Even Ferris Bueller’s Gullible Mom Wouldn’t Believe The $6 Million Bid For The Packard Plant Is Serious But Wayne County Deputy Treasurer David Szymanski Does
“Wake up and smell the coffee, Mrs. Bueller. It’s a fool’s paradise. He is just leading you down the primrose path.” -Edward R. Rooney, Dean of Students, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Saturday night I posted a blog that questioned the legitimacy of this $6 million bid by a suburban Houston Doctor for abandoned Packard Auto Plant in Detroit. After all, who in their right mind would pay $6 million for a property that needs $25 million in environmental cleanup and is only worth maybe $1.25 million when cleared and detoxified.
The doctor who placed the top bid, Doctor Jill Van Horn and her husband George, a restorer of classic cars issued a press release through their spokesperson, Davis J. Marshall, claimed they were going to transform the area and create thousands of jobs.
According to Marshall’s amateurish press release which sounds like a sales pitch from the Pretzel Wagon guy from the Simpsons, the Van Horns and their partners are from Detroit, Wall Street and unspecified international firms. They plan on renovating the Packard site into a new economic center on the east side of Detroit that will build modular homes and building supplies for modular homes on site and to be shipped around the world. The press release claims that an unnamed “Analyst” believes that the project will need 6000 trained employees.
On Friday night, I was skeptical about this bid being legitimate, now I’m convinced the Van Horn’s bid is smoke from crazy people. Let’s look at the red flags that the Katie Bueller of Detroit, Wayne County Deputy Treasurer David Szymanski seems to be blinded to.
The Van Horns paid $6 million for a piece property that is worth $1.25 million after it receives $25 million in demolition and environmental cleanup. This alone should have triggered childhood flashbacks in David Szymanski’s head of the robot from Lost In Space warning Will Robinson of Danger.
It appears the Van Horns have little, if any, experience in real estate development. JC Riendl of the Detroit Free Press already points out flaws in their sales pitch,
“Several experts in the modular home industry contacted by the Free Press were skeptical of the Packard plant redevelopment venture and its “export-oriented” business model. Production faculties for modular homes are generally built close to their destination markets, the experts said, as the plants themselves are inexpensive to build and transporting large modular components over big distances is pricey.”
Then you have an amateurish press release from a spokesperson with obviously no experience in public relations or dealing with the media. For someone claiming to represent a group of experienced international investors, you would think they would have enough common sense to hire a public relations company or at minimum pay $500 to a service like Warren Buffet’s BusinessWire or NASDAQ-OMX’s Global Newswire to make you look like a serious contender.
Court records from South Carolina indicate the Van Horn’s spokesperson, Davis Marshall had a bench warrant issued against him for check fraud in 2005 and one of his properties in Charleston, South Carolina has been in and out of foreclosure multiple times in the past decade. According to Charleston County, Davis currently has a foreclosure action pending against him on that same property by JPMorgan-Chase.
The pièce de résistance that shows the Van Horn’s bid is lacks any credibility is by Jill Van Horn’s own admission she and her investors were having issues coming up with the $6 million by yesterday’s 5pm deadline. Christine McDonald of the Detroit News on Monday wrote,
“Van Horn and two other representatives spoke with Wayne County Chief Deputy David Treasurer Szymanski by phone for about 10 minutes Monday afternoon about working out when she’ll deliver the $6 million. Szymanski said Van Horn indicated she has a significant portion of the money now but needs a few days to get the entire amount.”
Wayne County Deputy Treasurer David Szymanski agreed to give them an extension until the end of the week to put the payment together because as he told Christine McDonald, “It certainly sounds like they are sincere and will have the ability to perform,”
This is starting to sound like a group of noveau-riche amateur investors with more money than common sense. Florida is filled with people like this who think that because they watched 3 episodes of The Apprentice, they can now play Donald Trump.
David Szymanski has a penchant for believing the bullshit from out-of-towners. Last year, when Detroit Cancer Mom, Kelly Parker and I were trying save her home from tax foreclosure, Wayne County Deputy Treasurer David Szymanski initially refused to help her by telling me, “It’s not my problem, she’s dying of cancer. She should have paid her taxes.”
We later found out that David Szymanski initially refused to deal with us because he fell for some bullshit an unemployed California real estate blogger was telling him of promises of $10-$15,000 from his friend, Oprah Winfrey to save Kelly Parker’s house.
Wayne County Deputy Treasurer David Szymanski finally worked with us after we were able to convince him that Oprah wasn’t going to show up at his office with an over sized novelty check and balloons like Ed McMahon and the Publishers Clearinghouse Prize Patrol. That and the fact that nearly 1500 people from Wayne County from around the globe called David Szymanski and his boss, Wayne County Treasurer, Raymond Wojtowicz demanding they help Kelly Parker.
Are people in Detroit and Wayne County Deputy Treasurer David Szymanski so desperate for someone to answer their prayers for a miracle that they will believe anyone with claims of having deep pockets?