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Okay - some further information - still need help - but now it I can probably rule out firewall - and likely the excahnge server.
logged error msg in coldfusion on all out bound addresses reads:
Invalid Addresses; nested exception is: class javax.mail.SendFailedException: 550 5.7.1 Unable to relay for firstname.lastname@example.org (not the actual address - the addresses are valid - no problem sending to them through Outlook)
Figured it out - and ashamed I ever asked. But incase someone else out there has the same brain lapse I did .. here is what I did (I hate finding the question I am looking for just to see a post saying "nevermind" so i like to post the answer even to my own stupid questions)
Once i saw the error msg in CFmX - it didn't take long to fix - took me longer to set up an outside account to test. On your excahnge box - Excahnge System manager - expand your virtual server (the one cold fusion points to) - expand the protocols (this could be different depending on if you have administrative views running) - expand SMTP - then right click the Default SMTP Virtual Server - click properties
In the Access Tab - click Relay - add the IP address to allowed computers. note: the Allow all computers which successfully authenicate to relay ... check box - whether this is checked or not - you still need to have the IP, even if coldfusion is on the same box - added to allowed computers.
At least that fixed it for me.