I have checked out the backlinks - it's as you'd expect, but with a lower volume than you'd predict. Lots of perfect anchor text, either from other profiles, or from private blog networks.
It's most startling to me in light of the crackdown on blog networks, and the recent postulation of devaluation of anchor text as a signal. These two seem to be all that it has in it's favor. It seems so blatant that I'm literally startled that it's slipping through the search quality filters.
My prediction / question is that Google has to notice this sort of irrelevant thing. It's clearly not going to serve the searcher, and it's influencing the main site as you'd predicted. It's one big ball of spammy badness. Personally, I'd like to help make that happen faster, but was wondering when I could expect Google to notice.
Thanks for the welcome - I was going to put something like "long time reader, first time poster" but thought it would be off subject. Been in the industry for a long time, but rarely post in forums.