April 18, 2001

 

 

 

  Headlines:

 

     Feds Surprise All with Early Decision/Economy Scares Them

      Orix Financial Services Moving to Atlanta

        Leasing and Selling Art via the Internet--New York Times story

          ADP Credit Corp. Selects eFinance

          Sterling Reports 17% Profit over Previous Period

            So did Depping go out as a lion or a gazelle?

 

 What is a Super Broker?

 

 

#### denotes a press release from the subject company

 

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In Surprise Move, Fed Cuts Interest Rates by Half Point By RICHARD W. STEVENSON  

 by New York Times Reporter Jonathan Fuerbringer

 

  Faced with growing signs that businesses are retrenching rapidly as the economy weakens, the Federal Reserve cut its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point today, igniting a powerful rally on Wall Street.

 

Acting between scheduled meetings, the Fed reduced its target for the federal funds rate on overnight loans among banks to 4.5 percent from 5 percent. It also cut its discount rate on loans to banks from the Federal Reserve system to 4 percent from 4.5 percent.

This was the fourth half-point cut in short-term rates by the central bank since the beginning of the year, and in announcing its decision today the Fed signaled that it was likely to reduce rates further in coming months.

 

The decision reflected increasing concern within the Fed that the economy is at risk of being driven downward by a steep falloff in corporate profits and a related pullback by companies in the purchase of computers, communications technology and other types of equipment.

The move surprised most investors, who had concluded in recent days that the Fed was unlikely to cut rates again before its next scheduled meeting on May 15.

But Alan Greenspan, the Fed's chairman, has shown in the past that he will sometimes act when the market's guard is down in order to give his moves maximum impact. If that was his intention today, he clearly succeeded.

 

In the hours after the Fed announced its move around 11 a.m. Eastern time, the stock market surged upward. By this afternoon, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 424.09 points, or 4.2 percent, to 10,640.82. The technology-weighted Nasdaq composite index climbed 195.95 points, or 10.2 percent, to 2,119.17.

 

``If ever there were a surprise, this is it,'' said Ian Shepherdson, an economist at High Frequency Economics, a consulting firm.

 

Mr. Greenspan has come under increasing criticism over the past few months for not moving more aggressively to stop the apparent deterioration of the economy and the financial markets.

He and most other Fed officials, however, have taken a relatively sanguine view of the outlook, emphasizing that much of the problem was related to businesses that had built up excessive stocks of unsold goods and unneeded supplies that would gradually be whittled down.

In explaining their action today, however, the members of the central bank's policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee acknowledged the case that has been made for much of this year by less optimistic analysts: that an abrupt slowdown in capital investment by companies in technology and other equipment could be the beginning of a painful readjustment that will depress profits in many industries, buffet the stock market and eventually lead to rising unemployment.

 

The Fed emphasized that a ``significant reduction in excess inventories seems well advanced,'' that key sectors of the economy like housing remained stable and that the main engine of economic growth - gains in the growth rate of productivity - was still humming along.

``Nonetheless,'' the central bank's statement said, ``capital investment has continued to soften and the persistent erosion in current and expected profitability, in combination with rising uncertainty about the business outlook, seems poised to dampen capital spending going forward.

``This potential restraint, together with possible effects of earlier reductions in equity wealth on consumption and the risk of slower growth abroad, threatens to keep the pace of economic activity unacceptably weak,'' the statement said.

 

As expected, the Fed's latest rate cut pleased Wall Street economists.

 

``The Fed is now taking more control over its own policy, and I think that's an excellent innovation,'' said Neal Soss, chief economist at Credit Suisse First Boston.

Peter Hooper, the chief domestic economist for Deutsche Bank North America, praised the central bank's timing and its restraint in signaling a cut beyond the March 21 statement.

``The Fed did a good job of setting things up for a surprise that would have an effect,'' he said. ``It's a sign that they are concerned about the downside risks if this slowdown should spread to the consumer sector.''

 

Mr. Hooper added, ``This is certainly good news for the market because it raises the chance we will get a decent recovery next year.''

 

Some economists, however, suggested that the surprise rate cut was not as necessary as the Fed thought. Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers, a private economic forecasting firm, cited Tuesday's strong industrial production numbers as well as today's trade figures, which included stronger-than-expected net export results for the first quarter.

 

``I didn't feel, and I still don't, that the economy was falling out of bed,'' Mr. Prakken said.

 

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Orix Financial Services Moving to Atlanta

           By Christine Van Dusen (The Atlanta Journal and Constitution)

 

Orix Financial Services -- an equipment financing and business credit

company -- said it is moving its headquarters and about 180 jobs initially

to Atlanta. Orix Financial Services, part of Orix USA and a subsidiary of

Japan-based Orix, expects to open the new office in October.

The company is closing offices in Pasadena, Calif., Paramus, N.J.,

Louisville, Ky., Charlotte, Schaumburg, Ill., and its current headquarters

in Secaucus, N.J. Three offices -- in Pittsburgh and Toronto and a second

office in Schaumburg -- will stay open.

"Our three-year strategic plan calls for 320 positions to be filled in

Atlanta," said spokeswoman Rachel Litner. "Additional positions are planned

thereafter." Orix Financial Services currently employs about 500 people at

its various locations. These employees can apply for the jobs in Atlanta,

she said. "We do not know at this time how many will decide to relocate,"

she said. "Our affected facilities will close gradually over the course of

the year."

The consolidation will allow Orix Financial Services "to substantially

reduce operating expenses, increase efficiency and redesign processes as we

pursue new business," said Jay S. Holmes, chairman and chief executive

officer, in a written statement. Orix USA was founded in 1981 as a

commercial financing company, primarily offering loans for labor-saving

equipment purchases. The company has about $ 6.4 billion in assets, Litner

said, and contributes about 13 percent to the parent company's bottom line.

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 JDR Capital

 

This letter is to inform the public, that Mr. Forman of JDR Capital

 (First Choice Capital) has not been returning phone calls in regards to a lease agreement nor

 has he made any effort to help our company with the problems he caused us with US Capital.

 

 Cindy Smaga

 csmaga@windowtalk.com

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            Super Brokers

 

The funder has been the first noticeable casualty in the leasing business, according

to the Leasing News List. But were they "true funders" or "super brokers?"

 

I don't have the answer to that question, but ask readers for their reaction.

 

So we are all on the same page of this discussion, here are the terms you will

not find on line or in the leasing books, as we see here:

 

 

 

Vendor

     A seller of equipment; manufacturer, distributor, dealership, sales representative.

 

Captive Vendor

    A seller of equipment who utilizes either a funder or lessor to finance

their equipment, often on an exclusive basis. Some are the lessor themselves, such as Ford Motor Credit or IBM.  Many have exclusive arrangements with lessors or funders.

They require their dealers or salesmen to use their financial services exclusively, many

pay a  commission  from the lease transaction to the salesman, from two to five percent is common, depending on the size of the dollar transaction. ( IBM pays two percent,

Dictograph pays five percent ).

 

Debtor

   Lessee  ( or the entity that is responsible for the "debt," as occurs in a loan. )

 

Creditor

    Who the lessee makes lease payments to ( specifically, often not the entity

        that approves the lease ).

  

 

Broker

   Intermediary between debtor and creditor, legally represents himself.

 

      Lease Broker

          Generally responsible for obtaining a credit application, may collect

       financial documents, most often is responsible for getting the lease contract

       signed, receiving a commission based on the purchase option and difference

       in "sell" and "buy" rate of the "stream of payments" in the lease.

 

     Lease Packager

            A broker who not only obtains the credit application, financial documents,

      but also runs consumer credit, business credit, and submits a full package

      to a creditor.  Most often non-recourse, but may have "representations and

      warranty" to nature of transaction, meaning credit, equipment "financed,"

      and  "truthfulness" of the transaction.  Most lease packagers retain the

      purchase option.  Most lease packager will sign the lease documents on

      their own contract, which may be a "private label," meaning a creditors

      document with the Lease Packager name on it, but in reality, not the

      creditor.

     

       Super Broker

            A broker who obtains credit applications, financial documents, and coordinates

        between broker and creditor, from other brokers. Most often does not conduct

        credit investigations, but "packages" the credit application to a funder who is best

        suited for the "debtor,"  including the "buy" and "sell" rate of the transaction.

       A broker may not meet the monthly volume  requirements of the creditor, or may not            

       have  knowledge as to the placement of the transaction due to credit criteria, rate,           

         type of equipment or nature of the transaction. Often a super broker can obtain

      a "better" commission than the broker or offer advise on "closing the sale."

       Usually a very experienced broker.  Most often the only source of credit applications

        is from other brokers.

 

       Lessor

            A creditor with their own lines of credit.  They may warehouse, hold leases

       for several months, six months or longer, and sell them to another creditor for

        a "better rate" due to the volume of transactions or to "free up" their warehouse

        line of credit.  They may sell their leases at a "non-recourse" position, thus

        becoming a "Super Broker", or as a "packager," with "representations and

        warranty", or as a lessor, " retaining recourse on the credit decisions."

           A true lessor keeps all leases and purchase options.

 

       Funder

          A creditor who offers "private label" contracts to Super Brokers, Packager,

       Vendors, and  sometimes to brokers who produce a volume.  They are a lessor

        and rely on warehouse lines, usually from a bank, or lines of credit from a bank

       or financial institution, or from money raised by private and/or public investors.

       Many form funds of partner investors or money directly from "stock" investors,

       either to the company or a specific "fund" for profit; can be tax profit, although

       these are usually "private" funds.

 

 

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ADP CREDIT CORP. SELECTS eFINANCE

 

FOR CREDIT DECISIONING & WORKFLOW MANAGEMENT PLATFORM

 

PALO ALTO, CA (April 18, 2001) -- eFinance Corporation and ADP Credit Corp. ("ADPCC"), a subsidiary of ADP, Inc., today announced an

agreement for eFinance, a credit decisioning and work flow management technology company, to provide ADPCC with a web-based, automated

credit decisioning platform. Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP®), one of the world’s largest independent computing service firms,

will use eFinance's Transaction Finance System™ (TFS) to electronically accept and evaluate applications and extend credit to

ADPCC’s qualified business customers.

 

"Our selection of eFinance as a technology provider to ADP was based on their proven technology,

 

management team, and ability to execute. We were impressed with the comprehensive online credit application and decisioning platform that

eFinance will offer ADP," said Mike Flanagan, VP and General Manager, ADPCC. "Using eFinance technology, our credit associates and

regional managers can quickly evaluate applications and deliver real-time credit decisions and fulfillment to our business customers, resulting

in reduced costs, greater productivity, and improved service for ADP, our dealers, and their customers."

 

ADPCC will use the eFinance TFS™ in an automated, online mode. This technology platform will enable internal ADPCC credit officers to

evaluate a credit application and make real-time credit decisions that incorporate multiple business information and credit scoring databases,

and generate documentation, including lease agreements. The eFinance TFS™ will incorporate ADPCC’s full underwriting standards

that are used to evaluate a prospective customer’s credit standing and repayment ability. eFinance will also provide ADPCC with

proprietary fraud detection technology that will enhance ADPCC's underwriting process.

 

"We are very pleased to be working with ADP, one of the most successful and respected computing services companies," said Reid

Rutherford, CEO of eFinance Corporation. "ADP is committed to providing competitive products and world class client service to its business

customers.  The eFinance TFS™ provides ADP with a powerful technology platform that generates increased revenue through faster decision

times and increased profitability through streamlined workflow processing. We have designed the TFS™ for seamless integration into ADP's

existing internal credit procedures and workflow processes. This deal represents another important milestone for eFinance."

 

About eFinance Corporation

Founded in 1999, eFinance enables the real-time completion of online transaction financing for vendors, e-marketplaces, financial institutions,

and other companies with an e-commerce initiative. eFinance's comprehensive and flexible financing solution provides credit decisioning and

fulfillment at the Web point-of-sale in addition to providing tools for management of complex credit workflows. The eFinance Transaction

Finance SystemTM (TFS) accepts a credit application via the Internet; delivers an immediate credit decision; creates and delivers documents

online; and provides verification, funding, shipment, and settlement notification. The eFinance platform can be seamlessly integrated into a

company's e-commerce initiative for transparent processing of credit and leasing options. With headquarters in Palo Alto, California, eFinance

is a privately held company led by seasoned professionals with extensive experience in credit, financing, risk management, and technology.

eFinance's investors include CSFB's Sprout Group; NIF Ventures USA; Sanchez Capital Partners, and DigitalVentures. For more information,

please visit the company's Web site at www.efinance.com.

 

About ADP Credit Corp.

 

ADPCC is the captive financing arm of Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (NYSE: ADP). Its mission includes supporting the sale of on-site

computing systems. ADPCC works with customers to find solutions which will help them to conserve capital, improve cash flow and benefit

from the latest technology. Since 1984, ADPCC has provided sales support to ADP business units and value-added services to thousands of

clients.  ADPCC has developed programs geared to businesses of all sizes.  Over the last three years, 85% of ADP's clients who require

financing have chosen ADPCC as their leasing source of choice.  ADP is one of the largest global providers of computerized transaction

processing, data communications and information services, with more than $6 billion in revenues and 500,000 clients worldwide. More

information on ADP Credit Corp. and ADP is available via the Internet at www.adpcredit.com and www.adp.com.

 

                                                    

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  First International Bank

 

"Name withheld" seems to be thinking of a different First International Bank.

The one being acquired by UPS is headquartered in Hartford, CT. Their leasing

department is staffed with highly knowledgeable and experienced leasing

professionals who formerly worked at the late New England Capital

Corporation. The Bank specializes in providing financing for and to

manufacturers worldwide.

 

The acquisition was announced earlier this year; I believe in January.

 

 

Bob Teichman, CLP

Teichman Financial Training

3030 Bridgeway

Sausalito, CA 94965

Tel: 415-331-6445

Fax: 415-331-6451

e-mail: BoTei@aol.com

 

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  What's Next

 

With all the horror stories of the past few years it seems a good writer

could have a field day and maybe come up with an Oscar.  25+ years in the

business and I can't remember a period where the industry has seen so many

failures and frauds.  I can still remember when the business was truly a fun

place to be.  Hopefully those who survive it all will live to see great

times again for many and not just a few.

 

Jerry Withrow

jerryw@wizard.com

 

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  As They Like It: Leasing and Selling Artwork Through the Internet

        By DONNA WILKINSON  Edwine Seymour for The New York Times

 

 

 HBO's "Sex and the City," Mr. Big's bedroom eyes may set some female hearts aflutter, but it's his bedroom walls that interest Laurie Friedman and Elenor Trifon. Their Web site, www.artformedia.com, supplies much of the artwork that adorns the elusive hunk's apartment.

In fact, you could say Mr. Big's taste in art was the inspiration for their company.

"When `Sex and the City' began, the show's set decorator rented about five pieces of mine," said Ms. Friedman, an artist and set decorator. "One piece, a drawing, hangs behind his bed, and they just kept renting and re-renting it."

Ms. Trifon, a screenwriter with an art history background, added: "We always got a chuckle out of it. We knew every time Mr. Big was coming on the show because they wanted Laurie's art for his bedroom."

Rentals became so frequent "we realized it would be easier for us to do it from a Web site," Ms. Friedman said. "That's when we partnered up."

The two friends saw a need for a service they could provide. Ms. Friedman had film and art contacts, and Ms. Trifon knew many artists and the art business. Why not rent and sell artwork for use in films and TV programs?

For behind-the-scenes professionals like set decorators and set designers, finding art or props can be demanding, given the constraints of tight schedules and budgets.

"It's a lot of running around, going from artists' studios to galleries, shopping, phone calls and generally pulling your hair out," said Ms. Friedman, who worked on films like "Dead Man Walking" and "Before Night Falls."

Ms. Friedman and Ms. Trifon saw their site as a one-stop shopping service. "Having worked as a set decorator," Ms. Trifon said, "Laurie knows how hard it is to find art, the main problem being that you can't find cleared art, which means the artist has to give permission for the art to be used."

The Internet was an obvious way to speed the process. Artformedia, which started more than a year ago in New York, rents and sells contemporary paintings, sculpture and photography to television, film and commercial studios. Clients include the TV shows "Ed," "Third Watch," "Law & Order" and last season's short-lived series "Madigan Men," as well as coming films like Ben Stiller's "Zoolander," "What's the Worst That Could Happen?" with Danny DeVito and "People I Know" with Al Pacino.

With about 70 artists, the site offers a selection of about 700 cleared artworks. The artists receive a percentage of the rental fee, based on the length of the rental; if the art is sold, the artists receive a percentage similar to what a gallery pays, usually 50 percent to 60 percent.

The Internet is also proving to be useful for other specialized art businesses. About a year ago, Troubetzkoy Paintings, which copies original paintings for movie sets, art galleries, auction houses and others, opened Troubetz koypaintings.com, a Web site.

The company, established in 1978, has offices in Paris and New York and a staff of 12 painters and restorers. Its recent film projects include Martin Scorsese's "Gangs of New York," "City By the Sea" with Robert De Niro and "Changing Lanes" with Ben Affleck.

"We are not an e-business," said the firm's president, Christopher Moore. "But particularly in the movie industry, where people want things immediately, I have to think Internet. You have a $25 million actor showing up on a set and if the painting isn't behind him, you're in trouble."

The Web provides more immediate access. As Mr. Moore said: "I can show a client a picture on the site of a ballroom scene and I can say, `This is what we're going to do,' and I can show them a frame and e-mail it to them. And they'll say, `Perfect, this is what we want.' "

In a business that has little time to spare, a Web site like Artformedia.com can help.

"Set decorating is basically a lonely job," said Diana White, a set decorator. "I spend most of my day in a car shopping."

During the run of "Madigan Men," which she worked on and was canceled last December, Ms. White rented about 17 pieces from Artformedia. "Before, when we needed art, we had to have a messenger get photographs or slides of the artist's work or we had to make several trips around Manhattan. Now I can just go to the site."

She also uses Newel.com, the Web site of Newel Art Galleries, an antiques business in Manhattan established in 1939. The site sells and leases period furnishings to film companies, decorators, architects and collectors.

"Since we've been up, we've had more than 10.2 million hits," the president of Newel, Bruce Newman, said. "Eighteen percent of our business this year has been done on the Internet. If you had told me that two years ago, I would've thought you were crazy."

In Los Angeles and the West Coast, the Web is also changing how things are done, but the business is much bigger there.

"There are maybe four or five studios that have prop houses, and there are about 50 independent prop houses, each with a different specialty," said Debbie Hemela, the editor of "The Source Book" and a Web site called Debbiesbook.com, which lists companies that offer props and set dressings. "All of them have Web links. The major studios have sophisticated computer systems, but some of the independents may not have pictures of their stock online."

What hasn't changed on either coast, Ms. Hemela said, is the personal side. "This is a relationship business," she said. "You still need to talk to someone on the phone. No company is going to allow an unknown to walk out with a one-of-a-kind piece of art or precious antique."

Ms. Trifon and Ms. Friedman of Artformedia agreed. "When we began, Laurie had an established group of people she knew — set designers, decorators and stylists," Ms. Trifon said. "We still have to use the phone. Our clients often want to talk to us or see us because they need something special."

For "Sex and the City" fans, the question is: Is Mr. Big coming back next season? Well, has Artformedia received any requests about renting a certain drawing for a certain person's bedroom?

"We haven't heard anything yet," Ms. Trifon said. "But we'll let you know."

_____________________________________________________________

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Sterling Bancorp Reports Record First Quarter Results; Earnings Increase 17%

 

 

NEW YORK, April 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Sterling Bancorp (NYSE: STL) today announced record earnings for the three months ended March 31, 2001. Net income for the quarter was $4.5 million, an increase of 17% over the same period last year. Diluted earnings per share increased to $0.47 from $0.41 in the first quarter of 2000.

 

These results mark Sterling's 31st consecutive quarter of year-over-year, double digit earnings growth. The record financial performance in the first quarter was driven principally by increases in gross revenues, which rose $2.6 million to $29.9 million.  Interest revenues grew to $24.6 million, mainly as a result of a 13% increase in average loan balances, and noninterest income increased to $5.3 million.  Net interest income for the quarter was $16.7 million, a 12% increase from the same period in 2000.

 

Return on average assets, on an annualized basis, improved to 1.53% from 1.37%. Return on average tangible equity, on an annualized basis, increased to 19.3% from 18.9%, in the same period last year.

 

Net interest margin, on a tax equivalent basis, was 6.28% for the quarter, up from 5.78% in the same quarter last year.  The increase in net interest margin, which is among the highest in the Company's peer group, is attributable to increases in loans outstanding and growth in demand deposits. Average loan balances for the quarter increased $78.9 million, over the first quarter last year, to $678.2 million. Average demand deposits for the first quarter grew to $285.2 million, a 13% increase from the first quarter of 2000.

 

Commenting on the results, Louis J. Cappelli, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, "We are pleased to report another quarter of record results, particularly in light of the weaker economic climate widely reported in the media.  The diversity of our product lines coupled with no significant industry concentration in our loan portfolios minimizes the effects of slower economic growth on our financial performance."

 

Asset quality continued to be good.  At March 31, 2001, nonperforming assets represented 0.24% of total assets. Allowance for credit losses on March 31, 2001 was $12.9 million, compared to $11.4 million at the end of the first quarter 2000.  The allowance as a percentage of loans was 1.76%. The provision for credit losses was $1.7 million for the first three months of 2001, compared to $1.4 million for the same period last year. "These ratios reflect Sterling's focus on maintaining credit quality and managing credit risk as we continue to grow our loan portfolios," continued Mr. Cappelli.

 

Noninterest income rose 17% to $5.3 million in the first quarter. This increase was primarily due to increases in income from mortgage banking, deposit services and factoring.

 

"Sterling's financial performance this quarter is further validation of our long-term strategy of offering a broad range of high-margin financial products, combined with our unique high-touch personalized service, to niche markets," concluded Chairman Cappelli.

 

Sterling Bancorp (NYSE: STL) is a financial holding company with assets of $1.2 billion, offering a full range of banking and financial services products. Its principal banking subsidiary is Sterling National Bank, founded in 1929. Sterling provides a wide range of products and services, including commercial lending, asset-based financing, factoring/accounts receivable management, international trade financing, commercial and residential mortgage lending, equipment leasing, trust and estate administration and investment management services. Sterling has operations in the metropolitan New York area, Virginia and other mid-Atlantic states and conducts business throughout the U.S. More information is available on the company's Website, http://www.sterlingbancorp.com.

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          So did Depping go out as a lion or a gazelle?

 

The "gazelle" reference is attributable to farewell remarks posted on Sierra Cities website. Depping told the parable (which I am sure he lifted from a framed motivational poster he saw advertised in an in-flight magazine) of the lion and the gazelle both co-existing in the same jungle, and how each start each morning running, either to eat or avoid being eaten. So did Depping go out as a lion or a gazelle?

 

From our home office, here are Tom Depping's "Top Ten" accomplishments

 

lO. He uprooted the lives of several Florida employees by convincing them to accept  

     consolidation transfers to Houston, only to change the entire scenario within ninety days        of their arrival

9.He managed to burn millions of dollars of equity capital raised without posting a profit

8.He accepted the ill-advised counsel to change its name to emulate an ecommerce company just             before the "dot-corn" markets crashed

7. His map of acquisitions eventually took the resemblance of a detonated

   "minesweeper" computer game

6. Two words: "Mike Sabel"

5. His seductive management style of capriciousness

4. Borrowing Baskin-Robbins "Flavor of the Month" campaign for use with his        tipper             management team

3 "We're becoming an e-bank7"

2. Republic's wealth of sales techniques not found in any of Bill Graneri' s published works

1. To quote Hoyt Axton (as sung by Three Dog Night): "Well, I've never been to England, but           I kinda like the Beatles"

 

So did Depping go out as a lion or a gazelle? How about a hyena?

 

 ( anonymous--sent by eFax to Leasing News. editor )

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