Wednesday, August 10, 2005
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Thank you Maria and Brian Wong for editing Leasing News while I was on vacation. Excellent job. I now feel more comfortable in taking some days off in the near future.
Kit Menkin, editor.
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From Leasing News Archives, August 10, 2000
SierraCities reports $7.7 million loss for second quarter. Stock 2 3/8
Fed Raises Rate again as expected
(for more details, please go to “News Briefs” below)
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.)
Jury Waiver Ruling in California
“The California Supreme Court ruled that predispute contractual jury waivers are unenforceable under California law. In this decision, Grafton Partners L.P. vs. Superior Court, 05 C.D.O.S.. 6887, the Court affirmed the lower court and held that in California, a jury trial could be waived only in accordance with the applicable statute ( Section 631 of the Code of Civil Procedure) and that the statute did not authorize a predispute contractual jury waiver. The Court acknowledged that this decision was contrary to the rule in many other jurisdictions which do permit such waivers, but stated that this was an argument to be directed to the legislature.
“Unless the California legislature takes action to allow contractual jury waivers (as urged by the concurring opinion), it appears that contractual jury waivers will be unenforceable in a California court and it may be advisable to consider alternatives such as arbitration clauses which are enforceable in California.”
“This decision may impact your California transactions and documents. “
Barry A. Dubin, Esq.
FTC Judgment NorVergence Correction
A drafting error in the original proposed order. The correction has
National Account Manager
Equipment Leasing Association Annual Survey Shows Leasing Remains Popular Growth in New Business Volume, Profitability Remains Strong
Arlington, Virginia—The Equipment Leasing Association's (ELA) 2005 Survey of Industry Activity (SIA) report results, released today, reveal that leasing remains a prevalent financing vehicle for businesses acquiring equipment. Survey results show new business volume in 2004 was over $105.2 billion, which is an increase of 11.7 percent over 2003 findings - an important measure of leasing's growth. Leasing industry member respondents also report that profitability remains strong as seen by an average return on equity (ROE) and return on assets (ROA), of 13.3 percent and 1.7 percent respectively. ROE declined slightly compared to 2003 but remained above 2002 levels.
“The annual survey shows that companies are using leasing as much as ever,” said ELA president Michael Fleming. “Lessors continue to do well, because business leaders see the value and flexibility of leasing over other methods of financing equipment and are utilizing all that leasing companies have to offer.”
Fleming added, “More smaller businesses seem to be making leasing part of their equipment financing strategies, as well. The study shows that, while larger members still dominate the market, smaller leasing companies specializing in micro-ticket transactions experienced the strongest growth.”
Other 2005 key SIA findings show how lessors continue to offer value to the business community:
Strong Credit Management. 98.1 percent of average receivables were current (less than 30 days past due) – a good increase over last year's 96.4 percent figure; of the total receivables, 0.8 percent were more than 90 days past due, a decrease over last year's 1.6 percent.
Performance. Lessors report that their average charge-off was 1.5 percent in 2004, a slight increase over 2003 when charge-offs were 1.3 percent.
Jobs Creation. The total number of full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) was reported as 21,804 by respondents; this is a slight increase of 0.4 percent from last year's employee total being 21, 711.
Growth Industries. From the equipment perspective, there was a strong up tick in construction and truck transportation.
Profitability. Pre-tax yield increased very slightly to 6.8 percent in 2004. At the same time, the cost of funds grew to 3.03 percent.
Use of Technology. 16.6 percent of new business volume was booked online in 2004, an increase from 13.4 percent in 2003 for the same group of respondents.
A separate annual study* produced by Global Insight further affirms leasing's impact on the economy and jobs. That study showed that, over the 1997-2004 period, equipment leasing:
Produced between $75 billion and $290 billion additional real GDP.
Produced between $200 billion and $225 billion additional real equipment investment. Created between 3 million and 6 million additional jobs.
About the 2005 Survey of Industry Activity
The ELA 2005 Survey of Industry Activity results were compiled from surveys sent to ELA members, of which 130 companies submitted data for the survey. 79.9 percent of the 2005 respondents also submitted a response to the 2004 survey, showing an increase in participation. And, all of the largest 10 U.S. leasing and finance organizations that are members of ELA participated in the Survey. Total survey respondents, in the aggregate have 85 to 90 percent of marketshare. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP managed the 2005 Survey for the ELA, ensuring confidentiality, integrity and quality of the submitted data and results.
Equipment types financed by leasing, as explored in the survey, include agriculture, aircraft, construction, computers, telecommunications, railroad, printing, medical, industrial, trucks and trailers and more.
Type of financing offered by the leasing companies include tax-oriented finance leasing, short-term operating leases, leveraged leases, conditional sales agreements, off-balance sheet loans and tax-exempt leasing.
Leasing industry members and other interested parties may obtain a full copy of the ELA Survey of Industry Activity, Equipment Leasing and Finance Organizations, 2005, through the ELA online store at www.ELAOnline.com/store.
Members of the accredited media may obtain a full copy of the ELA Survey by contacting Suzanne Jackson at 434-972-7278 or sj@FourLeafPR.com.
In addition to the SIA, ELA provides a variety of data, including customized market analyses, to ELA members and organizations involved in the forecasted $248 billion equipment leasing industry. To access this and other industry information, visit the ELA website at http://www.elaonline.com/IndustryData/ or contact Dean Frutiger at (703) 516-8380.
For more information on ELA visit http://www.ELAOnline.com. For more information on leasing, check out ELA's informational portal for financial decision-makers at http://www.ChooseLeasing.org, which hosts a directory of leasing companies, a list of 10 questions to ask before signing a lease, a glossary of terms and more.
*The Economic Contribution of the Equipment Leasing Industry to the U.S. Economy, produced by Global Insight.
Organized in 1961, the Equipment Leasing Association (ELA) is the premier non-profit association representing companies involved in the dynamic equipment leasing and finance industry to the business community, government and media. As the voice of the leasing industry, ELA promotes the forecasted $248 billion industry as a major source of funds for capital investment in the United States and abroad. Headquartered in Arlington, Va., ELA has more than 750 member companies and a staff of 25 professionals. For more information on ELA, please visit www.ELAOnline.com.
Leasing Institute of America Lowers Cost of Program
Sudhir Amembal, Chairman and CEO of Amembal & Associates, a pioneer of lease education and author or coauthor of 14 books specific to the leasing industry including the industry bestseller The Handbook of Equipment Leasing , announce the reduction in cost to their hugely successful Executive Lease Broker Training Program.
Due to the unprecedented successes of the first 14 months of the program and significant streamlining to the program, The Leasing Institute of America has lowered the cost of the program from $30,000 to $12,500. Mr. Amembal explained: “The significantly lower cost enables us to serve a larger number of those aspiring to become successful lease brokers”.
The program is more that just a “how-to” in leasing. LIA offers individuals state-of-the-art lease specific tools, funding source access, a weeks worth of intensive training, an additional three-month coaching program and a life time of mentoring. Mr. Lowder explained: “The main aim of this program is to inevitably trim several years off the start up time for a new brokerage”.
Mr. Amembal's pioneered techniques in lease education is the best foundation for anyone wishing to enter leasing. Designed for today's entrepreneur, the Executive Lease Broker Training Program fast tracks education and practical principles into a cutting edge comprehensive five-day intensive in class training.
For more information contact: Jason Smith, General Manager
Group Financial announces addition of Tara Kimmins
New York, NY, -- Group Financial Services, a leading originator of leases and loans in the Health Care Market, has announced the addition of Tara Kimmins to the health care sales team. As part of the addition, Group Financial will be opening a new regional office in Mission Viejo, CA.
Tara brings more than 7 years of direct health care leasing and financing experience to Group Financial Services, most recently as a sale person for HPSC. We are excited to have her on the team.
Greg Einhorn, Director of Sales of Group Financial Services related, “We are happy to announce the addition of Tara Kimmins. We are looking at strong growth to leverage our platform in 2005 and beyond. This is another positive step in our firm's expansion plan.”
About Group Financial Services
Group Financial Services is a Nationwide, 28-year-old business focused on providing leasing and financing products and services to the health care vendor and direct marketplace. The firm provides outsourced solutions as a captive finance arm for a variety of medical dealer associations and manufacturers as well as a strong direct presence in targeted markets. The firm has originated over $700 million in medical leases and loans and is targeted to fund in excess of $120 million this year. Group Financial Services has offices in Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, Orlando FL, Atlanta GA, South Carolina, Texas, New Jersey and now California.
For more information, contact Greg Einhorn at 1-800-336-8562 or
### Press Release ######################
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Today's Top Event in History
1945- Less than 24 hours after a meeting to discuss the acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration ended in stalemate, another gathering to discuss the surrender terms took place in Emperor Hirohito's bomb shelter. As on the previous day, the participants were stalemated. War General Anami continued to express the belief that “we may be able to reverse the situation in our favor, pulling victory out of defeat.” Hirohito came down on the side of Suzuki and Togo. He believed continuation of the war would only result in further loss of Japanese lives. A message was transmitted from Tokyo to Japanese ambassadors in Switzerland and Sweden to accept the terms issued at Potsdam on July 26., except that the prerogative of the Japanese emperor's sovereign rule must be maintained. The Allies devised a plan under which the emperor and the Japanese government would administer under the rule of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers and the Japanese surrendered.
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Like a 1400 on your SAT won't get you into Harvard
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Let me write one tremendously long line like the
Tim Peeler in “Waiting for Godot's