Judging by his latest informercial/newsletter, Property Guru/Property Genie Kieran Trass is not a happy camper … in fact he now says he ‘strongly regrets’ his involvement in a Spruiker Express-type seminar, presumably NZ Property Gurus which we discussed here earlier this year.

Guru come, Guru go ... how Kieran Trass's involvement with NZ Property Gurus was heralded at the time. Now, apparently, he's spoken out about what he calls 'lies', 'false pretences', 'deceptive methods', and predatory marketing behaviour ...

It’s an interesting read, as you’ll see. I’ve left this extensive quote out of blockquote to make it easier to read. My comments are in green.

The Truth Is Out… Don’t Throw Your Pearls To Swine!
By Kieran Trass

This year 2010 is the year of the Tiger (虎) in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. Sadly though, based on what’s been happening in the property investment ‘education’ industry anyone would think that it was the year of the Pig … [Comment: Jeez, that’s a bit sharp!]

It is disappointing to evidence the traditional pattern that we always see when the Slump phase of the property cycle really takes hold. The pattern I’m referring to is the pattern of those who target YOU as a property investor to transfer value from your hard earned wealth to them without genuinely adding value to your situation.

It’s fact that the schemes being promoted most often end up consuming your resources (time and money) with little or nothing in return.

This ‘value transfer’ is inequitable because it is a certainty that most people will not receive the equivalent value of what you pay for these services.

It was with a heavy heart this year [I] found myself at events where such products were being promoted by other speakers. [Comment: Are we to assume this is a reference to his involvement in Dean Letfus’s NZ Property Gurus, where Trass was added as ‘guest guru’?] In one case [I] was blatantly misled into presenting at the seminar under false pretences (and sadly also invited my database to attend these seminars!).

False pretences, because what was not made clear to me, before accepting the invitation, was a dubious scheme intended to be promoted without my prior knowledge.

In one case my suspicion was aroused when I was invited to be a guest speaker so I asked a simple question about whether a certain product which I consider the equivalent of ‘snake oil’ [Comment: US Tax Liens?] was going to be promoted at the event. This is when I was told “NO, Kieran definitely not…”. In fact if they had been honest they knew that I would have shunned the event and not invited my database to attend, so they lied.

The regret for inviting my database to attend these events is strong because for the last decade my company has built a large database of people interested in genuine property investment and have tried very hard to protect the database members from those promoting questionable products which result in distracting property investors away from their core business of property investing.

Many unsuccessful attempts have been made in the past to ‘get in front of my companies [sic] database’ to promote everything from negatively geared property investments to buying franchises in worthless businesses.
It seems in the current more difficult times for the property industry the methods being used by some to access ‘good customers’ are more deceptive than ever.

Here are just some of the more common schemes/scams targeting property investors over the years;

  • LUXURY ACCOMMODATION (usually some resort style development)
  • BARE LAND IN REMOTE REGIONAL LOCATIONS where demand for such land is muted and land supply is abundant [*]
  • STRATEGY ‘MANUALS’ with all the strategies you will ever need on how to make money from property (of course these manuals never give you the whole picture or become outdated so you need to spend even more money with the so called ‘educator’ selling them to implement the strategies)
  • TAX LIENS schemes [*]
  • INTERNET MARKETING schemes [*]
  • OUTRIGHT SCAMS SUCH AS ‘INVESTORS INTERNATIONAL’ ‘investment’ scam of the late 1990’s

[Comment: Dean Letfus, the face of NZ Property Gurus, has to my knowledge been involved in marketing Kieran Trass’s warning signs marked [*] above. Fascinating. But didn’t Trass know that BEFORE he signed up as a guest guru?]

HERE’S HOW… the promoters of these products attempt to add credibility to their efforts to deceive you into parting with your money;

  • MISGUIDED TRUST – Trust me… I’m Religious / a Christian / Churchgoer / (fill in the blank) or have some other affiliation which means I’m ethical… [Comment: Of course we’re familiar with this technique … see this post On Trumpets]
  • FALSELY IMPLIED RELATIONSHIPS – Look who my ‘so-called’ mentors are… or “I already have the best of what they offer, you don’t need those experts in their own fields…”
  • THE FEAR OF LOSS – You will miss out if you don’t follow this advice now… HUGELY SUCCESSFUL CASE STUDIES / TESTIMONIALS – See! Anyone can make this work…
  • GET RICH HERE NOW – Get rich quick here now
  • IGNORE THE TRIED AND TESTED WAY – The ‘old way’ of investing doesn’t work anymore…
  • DON’T BE OLD FASHIONED AND GET WITH THE TIMES – This is the ‘modern way’ to get rich easily…
  • WE ARE ALIGNED TO A CREDIBLE ORGANISATION – We are affiliated with a ‘School’, ‘Institute’, ‘Non-Profit’ organization …

There’s recently been a possibly bogus ‘Institute’ for Investment Property Educators established called – New Zealand Institute of Investment Property Educators Limited – to give the appearance of some legitimate Institution however the company is owned by a PI educator themselves who appear to be using the term Institute to imply the company is an independent institute, when it appears not to be so. [Comment: Interesting! This appears to be a reference to ex-Richmastery ‘mentor’ and property spruiker Sean Wood operating in his new livery, Property Tutors.]

These methods of deception are not new and have been used for generations to deceive genuine people in to parting with their hard earned cash.

The people promoting such schemes and using these methods of garnering trust, in my opinion, are simply LOCUSTS… They will strip your resources of money and time as quickly as they can and then disappear (or refuse to talk to you anymore when your promised riches fail to materialize or the deal goes sour…)

Please understand that these distractions all lead to the same destination, emptying your wallet and not returning true value back to you.

We have clearly reached ‘the tipping point’ in this Slump where desperation takes hold of the locusts and they embark on more and more destructive behaviour to attempt to satisfy their hunger for money at any cost to YOU.

It is in these times that you can easily spot the locusts because their hyperbole becomes more and more extreme and their outlandish claims become even more outlandish! It is in their desperation to make money from you in tough times that they always reveal their true nature. …


Now I don’t always see eye-to-eye with Kieran Trass, and we’ve had (open) disagreements in the past, but I have to say there’s a great deal I agree with in his tirade. No doubt he’ll cop some criticism for speaking out (to be expected), but good on him for sharing his direct experience and observations. I know that takes courage. He’s done the right thing in my opinion.

I wonder if we will hear any answer or explanation from the other side of this disagreement? Doesn’t seem likely, based on past performance.

Read the full text of Kieran Trass’s “The Truth Is Out… Don’t Throw Your Pearls To Swine!” exposé here.