing company posted messages disparaging her on the same online complaint boards. In one post, she was called an alcoholic. In another, the anonymous person accused her of molesting his child. Kavoosi says the postings were made by one of his "buddies," and not him.
Morse-Kahn says that's when Kavoosi started calling her late at night and threatening her.
"It's an awful way to wake up, to have this slurred voice in your ear," says Morse-Kahn. "He said 'We're gonna take you out. I'm gonna be there in 20 minutes.'"
Kavoosi denies making any threatening calls.
"She posted all that stuff—it's all lies," he says, adding that she only worked for him for three days, not for several weeks as she claims. "She needs to get a life."
He admits to eventually offering Morse-Kahn money to take down the posts and calling her late at night.
"I called her a couple times, sure," Kavoosi concedes. "I mean we're always up, that's just the type of business we're in...there's nothing wrong with two humans meeting up."
MORSE-KAHN ISN'T the only writer who claims to have been shafted. Many share almost identical stories of missing payments and then offers to pay less than the original agreement.
"I'm sure you've heard this before, but he's just never paid me on time," says one writer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "When I signed up with him, he said payday was Tuesday. And then every time Tuesday rolled around I'd send him an invoice but he wouldn't pay me. And then I'd get something back about some excuse that I didn't follow the rules in some way. He'd always come up with something, with some reason that he didn't pay me."
Cindy Sabatino, a writer from Florida, worked full-time for Kavoosi without incident for months. The work was steady, and Sabatino was able to financially support herself. Then the money started coming in late. When Kavoosi would only pay her part of what he owed, she reciprocated by only sending a fraction of an essay. An email thread details their contentious exchange:
" Since you sent me 20% of my pay, you get 20% of the paper. That seems equitable," writes Sabatino.
"fuxck you bitch," Kavoosi's responds.
"Why the attitude and unprofessionalism, Jordan? You owe me the money for legitimate reasons. I don't understand this animosity. I've fulfilled my professional obligation, and you act like a disgruntled school bully. Why are you mad at me?"
"i dont give fuck about about professionialism send your fucking invoice over i cant search for it."
Eric Smith, another former writer, quit earlier this year after producing about 70 papers for Kavoosi's business. Smith says he left because Kavoosi wasn't paying on time. The separation wasn't amicable, especially after Smith told other writers why he was leaving.
"He was just going to come over and 'whoop my ass,'" Smith says.