Sunday, December 16, 2007

I'll Sue Your A$$!

Last week there was a LA Times commentary that was worth mentioning. Good thing I held off as the blowback is funnier than the original. The Times has hired a pretty straight shooter to cover what he calls "consumer confidentials." Last week he covered the Trump University come-on of free seminars that are nothing but 2 hr commercials for his $1495 foreclosure classes.
Original Article
Excerpt: So off I went to Pasadena, where I soon found myself in a hotel meeting room with about three dozen other wannabe real estate moguls. Before us was a banner featuring Trump's typically dour image. "Think big," it instructed.
...Our instructor was a Texan named Steve Goff, 40, who told me before things got started that he had bought and sold about 300 houses since getting into real estate 11 years ago. He said he had never bought or sold a house in California.

I asked Goff if he's a millionaire. He said no. He said he had been through bankruptcy, two divorces and had his own home foreclosed upon.

Funny enough and instructive enough that I apologize for not sharing earlier. Now the kicker. Mr. Trump was not pleased.
Fallout here.
In his letter, Trump seemed particularly upset with my observation that his "primary claim to fame these days has been hosting 'The Apprentice' on TV." He wasted no time rebutting this notion.

"I am worth many billions of dollars, am building large-scale developments all over the world, am considered by many to be, by far, the hottest name in real estate," Trump wrote, "and I have to read an article by a third-rate reporter in your newspaper that my 'primary claim to fame' is hosting 'The Apprentice.' "

Show of hands: How many people think of Donald Trump as, by far, the hottest name in real estate? How many think of him as the guy who fires people on TV?

Thank you.

No Mr. Lazarus, thank you.


serinitis said...

First to say that Mr Trump actually became famous for sticking it to his creditors in bankruptcy. He is currently most famous for the Apprentice, but he made his fame by failing at real estate.

Hey, maybe Casey does have a chance.

wagga said...

Just Google Running Horse Fresno.

You'll be starting to think he made his fame as an asshole.

Rob Dawg said...

Trump is the embodiment of the uncorrectable failings of capitalism. He not only exploits imperfections he seeks them out. Sure his start kicking out long time tenants was technically legal but come on. Now his antics like the fresno golf course are slimy but truly legal. Is it his fault that the city is greedy and people ill suffer from his exploiting his familiarity with greed?

Funny Circus Bears said...

Life is too short to watch The Donald.

Ogg the Caveman said...

@ Wagga:

Got a specific link? All I can tell from the first page of Google results is that Trump was in talks to buy a failing development, but it fell through.

Lou Minatti said...

Why would a billionaire dick around with penny-ante seminars where he clears a couple thou per shot? He'd make a lot more in the same period of time just drawing interest on that money in a bank account.

Akubi said...

K, I'm not f-ing around with fishnets and such as usual, but seriously seeking some combined input ("Advise") on how to make an offer (or whether to do so) on a short sale I want.

Akubi said...

As I mentioned in the short sale post above, there are 2 lenders and the one who is losing the most is supposedly more flexible than the second lender. The property had been in escrow, but the second lender who is owed 150K created a problem. As I recall from the KC situation, doesn't the second lender get nothing if the house is foreclosed? Could it be an insurance issue perhaps?

Lou Minatti said...

I think we're still very early in the downturn, Akubi. If you are buying it as a home and plan to live there for a long time and can afford the payments with a normal loan, I'd say it's OK even if the property continues to lose value. But why would you want to do that? Why not wait a while longer?

Akubi said...

Yhe guy who "owned" the place couldn't speak English all that well and was perhaps the result of a possible fix and flip and obviously not a flipper, but flopper getting free rent. As I mentioned on my blog, I really don't have enough space for my dogs, cat and the junk I manage to take in (because nobody else wants it). I’m not much of a people person and highly dislike living so close to them (cube life is bad enough) when they’re all a bunch of assholes in a condo. Nice thing about that place is it was surrounded by commercial buildings and therefore hopefully a lack of annoying people to bitch and moan about dogs barking or whatever else bullshit annoyance at hand.

Akubi said...

Anyway, I shall remain if fishnets ignore mode until I figure out what to do.

Akubi said...

P.S. bad grammar and such was due to multi-tasking and too much on my mind - and some strange noise (foraging creature?) near the front door that my dogs keep barking about.

Lost Cause said...

Foreclosure scaminars are hawked by the lowest forms of life. That is all that you nee to know about his reputation.

w said...

As I read this story in the paper over breakfast this morning I thought it was too funny that Trump is brating the Times for being a newspaper in decline and saying he is the famous real estate expert. It seems to me that smart people think of some guy named Zell when the subject of "smart" real estate guys comes up. I wonder what that Zell guy is doing these days?

H Simpson said...

Donald made his money in real estate. His father made the money doing high rises in Manhatten and brought young donald along. The old man was very successful, so investors figured Jr would be as good.

When Donald's world blew up years ago, he owed so much money, creditors had to go along, or lose everything. KC needed a super wealthy dad and to borrow on a factor of 10,000 to pull this kind of stunt off. Anything less is just mental masterbation.

Cannot beleive the ego-manic reads such tripe and responds. Does he not have anything better to do? I thought his casinos revenues were down.

Then again, he pisses away time with these idiot game shows viewed by losers who cannot afford cable or satillite.

Personally, the guy creeps me out with his cradle robbing women young enough to be his grand daughter. Pretty sorry when he is older than his father in laws..


Pleather Murse said...

I've read a few of the Donald's ghost-written autobiographies and as self-serving as they may be he seems to be a straight shooter. Before the success of The Apprentice he had hit a lull period in public consciousness, but before that he first made a name for himself in big-time commercial real estate as I thought everyone knew.

His main strategy seemed to be to focus on flagship buildings that by his very involvement would attract a lot of attention. He was big into branding and name recognition before that become a popular marketing gimmick in RE (Steve Wynn followed him; both moguls benefit from terrific surnames that match their business.) His idea (still credible I think though he's drifted from it) is to make his name automatically synonymous with a certain type of building, so customers would know what to expect from it. Clever idea that also exploited the free publicity generated whenever he started any project. His name and face became brandable items, sort of like Dave Thomas and Wendy's but on a bigger scale.

His autobiographies also relate his many altercations with the media. He admits he is hypersensitive to bad publicity and criticism and is quick to litigate or intimidate critics. No doubt ego is involved, but it's business too; bad p.r. cuts right into the bottom line.

Pleather Murse said...

IIRC, Trump's Atlantic City ventures were his first big failure. The idea sounded great on the face of it (Trump plus Atlantic City, how could he go wrong?) but according to what I've read, part of the problem was he picked the worst possible time to jump in, right around the early '90s RE downturn. But he was smart enough to realize that the banks had so much money pumped into the projects, it would hurt them more than himself if he went belly-up so supposedly he cut a last-minute deal of some kind. The old idea that, if you owe the bank a thousand bucks you have a problem, but if you owe the banks a billion bucks THEY have a problem.

This is all from memory so I may have a lot of details wrong.

wagga said...


Fresno Bee search results

Anonymous said...

Sam Zell is buying newspapers:

w said...

i just thought the irony of the situation was so ripe.

Ogg the Caveman said...

No jokes about suing for liable? This place really has left the Serin story behind.

formul8 said...

The Donald is NOT a RE Mogul. If he was so, that would be his number one activity.

He is a Self-Promotion tycoon. When he hooks up with a goofball like Kiyosaki and puts on these hokey seminars, he is in the league with TV Evangelists and Infomercial hucksters.

I'll bet he didn't even read that article. It is probably one of his lawyers or staffers.

F-you, Trump.

Peripheral Visionary said...

The Donald has always been in the business of separating gullible investors from their money. Sure, HE has billions . . . but how much money has he made for his investors?

I agree that his most recent efforts have been to self-brand and sell his image, but from a strictly marketing perspective, he's done a terrible job of protecting his brand. Having affixed his face to every piece of cheap junk available, it's no longer worth that much. In fact, for me it has negative brand value, as I won't touch anything with his name on it, including products made by otherwise respectable companies.

If you want to see the power of the institutional investor "brand", you need look no further than Warren Buffett, and possibly Sam Zell or Steve Wynn. They've protected their names much better than Trump, not wasting their time by shouting at newspapers or chasing a few nickels by putting out editions of Monopoly with their name on it.