I was wrong, and I admit it

Posted July 5th, 2007 by Joe Kaiser

I also decided to refund everyone's money and in doing so, eat somewhere around $100k.

Dear Rob,

In October, 2005, I held a seminar for some 80 students in Phoenix, AZ.

The weather was perfect, as was the hotel, food, and just about everything else that mattered, with one small exception . . . the seminar itself.

My bad.

Not what they expected

We’d spent the first day sticking to the new training materials I’d created specifically for the program, Secrets of the Drop Dead Day Investor.

It hadn’t gone well.

There were grumblings throughout the day, and when a bunch of us met for drinks and nachos out on the patio that evening, they let me have it.

“Way too basic.”

“Not what I paid to learn.”

“Where’s the good stuff?”

And on and on it went.

sleepless in Phoenix

One thing was absolutely clear . . . I’d screwed up.

So that night, back in my room, I made the decision to shift gears and start things all over Saturday morning, letting the students decide where to take it from there.

I also decided to refund everyone’s money and in doing so, eat somewhere around $100k (instead of making $70k for that weekend, I lost $30k).

It was the only fair thing to do.

Here’s me telling everyone I was refunding their money.

You’ll note my formula for fixing what I’d screwed up.

  1. I admitted I was wrong and had made a mistake.
  2. I apologized for having done so.
  3. And to the best of my ability, I corrected it.

Nothing remarkable or spectacular there. I simply did what needed to be done because it was the right thing to do, and that’s important to me.

mistakes happen

We all make mistakes.

That’s a given.

I’m wondering how the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Washington handles things when mistakes are made.

With your staff being only human, (the jury being still out on Huey, though) ;-) I’m certain mistakes are made regularly and imagine there must be some standard process with which they’re handled.

Maybe not.

I’ve seen how your office handled the million dollar mistake with Monte Kline, and I’ve seen how they’ve handled what will amount to be the million dollar mistake in this matter.

My conclusion?

Your office is incapable of admitting its mistakes. Were it not, we would not be here today.

from the frying pan

As a way of explanation, let’s take a look at the matter of the press release, again, the one that included the entirely inaccurate headline:

Attorney General McKenna Sues, Settles with Real Estate Investors for Mortgage Foreclosure ‘Rescue’ Violations.— March 14, 2007 press release

As demonstrated in my post, I Call BULLSHIT, #49, the headline is 100% bogus and that is indisputable.

Your office’s response?

You quickly and quietly removed that headline and then removed the actual link to the press release from your 2007 Press Releases page.

I commended you in a later post, Poof City!, for having done the right thing by removing it.

into the fire

But then a funny thing happened . . .

Your office decided removing that web page was tantamount to admitting it was indeed inaccurate and perhaps even libelous, and to mitigate this your office put the press release back up.

Yes, with its original, botched headline you know to be completely inaccurate.

So, even though you know it’s bogus, admitting your office was wrong was seen to be more problematic than having the inaccurate press release remain on your site?


back at the office of the AG

Here’s how I imagine the conversations went down . . .

Huey: Err, hehe, Rob, hate to be such a bother but Kaiser just made a post about our press release and it really makes us look foolish. We screwed it up so bad.

McKenna: Shit! Take that damn thing down!

A few days later . . .

Huey: Err, hehe, Rob, thought you should know Kaiser just mentioned our press release on his blog again and how we’ve taken it down to hide our screw up. It makes us really look stupid.

McKenna: Shit! Put that damn thing back up!

So up it goes, in all its glory, a testament to the “outstanding work” now taking place at the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Washington.

And fodder for at least another dozen I call BULLSHIT posts.

accepting responsibility

Your office screwed up, as do we all, but that’s not what matters here.

What matters is that rather than admit your error and accept the consequences for having erred, your office pretends the mistake never happened, puts that ridiculous press release back on your site knowing it’s bogus and decides what’s right and fair has no bearing on any of this.

Those of us in the line of fire would tend to disagree.

From the perspective of your office, apparently, far better to be wrong than to acknowledge having been wrong and actually take responsibility by admitting as much.

And that’s just plain scary. Rob.


Joe Kaiser

4 Responses to: “I was wrong, and I admit it”

  1. DaveD responds:
    Posted: July 5th, 2007 at 6:18 am

    Just think what might have happened had you not admitted screw-up? Let’s see… there were about 50 folks in that room. Think your batting average as “defendant” might have gone up?

    While it is arguable whether or not you had to give the refunds, there can be no dispute everyone present felt “Joe went out of his way to be more than fair.” What more can you ask? From what I’ve seen in life, if someone is fair when he doesn’t have to be, he will also be fair when he should be.

    BTW, the “mistake” materials are still pretty darn good. I refer to the playbook frequently. Not bad for a screw-up.

  2. Robert McNeely responds:
    Posted: July 5th, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    My son and I road our motorcycles 2500 miles from Ohio to see the seminar in Oct. 2005. I received the refund check later.

    There was some talk of people refusing the refund, by not cashing the check. Joe insisted the refunds were necessary, and to cash the check.

    This act was all I needed to know about the integrity of this fine man. I hope to someday be able to HELP people the way he has.

  3. Joe Kaiser responds:
    Posted: July 5th, 2007 at 7:17 pm

    Thanks, fellas.


  4. anemonehead responds:
    Posted: July 5th, 2007 at 10:11 pm

    The most upstanding thing I’ve seen at any event and one of many reasons you are the only one who’s info I purchase. You’re top rate and I hate to see someone with your class and ethics going through this crap.

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