Well, Speaking About Trader Russ . . .
I honestly don’t remember how I often got into the various situations I did. But I remember the players and the circumstances surrounding each transaction and whether they were successful or not. That being said, Ruth Givens called me one day about a small six – plex I had for sale. It was one of the ones left over from Russ’ properties.
The problem Ruth had was that she had no money. Well, she had money – quite a lot of it. The only problem was that it was tied up in a rather small hotel in Jamaica. She could sell that property there but couldn’t move the proceeds out of the country. Was there some way I could help her resolve the problem? Ho ho! Could I solve the problem?
“Hey Russ,” I said, “Wanna buy a small swanky hotel?”
“Sure,” he says, “where is it and what are the details?” I could feel his ears go up.
“Kingston Jamaica”, I said matter of factly.
There was a long silence on the phone. Finally there was an explosive “YEAH!” on the other end. “Give me the details.”
I did that, giving him pictures, financials and so on. By now he could hardly stop drooling. Well, let’s face it. Kingston was not a bad place to spend a holiday and it was a whole lot cheaper than renting a place there, especially if you were the landlord.
Now you have to remember that I wasn’t the only one Trader Russ was dealing with. He was busy trading this for that and that for the other thing etc. I don’t really know how he kept track of anything he owned. Suffice it to say he needed to get a few things through land titles and into his name to swing the deal in Kingston. I won’t even pretend to know all the things he was manipulating to get the job done, but a little over anxious, both parties proceeded with their respective offers. The only thing they didn’t count on was Land Titles. Oh, Land titles, that awkward government agency that records all these land transfers, sometimes at their own leisure. Any attempt to rush them for any reason causes them to pull up an impenetrable skin over their entire countenance that anyone just bounces off. Well, that’s what happened in this case. Russ was trying to get some of his purchases through land titles so they would show up in his name. He was racing against the clock to meet the time deadline for his new purchase in Kingston.
Well, it did come out of Land Titles – one day late, nullifying his assessment of value. So after all that, the deal collapsed. I don’t know what happened to Ruth after that, but I lost touch. As for Trader Russ, his optimism was infectious and we went on looking for other strange deals.