CASH the Darn Check!

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Dave Towne

Appraisers CASH the Darn Check! - Appraisers Blogs

…AMC in question is refusing to allow new vendor appraisers to accept fee payments by check…

Appraisers, I had an interesting conversation with a Chief Appraiser at a prominent AMC today (and no, you don’t have to berate or chastise me for using that expression) who told me they have a real problem with appraisers FAILING TO CASH FEE PAYMENT CHECKS!

This news was absolutely stunning to hear.

It is incredulous to me that people who claim to be ‘professional’ in their work, can’t figure out how to take a piece of paper with their business name on it and the amount it is valid for, to their bank and deposit the funds into their business bank account!

The Chief Appraiser said that the company’s accounting department spends inordinate amounts of time trying to talk with the appraisers who have not bothered to cash the checks. Often, those checks have an expiration date, after which no bank will allow it to be cashed. These appraisers sometimes will not respond when messages are left for them, or in some cases the appraisers can’t be found.

This is an incredibly stupid situation!

To alleviate this problem, the AMC in question is refusing to allow new vendor appraisers to accept fee payments by check. Instead, they only will permit payments via electronic deposit to the appraiser’s bank account.

Please appraisers, if you get paid via checks mailed to you, open the darn envelope, and then get the check deposited to your business account.

If you have someone else doing your bookkeeping, make an absolute requirement that any payment check received today is deposited ‘tomorrow.’ YOU should be monitoring your Accounts Receivables based on the reports you’ve done, and YOU should know day-by-day who owes you money, and who has paid you.

Don’t leave anyone who pays you by a paper check in the lurch due to your failure of processing your income payments correctly. Be the professional you claim to be.

Image credit wikimedia - AgnosticPreachersKid
Dave Towne

Dave Towne

AGA, MNAA, Accredited Green Appraiser - Licensed in WA State since 2003. Dave Towne on e-AppraisersDirectory.com

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52 Responses

  1. Avatar Bill Ritzdorf says:

    I call BS this is a major problem. Seems highly unlikely appraisers are not cashing checks. What could possibly be the motive for passing this along? Maybe because it’s cheaper to debit accounts then cutting checks. Also easier to take back the funds with autopay setups.

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    • Baggins Baggins says:

      ACH just sent updates though, now charging more per use and reducing standard amounts before higher billing takes hold. Typical, get everyone in, then jack up the cost.

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    • I agree. It’s a convenient fable to justify a seemingly unselfish but none the less purely self-serving business decision of the AMC. The only way checks are not getting cashed is if they mail them to the wrong addresses OR have written so many bad checks in the past that appraisers won’t absorb the bank charges anymore. The latter would be accompanied by a demand for certified funds though.

      My PRIMARY objection to ACH is the ability to the AMC to ‘chargeback’ or claw back the payment at a later date. It’s just another way to hold our fees hostage to compliance with what are often impermissible demands.

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  2. Avatar Bill Johnson says:

    Who knows the truth, but of course AMC’s want to paint the appraisers as the problem and make them sign some type of direct deposit agreement that will be in their favor. There’s nothing like trying to track down random direct deposits (who paid me) for often the same amount where our clients provide no notification and banks provide meaningless codes.

    Seek the truth.

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  3. Abby Piper Rutledge on Facebook Abby Piper Rutledge on Facebook says:

    I find it highly unlikely there’s this huge problem of appraisers not cashing their checks.

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  4. Bill Ritzdorf on Facebook Bill Ritzdorf on Facebook says:

    I agree. The likely problem is not getting paid. I have two accounts. One I setup for autopay. The other to immediately transfer funds received in the first account. Look those direct deposit agreements over closely. All of them allow reversal of the payment.

    7
    • Avatar Steve says:

      Two accounts won’t help much. The bank can/will still debit the account even if you’ve already moved the money to a different account.

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  5. Wyatt Powell on facebook Wyatt Powell on facebook says:

    They don’t like to wait 90 days,,,,,,imagine that.

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  6. Kimberly Pugh DeFilippis on Facebook Kimberly Pugh DeFilippis on Facebook says:

    What a crock

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  7. Avatar Jason says:

    Please name the AMC so that appraisers can report the real story. We all know this is fake news!

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  8. Avatar SB says:

    Sounds like FAKE NEWS to me.

    They promote electronic payments so they can charge a direct deposit service charge to the appraiser. THE RIPOFF CONTINUES

    WE ARE IN THE MIDST OF REFI BOOM PEOPLE
    Don’t be a SUCKER
    Everyone needs to RAISE THEIR APPRAISAL FEES……… IMMEDIATELY

    STOP WORKING FOR NATIONWIDE AMCS ALSO
    They do not give an F about you.

    WE NEED TO TAKE BACK OUR INDUSTRY while interest rates are LOW and appraisal demand is HIGH.

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    • Baggins Baggins says:

      Oh man, I’m bottom surfing with reo’s at the moment. Ha! I think I will up the fees here soon.

      Dave does not publish fake news. He will however, hold to confidentiality when requested.

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  9. Avatar Jack Of All Trades says:

    AMC propaganda

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  10. Avatar Koma says:

    Where are these appraisers working cause if they’re making so much money they don’t worry about cashing checks I’m moving. Although… this is coming from an AMC sooo I’m leaning towards not believing this story.

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  11. Avatar Ohio Appraiser says:

    My bad, I should have notified them that I sometimes work pro bono… Based on some of the fee offers I have seen, I guess AMCs think appraisers actually do.

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  12. Avatar Steve says:

    I have BLOCKED the author on every forum and platform possible. This is complete and total BS. Propagated to try and get every appraiser to accept whatever method the AMC wants to use. More control for the AMC.

    Please don’t let this guy post anything more.

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    • Avatar Jack Of All Trades says:

      Reminds me of a total “status quo” appraiser

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    • Baggins Baggins says:

      Don’t be silly. Don’t shoot the messenger. Dave is a regular appraiser whom takes time out of his schedule to write nifty articles and send emails around. Don’t be vindictive and try to have him set to spam or what not, just simply unsubscribe. I don’t agree with him on even talking to amc’s, he’s more of a middle ground moderate appraiser so that’s his business. One presumes you have blocked every amc and taken yourself off of every single amc list possible before taking such a position, otherwise that’s just hot air. I like Dave’s emails because I have removed myself from all amc communication and his letters make for interesting topical industry updates.

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  13. Avatar Tim says:

    Obviously this is complete and utter nonsense.

    There is no way an appraiser sits on a check and doesn’t cash it or care that they are not paid for work done, that is complete BS !

    Time to leave this stupid appraiser blog.

    I rarely read this whiney email “blog” but when I do I’m usually unsatisfied by whatever opinion is being made by the author. The opinions made typically don’t pan out to be fact… ever! Opinionated information is not good information.

    Fact based information is what I look for.

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    • Baggins Baggins says:

      Wow, comments blew up. I have been on the phone while writing this. Well, post it anyways although several points already covered.

      No, that’s not accurate. When an appraiser gets busy, especially an appraiser juggling outsourcing, multiple assistants, multiple other appraisers, and perhaps sharing with another firm, things can get complicated quickly. When I was a jr appraiser we audited our own books and discovered one of our primary volume clients had not paid us over 10k in fees for several years, year over year. It was because we extended too much trust to the client and basically had everything on autopilot. The money kept coming in and with such volume, we did not miss it until we learned about it after the fact. By then it was too late. We had filed away workfiles as soon as they were completed and relied on a ledger the secretary ran, and needless to say, with so many people and so many duties, she missed quite a few entries. That’s why when I set out on my own, I developed more simple more reliable data tracking methods.

      So the other side of the coin is plausible. Especially in this age of paperless and digital, such methods actually complicate book keeping unless all these technical aspects like syncing both accounts, orders, payments, and third party payment processing or info services do not all line up properly. That’s why I still use a manilla folder for every workfile and stack them on a completed files to be paid before filing away folder rack item. I know when anyone is a slow payer or non payer because that file eventually gets to the front of the stack. I take the time to write the date turned in, and amount billed on the front. Then when checks come in, and I like to insist on paper checks for this reason, I write the check#, the date paid, and scribble a little dohicky which I know is full amount paid, and then set the folder in the larger stack to be filed away with workfiles in a big paper box later. My position is I don’t care how long they take to pay me, as long as they don’t short me on the fee and pay a C&R or better amount. Except for reo’s, that’s sort of a different ball game. Except for one or two blatant non payers, I’ve never missed a payment in 10+ years.

      My response to Dave per this email was this; Not surprising the amc’s attract the appraisers whom can’t even keep track of their own records. Typical amc behavior, select the appraisers based on low fee and not merit or responsible practices. How could anyone find the news surprising or unbelievable that amc appraisers are deficient in at least one, if not many many more aspects of their practice. Amc acceptance and deficiency in process are practically synonymous events.

      This is the best most unbiased source of information for appraisers through the industry. No content control from sponsors, no biased position since the publisher is an appraiser and does not bow to pressure, and a good outlet for whistleblowers when such action is necessary and there is nowhere else to turn. Anyone can post an article if they want and just about anything goes. Write an article yourself if you want better content here, this is a grass roots reader orientated open admission website without bias to the message or ideology. The only requirement is that articles should be industry specific. The admin runs this site out of pocket, so shake a stick at that. More readers and more posters is more power to the messages here. Probably the absolutely best thing about this site is unlike the appraisers forum whom shields controversial commentary behind a login wall, or other sites which answer to constituents or advertisers, everything here is searchable on google. So this is the site where independent researchers are likely to land first. Have a message, share it here, even if it’s also shared elsewhere. Finally, some transparency in this industry which is why I switched to this website completely and just left the other sites in the rear view mirror.

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      • Avatar don says:

        My first year in business for myself I accumulated $10,000 of outstanding unpaid billings, 1972. I essentially shut down appraising and busied myself collecting, Gained valuable experience in a different BUT essential aspect of business. Maybe that experience is unteachable, it’s just essential

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  14. Just to clear things up for some of you who berated this blog, we were skeptical when we heard of this claim and decided to publish this notification because it was making rounds in forums, social media, other blogs, etc. We wanted our colleagues & other appraisers to have the opportunity to refute this suspicious claim publicly.

    If anyone knows which AMC is making such claims, please let us know!

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    • Avatar Koma says:

      Please do not shoot the messenger! This is a great website that allows differing opinons and views and when something runs afoul they will notify/explain what’s happening or even remove some bad content after reaching out to the ones posting.

      Thanks!

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      • Avatar Nick says:

        I think this claim is just so egregious that it has flown in the face of logic and reason for many. I’m not sure where he’s working that appraisers are sitting under their cabana’s with umbrella’s in their drinks and uncashed checks in their cookie jar.

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  15. Susan Layne on Facebook Susan Layne on Facebook says:

    BS! The way to steal money as a corporate accountant is to issue checks and not mail them, then disappear the underlying funds.

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    • Baggins Baggins says:

      Oh wow, plausible theory. Interesting. I often wonder, since these amc telecom workers are basically tasked with defrauding appraisers and homeowners alike, what the theft from the workplace culture may be like, if it’s not extra rampant at the amc itself. Amc workers may feel like since it’s all so dirty and secretive anyways, and they take so much abuse from appraisers, and reverse abuse is sanctioned and promoted by upper amc management, why not get in on the action. Just a theory because I’ve seen the amc workers come and go, some very quickly. It takes a special kind of person to work in a hostile climate like that. Your theory is definitely plausible.

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  16. Helen Bereznik Grace on Facebook Helen Bereznik Grace on Facebook says:

    They lie

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  17. Avatar Nick says:

    There are a lot of problems with this article. I question the logic that went into writing it (respectfully). In an industry that is been decimated by unprofessional AMCs you’re telling me that residential appraisers, who already deal with enough bull-hockey are going to just sit on a check. I’ll go you one step forward, if I have a check in hand, I’m going to that bank ASAP so I don’t have to worry about the check bouncing.

    I could understand if it’s the end of the year and they dont want to push themselves over the tax threshold to the next bracket, but other than that, you REALLLLY think what you wrote is logical?…..

    Or, it’s not a very prominent AMC. Professional organizations attract professional clients.

    You are the company you keep.

    Perhaps the saving grace is that AMCs seem to be struggling. There’s no point in having the middleman, especially when crappy RFPs that go out have little to no information, the banks don’t know their own deals, and the risk lies all on the appraiser.

    Just finished a USPAP class, …I won’t be saying I “inspected” anymore because I’m not an inspector, I don’t need the liability these AMCs bring. Neither should the rest of you.

    6
    • Baggins Baggins says:

      Keywords: Assumed acceptable. Appraiser is not a home inspector and only observes and reports obviously visible condition issues, making assumptions on the rest. Just tag in clarification into your pre written introduction and you’re golden.

      The 2 D’s of appraisal cya. Disclose. Disclaim.

      4
      • Avatar nick says:

        We use Dairy Queen, Disclose & Qualify…..again for CYA. Took a really good USPAP update (not an oxymoron I promise), we added a few points in our limiting conditions and assumptions because of it.

        3
  18. Avatar Cotton says:

    I think we can all agree the lies and manipulation that the AMCs spew is utterly pathetic. I can on wish every form of cancer on chief appraisers at these AMCs.

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    • Baggins Baggins says:

      Cotton, at first I was like, who’s this guy. But you’re really growing on me and I keep a soft spot for you bro. Someone has to say it! I wish only the same fairness and respect amc’s have wished me. This line has been going around lately; How’s globalism working out for your personally.

      1
  19. Avatar SB says:

    Real Estate Appraisal in the US industry statistics
    Market Size: $9bn
    Number of Businesses: 46,185

    Thats $194,868 per Appraisal Business

    How many Appraisal Offices can say they grossed this much revenue this last year?

    AMC’S ARE COMPLETELY RIPPING US OFF

    8
    • Baggins Baggins says:

      Nobody to date has actually done a real analysis on how much funds the amc’s have siphoned from the appraisers pockets. It must be substantial, with so many of them bragging about record setting business growth, and free lunches. I want record setting growth.

      FNMA CU supposedly has all that data, through the integrated vendor and title fees consolidated accounting as individual loans are finalized, bundled, and sold.

      Serious request: FOIA for CU data. And there are so many possibilities, why list them all. Actual figures of appraisers that refuse amc work. Actual yearly amc billable disparity compared to appraisers fees. Proportion of repurchase actions tied to amc’s vs those which did not have an amc involved. Sky is the limit on CU system FOIA. (Freedom Of Information Act requests). I’m not going to do it but really, anyone here could if they wanted to read up and make a serious request. Search FOIA and the agency you want records from on a search engine, see what you get.

      https://www.everycrsreport.com/reports/R42080.html

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  20. Avatar steve says:

    I don’t believe this is fake. It’s just a simple way for the AMC to save money. It costs at least $1.50 to print and mail a check, the same ACH payment probably costs in the range 20 to 40 cents. Saves at least $1.00 per transaction, times that by thousands of transactions per year. For those against direct deposit, why? At least you’ll know instantly whether or not the AMC paid you. It’s also 2020 now, everything is paid electronically.

    1
    • Baggins Baggins says:

      My bank sent me a policy change notice on ACH just last week. ACH charge per transaction increased I think to $1.50 from $1.25, and limit for free transactions before the individual charge occurred, reduced from 150 to 125.

      It was geared towards individuals, not companies. Probably volume companies get a better deal. They do save money because these days, cutting checks is yet another outsourced activity, specialized security print paper and all of that.

      Still though, I want a paper mailed bill, and a paper mailed check. Because that’s what works best for me. It’s too easy to miss the email notice, too easy to forget to print that, and then on top of it, money is not always available in the same time frame and same manner as simply depositing the check. I like to hold them off for weeks, sometimes months, then cash them all at once in good times.

      1
    • Abby Piper Rutledge on Facebook Abby Piper Rutledge on Facebook says:

      no one is arguing that point. What the issue is is the way they are going about it. Be transparent. Don’t say it’s because we appraisers aren’t cashing their checks.

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    • Jason Jake Martin on Facebook Jason Jake Martin on Facebook says:

      1.50 to mail a check is an issue? What do they do to earn the other $148.50 times thousands of appraisals? Phone calls and emails repetitively

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  21. Avatar Bill Ritzdorf says:

    Someone mention this is a grass roots blog that anybody can contribute information. I plan to mow the grass I don’t need this kind of BS fed to my email..good bye.

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  22. Vincent Simon on Facebook Vincent Simon on Facebook says:

    Maybe they didn’t get them. I know I had some finally sent well after 90 days

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  23. Chase Pursley on Facebook Chase Pursley on Facebook says:

    What’s a check? It’s 2020 already…

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    • Avatar Bill Johnson says:

      First and foremost Chase, appraisers should be looked at for what most are which is independent, licensed business free to establish their own policies including how we wish to get paid. Instead, and without true independence (certainly since HVCC / 2009), we are constantly forced to react to others instead of others reacting to us.

      Can’t wait to go to my favorite hole in the wall deli today for lunch, but I’d better take cash because that’s all they take.

      Seek the truth.

      1
      • Chase Pursley on Facebook Chase Pursley on Facebook says:

        I’m not defending this particular company’s practices.

        But in general, the rest of the world is way ahead than us with payment tech. There’s no reason appraisers can’t get paid with a transfer to their bank account immediately after report completion. A physical check is another excuse (and the expensive of printing and shipping the check, time to go in and deposit) to delay payment.

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        • Avatar Bill Johnson says:

          I understand Chase. But lost in your opinion, and with the companies we work with, is that it should be up to the independent business owners to set THEIR payment requirements / preferences, and not with the clients we work with.

          Next time you go get gas for your car, do they give you an option to pay with cash for a discount? Maybe, maybe not, but in general they can set their own payment policies. Prior to HVCC (2009), most appraisers collected in advance of the physical inspection, or at the door, otherwise the work would not be started.

          This is a new problem (2009), that the powers that be have created.

          Seek the truth.

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    • Avatar MICHAEL A FILIPPI says:

      For me its that piece of paper that comes in the mail 2-7 days late for my bills or for VA payment after several collection attempts and added late fees.

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  24. Al Edmond on Facebook Al Edmond on Facebook says:

    That’s just a damn lie

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  25. Avatar MAF says:

    How Did I manage to get myself involved in this financial Ponzi Scheme. I would bet 60% of the AMC’s are 2 months from out of business. Rob Peter Pay Paul that is the AMC model. Appraisers sitting on checks Ha I have been paid one check in three weeks with over 10k outstanding. The only appraisers sitting on checks are the dead ones. We all should have left or stood together the day we were no longer allowed to invoice or had to separate our invoice from the report on our work. Does anyone want to do anything or rather complain and type appraisals for Sh%^ Money.

    20 years in this business which is half of my life. I am a nobody but I want a change Do You??????

    How do 80,000 nobody’s make a change? How many appraisers do you Know? How many do they Know. It really seems to me that 80,000 abused and used appraisers could join together and stand up. If everyone here stopped chatting and started contacting/recruiting 3 appraisers a day to stand together and they did the same in 3 months with 40% of the 80k it is done we have a union.

    I will help will you?
    MAF

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    • Avatar Mark skapinetz says:

      We have one and I’m the president of it. It’s called the American Guild of Appraisers. We aren’t your normal union as we are a guild with Union backing from the OPEIU AND AFL/CIO. I’d love to discuss with you more about what we do and what we are looking to do in the future. Right now we help our members with a variety of issues and have a great success rate of positive returns. Reach out to me at MarkSkap.aga@gmail.com.

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    • MAF as Mark noted, there is an appraiser Guild (union) that is very active in fighting against abuses of appraisers. We have helped over 200 appraisers (maybe closer to 300 now since I haven’t updated my stats in awhile) defend themselves against wrongful accusations at the state levels; to get removed from do not use lists, collect back payments overdue, have influenced state and federal legislation, routinely communicate with federal agencies including the ASC in relation to appraiser issues and attempt to rally appraisers for special issues as they arise.

      We also provide free appraisal review for members to assist them in early risk identification.

      The annual fee is $365 I believe. Contact Janbellas@appraisersguild.org for more information or to join. Our website is http://www.appraisersguild.org

      1
  26. David Samnick on Facebook David Samnick on Facebook says:

    Easy to use your phone to cash a check. Easier to just let us collect the fee at the door.

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  27. Avatar Susan Layne says:

    Wow are you naive! Is that the current fiction? There is a reason that “the check is in the mail” is a cliche. I was a property manager for large developers for 20 years, and worked for ethical companies until I foolishly went to work for Regis Management Company in Irvine, now SARES-Regis Group. The managing partners were using clients rental income to fund their grandiose Orange County lifestyle, while having their Controller lie to everyone about it. It is called commingling funds people! The large apartment properties would send in invoices to be paid, from the revenue produced by their properties’ the bookkeepers would cut the checks, and would believe ( at least for a while) that the checks had been mailed. Meanwhile, the Partners were bankrupting the small guy-painting contractor, cleaning company, etc. in Fort Collins and Boulder, Colorado; Las Vegas, Nevada and so on.. Eventually everyone spent all their time dealing with a cesspool of lies, and angry, often desperate vendors. “But the checks have been mailed!” they would exclaim at HQ.

    When I took over the supervision of those properties, I soon developed a tracking system, so I knew where every invoice was in the process,and eventually the roadblock of the Controller’s slush fund was exposed. When confronted, he said” well your properties are the only ones that cash flow, so I have to take from them!!” Then he said, “well, you want to get paid, don’t you?” I said, not like this I don’t. I will never forget sobbing for an hour and a half in the ladies bathroom at John Wayne Airport. I simply couldn’t believe that my team and I had been lied to, for months on end, and I knew I couldn’t go into a meeting with clients, especially the Pritzgers of Chicago and lie to them about how their properties were doing! I went straight to the managing partners in Northern California on my return home, and they were incredulous! At first could not believe it! We are talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars btw. They immediately had a “come to Jesus” discussion with the skank partner Geoffrey Stack and his lewd sidekick Lyle Lansdell; one partner in So. CA resigned in disgust, and the abuse became less flagrant.

    Eventually they “crammed down” the vendors for pennies on the dollars, and their wives continued with the country clubs, Maseratis and other fame whore accoutrements. but don’t forget, “THE CHECKS WERE MAILED”. And the bookkeeper might even believe it, or want to believe it, or rationalize her lying—but no one should mistake my low key, understated reaction to their attempts to make a living off of my back for weakness. There is definitely a special place in Hell for people who not only cheat other people, but LIE about it.

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CASH the Darn Check!

by Dave Towne time to read: 1 min