Kit Menkin’s Leasing News

                   www.leasingnews.org  Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Accurate, fair and unbiased news for the equipment Leasing Industry

 

           Headlines----

 

Centerpoint Financial, Colorado

  Summit Introduces Next Generation Solution

    MSM Capital, Irvine, California-NASBA

      Landlinemag.org—CMC/FundingTree Scoop

        Tuesday---Odds and Ends

           Andrew Thorn Report re: Auto responder Message

Tyco Replaces Chief Lawyer, Is Hit With Downgrade of Debt

   Changes will consolidate responsibility, Amtrak president says

      eLessors Leasing Company White Pages

      OneWorld Leasing Launched as Leasing Cooperative—up-date

         Venture capitalists sustained 27.8 percent loss during 2001

           New study says nonprofit arts groups generate $134 billion annually

              Landlinesmag.org December Issue about Commercial Money Center

 

### Denotes Press Release

 

  ( The List to be up-dated this week )

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Centerpoint Financial, Colorado

 

Leasing News would like to compliment Centerpoint Director of Marketing Chuck Brazier for the two faxes to all Centerpoint Brokers, returning all telephone calls, doing his best as an employee to protect all parties involved.  This has not been the norm recently, and our hat is off to him, even if he won’t give Leasing News a comment.

 

It is refreshing to see someone who cares, who has integrity, and handles situations

in the “deepest hour” with the concern of helping others.  I hope this appreciation

is viewed favorably by his “customers” and “employer.”

 

In the years reporting about companies “in trouble,” this is the first situation where help has been asked. Chuck Brazier has our deepest respect as you learn a person’s character

when their back is against the wall. Leasing News hopes Mr. Brazier is

setting an example for others to follow who find themselves in similar

situations. His action is truly one of valor in the business battlefront.  Editor

 

In addition to CapitalWerks offering to help, as reported yesterday, here are

two other companies who will to come to aid:

 

In response to the Centerpoint Financial situation, Butler Capital

Corporation stands ready to review all approved backlog at Centerpoint to

provide a funding solution, under the following guidelines:

 

** Minimum 12.75% Yield to Butler based on transaction credit risk.

** Documented on Butler Capital Corporation documents.

** Broker profit to be determined on a transactional basis.

** Hard Copy of Centerpoint approval and credit package required.

** QuikTrak equipment inspection.

** 1st & last payment in advance.

** Clean D&B.

** Satisfactory CBR.

 

 

Thanks.

 

Mitch Larkin

Butler Capital Corporation

800-928-8537 (phone)

410-771-0295 (fax)

mlarkin@butlercapital.com

 

---- 

 

Summit Funding to the Rescue

 

 

   Name = BRUCE LARSEN

               Address = 661 E. BURNSVILLE PARKWAY

                  City = BURNSVILLE

                 State = MN

               Zipcode = 55337

                 Phone = 952-890-5092

                   Fax = 952-890-5103

                 Email = summitfunding@aol.com

                Source =

Add me to the mailing list =

              Comments = Kit--I was sorry to hear about the Centerpoint situation.  None of us like to hear about another funding source biting the dust.  Resiliency will become a catch phrase to all very soon.  To assist any of the brokers that are having some difficulty getting their deals bought that went to Centerpoint, I would also be willing to assist any of them that need a hoe for their deals under, say, $12,500.  I am an "authorized affiliate" of Leasecomm and they are real good at start-ups, "B" and "C" credits.  They require FMV and have high rates, but, they have a fairly large credit window; Maximum of 8 broker points.  If I can help, I will where I can.

 

 

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Summit Introduces Next Generation Solution

 

Summit National, Inc., the leading U.S. owned provider of SQL based lease accounting software and services for the leasing industry, is pleased to announce its next generation solutions supporting Oracle 9i database platforms: ULTIMA, iNnova, and AppLink.

 

ULTIMA is the new flagship system from Summit. This 32-bit Windows based system manages complex lease and loan portfolios and seamlessly integrates with major 3rd party products.  ULTIMA has all the functionality of our OPTIMA  MS SQL product with additional features including Customizable User Interface, Internal Reporting, Enhanced Security Options, and it’s Internet enabled. ULTIMA is the ultimate Oracle platform solution.

 

iNnova is a comprehensive and cost effective core accounting and management application for small to mid size vehicle and equipment leasing companies.  This 32-bit Windows based system was designed to increase user efficiency and reduce data entry errors. iNnova runs on MS SQL or Oracle database platforms and can be installed at your location on a dedicated server or used through the WEB as an ASP service.

 

AppLink, Summit’s front-end, web-enabled Application Processor and Credit Management system, provides a complete solution for tracking leases in progress.  AppLink was designed with User Defined flexibility to mold to a company’s individual business processes. This system interfaces with the major credit bureaus for online gathering of information, email and contact management software, general accounting packages, custom report writers, and most any back-end system including Summit’s ULTIMA, OPTIMA, and iNnova systems.

 

Summit’s high value products are designed with state-of-the-art technology to increase operating efficiency and lower IT and Administration costs.  These systems are modular and tailored to meet the needs of small, medium, and large enterprises in the vehicle and equipment leasing industries.

 

For more information, please visit our website at www.summitnational.com .

 

 

 

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MSM Capital, Irvine, California

 

A reliable source states the skeleton staff is really a skeleton staff, as “MSM Capital recently (last night) fired their funding people, their IT guy and their credit guy, and the only people left there are Vipul Parmar, Mike Cingari and Rob Pardini.”

 

Reportedly they are going into sales at NASBA Capital, located in Laguna Niguel, CA,

owned and operated by “former” partner Doug Milinor. 

 

Contacted by Leasing News, Mr. Milinor said it was no true, they would not be working for NASBA and there is no “relationship.”

 

A  January, 2002, UCC filing shows a former relationship:

 

http://www.leasingnews.org/docs/Doc3.htm

 

( see the secured party lines. editor )

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Landlinemag.org Has the Scoop on CMC and others, Plus The Funding Tree

 

“You might want to know the latest -- Kendra Bernal was arrested a

couple weeks ago!

 

“I got my information from Riverside DA Investigator Jerry Fox. The DA

prosecuting the case is Karen Gorham. I'm still trying to get a copy of the

court complaint (Case No. RIF103811) by mail. Kendra was already on

probation (Case no. RIF75158), which she obviously violated.

 

“If you want to read the articles I've done on CMC and a few others (not

including Kendra Bernal -- this is my newest investigation), check out:

http://www.landlinemag.com/Archives/2001/Dec2001/Your_Money/easy_money.html

 

“and the latest one (scroll to the bottom story)

http://www.landlinemag.com/todays_news/Daily/April02/041902.htm

 

“I haven't written the story about Kendra Bernal yet, but your input will

help me finish it.

 

Thanks,

Rene

 

 

(You bet. Editor)

 

Here is the latest article:

 

http://www.landlinemag.com

The Official Publication
of the Owner-Operator
Independent Drivers
Association

 

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA)

 

 

 

Since the first report on Commercial Money Center Inc., Growth 1 Funding Corp. and other advance fee loan companies (Dec/Jan, Land Line), three OOIDA members - Johnnie L. Banner, Steven D. Long Sr. and Lonnie Byers - received refunds from Growth 1 and Funder Direct. However, more small-business truckers have reported losing thousands to this new breed of loan sharks who promised equipment financing, took their money and gave them nothing but excuses.

OOIDA member Lawrence E. McCafferty of Fernley, NV, is still waiting for his $2,573 refund from Growth 1 for a failed truck financing deal. OOIDA member Maxie McIntosh of Perris, CA, also paid $2,573 to Growth 1 on April 3, 2001, but the finance company never came through with the funding. Roxanna Munoz, senior underwriter for Growth 1, has agreed to look into refunds for McIntosh and McCafferty. Based in San Diego, CA, Growth 1 is owned by Dane Moore, but most owner-operators report dealing with Munoz.

At least five owner-operators reported problems with Commercial Money Center, headquartered in Las Vegas with an office in Escondido, CA. Burrell L. Lee Jr., OOIDA member from Radcliff, KY, gave CMC $5,194.53 in advanced payments plus $220 for processing fees and $175 for a Quicktrak inspection on May 8, 2001, to finance a truck. For his money, he received no financing, no equipment and no refund. The same rings true for owner-operator Dane Stieben, of Colby, KS, who paid $5,840 to CMC; Phil and Victoria Stone, of Nortonville, KY, paid $4,520.56 to finance a trailer with CMC; and Galloway Transport, of Grandville, GA, who reported to the Federal Trade Commission it paid $2,000 to CMC for financing.

Senitteau Norton of Boulderick Farms and Norton Refrigeration financed three trucks through CMC, and then some refrigerated trailers in October 2000. To finance the trailers, Norton paid $4,787.26 in advanced payments plus a $220 processing fee and $175 for a Quiktrak inspection. Soon after she picked up the trailers and had them licensed, the dealership repossessed them because CMC never paid for the equipment. Since the financing fell through on the trailers, she asked CMC to apply the trailer down payment toward her truck payments, but CMC refused. With no trailers to go with their trucks, Norton's company could not earn enough money to pay for the trucks and eventually lost them, too.

These owner-operators may have lost up to $5,000 each to CMC, but OOIDA members Darren Purrier of Las Vegas, Henry Brown of Phoenix, AZ, and Patricia Breeden of Stafford, VA, are paying CMC's 48-50 percent interest rates. Purrier says when he confronted CMC about the high interest rates, he was told the rates were completely legal because it was a lease, not a loan.

Purrier says recent major repair work has made it difficult to keep up with the lease payments. When the Purriers tried to get a deferment, a CMC representative told them they must miss the payment before CMC would send them deferment paperwork. However, the rep didn't tell the Purriers about the more than $300 in fees they were charged for the deferment.

Brown says the truck he received is not the one described on his paperwork and he still can't get a legal title for the truck.

Munoz says CMC is out of business. Attempts to confirm this information were met with a full voice mailbox at CMC's California office and a know-nothing receptionist at the Las Vegas headquarters, where company execs were unavailable for comment. The receptionist deferred all questions to a Mr. Gwarder (correct spelling not given), who was in a deposition April 4. However, a representative at U.S. Bancorp, who now services CMC's lease contracts, did say the California office is closed, but the Las Vegas office currently is open.

Although CMC and Growth 1 received the most complaints from owner-operators, a few other companies each received one complaint. Of those, Commercial Leasing of Louisiana, an agent of Florida-based company International Corporate Finance Ltd., took the most money from one individual. Marti Wright of South Star Transport in El Paso, TX, paid Commercial Leasing more than $20,000 to finance three new trucks, which were repossessed about a month after delivery because the finance company never paid the dealer. Telephone numbers for Commercial Leasing are disconnected.

All complaints were forwarded to the Federal Trade Commission; the appropriate state's attorney general and a private attorney for review. Some owner-operators have sought help from district attorneys in the counties where these companies operate.

If you have experienced similar problems, make an official report to the FTC at 1-877-382-4357 and the attorney general in your state and the state where the company is located. Your attorney general's office should be listed in the government pages of your local telephone directory.

When a consumer calls these agencies, they usually will send the consumer a complaint form. It is very important to follow through with the complaint by filling out the necessary forms and returning them to the appropriate agencies along with copies (not originals) of all relevant documents. As with any business transaction, keep copies of all contracts, invoices, receipts and correspondence, including any complaint forms filed with various agencies.

--Rene Tankersley, feature editor

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Tuesday---Odds and Ends

 

 

I think Judy Garland had to have been born before 1932 (she wasn't 37 when

she died and she wasn't in Wizard of Oz when she was 6 or 7 (I think Wizard

was 1939).

 

Barbara Low

President

BIBLIO.TECH

P.O.Box 657

Lincoln, MA  01773

781-259-0524

bibliotech@leasingsourcebook.com

 

A typo on my part.  I have been trying to be more careful. Here is some information

on her 80th anniversary and celebratioin at the Judy Garland Museum.

 

http://www.thejudyroom.com/timeline.html

 

http://www.judygarlandmuseum.com/

 

------------------------

 

Kit: Who is Dickey Wells?

I knew a Dick Wells ( local radio personality) years ago here in North Jersey/NY State area...real nice guy..great speaking voice!

Regards,

Shawn McGill

mcgill23@netscape.net

 

P.S. Abe Vigoda is alive and well. Now doing TV commercials for YES Network here in the NY area. Was at the Yankee-Giants Game Saturday...

that Bonds shot was the longest home run I've ever witnessed in my

35 years plus of watching baseball. The guy is amazing!!!!!

 

Dickey Wells was a trombone player for County Basie for over twenty

years. One of the best known tunes is "Dickey's Dream."  I could

not find any information on him on the web. The Basie Band was my

favorite and at one time I could name all the sidemen on all his

recordings ( can’t do today, sorry ).

 

Abe Vigoda is one of my favorite character actors.  He was great in

the movies and also on TV, especially in “Barney Miller.”

 

That Bond is something else, no doubt!!!!

 

 

--- 

 

Hopalong Cassidy—Name His and Sidekick

 

Pal-Lucky  Horse-topper

 I win, send me the money!

 

 

Herb Brantley

Hbrantley@markiiicredit.com

Mark III Credit Corp

 

Right on the horse.

 

Lucky was one of the sidekicks, but on TV it was Gabby Hayes playing "Windy."

Gabby Hayes was the most famous sidekick; however, this was a trick question

as William Boyd had many sidekicks:

 

Jimmy Ellison as Johnny Nelson

George "Gabby" Hayes –Windy

Halliday Russell Hayden as Lucky Jenkins

 Britt Wood as Speedy

 McGinnis Andy Clyde as California

Carlson Brad King as Johnny Nelson

 Jay Kirby as Johnny Travers

 George Reeves as Lin Bradley

 Jimmy Rogers as Jimmy Rogers (Trivia Note: Jimmy Rogers was Will Rogers' son.) Rand Brooks as Lucky

Jenkins Edgar Buchanan as Red Connors (1/2 hr. series for TV)

 

http://www.hopalong.com/hoppyfaq.htm

 

 

 

Andrew Thorn Report re: Auto responder Message

 

 

“This is a very exciting week for me and I will be out of the office and

somewhat slow to respond. 

 

“I am competing in my very first Iron Man Triathlon.  What does this mean?

It means I will swim 2.4 miles, ride 112 miles (on a bicycle) and run (or

walk or crawl) 26.2 miles in a race in Provo Utah.

 

“I hope to finish in less than 12 hours I only get 17.  I will be checking in

and hope to find time to respond. “

 

                        Andrew’s Report:

 

 

Hello Kit,

 

Thanks for printing my auto responder.  I thought I would give you a report

on the Inaugural event in Utah. 

 

The race started a little earlier than scheduled at about 6:55 AM.  We

entered the water at about 6:40 AM.  As soon as we got into the water the

wind began to howl.  They said it was about 40 mph.  Utah Lake is very

shallow and the waves grew to about 5 feet high and white caps were

everywhere.  I swam as hard as I have ever swum and made it to the far buoy

which had blown away.  Search and rescue helicopters were everywhere and

boats were nearly sinking because the waves were coming in.  I began the

swim back and found only later that I was following buoys that were now

floating with the winds.  Many times after being nearly suffocated by water

entering in my breathing strokes, I thought I might not make it in, but I

stayed calm and did not panic and flipped over and did the elementary

backstroke which proved to be a successful stroke.  I swam toward a boat

which eventually guided me in the harbor, which ended up being the wrong

harbor.  It was the most adventurous thing I have ever done and know that I

would not have entered the water if it wasn't for the race.  After I exited

the water I learned that they had cancelled the swim portion and that a 53

year old man from Redondo Beach, had died in the water.  There were four

more people missing and they sent out the search and rescue boats to find

them. 

 

We were not allowed to go on with the bike and run portions until every one

was accounted for which amounted to a delay until about 10:40 am for me.

The bike and run was shortened and it was a very emotional day.  I finished

in 6 hours and 18 minutes, a 68 mile bike ride and a 13.1 mile run.  992 out

of 1435.  It was very disappointing to have trained so hard, only to have

the weather shorten the event.

 

Apparently, the man who died had a heart attack in the water before the race

began. 

 

It was amazing and I think the swim would have challenged most navy seals. 

 

I have registered for next years event it will be June 7, 2003.  I will need

to maintain the level of fitness that I have reached. 

 

I learned an interesting thing that I thought I would share.  This was my

first race.  I was worried about how I would feel when people passed me

along the way.  What I learned was that it was a complete inspiration to be

passed.  It energized my spirit.  When I passed people it discouraged me

because many of them were struggling.  I thought about how life is sometimes

just the opposite for many of us.  Some seem to rejoice over other peoples

suffering and feel jealous or less competent when somebody else passes them

and does something better.  True competitors will be inspired by others

successes and look for ways to lift and help those struggling.

 

I also learned how valuable support is.  People sat outside their homes and

cheered us on as we went by.  This really lifted my soul also.  How easy is

it to say good job to somebody. 

 

Sorry to be so long,

 

Andrew

 

Andrew Thorn

athorn@nowlease.com 

 

 

__________________________________________________________________ 

 

Tyco Replaces Chief Lawyer, Is Hit With Downgrade of Debt

 

By Ben White

 

Washington Post Staff Writer

 

NEW YORK-- Tyco International Ltd., under investigation for possible misuse of corporate funds, replaced its top lawyer today, while a credit-rating agency downgraded the conglomerate's debt to junk status and lowered its assessment of the financial services unit Tyco hopes to sell to raise much-needed cash.

 

Fitch Ratings analyst Philip S. Walker Jr. said the downgrades would not "trigger" any provisions in Tyco loans calling for faster payment.

 

Triggers, which hinge on credit-rating downgrades as well as a borrowers stock price, can cause a cash crisis, such as the one that helped drive Enron Corp. into bankruptcy court last year. Both Standard & Poor's Corp. and Moody's Investors Service Inc., the nation's other leading rating agencies, reduced Tyco's debt to one notch above junk status last week.

 

Tyco's stock has fallen dramatically since its chief executive, L. Dennis Kozlowski, resigned last week, a day before he was indicted by a New York state grand jury on charges of evading more than $1 million in sales taxes on $13.2 million in rare paintings. The stock yesterday rose $1.30, or 13 percent, to $11.40, but was still off 80 percent for the year.

 

Tyco officials have repeatedly said the company faces no cash crisis and will be able to pay back the billions of dollars of debt that will come due next year. They are expecting to sell or make an initial public offering of stock in their financial services subsidiary, CIT, to generate as much as $6.5 billion, though some analysts have said CIT could yield significantly less than that.

 

The Securities and Exchange Commission has not yet approved the IPO, a holdup Tyco executives blame on technical glitches. If they cannot sell CIT, Tyco executives say they have many other assets they could put on the block to raise cash in an emergency.

 

The announcement that Tyco had named someone to replace Mark Belnick as general counsel drew a bitter response from Belnick's lawyer.

 

Stanley Arkin accused Josh Berman, a Tyco vice president and board member, and David Boies, a well-known outside lawyer the company recently hired to head an internal investigation, of staging a "savage assault" to give Boies total control of the firm's legal strategy.

 

Tyco called the assertions "ludicrous" and said Belnick was "among the persons being investigated."

 

Tyco named Irving Gutin, who has held the post before, to replace Belnick.

 

Tyco "is determined to have a fair and complete investigation of any allegations of improper conduct by any of its personnel," the statement said. "The company lost confidence in Mr. Belnick's willingness and ability to conduct a fair and complete investigation, in part because of his unwillingness to cooperate in the investigation of himself and because of his attempt to control the course of that investigation."

 

The statement concluded: "The assertion by Mr. Belnick's lawyer that the Board of Directors acted to protect anyone's 'turf' is ludicrous and is an attempt to distract attention from his client's serious problems."

 

In an interview, Arkin said Tyco hired Boies to "do a discreet job" handling the expanding investigation of Tyco and Kozlowski by the Manhattan district attorney's office. Arkin said that Boies confronted Belnick over the weekend and told him that he, Boies, would be handling the investigation personally.

 

"He said, 'I'm the guy who will deal with the district attorney. I'm the guy who will deal with' " the Securities and Exchange Commission. " 'I'm the guy who is in charge,' " Arkin said of Boies's alleged confrontation of Belnick.

 

"Belnick said, 'No, you can't do that.' And ultimately Boies got Berman to fire Belnick."

 

Boies's office said he was traveling and unavailable for comment. Berman declined to comment. An official in the district attorney's office would not comment on whether Belnick was a focus of the investigation.

 

According to papers filed with the SEC, Belnick was due to be paid $10.6 million if he stayed with the firm through October 2003. Arkin said Belnick was not fired for cause and should be paid the entire amount as well as additional damages.

 

The district attorney's office, a source said, is now trying to determine whether Tyco violated New York or federal securities laws by paying for real estate and goods for executives without disclosing the payments to investors.

 

Specifically, investigators are attempting to determine whether Tyco improperly paid for an $18 million Manhattan apartment and a $2.5 million home in Boca Raton, Fla., that once belonged to Michael A. Ashcroft, a British nobleman who joined Tyco's board in 1997 after the conglomerate merged with Ashcroft's security systems firm, ADT Ltd.

 

In downgrading CIT, Fitch cited the turmoil at the parent company and the amount of debt the firm will have to repay in the near future.

 

Fitch said it was simultaneously lowering Tyco's senior debt and commercial paper ratings to junk status. Fitch said it gave CIT a higher rating because it still believes the finance arm will separate from Tyco in the near future. Fitch said that as a separate entity, CIT has "leading market positions in a variety of business segments."

 

----  

 

(more in depth version of the news )

 

 

Tyco Turmoil Deepens as It Fires Lawyer

 

By ALEX BERENSON

New York Times

 

 

 

The turmoil at Tyco International worsened yesterday as the company fired its general counsel, Mark A. Belnick, setting off a public fight over the reasons for his dismissal.

 

Tyco said Mr. Belnick was fired because he was impeding the company's internal investigation into whether it had paid the personal expenses of its senior executives and made undisclosed loans to them. Some Tyco officials think Mr. Belnick improperly used company money to buy or furnish an apartment at a ski area in Utah, a person close to Tyco's board said.

 

But Stanley S. Arkin, a lawyer for Mr. Belnick, said Mr. Belnick had been

fired after losing a power struggle with Joshua S. Berman, a Tyco vice president and director, and David Boies, a lawyer who was hired in April to represent Tyco's governance committee. Mr. Belnick has done nothing wrong and is cooperating with the Manhattan district attorney's criminal investigation of Tyco, Mr. Arkin said.

 

Mr. Belnick's dismissal is another blow for Tyco, whose stock has plunged this year amid investor jitters about its accounting practices, management credibility and $24 billion in debt. Last Monday, L. Dennis Kozlowski resigned as chairman and chief executive, one day before being indicted on charges of evading more than $1 million in New York State sales taxes. Tyco has not named a successor to Mr. Kozlowski, who pleaded not guilty to the charges.

 

Shares of Tyco rose $1.30 yesterday, or over 12 percent, to $11.40. But the stock has fallen 81 percent this year, costing investors $95 billion.

 

Mr. Belnick is highly regarded in New York's legal community and 15 years ago served as a senior lawyer for the Senate committee that investigated the Iran-contra scandal. He was deeply shaken by his firing, according to people who know him. Mr. Arkin declined to make Mr. Belnick available for comment.

 

An investigator in the district attorney's office said yesterday that Mr. Belnick was not a target of the criminal inquiry, which grew out of a narrower investigation into Mr. Kozlowski's suspected tax evasion. "There are a lot of people with a lot of different motives" for Mr. Belnick's firing, this investigator said.

 

The battle between Mr. Belnick and Tyco has engulfed several well-known lawyers, including Mr. Boies, who represented the government in its attempt to break up Microsoft, and William McLucas, the former enforcement director of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

 

Mr. McLucas and Lewis Liman, a former deputy chief in the United States attorney's office in Manhattan, are partners at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, which has represented Tyco in the past. It was most recently retained by Mr. Belnick after Tyco was told that prosecutors were investigating Mr. Kozlowski.

 

But over the last 10 days, as both Tyco's internal inquiry and the criminal investigation have widened, Mr. Boies and Wilmer, Cutler have jockeyed for control over the investigation. Now, with the firing of Mr. Belnick, Mr. Boies seems to be firmly in charge, with the approval of Tyco's board.

 

Mr. McLucas and Mr. Liman both declined to comment yesterday. Mr. Boies said: "I have known Mr. Belnick for 20 years, and I have always had a good regard for him, and I had entirely expected he would give me his full cooperation. Unfortunately, he did not. He will have to explain the reason."

 

Tyco said in a two-sentence statement yesterday that it had replaced Mr. Belnick with Irving Gutin, a senior vice president for mergers and acquisitions and the general counsel from 1981 to 1986. Later, the company said it "is determined to have a fair and complete investigation of any allegations of improper conduct by any of its personnel."

 

Tyco said it had "lost confidence in Mr. Belnick's willingness and ability to conduct a fair and complete investigation, in part because of his unwillingness to cooperate in the investigation of himself."

 

A person close to Tyco's board said Mr. Belnick had refused to allow Mr. Boies's firm, Boies, Schiller & Flexner, to work with Wilmer, Cutler on interviewing employees or reviewing documents. John Fort, Tyco's lead outside director, told Mr. Belnick several times last week that he needed to be more cooperative, this person said.

 

But on Sunday, Mr. Belnick reneged on an agreement he had made to allow Mr. Boies's firm greater freedom to investigate. Tyco's board was informed of Mr. Belnick's action and voted unanimously to fire him, this person said.

 

"This was not anything that Josh Berman was leading," this person said. "Mark was ill advised not to cooperate with the investigation."

 

In a telephone interview from Italy, Mr. Arkin disputed that account. He said Mr. Belnick was dismissed at the behest of Mr. Berman, who has been a Tyco director for 35 years, and Mr. Boies.

 

Mr. Berman and Mr. Belnick have clashed ever since Tyco hired Mr. Belnick in 1998, Mr. Arkin said. Mr. Berman objected when Mr. Belnick moved Tyco's legal work away from Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, a New York law firm where Mr. Berman worked, he said.

 

"There's been a lot of kind of nasty warfare going on here," Mr. Arkin said.

 

Paul S. Pearlman, managing partner of Kramer Levin, said that Mr. Berman had worked part time for the firm from 1985 to 2000, a period when he also worked for Tyco. Mr. Pearlman said that Mr. Berman no longer worked for Kramer Levin and did not receive any compensation from Kramer Levin related to fees the firm was paid by Tyco. Mr. Pearlman did not respond to questions about whether Mr. Berman had ever had his pay tied to the amount of work Kramer Levin did for Tyco.

 

Several lawyers involved in the investigation said that Mr. Berman had used Tyco's corporate offices in Florida or New Hampshire as his personal address, which would have allowed him to avoid New York State income taxes. Neither Florida nor New Hampshire have state taxes.

 

Mr. Berman did not return a call for comment, and the investigator said prosecutors had not examined that allegation. According to public records, he has a New York State driver's license that lists his address as Kramer Levin's headquarters in Manhattan. He also has an address at Tyco's offices in Boca Raton, Fla.

________________________________________________________________

 

Changes will consolidate responsibility, Amtrak president says

      

By Laurence Arnold

ASSOCIATED PRESS

 

WASHINGTON – Amtrak's governing board has approved a reorganization plan that will consolidate authority and get rid of unnecessary oversight, the railway's new president said Monday.

 

In a special advisory to workers, David Gunn said changes approved by Amtrak's board will "streamline decision-making and clearly assign authority and responsibility."

 

For example, Gunn said 16 different people currently share some responsibility for cars and locomotives, including five senior vice presidents, two vice presidents and three regional vice presidents.

 

In the new chain of command, that responsibility will be divided among five people.

 

Gunn also plans to slash the number of "vice president" titles from 84 to about 20, a step likely to lead to a reduction in personnel, Amtrak spokesman Bill Schulz said. He said there are no details yet on possible staff cuts, however.

 

Gunn also will consolidate Amtrak's three railroad operating divisions – Intercity, Northeast Corridor and Amtrak West, which now are distinct business units – and its mail and express business into company headquarters in Washington. Until now, the individual units could make their own decisions on budget priorities and day-to-day operations.

 

Existing division offices in Chicago, Philadelphia and Oakland, Calif., will remain open, but only to handle local operations, not to make policy decisions.

 

It is the second major restructuring effort in less than a year. Gunn's predecessor, George Warrington, last July announced Amtrak would offer early retirement incentives and seek ways to cut costs and eliminate "overlapping operations."

 

Amtrak also eliminated 1,000 of the company's 24,600 jobs earlier this year.

 

"I know most of you have been through a lot recently, but I firmly believe what we are doing will make sense and will undo some well- intended but unsuccessful organizational experiments," Gunn wrote.

 

"Furthermore, most of you knew I would make changes, so let's get it over with quickly and get on with rebuilding Amtrak."

 

Gunn added a dig at Amtrak's practice in recent years of hiring outsiders to study what improvements to make. "Unfortunately, I did not have time to hire consultants to tell us what to do," he wrote, "so we are doing this on our own."

 

Gunn warned last week that Amtrak will have to shut down all service in July unless it obtains a $200 million loan to cover a budget shortfall. In his memo Monday, he said the railroad still is seeking the loan and will keep employees updated on its progress.

 

Ross Capon, executive director of the National Association of Railroad Passengers, an advocacy group, said Gunn appears intent on improving the speed and quality of decision-making.

 

"It's a management style that sends a message to people in the company, as well as people on Capitol Hill, that life is not all about titles. Life is about getting things done," Capon said.

 

 

 

######### ############################################ 

 

eLessors Leasing Company White Pages

 

Over 150 Equipment Leasing & Financial Technology Professionals Register

For The Lessors Network White Pages In First 48 Hours!

 

Since last Friday's announcement launching the White Pages (similar to a

comprehensive online telephone book), 171 industry professionals serving

the equipment leasing and financial technology markets have registered

their contact data (office phone numbers, cell phone numbers, email

addresses, etc.) in the White Pages, making it easier for customers and

business associates to find them online.

 

Are you still unlisted?

 

See Who Is Listed, Click The White Pages from http://www.lessors.com

 

########## ######################################

 

OneWorld Leasing Launched as Leasing Cooperative—up-date

 

American Leasing Alliance and MainStreet Cooperative Group announced plans

to launch a nationwide cooperative owned by independent equipment lease

financing companies.

 

The cooperative, OneWorld Leasing, Inc., will serve as a marketing and loan syndication company for small- and medium-sized companies in the industry. The cooperative expects to have 7 founding members and plans to have 77 member businesses with an aggregate lease loan value of $770 million USD by the end of 2004.

 

David Stearns, CEO of American Leasing, says, "OneWorld Leasing will become

a true leverage play for the smaller leasing company concerned about

industry consolidation, super brokers, better lease-loan rates and a level

playing field.

 

Unlike lease consolidation plays, the members will own this,

yet continue to be independent." Stearns will initially serve as incoming

Chairman of the OneWorld Leasing board.

 

MainStreet's Richard Selby will serve as interim CEO during the cooperative

formation period. Six to nine months after launch, a leasing industry

veteran will be identified to lead OneWorld.

 

  The Latest from Richard Selby, One World Leasing

 

No time here for a press release, but I promised you and the leasing community an up-date. Here it is:

 

  a.. Founders' Meeting: Tuesday June 18th from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm at 2208 4th Street, Suite 203, White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

  b.. Six member businesses are on board. Many more are in a final decision-making stage. We will make an announcement about who after the meeting.

  c.. 10 funders have been in contact with us.  Two larger U.S. banks are very open to the concept. 

  d.. Brokers have been somewhat skeptical but I can 100% confirm that funders ARE willing to talk about the concept and ARE open to offering discounts on costs of funds for a cooperative who is a partner.

  e.. Our offer to a preferred funder (our co-op mantra): INTEGRITY, QUALITY and VOLUME!!!

  f.. OWL should be ready to roll out a "smoking deal" with an express mail company at the meeting.

  g.. OWL CEO Richard Selby will be on an 11-day road trip in Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri from June 13th to 24th. Brokers or funders are encouraged to call him on his cell if they want to meet at: 480 203 8350. However, the schedule is starting to fill in.

  h.. www.oneworldleasing.com should be up and running by June 30th.

 

All the best to you, Kit! You are doing a great service to this industry for very little in return. Never forget it!!

 

Strength in Numbers!

 

Rich

 

Richard Selby

OneWorld Leasing

1553 W. Todd Dr., Suite 110

Tempe, Arizona 85283

tel. (480) 831-6118 ext. 40

E-mail: rselby@mainstreet.coop

URL: www.mainstreet.coop

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

Venture capitalists sustained 27.8 percent loss during 2001

 

MICHAEL LIEDTKE, AP Business Writer

 

After escaping serious damage in the early stages of the high-tech wreck, venture capitalists suffered even deeper financial wounds than stock market investors last year.

 

Venture capital funds plunged by an average of 27.8 percent in 2001, a gruesome about-face from the prior year when the average fund gained 28.6 percent, according to statistics complied by Thomson Financial/Venture Economics for the National Venture Capital Association, an industry trade group, and released Monday.

 

It marked the industry's first calendar-year loss since the trade group began tracking fund returns in 1980. Before 2001, venture capitalists' worst single-year performance came in 1984 when the average fund inched up by 1.3 percent.

 

The venture capital community's setback was even more severe than the Nasdaq composite index, the most popular benchmark for measuring the performance of publicly held tech stocks. The Nasdaq index fell by 21 percent during 2001, coming off a 39 percent loss in 2000.

 

The Nasdaq's prolonged funk has contributed to the dramatic deterioration in venture capital portfolios.

 

With the stock market discounting the shares of technology industry giants such as Cisco Systems and Sun Microsystems, venture capitalists are being forced to face up to the grim conditions and mark down the value of their holdings in industry startups.

 

Some venture capitalists say they already have made most, if not all, of the painful adjustments to their portfolios. Many other venture capitalists, though, still haven't fully recognized their losses on their books, something they likely will have to do soon unless the industry stages a surprising turnaround.

 

That means venture capitalists likely will be showing losses through at least the end of next year and maybe even beyond, according to industry analysts and professionals.

 

"The next two to four years are going to be tough sledding," said San Francisco venture capitalist Chip Adams, a principal at Rosewood Capital.

 

Last year ended with the industry's fifth consecutive quarterly loss, dating back to late 2000.

 

The average decline of 3.9 percent during the final three months of 2001 marked an improvement from a third quarter loss of 10 percent, but "that should not be seen as a sign of recovery," warned Jeanne Metzger, a spokeswoman for the industry trade group. "We are not out of the woods yet."

 

The recent losses represent a sobering comedown for venture capitalists after registering a mind-boggling 167 percent gain in 1999, near the height of the dot-com boom. By comparison, the Nasdaq index surged by 86 percent in 1999.

 

With the losses from the dot-com bust now piling up, some institutional investors want to cash out of struggling venture capital funds. But most venture capitalists say their investors are sitting tight and betting that the funds will deliver better long-term returns than the stock or bond markets.

 

Despite the deep losses of 2001, venture capital funds posted an average gain of 49.3 percent over the past three years and an average increase of 35.9 percent over the past five years, according to Venture Economics.

 

"Most institutional investors are used to weathering a storm like this," said Philip Sanderson, general partner of WaldenVC. "If you think in terms of 'buy low, sell high,' there has never been a better time to be investing venture capital."

 

 

 

On The Net:

 

www.ventureeconomics.com

 

National Venture Capital Association:

www.nvca.org

________________________________________________________________________

 

(good lease prospects)

 

New study says nonprofit arts groups generate $134 billion annually

 

By Katherine Roth, Associated Press,

 

NEW YORK (AP) Nonprofit arts groups across the country generate more economic activity and tax revenues than previously thought, according to a comprehensive new study.

 

The study, released Monday, was based on surveys of 3,000 nonprofit arts organizations and 40,000 attendees at arts events in 91 cities and 33 states, plus the District of Columbia. It found that the nation's nonprofit arts industry produces $134 billion in economic activity annually.

 

''When communities invest in the arts, there is a tendency to think that they are opting for cultural benefits at the expense of economic benefits,'' said Robert Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, the group that funded the study.

 

''When we say the arts mean business, that's not just a slogan; it's the truth,'' he said.

 

The study comes at a crucial time for nonprofit cultural organizations, some of which are hurting because of tough budget cuts; cash-strapped local and state governments have cut back on their contributions to the arts and poor stock market performance has prompted some private and corporate funders to decrease their donations to the arts.

 

Edward Able, president and CEO of the American Association of Museums, said museum officials nationwide are reporting hiring freezes, layoffs and program cuts.

 

Randy Cohen, vice president of research and information at Americans for the Arts, said, ''California, New York, Colorado and other states are looking at cuts of as much as 40 to 50 percent for 2003. This report sends a message that that is an illogical step to take a time when the state needs revenue most.''

 

The report said that arts groups generate 4.85 million full-time jobs and $89.4 billion in household income, along with tax revenues totaling $6.6 billion for local governments, $7.3 billion for state governments and $10.5 billion for the federal government.

 

The $134 billion includes $53.2 spending by arts organizations and $80.8 spending by arts audiences, according to the report, ''Arts & Economic Prosperity: The Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts Organizations and Their Audiences.''

 

Findings of the study show a 45 percent increase in spending by arts groups since 1992, when Americans for the Arts conducted its last survey on the subject.

 

Cohen said the increase, which works out to about 5 percent a year, was in response to increased demand by audiences.

 

He cited a national survey conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts that showed an increase in the percentage of adults that attend at least one live arts event per year. In 1992, adult attendance was 41 percent and in 1997 it had increased to 50 percent, he said.

 

A breakdown of the $80.8 billion in spending by arts audiences confirms what some institutions have long suspected: Visitors from out of town spend much more than locals.

 

The total reflects an average of $22.87 per person per event besides admission charges in spending for hotels, restaurants, parking, souvenirs and refreshments. It showed that out-of-towners spend an average of $38.05 compared with $21.75 by locals.

 

The study was conducted in 2000 and 2001 in communities ranging in population from 4,000 to 3 million. Nonprofit arts groups surveyed included those involved in music, dance and opera, as well as museums and other types of arts organizations.

 

Local arts agencies, both public and private, served as local research partners. Project economists, from the Georgia Institute of Technology, customized analysis models for each of the 91 communities.

 

Americans for the Arts is a nonprofit group based in New York and Washington that conducts research on the arts industry with the goal of advancing the arts in the United States.

 

On the Net:

 

http://www.AmericansForTheArts.org

 

_________________________________________________________________

 

December Issue about Commercial Money Center

 

http://www.landlinemag.com

The Official Publication
of the Owner-Operator
Independent Drivers
Association

 

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA)

Easy money?
by Rene Tankersley, feature editor

They are a new breed of loan sharks and they are helping themselves to thousands of dollars from owner-operators seeking easy money through alternative financing or special lease programs. In reality, these advance-fee finance companies are the ones getting the easy money.

OOIDA Business Services department recently received complaints from owner-operators who reportedly lost money to Growth 1 Funding Corporation in Santa Ana, CA, for promised equipment leasing and financing services. On the surface, Growth 1 looks legitimate with its professional-looking web site, but the Better Business Bureau (BBB) of the Southland in Colton, CA, rates Growth 1 as having an “unsatisfactory business performance record.”

The BBB report on the company further states: “Complaints contain a pattern of allegations that the company made promises of obtaining financing with specific terms. When the company failed to obtain the financing at rates originally quoted or provide promised terms, customers requested refunds of the deposit amounts. The company responded by generally denying requests, referring to the terms and conditions of the commitment fee, or that a portion of the deposit amount was kept due to expenses incurred by the company attempting to obtain the financing.”

OOIDA members Johnnie Banner, Lawrence McCafferty and Steven Long all reported similar experiences with Growth 1.

An unsuspecting equipment dealer in Tampa, FL, referred Banner, of Auburndale, FL, to Growth 1 in July 2001 to obtain financing for a 2000 Kenworth W-900L (total cost $85,547.99) to be purchased from the dealer. Per written instructions by Growth 1, Banner signed a preliminary lease agreement for the promised financing and paid documentation fees and two lease payments totaling $5,510.77. After wire transferring the money from Banner’s checking account, Growth 1 did not provide the promised financing. Banner, his attorney and the equipment dealer have all contacted Growth 1 several times by phone and letters trying to get a refund for Banner. All they received was empty promises of “we will look into it.”

On Nov. 5, Roxanna Munoz, senior underwriter for Growth 1, told Land Line the company owes Banner a refund.

“I did find out that definitely this customer is owed a refund, there is no argument on that,” Munoz said. “Unfortunately, right now we’re just not allowed to cut out any checks at this moment due to a freeze that has been put in our company with our account due to an internal bank auditing that’s going on. We’re just looking at about another couple of days from now, it could be any day now that I have word that we have clearance and we can go ahead and start the accounting department back up to go ahead and do what they’ve got to do. I have your information here as to give you a concrete date of when Mr. Johnnie Banner should be getting his check.”

McCafferty of Fernley, NV, says he’s heard this and several other promises from Munoz regarding the $1,653.73 he gave the company in June for an equipment lease that never materialized. His introduction to Growth 1 also came through a nearby unsuspecting truck dealer.

Long, of Palm Bay, FL, had a similar experience in July when he tried to purchase a drop trailer from a Kansas City, MO, equipment dealer, who referred him to Growth 1. Like the others, he signed a preliminary lease agreement and paid $200 in documentation fees and two lease payments of $610 each, totaling $1,420. As with Banner and McCafferty, the lease went nowhere.

Growth 1 has refunded $1,000 to Long, who still believes the company owes him $420 plus the other related expenses. Growth 1 isn’t the only finance company causing problems for OOIDA members. Two other California companies — Funder Direct and Commercial Money Center Inc. — have been the subjects of complaints by OOIDA members Lonnie Byers of Ozark, AR, and Darren Purrier of Las Vegas. Byers gave Funder Direct out of San Diego, $1,353.32 in May to lease a trailer that never was delivered.

Darren Purrier purchased a new truck through a dealer on Commercial Money Center’s lease program. Because he knew he had credit problems, Purrier says he expected the high payments and a higher interest rate, but not 48.672 percent interest. Because the interest rate was never stated in the lease agreement, Purrier did not realize how much interest he was paying until his accountant reviewed his records at tax time. He’s talked to a couple of people about refinancing the truck at a lower interest rate, but the lease agreement requires any early pay-off to include all the interest for the entire lease.

Funder Direct and Commercial Money Center have something in common. Although Funder Direct is using an address in San Diego, the California Secretary of State’s corporation filings list the company address as 221 West Crest in Escondido, CA, the same address used by Commercial Money Center.

Avoid ‘easy money’ scams
The Federal Trade Commission offers a few tips to avoid getting scammed by advance-fee loan companies:

  • Legitimate lenders never “guarantee” or say you are likely to get a loan or a credit card before you apply, especially if you have bad credit, no credit or a bankruptcy.
  • Legitimate lenders never ask you to pay for processing your application.
  • Never give your credit card account number, bank account information or Social Security number over the telephone or Internet unless you are familiar with the company and know why the information is needed.
  • If you don’t have the offer in hand — or confirmed in writing — and you’re asked to pay, don’t do it. It’s fraud and it’s against the law.

Now what?
If you have been victimized by an advance-fee loan company, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, as well as the attorney generals and Better Business Bureau in your state and the state where the business is located.

To file a complaint with the FTC, call the Consumer Response Center toll free at 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357); by mail at Consumer Response Center, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC, 20580, or though the Internet using the online complaint form at www.ftc.gov. Although these agencies may not resolve individual problems for consumers, they can act against a company if it sees a pattern of possible law violations. They can’t help if you don’t report it.

If you have been the victim of one of these California companies, you may file complaints with the California Attorney General’s Public Integrity Unit by calling the Consumer Complaint Hotline at 1-800-952-5225, or writing the California Department of Justice, Public Inquiry Unit, PO Box 944255, Sacramento, CA 94244-2550.


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