A Tale of two Powerful Men

One of the interesting questions a lot of young people have is: where does power reside? In powerful corporations and billionaires or in government? The American idea that our lives can be lived away from busybodies may be true, but as far as our lives are intruded upon, which is the most invasive? Corporations or government? For many people the answer to the question may determine their political outlooks.

There is a tale of two different men whose lives might help answer the question. Allen R. Stanford and John Corzine.

Allen Stanford 61, is a former Texas billionaire who was the founder of Stanford Financial Group, a diversified financial firm based in Houston, but with its bank operations in Antigua and Venezuela. It appears that Stanford may have operated a ponzi scheme, or perhaps not, that after all is what a trial is all about. Stanford was indicted on June 19, 2009 and now after 2 ½ years is about to face trial this month. The Financial Services Regulatory Commission of Antiguan and Barbuda appointed receivers to manage the Stanford holdings, while Venezuela seized the bank, for, well that’s Venezuela does. Stanford never got bail, he was severely beaten in prison, possibly suffering brain damage, had all of his assets auctioned off, including personal items, he is not allowed to fund his own defense team and has shuffled through countless court appointed defense attorneys. His daughter has had to turn over some of her assets, even though she was not affiliated with Stanford’s enterprises. He has also suffered from addictions to drugs given to him by prison doctors. Depositors are awaiting the final outcome of a battle between the SEC and the SIPC over whether the SIPC is responsible for the deposits. If the unlikely happens and Stanford is found innocent, it will be impossible to untangle the damage done.

Now let’s turn to John Corizine. Corizine was the former CEO of the highly influential Goldman Sachs, host of many huge Obama fundraisers and governor of New Jersey. It was Corizine’s role as boss of MF Global that has caught our attention today. MF Global took money from private accounts and lost it all. Early indications are that MF bet long on Greek and European debt. Corizine has not been indicted, has not been arrested, therefore has no need of bail, his personal assets are untouched, he has not been beat up and has not come within a mile of prison doctors or court appointed attorneys. Corizine was widely expected to be next in line to head the Treasury.

Corizine was the epitome of the political animal, from massive fundraisers, to being Governor to being the heir apparent for Treasury. Stanford, for all his faults, was not nearly as heavy in the political realm, he was best known for burnishing his Caribbean image by sponsoring his favorite sport, cricket.

Now Stanford can’t even give prisoners financial advice. It is true that John Corizine headed the corporate MF Global, but it was only for a brief time so that it could be looted. Corizine is still untouched. On the power meter it is: Corporations 0, government 1.

Can a corporation like Walmart make you buy their products? Can a city council use your money to buy your trash cans and make you use them? Who wins if a corporation and the government use guns? But what about bribes? Don’t corporations use those to control governments? As I discovered in Human Action by Mises, a bribe comes from the weaker party, not the stronger.

Occupy Austin blunders into Travis

The January Travis auctions were visited by several Occupy Austin protesters. Hopefully someone gave them directions to appropriate government offices.

MLK Day Slows Foreclosures

Courthouses were shut on Monday.

Around Town

Steve Davis is the force behind a group of real estate brokers, mostly commercial, who are exploring the idea of joint commercial ventures. Among the notables in attendance at Mission Title on December 13th were Rudy Gutierrez, Al Kartaltepe and a bunch of others who I can’t recall how to spell their names. The subject of “subject to purchases” came up. The consensus was that it was much easier to buy properties that way if they are commercial. One popular method that has been done in many states is to notify the lender of the purchase of the property accompanied by the loan reinstatement check. One local investor told me last week that in his case the lender returned the check. In other news, it has been reported that the number of home sales has been exaggerated by about 15% over the last several years. This was attributed to multiple reporting of same sales. This misreporting of sales is consistent with other bogus economic reporting. Where the methodologies of unemployment rates, inflation rates, tax rates are sharply different from the past and always seem to paint a better picture than otherwise.

HOA foreclosure changes

The number of January Homeowner Association foreclosures have plummeted thanks to a law passed this last summer. These foreclosures now have to go through a judge, much like home equity foreclosures and like home equity foreclosures they can be conducted by a trustee rather than a sheriff. We anticipate these postings will appear in our reports. An article on the new laws can be found at this link. One person commented that the article was “cogent and well informed.” I would not know since every time I read it, I lapse into a short coma. http://missionmortgage.wordpress.com/2011/07/05/new-hoa-rules-for-texas/

Ronnie’s Notes Workshop

A great and rare workshop is coming soon. Ronnie’s Notes Workshop. We only have this workshop every couple of years, due to the specialization of the topic. What makes this workshop so vital is the advantages in buying and selling real estate notes are probably greater than ever.
Mark your calendar: January 14th.

The “Housing Predictors” record

The website housingpredictor.com made a couple of breathtaking statements. One was that they predicted a glut in foreclosures “more than three years ago.” That is not half as weak as it sounds since the article was published in June of 2009. They further state they were the “first real estate research firm to forecast the foreclosure epidemic.” If their forecast was made in 2006 then they were behind the times. We already had an epidemic and Texas was behind other states. Bexar County had increase postings from 545 a month in 2002, to 735 in 2006. In fact postings have gone up every year since 1997, except for 2005. While I have not taken a look at other “real estate research firms” there have been a few people who subscribe to Austrian economics who were spot on much earlier. One was Peter Schieff, but the real spot on guy was presidential candidate Ron Paul at the :44 second mark in this remarkable campaign type video: http://www.plumbingzone.com/f13/ron-paul-predictions-came-true-14800/
The “Plumbingzone” is just that, a website for plumbers!

Where was Gregg Stanley in all this? In early 2000 I said to myself that since Al Gore or George Bush was going to be President, that we would be in a world of hurt, so I bought a company that was counter market that would do well in a bad economy. The company is called “Real Estate Foreclosures.” And now you know the rest of the story.

Banners on New Ad Card

Real Estate Foreclosures has a new card for advertising with us. Ads that are 1/2 page and run a year or ads that are full page and run six months will come with a Rexreport.com banner!

No December Workshops

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