Sunday, September 24, 2006

Oh, the Irony!

I want nothing more than to leave my current job and return to Phoenix. Unfortunately the job market in Phoenix seems not to be doing so well, at least as measured by the sad trickle of new jobs appearing in my various key-word searching RSS aggregators. I'm lucky if I send my resume out more than twice a week, lately. I recently put my father's Mesa address and phone number on my resume, which has at least significantly improved response percentages. Still, given the situation I am seriously considering taking any remotely relevant job, even one that pays significantly less than I'm making now.

Meanwhile my current employers recently offered me a promotion. I told them I'd think about it. Then I did some research as to what the local market rate is for the position and discovered that in spite of a recent $18K jump in salary they'd have to pay me an additional $15K/year to bring me up to "average" - and in fact my current salary is below the bottom of the ranges provided by and! Since my employers hadn't actually specified a number in the informal offer I sent an email detailing my findings and suggesting that providing a formal offer and naming an actual amount might help me with my decision.

The funny thing is that if they do agree to compensate me at market rate then I think I'll be disappointed, because it will make it a lot harder to feel good about moving back to Phoenix and taking a lower-paying job.

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.