The $20,000,000.00 Letter

Posted July 12th, 2007 by Joe Kaiser

Yes, Rob, you heard me right . . . 20 million dollars is what your office is claiming this letter should cost me.

Dear Rob,

Your office believes my foreclosure letter is worth 20 million dollars – in fines.

$20 mil?

Gulp.

I thought readers might like to view it for themselves and form their own opinions about whether or not it’s unfair or deceptive, as you claim.

Reader, what do you think?

Is this letter worthy of the $20,000,000.00 in fines the Office of the Washington State Attorney General claims it to be?

You decide. . .


“Got a Problem? Odds Against You? Call the Equalizer”

Do you remember the television series, “the Equalizer,” starring British actor Edward Woodard as Robert McCall? It was on in the mid-eighties and was one of my favorites. I won’t lie to you . . . I never missed it!

The Equalizer ran the “Got a Problem” classified ad I’ve used above and was always trying to help out whoever called.

And you’d better believe those people had all kinds of problems, some of which were even “life or death” kinds of problems! Thankfully, it was just a TV show and the situations the Equalizer took care of were all made up.

Why am I telling you all this?

My name is Joe Kaiser, and people call me “The Real Estate Equalizer,” because like television’s Equalizer, I solve other people’s problems. But I won’t kid you . . . I don’t use guns or have fist-fights with bad dudes in back alleys. Instead, I use my twenty plus years of real estate problem-solving experience to help homeowners facing foreclosure.

Now, these problems may not be the life and death type of problems Robert McCall faced weekly on the television show, but you’d better believe I understand that foreclosure is an incredibly difficult problem just the same.

Sure, no one dies, but losing a home ranks right up there on the list of things I’d rather not see happen today to you or to me, and that’s why I’ve chosen to send you this letter.

If I ran an ad, mine would look something like this . . .

The Equalizer

See the problem? Between the two of us, my new little nephew and I couldn’t scare a fly. We just don’t make a very intimidating pair ;-).

But I’m guessing you really don’t need some tough guy “packing heat” to help you right now. You probably need someone who knows the foreclosure business inside and out, who can carefully explain your options to you so you can decide what works best for you, and most importantly, someone who can deliver on his promises.

So, if you’ve got a real estate problem and find the odds against you, call me right now and I’ll help you stop foreclosure and save your property any way I can.

Sincerely,

Joseph M. Kaiser
The Real Estate Equalizer

P.S. No, I don’t stop the bad guys in 48 minutes like McCall did each week on television, but I do stop foreclosure in 48 hours (or less). If that’s something you absolutely need to see happen right now, call me today.


Yes, Rob, you heard me right . . . 20 million dollars is what your office is claiming this letter should cost me.

Readers, what do you think?

Respectfully,

Joe Kaiser


18 Responses to: “The $20,000,000.00 Letter”

  1. DaveD responds:
    Posted: July 12th, 2007 at 7:48 am

    How can the AG take a cute, cleverly written letter and turn it into evidence of wrongdoing? How obtuse can they be?

    But that’s “the goods” on Kaiser, eh?

    Letters asking sellers to call you if they have problems. Pizza capers. Good grief!

    Take heart, Joe. The pebbles from your sling shot are hitting their mark. The giant will fall. Godspeed on your journey to get your reputation back.

    Dave

    PS. Where is the real Equalizer when you need him? McCall would jump through his shirt to handle this nonsense.

  2. Joe Kaiser responds:
    Posted: July 12th, 2007 at 8:10 am

    Dave,

    Here’s the problem as I see it.

    The office of the AG believes when someone calls and says they want to sell, this letter obligates me to tell them everything I know about foreclosures.

    I would argue it does not.

    And if the owner tells me he just wants to give it away I’m apparently supposed to say, “No, no, no, let me first explain all your options to you.”

    Because I said I would in my letter?

    No, I didn’t.

    What the AG doesn’t understand is this letter is directed to people interested in stopping foreclosure, the “wanna-stays.”

    When those people say they don’t want to lose their homes and could use a hand, I tell them exactly what I can and cannot do to help.

    But if they say, “we’re just walking away, you can have it for a couple hundred bucks,” I write them a check and say, “thank you.”

    Apparently, that act makes this letter unfair and deceptive, in the AG’s opinion.

    Does the mere fact I’ve sent a letter to someone in foreclosure create a fiduciary relationship and impose upon me a fiduciary responsibility?

    No, it does not.

    Joe

  3. Greg responds:
    Posted: July 12th, 2007 at 8:15 am

    What do I think?

    I think it is a great letter that is memorable and builds report with the reader. I suspect that quite a few people don’t know ‘the Equalizer’ TV show so you might get better results with a more recent pop culture reference.

    I also think that the “I won’t lie to you” statement at the top is too transparent an attempt to have that phrase stick in people’s heads. The “But I won’t kid you” line works better.

    Is the letter fraudulent? I don’t think so. Key is probably whether the statement that you stop foreclosure in 48 hours is true. It also is missing any acknowledgement that you are an investor out to make a profit.

    I think that this is fine as (1) people will know that anyways (in part because they get lots of mail when they are in forclosure) and (2) this is an advertisement designed to get people to call you.

    As you work out a solution for them they will understand explicitly that you are an investor out to make a profit as well as solve their problem.

  4. Greg responds:
    Posted: July 12th, 2007 at 8:21 am

    Does the mere fact I’ve sent someone in foreclosure this letter create a fiduciary relationship and impose upon me a fiduciary responsibility?

    I certainly hope not! How can you have such a duty imposed on you simply because you sent a letter advertising your services?

    Such a duty should not be imposed unless (1) you are managing someones money or investment on their behalf or (2) you have entered a contract with them that imposes this duty on you.

    If you meet with someone and they just want to sell to you then why should you have an obligation to explain all other options to them?

    You are a buyer and do NOT have such a responsibility!

  5. Joe Kaiser responds:
    Posted: July 12th, 2007 at 8:40 am

    Greg,

    Pretty much agree with everything you’ve said.

    Joe

  6. Seth responds:
    Posted: July 12th, 2007 at 9:34 am

    I always dug the Equalizer, too. The smallish, aging, well-mannered ass-kicker.

    The letter is phenomenal (read: cut and paste). So, I tried to put myself in the shoes of a distressed homeowner. Having read every word of this blog, I would definitely want to talk to Joe if I was in trouble.

    And If I had only read the $20,000,000 dollar letter, my only expectation would be to explore my options with a 20 year investor.

    COME ON!

    I think the AG’s office is acting like a mean kid whose parent’s have money, and who resents the popular kid. I mean, I just continually think, “grow the-f*ck up.”

    Further, it seems to me that if we extend the way of thinking of the AG’s office, it would bring down the western world as we know it. We could all sit here until the end of time and nit-pick everything.

    If you want to go after something, go after the current credit card system. Take some real thugs to task in the State of Washington. Oh, hell no.

    This is probably naive, but take the resources that you put toward Joe-smashing and go after meth-heads, pedophiles, child abusers, drunk-drivers and wife-beaters.

    What, have we run out of those?

  7. Leon Blocksom responds:
    Posted: July 12th, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    Joe,

    I think if you told them everything you know about foreclosures they would be charging you with unauthorized practice of law. As an investor with your own company’s money at risk your only obligation should be to yourself and your investors.

    As for the letter, if I were judge and jury, I would throw the case at the wall hoping papers would fly everywhere. There’s always a statute or law somewhere that can be twisted to make it seem like what you’re doing is illegal. Hopefully common sense will prevail.

    I pray for our legal system as it seems to be a rollercoaster out of control. To me this only drives home the point that investors need to charge as much as possible when doing a transaction. Especially if we are going to have to pay legal fees ($20M+) everytime someone doesn’t like the way our postcard looks.

    Leon

  8. Joe Kaiser responds:
    Posted: July 12th, 2007 at 2:34 pm

    Leon, I think they initially had unauthorized practice of law as a part of this action. I might be wrong there, but it sounds familiar.

  9. Jim K responds:
    Posted: July 12th, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    I have a hard time seeing any “practicing law” here.

    That goes for both sides.

    But if that’s the case, I suppose practicing law without a license would be better than practicing law without a clue.

    Jim

  10. SpyBoy responds:
    Posted: July 13th, 2007 at 7:09 pm

    Greetings,

    As one who has made a special study of the various regulators recent “attacks” (legitimate or otherwise) on the so-called “foreclosure scammers” and “equity skimmers”, I can say that in virtually every instance, beyond all of the political-speak and the propagada for the constitutents, the underlying charges are one or more of the following:

    misrepresentation;

    fraud;

    unfair and/or deceptive practices;

    theft.

    What typically happens is that they attempt to fit some particular speech or conduct into one of the above charges, and find witness to support their allegations.

    This has and is happening in other fields as well, such as “credit repair” and/or “credit counseling”, “debt consultants” and “debt consolidation”, and private hard money lending, usually in a lease-option senario.

    There does seem to be a bit of over-reaching on the part of some regulators, even to the extent of “Nifonging” (think Mike Nifong in the Duke Univ. Lacrosse Team rape case).

    In spite of their posturing as consumer protecting crusaders (which may be part of their motivation, in some instances), fact is, they are all virtually elected officers (politicians), or political appointees. You can take the politition out of the race, but you cant take the politition out of the politition. They are what they are and they do what they do.

    Please dont take that to mean I condone that behavior or that I’m making excuses for them.. Quite the opposite. As Shakespeare said, “first thing we do is to kill all the polititions”. WHOOPS ! My bad, a mis-quote. Thats supposed to be Lawyers ! Sorry.

    But seriously folks; as one who is very cautious in framing his speech and conduct, precisely because of the current economic and political reality regarding debtor deliquencies, defaults and foreclosures, the one suggestion I would make as to the letter would be to reframe the “We stop foreclosures in 48 hours” to something like “We have stopped foreclosures in as little as 48 hours, and may be able to do the same for you!”.

    Joe, I do acknowledge your stand against the powers that be in this matter, and you have my sympathy and support.

    Keep On Keeping On ! And May The Force Be With You

    Thank You.
    SpyBoy

    PS: Please, may we all know and remember, that in out truly unique governmental structure, and in spite of the illusions to the contrary, The People (thats you and I, each and every one of you) are the rulers, and the bureaucrats are the servants.

  11. Joe Kaiser responds:
    Posted: July 13th, 2007 at 9:26 pm

    Interesting comments, but what you may not appreciate is NO ONE has ever complained we didn’t do what we promised we’d do.

    So, it’s not about me saying or promising this or that and then not delivering. If that were true, there’d be complaints and lawsuits left and right.

    There aren’t.

    No consumer has claimed or could honestly claim otherwise, which once again points out the fact that this matter has nothing to do with unfair or deceptive practices and everything to do with disgruntled county prosecutors who see us as having derailed their escheatment gravy train.

    We all get that. So far, no one is talking about that. But they will be soon enough.

    Joe

  12. SpyBoy responds:
    Posted: July 13th, 2007 at 10:35 pm

    Greetings,

    Yep, it virtually always about money and power, when it comes to power structures of any kind. Of course, with power, the money is easy enough to steal, uh, I mean, get.

    Thank You.
    SpyBoy

  13. Seth responds:
    Posted: July 14th, 2007 at 11:14 am

    No Nifonging.

  14. adrian w. responds:
    Posted: July 15th, 2007 at 5:57 pm

    I see nothing wrong with the letter. You state your business and and amount of experience, what you can do. Then invite the person(s) to give you a call , IF, they’d like to explore their options. Nothing threatening or intimidating about that. HMMM? What did the AG say the problem was again !??
    This AG sounds like he could find wrongdoing in a baby contest , if the urge struck him….
    Still not sure if I trust many a politician these days…
    Adrian W.

  15. John N. responds:
    Posted: July 18th, 2007 at 9:02 am

    Your brother put me on to this site.

    What I don’t get is if nobody has complained, what reason have they given for pursuing this case? Did they just pull your name out of a hat?

  16. Joe Kaiser responds:
    Posted: July 18th, 2007 at 9:08 am

    John,

    We compete for the same money the counties are after, tax sale overages.

    We create overages by driving properties to the tax sale as a part of an exit strategy.

    The county only sees us claiming funds that used to sometimes end up in their pockets. THEY’VE complained, but never formally. To do so would expose the ruse.

    I haven’t discussed it in depth yet, but will shortly, I think.

    It’s all about the money (and always has been). There’s no denying this.

    Consumer Protection Violation is just a dress they’ve put on to get us to this party. With zero consumer’s complaining, and zero wrongdoing on my part, you’ve got it dress it up in something. Coming out and just saying it would look greedy, frankly.

    I choose to come out and say it.

    Joe

  17. spyboy responds:
    Posted: July 18th, 2007 at 7:03 pm

    Greetings,

    Attorneys General of the States, and their underlings, incl. district attorneys/county prosecuters, and their underlings, have an extraordinary amount of power, plus virtually absolute immunity for their actions, so, if in any particular instance their is one, or more, acting beyond their prescribed authority or in bad faith, it is virtually impossible to bring them to justice. That type of power absolutely encourages abuse, if one is predisposed or succumbs to temptation.

    But, case law seems to support the fact that a prosecuter, when they are acting as a “complaining witness” loses that immunity, and acts in instance like any other complaining witness, and so is both responsible for and can be called into account for their actions, be they without basis in fact, or law.

    That could be relevant in case an indictment is presented.

    Thank You.
    SpyBoy

  18. Davido responds:
    Posted: August 13th, 2007 at 11:53 am

    Joe, the letter is fine. Still, the BPF approach is an improvemnet. I really like using, “I’m an investor and I can’t buy your property unless…”

    Also, your comment to Dave, was inciteful and helpful,

    “The office of the AG believes when someone calls and says they want to sell, this letter obligates me to tell them everything I know about foreclosures.”

    That is likely to be the State’s argument. Best to you.


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