The Vein on Bob Dick’s Forehead

Posted July 25th, 2007 by Joe Kaiser

We called these “overage plays,” and were determined to do a bunch of them. And we did . . .

Dear Rob,

There’s a vein on the right side of Pierce County Prosecutor Bob Dick’s forehead that throbs when he’s angry, and in 2003 that sucker was pounding.

I know because I was sitting across the table from him at the time, discussing the 12 claims we’d submitted to the county for payment.

Yes, 12.

Overage plays

We’d busted our humps the last half of 2002 and ended up with a ton of properties in that year’s Pierce County tax sale.

A year or so earlier, we’d figured out that this kind of deal was doable, so we bought every junk property we could get our hands on, (paying as little as $100) with the intent of letting each go to the tax sale and collecting the overages.

We called these “overage plays,” and were determined to do a bunch of them.

pure junk

Why would anyone sell us a property for $100?

Because it’s a piece of junk.

We bought things like unbuildable lots with no access. Or even swamps with no value because they’re considered protected wet lands.

Sometimes the properties were just tiny strips of land, or they’re so steep there’s no place to carve out a building site.

We didn’t care what the problem was because we figured if we got them for cheap, we’d just roll the dice and see what happened at the tax sale. That was good enough.

The Pierce County Tax Sale

I remember looking at that minimum bid sheet and scanning that very first page, astonished. Of the six or seven properties listed, all but one was ours. Unbelievable.

As the sale progressed we racked up one big profit after another as tax sale investors got into bidding wars over our properties.


Amazing, that is, to everyone except Pierce County Prosecutor Bob Dick.

Bob wasn’t at all happy about paying us our money from the tax sale overages we’d created that day.

He didn’t think our idea of selling properties at his tax sale was such a hot idea, and suggested we come to his office to talk about it. Once there, he let us know what we’d done was, in his word, was “outrageous!”

He went on to say we’d “abused” the tax sale process and he was not at all happy about it.


I explained we’d merely “exploited” the opportunity to jam properties into the sale and in doing so create fast profits, but he wasn’t buying it.

And I couldn’t understand why.


Now, I understand completely.

What we had done, it turns out, was dare to tread on sacred ground.

The tax sale, we’d learn, is an arena county prosecutors don’t want investors like us playing around in. They consider it their arena, and they consider my partners and me their unwanted competition.

And those overage profits we’d generated?

They consider them funds that could have been theirs had we not shown up.

it’s my party

Clearly, the Pierce County tax sale was Bob’s party, not ours. And we’d not only shown up uninvited, we’d flat-out crashed that sucker.

That could only mean one thing . . . Bob Dick was determined we’d never again ruin his party and he immediately got to work to make sure of it.


Joe Kaiser

3 Responses to: “The Vein on Bob Dick’s Forehead”

  1. Mark responds:
    Posted: July 25th, 2007 at 3:25 pm


    If you are wanting to create media awareness, consider putting out a press release (PR). No doubt there are a few news organizations that would like a juice story not related to the war or presidential race.

    For a small contribution, you can send one out through

    Here is a listing of more free PR sites:

    It just might the thing that puts you on the major media’s radar screen. The worst case is that it drives traffic to your blog. ;-)

    All the best,

    – Mark.

  2. spyboy responds:
    Posted: July 25th, 2007 at 4:47 pm


    Bravo Joe ! Now you’re getting the word out !!!

    Keep on keeping on !

    Thank you.

  3. Joe Kaiser responds:
    Posted: July 25th, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    Thanks for the suggestions, Mark, but I have a plan and currently am right where I want to be with this thing.

    Will check it out when the time is right. Much appreciated.


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