image: (click for an interesting article about fax scams)

This document fragment found itself to my office fax machine. At the top of the first page was a handwritten note …

This is much too pointed… could even be inflammatory! TONE IT DOWN, please … don’t  waste ‘straight-talk’ on this rubbery character. – M.K.

[fragment begins]

== D R A F T _ O N L Y = =

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your recent application for Association membership. The assessment panel was impressed with the length of your application and supporting documentation — although the character references you enclosed raised some concerns which I detail below.

The purpose of this letter is fourfold:
(a) to update you on the assessment process for Association membership;
(b) to outline issues raised by the material you submitted (and other information);
(c) to present questions arising; and
(d) to seek clarification/responses from you.

The panel requests further evidence regarding some of the claims you have made in your application.

1) Marketing claims to be an “Ethical Investment Strategist”
Members of the panel were concerned to know, in detail, what criteria you used to justify your new business ‘positioning statements’– specifically your claim to be an “Ethical Investment Strategist”.

As you may know, ‘ethical investment’ is the label applied to a well-established school of socially responsible capital investment practice focusing on environmentally sustainable business, or avoiding harmful or addictive products, viz…

“Ethical Investment/Socially Responsible Investment… an investment strategy which seeks to maximize both financial return and social good. In general, socially responsible investors favour corporate practices that promote environmental stewardship, consumer protection, human rights, and diversity.”

(a) The panel feels the your use of the phrase “Ethical Investment Strategist” to describe yourself risks confusion and may be questionable — like some of your earlier promotional references to being one of NZ’s ‘top investors’, being a ‘premier educator’, and moving overseas to ‘work for God’ and for ‘the poor’ by relocating to Fiji.

(b) The panel also notes your prior claims to hold ‘integrity’, ‘honesty’ and ‘win-win’ as guiding principles have been (at the very least) thrown into serious doubt by the troublesome revelation of your past hyperbolic marketing claims. Also, the ‘investment strategy’ promoted to your ‘students’ as part of your subdivision sales and re-sales, and the ‘Let’s Conquer Australia in 2008’ promotion raise questions about your basic qualifications to teach others investing strategy.

(c) Some members of the panel also raised your self-publicised confession “God told me to cover sin” as relevant to this “ethical” labelling issue.

Please respond in detail.

2) Regarding claims in your newly-released promotional device:

“FLASHNEWS: ‘XXXX XXXX is an educator, (sic) He does not sell property, Provide property or Find property”

and its attached marketing statement

“Now, in case you’re wondering, I am NOT the type of property educator who sells property, finds deals for you to invest in or earns commissions from your success. In fact, I guarantee that when you come along to my event I will not try to sell you any property.”

Given your prior demonstrated activities conducting each and every one of those practices listed (selling property, ‘finding’ deals, earning commissions and pitching property for sale at ‘education events’) in recent times, the panel is interested to know whether you intend these statements to be read as if actually true — in the strict meaning of these words.

If you say these denials are to be taken at face value (they could be interpreted that way by some readers), the panel requires your written assurance (an affidavit notarised before a solicitor of the High Court will suffice) that you have completely ceased your earlier well-established property sales, finding/trading and promotion operation and related businesses, examples including but not limited to:

(i) promoting and selling sections in your “good friend’s” rural subdivision for quick resale
(ii) leading buying tours to the Gold Coast for Azzura Pacific apartments (and others?) as part of your “Global Property Showcase”
(ii) selling (or re-selling) sections in Fijian subdivisions (Coral Lagoon etc)
(iv) “trading” properties to your clients, contact database of seminar participants, property investors association members and “mentoring students” using various less-than-straightforward methods (“property finding”, so-called ‘options’, assignment of contracts etc) about which one member of the panel has communicated to you before
(v) marketing commercial development storage units through radio, print and web advertising and running free “information” and “educational” evenings to sell these
(vi) sourcing and selling ‘investment property’ through your business partnerships
(vii) deriving income, presumedly, from your mortgage-broking business partnership and your frequent recommendation of this firm to your clients (without overt disclosure of your commercial interest).

3) Character references
As noted briefly above, the panel has concerns about the veracity and reliability of the character references and testimonials you enclosed with your application. For obvious reasons, the lengthy and glowing references from your many business partners were set aside, as was the handwritten note from your wife’s aunt, although the panel appreciated the tin of freshly-baked muffins. (You can collect the empty tin from the reception desk.)

In the interests of natural justice, I should inform you that information concerning your application was put before the panel by Ms Ash leChurch and separately by Ms Joanne Mae in their own (unsuccessful) applications for Association membership.

Although it is doubtful it was their intent, these applicants raised matters of significant concern about your suitability for acceptance into the Association. A partial copy of this material is enclosed for your comment. Please answer as fully as possible the 37 questions from the panel attached.

To be blunt, the panel feels there are several disquieting aspects of your business history, and your demonstrated track record as a commission real estate salesman while promoting yourself as offering ‘educational’ events and services.

You may say you have genuinely turned over a new leaf and that you will henceforth forego the various sales commissions and “trading” profits which have formerly provided, by your own admission, a large proportion of your personal income. That remains to be seen.

To approve your membership, the panel needs to be convinced there is little risk of liability to the Association in affixing what is effectively the Association’s “seal of approval” to your new …

[fragment ends]

I tried ringing the fax number printed on the top of the document. It rang for a long time with no answer but finally a female voice answered and said, “National Association for People Taking Themselves Seriously. Can I help you?” – P