Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mike and Irene Milin Update

This post has just been updated here to reflect the Milin's involvement with Trump University and media requests for more information on the Milins.

Since writing this post last October asking for information about former real estate gurus Mike and Irene Milin, the self-described "Dynamic Duo" of get-rich-quick real estate in the 1990s, I have received a steady trickle of tips and news about the pair.  I wrote my original post because I was curious to learn what happened to them, because there was a time not so long ago that late night television seemed to be the kingdom of the Milins and their absence has certainly been noticed by some.

In the 1990s and up until a few years ago, they were EVERYWHERE, flaunting symbols of great wealth in their infomercials, flying on private jets only to be picked up by a waiting limousine to be rushed to a huge waterfront estate filled with all the best things money can by.  If you think I'm overstating the imagery, I'm not.  One of their infomercials actually had Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous host Robin Leach interviewing the Milins about their expensive tastes---and their get-rich-quick in real estate home study courses.  Champaign wishes and caviar dreams, Millin style.

Most of what I learned about the Milins was routine, or should be kept private, and that's where that road ends.  The Milins are no longer public people and their privacy should be respected.  But I would love the public's help in tracking down this bit of information that puts their entire career in a whole new light.

In the 1990s, the Dynamic Duo certainly loved money.

But in the 1960s, they seemed to passionately love another Dynamic Duo.

Marx and Engels.

It seems the Milins were total 1960s campus radicals, hard Communist left and proud of it.  They were members of the SDS, Young Socialist Alliance, the Socialist Workers Party, the Revolutionary Youth Movement, Progressive Labor Party, and many others.

According to multiple sources, Mike was a student at Arizona State University from 1969-1973 at the height of the Vietnam War protests.  Through his left wing political affiliations, he was a close friend of ASU Professor Morris Starsky who will always be remembered for his involvement in the notorious FBI COINTELPRO scandal.  During the very time Mike and Irene were hanging out with Starsky and plotting international socialist revolution, the FBI had Starsky under surveillance for his political activism and was illegally sending anonymous letters to ASU officials falsely claiming that Starsky was involved with violence.  Starsky was the first person targeted by the FBI under the COINTELPRO operation and he later won a court case against the FBI with the damages going to the Socialist Workers Party.

According to one source, Mike and Irene stayed in touch with Starsky until his death in 1989.

College is the place to be a radical, and I applaud their campus activism.  On the contrary, they should be more proud of it.  What makes me curious about all this is HOW do the Milins go from advocating the violent overthrow of the United States government and a hatred for private property to Robin Leach in just ten years?  I was never a fan of their real estate books but their whiplash conversion from ultra-left to ultra-right is a story I would pay to read.

This whole situation is ripe with irony.  One great one is that the last Milin infomercial I ever saw was one where they were pitching in 2007 for the National Grants Conference, or "How to Get Rich Getting Grants and Loans from the Government", much like Matthew Lesko's hyperactive offerings.

This infomercial had Mike and Irene being interviewed by, get this, TWO FORMER REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMEN, J.C. Watts and J.D. Hayworth.  Both right wingers at that.  Read this article and learn how Hayworth got burned by his association with the Milins when he ran against John McCain for his Senate seat.

This article above also mentions how Mike Milin gave U.S. Presidential candidate John McCain nearly $10,000 in campaign gifts in his run against Obama in 2008.

Amazing how times (and politics) change.  But get-rich-quick home study courses are always the same.  The Milin's National Grants Conference flamed out in a tirade of consumer complaints.  Read this amazing letter sent by THIRTY FOUR state Attorney Generals asking for the Federal Trade Commission to act because of the Milin's claims with respect to government loans.

I have been reading Mike and Irene's book, How to Buy and Manage Rental Properties, since learning about all this and you occasionally get some tame references to class warfare, the rich and the poor, and that sort of rhetoric between the lines.

All this just makes me wonder.  Why?