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Here is an email I got from a one-time guru.
I happened on your web site yesterday doing a search on the name: Ed Beckley. His name had come up in a conversation, I had known him when he lived outside of Sacramento, watched his rise and fall and just wondered what ever had come of him. I guess he must be keeping quiet these days.
Your ratings were a trip down memory lane for me. I knew (or had some form of contact with) Ed Beckley, Dave Del Dotto, Bill Greene, Jack Miller, John Schaub, and Al Seastrand. In the late 70's, I Went to a couple of seminars. Did some Real Estate investing. I even wrote a short book on buying California foreclosures in '81. I still believe mine was a good book at the time, but it must be dated now.
I think your ratings are on the mark.
Jack Miller and John Schaub were my first (and only real) Gurus. I went to two of their seminars in the late 70's. "Making it Big on Little Deals" was something that they did jointly back then. Jack was as you described him plus a fine entertainer and motivator. I spent some time with him when he wasn't on stage. His public performances were no different than how he performed in private. He was also an outrageous tightwad and proud of it. His basic technique was to use every trick and scheme to beat sellers down on the price and then offer very complicated and miserly terms.
John Schaub was the straight man. Not as entertaining as Jack but he had lots of quality information. His claim about seminar attendees buying houses during the seminars is probably true. They certainly tried to get their students to call "For Sale By Owners" look at properties and make offers during the courses. I tired it too and would guess that some of their students must have managed to close some of those deals
I remember Ed Beckley mostly as a geek. He started out as a lousy public speaker and an awkward salesman. I couldn't believe it when he improved his pitch and actually started making money, lots of it! "Millionaire" Ed Beckley had gone to the Miller-Schaub seminars, modeled his program after theirs. Added hype and a powerful marketing program and got pretty carried away with it.
I may have met Del Dotto once but remember him mostly because I thought he had copied some of my materials and presented them as his own.
I liked Bill Greene, thought his information was reasonably accurate and very entertaining but I was also aware of his streak of lunacy and elastic ethical considerations. I last saw him in San Francisco shortly before his conviction. We were at a gathering of income tax "protesters." I had failed to file tax returns for a few years, the presenters were encouraging others
not to file and offering to sell their various strategies. Greene remarked to me afterward that he probably would have been better off if he had not filed tax returns. (I have since repented and now faithfully pay and file my taxes on time, every year.) I always wondered what had happened to Bill. He had always said that if it came to jail, he would disappear. [Note by John T. Reed: Greene went to jail then reportedly disappeared while on emergency leave to go to his grandmother's funeral. He is now apparently living in England under the name Hill.]
Al Seastrand was a bit of a surprise. I knew him when he was a Broker and Termite Inspector. When we last had any contact, I recall that he was going for a contractors license and studying law. I did a few deals with some of the people who worked in his office. I'm glad to hear Al is on your "Approved" list. My memories of him are good.
And me? I made pretty good money putting on a couple of foreclosure seminars with a guy named Jim Harris but I didn't like public speaking and wasn't very successful selling my book by direct mail. I also wasn't well suited to being a property manager or a foreclosure vulture even though I made some money at it. I saved a few bucks and decided to do something that I enjoyed. I quit doing real estate before I turned 30 & became a commercial fisherman. I liked fishing even though I didn't make much money at it. In the end, it wasn't a good career for a guy who had finally decided he wanted a family so I "retired" from fishing.
Now, I have a kayak shop in Noyo Harbor (Fort Bragg, CA.) I am happily married to a wonderful woman, I have a fantastic seven year old daughter. We own our home (free and clear) and rent out on my wife's former home in Oakland. We invest our retirement money in (Index) Mutual Funds. I occasionally make offers on real estate but so far, haven't managed to put any deals together.
Thanks for putting together your web site.