Rival furniture stores get down and dirty

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MILFORD, N.H. (AP) – Two feuding businessmen are headed to court, after one man created lewd images of the other and posted them on the Internet, using his rival’s business name in the Web site address.

Richard Boucher, owner of Boucher’s Furniture Store in Milford, acknowledges creating the site, which showed a photo of Nick D’Augustine’s face superimposed on a pornographic image, and another manipulated to show a penis attached to D’Augustine’s head. Boucher said his actions may have been wrong, but he was trying to even the score with D’Augustine, owner of Oak Furniture Store in Amherst, whom he accuses of trying to ruin his business.

“Anything I did on the Web site was in retaliation for something he started,” Boucher said. “My mistake was I stooped to his level.”

D’Augustine took Boucher to court to shut down the site, which he said was causing him stress and hurting business.

“This is destroying my life,” D’Augustine said. “I’m getting phone calls from people saying, Do you do that kind of thing at the store?”‘

A judge last week awarded D’Augustine a temporary restraining order, requiring Boucher to shut down the site and stop any Internet activity involving D’Augustine.

Boucher changed the site last week. Both sides were to meet Monday in Milford District Court for another hearing on the matter.

Boucher said he registered several domain names last year using D’Augustine’s company’s name when they opened a store together, Oak Warehouse, in Hudson. He didn’t do use them until after the store shut down and bickering over debts and other business problems began.

Both agree their current fight started last month. Boucher said D’Augustine “earned” the web site after advertising wholesale prices on items similar to what Boucher sells.

D’Augustine went to the police after Boucher sent him links to the site. Authorities said there was nothing they could do, because Boucher’s insults aren’t criminal.

“It’s me expressing my freedom of speech,” Boucher said.

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