Saturday, September 09, 2006

Former Burleyist – Joe Arlt

On September 3rd this blog received a visit from an anonymous commenter who claimed to be Joe Arlt. Arlt is the author of the tape set Wrap Your Way to Wealth, and he was once, arguably, the world’s premier Burleyist. Based on both the content of the comment and the location of the commenter, I have little reason to doubt that this was the actual Joe Arlt.

Here is what he had to say:

I was recently directed to your site and its comments and felt compelled to respond. Youu state that you found zero (your italics) evidence that I own any investment properties. Just how hard did you look? For obvious reasons explained in my tape set, the great majority of my holdings are not in my personal name. However, a quick recent search of the tax records for the cities in my area revealed no less than 7 properties with my name as legal title holder. There would likely have been a few more as of your February 2006 comments, as we have sold quite a few properties since then. This is a small fraction of what I own, and I’ll be taking steps to correct the public record for even those. You could have also reviewed recent MLS listings, which would have revealed many with me as listing agent and the required disclosure “Owner/Agent”. But if this issue was of such great importance to you, why did you not just contact me directly? We’re easy to find. My company is in the phone book, the local BBB, etc. This would probably a better approach than just libeling me, to everyone with access to the web, wouldn’t you say?

For the record, I have never stated that I had over 400 properties in Virginia. At our peak we had an interest in probably 250 in that state, with the rest in several others. Due to lease option cash outs (yes, they do happen), sales, and partnership unwindings, we’re now down to around 250 total. We will likely be closer to 200 by year end, due to further cash outs, profit taking, etc.

As far as my tape set is concerned, you are certainly entitled to your opinion. The program has been off the market for several years and was never meant to be a major profit center, as I am not a professional speaker. So I have no financial interest in what you may care to publish regarding it. However, I will say that everything pertinent I knew about this business at that time made its way onto those tapes and the included CD-ROM. There may not have been detail for you, but know that there was enough for me and many others to build significant portfolios. Using just one of my methods to buy just a couple of houses a month (a very part-time effort) from 2000 (a date you mention) to now, a period of low interest rates and high appreciation (in many areas), could have been very profitable for anyone willing to make the effort. But if you don’t make the effort, or need to have every answer before you start, no program will work for you.

And regarding your innuendo concerning my discontinued association with John Burley’s discussion forum and web site, I am stunned by how badly you have missed the boat on this issue, given your obvious obsession with this man and his activities. The slightest bit of research would have revealed that we were at one time partners in a business that acquired many houses and that our association ended when the partnership ended. I’m afraid that is the extent of this “mystery.”

In summary, “investigative journalism” becomes “yellow journalism” very quickly when the journalist chooses to avoid learning facts that do not support his case. If you’ve decided that bashing people you know little about is the best use of your time, then I’d suggest spending some of that time gathering all the facts first. You will be taken a lot more seriously as a result.

Joe Arlt September 3, 2006
Thanks, Joe, for taking the time to share your thoughts. I honestly appreciate it.

In response to the questions in your first paragraph, I confess to not looking all that hard. I am nowhere near as adept at navigating Virginia’s public records as I am Arizona’s, and frankly you were not my primary focus. As such, the matter was not of any “great importance” to me. Note that I was specifically calling into question your claim about 400 properties, which you seem to be confusing with whether or not you’re easy to find in the phone book. The burden of proof is on you, not me, to demonstrate the truth of your extraordinary claim. If you care to provide me with any specific evidence then I will be happy to update my blog post to reflect the new information.

By the way, please point out where I libeled you, because I can’t find it.


Joe Arlt said...

Although I feel I have very little to prove to anyone at this stage in my life, I would have been happy to “demonstrate the truth of (my) extraordinary claim.” What angers me is that you never gave me the chance to do so. You did not speak with me or anyone in my office, and did not do even basic research that would have been available to anyone with a computer. You just assumed that anyone with any connection, past or present, with John Burley was full of crap, and started typing. You claim that this issue was not “of great importance” to you. That’s unfortunate, because it should have been. When you set out to defame someone, you should take the matter seriously. It does not matter that I was not your primary focus. What does matter is that you made irresponsible and uninformed statements and insinuations about me, with the obvious intention of damaging my reputation, based not on any facts but on your own preconceived notions.

You still have not answered my basic question, which is why you did not contact me directly before doing so. Even the folks at “60 Minutes” afford their victims that courtesy. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you have discarded your copy of my tape set (which you claim you purchased), from which you could have learned that my primary company’s name (in my Virginia market) is “Tidewater Funding Group, Inc.” and that we are based in Virginia Beach, Virginia. And although we’re in the book, I’ll save you the trouble and give you our phone number: (757) 495-4029. If you’re willing to make the trip to my part of the state, and willing to eat some serious crow later, I’d be happy to show you all the HUD-1 settlement statements you can stand.

Incidentally, I really don’t understand what all your fuss is about. I understand that for the layman, the idea of having a few hundred houses sounds incredible. It does take work, sometimes hard work, and sometimes a lot of it, and you’ve indicated in other posts a real distaste for that. It’s probably not that different than car dealers who have dealt in hundreds of cars, and none of us are overwhelmed by that idea. For an experienced, full-time investor who knows what he is doing, has a good grasp of his niche, and enjoys the business, buying a lot of houses quickly is not that difficult, especially if he uses partners and/or creative financing techniques and hires staff. I intentionally selected markets that had lots of VA repos offering great investor financing, and some of these markets offered ample low or no down “take over payments” opportunities as well. There were stretches in which I was buying 10 or more per month. But the real key is the performance of the properties, not the sheer number of them. I’ve had many properties which each provided more profit than I earned in a year in Corporate America. I’ve also had some that I wish I never bought.

On a final note: I’d greatly appreciate your not labeling me as a “Burleyist.” That tag may have fit at one time, but those days are long past.

Joe Arlt October 1, 2006

Einzige said...

Joe, again, you were not my primary target. Plus, you seem to have forgotten that I'm just a dumbass nobody with a blog.

Pham The Bac said...
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