Friday, July 1, 2016

Mike and Irene Milin Statement

I have been receiving a high volume of media requests for more information on Mike and Irene Milin.  I have written about these former get-rich-quick real estate gurus in the past such as here and here in this blog.

For those who do not know, the Milins have returned to the public spotlight in a huge way because of their involvement with Trump University and also having made donations to the Marco Rubio Presidential campaign.

This is my formal statement on the Milins to the media and those requesting more information from me.

Mike and Irene Milin have been fixtures on the get-rich-quick guru circuit since the 1980s.  The fact the Milins gave money to the Rubio campaign is no big deal.  The Milins are U.S. citizens and long time Republicans.  They supported Mitt Romney in 2012.  The Milins are also active on political issues involving Israel such as supporting Jewish Republicans in U.S. Congressional races.  The Milins supported Republican candidate and former Hawaii governor Linda Lingle on her unsuccessful U.S. Senate run in 2012.

The legal history of the Milins is well documented online such as in articles like this one.  Like most major real estate gurus they have had many encounters with unhappy customers, law enforcement, and regulatory agencies.  You cannot sell expensive books, programs, seminars, and home study courses that promise people easy and instant wealth and then expected still poor and now unhappy people to react calmly.

What fascinates me about the Milins is not their get-rich-quick exploits such as through Trump University but their personal politics.

How does a 1970s counterculture couple in just ten years go from radical communist SDS members advocating the violent overthrow of the United States government at Arizona State University to appearing on Robin Leach's television show "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" boasting about champaign wishes and caviar dreams?

Leach would go on to star in a Milin's half hour sales infomercial called "Two Years to Financial Freedom" where the couple drove around in a Rolls Royce, exited a Lear jet, and showed off expensive houses and just about everything else that costs lots of money.  Leach would later successfully sue the Milins for copying his TV show format and promoting their wealth in other infomercials.

Again, how does one go from Karl Marx to Robin Leach in ten years?

This is the Milin book I would love to read.

The basic question I am getting from media inquiries is whether the real estate community knew all about the Milins and their reputation at the time Trump University hired them.  Sadly, the answer is yes. Whether Donald Trump, Trump University, or the Trump Organization knew is another story.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Mellon's Millions

I bought this truly amazing book on Andrew W. Mellon at a garage sale for a quarter.

It is literally the best business biography I have ever read.  This contemporaneously written book about the living (and then happening) exploits of one of the world's richest men from 1933 is even better on Mellon than MELLON: AN AMERICAN LIFE by author David Cannadine which itself is a tremendous and much celebrated work.

Amazon sells the book I found for $25 or more depending on condition.  I got a real bargain not on the price but especially on the content.


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Wonderful Idea

I recently read about this company in Tampa, Florida and am fascinated with their approach to building an instant real estate portfolio.

Anyone with personal information about RE-710 please contact me through my Facebook Page.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Land Contracts

One of the oldest get-rich-quick in real estate techniques has been in the news a whole lot lately.  And the news is all bad.

Land contracts, also known as contracts for deed, is the much maligned device.

Unlike a traditional mortgage where you get a deed at the time of sale expressing an ownership interest in a property, under a land contract you make payments to a seller for years and after the final payment you finally receive a deed reflecting ownership.

There is nothing inherently illegal or immoral about land contracts except the fact they have a long history of abuse by crooked sellers.  How they get away with it is obvious.  The moment the buyer misses a payment and is in default, they lose their rights to a deed.  Often the properties sold under land contracts are poorly maintained and offered to credit and cash poor buyers at widely inflated prices.  These sellers know from the start a buyer default is inevitable which allows them to sell the same property again and again and again.

Like I said, land contracts have been in the news a great deal lately.  Here are just a few headlines.

Predatory land contracts take advantage of low-income homebuyers

‘Contract for Deed’ Lending Gets Federal Scrutiny

As the articles above make clear, land contracts are commonly abused and should be avoided at all costs.  There are ways of using them with some safety, for example, having a fully executed deed placed with an escrow company or third party pending receipt of the final payment from the buyer but even these solutions are often unworkable and leave the buyer who has faithfully made every payment without proof of ownership.

Overall, if a land contract is the only way you can buy a home delay buying one.

Instead, offer to pay a higher interest rate or give better terms to the seller under a traditional sales contract.

Land contracts can work but often do not.  They are a real estate purchasing device best left alone for most potential homeowners.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

America's Bank

I talk, speak, rant, and rave a great deal about the Federal Reserve Bank on this website.

Here is why.

America's Bank is a simply amazing book by author Roger Lowenstein.

The struggle was epic.  A financial adventure story.