Gordon R. Roberts Convicted of Theft
by Christopher Menkin
Yes, Gordon R. Roberts, the 1993 president of the United Association of Equipment Leasing, was convicted of theft for basically stealing money while he was president of Centerpoint Financial in Denver, Colorado.
Roberts is very active in several leasing associations, very well known, and currently is a board member of the Eastern Association of Equipment Lessors.
“Mr. Roberts was found guilty at trial of "theft - more than $15,000" which is a class 3 felony.
“Roberts was manager of Centerpoint Financial Services from January 97 to April 2003. He was charged with theft because in June 2002 he used Centerpoint money to pay $12,000 on his truck loan, in August 2002 he use $68,000 of Centerpoint money to pay off his home mortgage, in September of 2002 he took $3500 of Centerpoint money and gave it to his wife via by writing a check to her leasing company, and in February of 2003 he put $50,000 of Centerpoint's money in a bank account of his. The DA has reserved the right to ask for additional restitution once we have documentation and I believe the restitution amount will go up from the number you have.”
Court Record Conviction:
“08/02/2005 Sentence Resulting fm Plea Active
Judge/Magistrate: CHRISTINA MARIE HABAS
Probation: 4 YEAR(S)
from the court transcript:
According to the Western Association of Equipment Leasing Newsline, Winter, 1993, edition: “ WAEL's 1993 President Gordon Roberts has over 15 years' equipment leasing experience, primarily focusing on sales, marketing, credit, collections, and operations. The first 12 years of his career were spent handling marketing for Burroughs Corp. From there, he began his leasing career as a salesman for Colonial Pacific Leasing in 1978. In 1981, he became a partner in DSI Leasing and then with his wife, Pat, started his own business, M&R Leasing, Inc. in 1983. Today, Pat has taken over as president of M&R Leasing, Inc. while Gordon works as vice president of First Concord Acceptance.”
1993 Western Association of Equipment Leasing Executive Committee
From left to right: (Sitting) WAEL Secretary/Treasurer Jim Merrilees, president, Colonial Pacific Leasing, Tualatin, Oregon; WAEL Vice-President Peter Eaton, CLP, regional vice-president M & I First National Leasing Corp., Palo Alto; WAEL President Gordon Roberts, vice-president, First Concord Acceptance Corp., Denver, Colorado; and WAEL Past President Hal T. Horowitz, CLP; principal/owner, Certified Lease Consultants, Woodland Hills, California.
WAEL Newsline, winter, 1993
Centerpoint was financed by John Otto of Heritage Leasing fame. It started in 1997, working exclusively with leasing brokers, and in its “hay day” had up to 25 employees. Sandi Gibson was listed as director of Leasing Broker Relations, and Mark Speros was director of sales. Chuck Brazier took over these responsibilities.
From a biography of Randy Schiell, CLP, which gives more of a biography of the evolution of the company:
”Randy is the chief operating officer for Centerpoint Leasing, Denver, Colorado. He founded the company along with Gordon Roberts, who is the chief executive officer. He has over twenty-five years in experience in the financing and lending business. Since 1979, he has been working in the leasing industry exclusively, with the majority of that time spent in the small ticket leasing field. His background has included credit analysis, collection, computer operations, finance and accounting experience. Prior to Centerpoint Financial Services LLC, he worked for over six years at First Concord Acceptance, with Gordon Roberts and most of the current CPFS staff. Prior to First Concord, he was at First Centennial Leasing, where he and Mr. Roberts first began their association.
(The above comes from a biography of Randy Schiell, who was a winner of the Joke of the Month contest at American Leasing, December, 2001.)
This is a story we have been holding since Chuck Brazier left, when he boldly tried to help brokers fund “approved” deals before he left, and financial officer Randy Schiell resigned a year earlier, as reportedly he would not lie to the bank and was allegedly instructed by the president and long time friend not to communicate with John Otto. There is more to the story, but we cannot print without more verification and no one is talking to Leasing News now about what happened.
It is allegedly well-known by industry insiders why Centerpoint folded, how the then owner John Otto tried to keep it afloat, and finally the Denver District Attorney got involved.
Former officer of the company, Randy Schiell, CLP, told Leasing News:
“All of the events that this matter relates to happened long after I resigned. I was shocked by the accusations, I saw most of the evidence, and I still have trouble believing it, although it is obvious that he did what he was accused of.”
John Otto, Gordon Roberts, Pat Roberts, or the current president of the Eastern Association of Equipment Lessors or United Association of Equipment Leasing would make no comment to Leasing News. It is something that it appears people want to sweep under the rug, especially since Gordon is one of the “good old boys.”
It was then that the bank reportedly found over a million dollars missing, many of it reportedly $4 million of poor leases to his wife's Pat Roberts' company, which he later joined, M&R Leasing. After keeping the company afloat, the discrepancies allegedly then went to money taken for house mortgage, personal credit card debt, and other money, which Gordon Roberts may have considered a loan as president, but was never authorized, approved or documented.
In addition, the covenants with the bank were reportedly manipulated, and may be the reason Randy Schiell, CLP, left and John Otto became more involved in the events. The owner of Centerpoint John Otto allegedly would have forgiven the debt, if Mr. Robert came forward, but he denied paying house payments with company money, or credit cards. It then boiled down to an arrest, a trial, and conviction. Mr. Otto was not available for a comment, as the above information came from a very well informed and reliable source close to Mr. Otto,located in California (not Randy Schiell.)
March 27, 2002 , Leasing News was hearing from brokers that trouble was brewing at Centerpoint. Here is a denial of what we were hearing:
“Not True,” says John Otto
Centerpoint Financial Services, LLC
1675 Larimer St., Suite 880 * Denver CO 80202 * Tel: (303) 615-5099 *
“ Not true” says John Otto, chairman of Heritage Leasing, major stockholder of Centerpoint Financial, LLC, and Pentech Financial, Campbell, California. “I am not pulling the plug on Centerpoint. It is true we hit a small bump in the road, but that is taken care of. “
The thirty year plus lease veteran with deep pockets confirmed the resignation of Randy Schiell, now former Chief Financial Office, while Otto was in the “far east” the last few weeks (also visiting Da Nang, where he was shot at 37 years ago.) He said he was glad things happened while he was away. He understood Randy Schiell had other opportunities.
Leasing News has been receiving rumors about Centerpoint for many months. We first learned that Randy Schiell wanted to resign in September, then the Terrorist hit the United States, and he decided to stay for many reasons.
It is obvious that John Otto put more money into the company, plus reassured lenders and other lines of credit he would stand behind the company, plus believed the leasing market was turning around.
“My confidence in Gordon Roberts as president has never changed or wavered, “he said. “ He and Chuck Brazier are doing the best they can in this economy.... We want to continue to do business with brokers.”
Gordon Roberts was at Colonial Pacific Leasing, as well as Chuck Brazier, who went to Florida, then joined Oren Hall at Heritage of Sacramento, whose company was “absorbed” by First Sierra/SierraCities. Both are past presidents of the United
Association of Equipment Leasing (Roberts 1993/Brazier 2001).
“Business is picking up in the entire leasing industry and 2002 will be a good year for all of us, “Gordon Roberts said. “There really is not much else to add, except that Randy Schiell has gone on to bigger and better things.”
June 5, 2002 ---The plug was pulled at Centerpoint, not accepting any new business.
June 27, 2002
“You can make all the assumptions you want, but just leave me out of this!” Gordon Roberts, president of Centerpoint exclaimed.” I have a business to run!”
That was exactly the question Leasing News was going to ask. “Is the company still operating?” We understand Chuck Brazier has not been on the “payroll,” but has been working at the behalf of John Otto. When we called the Denver office, we were told he was no longer there.
(Coda: There is no joy in reporting many stories, such as posting two friends to the Leasing News Complaint Bulletin Board; one has now died and the other and his leasing association don't communicate with me, to say the least, writing about Ken Duffy at Summit, who is a good friend and we used the software for years (we each have a son in the navy, although his really outranks mine quite a bit) or asking two Leasing News Advisors to leave for not appropriate actions, and resigning as a board member of a leasing association due to conflicts as a reporter, and now especially writing about Gordon and Pat Roberts.
( My first account representative at Colonial was Gordon. He talked us into joining WAEL that we had stayed out of, as one time we had a 80 members broker association on the West Coast, and then more involved. I was regional chairman for many years, then membership chairman for a few years, and when I became a director on the board, I tried very hard to have Pat nominated for president as she worked hard, ran conferences, and they both did a lot of work for the industry. I brokered to all of Gordon's companies and at conferences, Sue and I often sat with Gordon and Pat, the last time in San Francisco. ((Sue's last name is Robert so we had fun with Robert and Roberts.))
(Gordon was a grand gentleman and Pat always made us laugh, while Gordon was serious with association business. So to write this story really breaks my heart. As editor and writer, the readers expect Leasing News to report the news fairly, accurately and without bias. Sometimes it is much harder to do than other times. God bless both Gordon and Pat. Let us hope that all of us remain friendly, kind to each other, as certainly we all make mistakes, take a wrong turn now and then,and as all religion teaches us, we should forgive. Kit Menkin.)