Slog Music

Music, Nightlife,
and Drunks

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What I Learned at Dino Rossi's Announcement Eve Financial Seminar

Posted by on Wed, May 26, 2010 at 9:38 AM

Rossi: All smiles in a dimly lit room.
  • Rossi: All smiles in a dimly lit room.
This morning, in his announcement that he'll be running for Senate, Republican Dino Rossi bemoaned the fact that "housing values have plummeted" and expressed deep concern about America being "on the edge of a fiscal cliff."

But last night, at a seminar on real estate investing held in the dimly lit banquet hall of an Italian restaurant in Bellevue, Rossi was all smiles and optimism, telling the well-dressed attendees that now is a great time to make money. "This is the time to purchase," Rossi said, wearing a gold tie and crisp white shirt. "Especially income property."

One of the major methods for gathering "income property" that was encouraged at this conference: Buying foreclosed properties—that is, real estate lost by Americans who have fallen over the edge of a "fiscal cliff" in recent months—and turning those properties into cash cows. (One of the later speakers, Christopher Hall, founder of the Vestus Foreclosure Group, discussed "how to make over a 50% ROI [Return on Investment] per year buying and selling foreclosures.")

Democrats have slammed Rossi for appearing at the conference at a time when average Americans are struggling to keep from losing their homes, and this morning the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee sent out an e-mail asking, among other things: "Did Dino Rossi receive compensation for his appearance at the conference? Why didn’t Dino Rossi pull out of the conference? Why did he allow one of his past campaign stickers to be used in the conference promotional materials?"

I believe I can answer the first question: A conference organizer told me last night that Rossi was, indeed, paid for his appearance. The organizer would not, however, say how much.

Just before Rossi's talk, in the crowded hallway outside the banquet room, I ran into Rossi and tried to ask some other questions. He responded with a frozen smile. Then he laughed a long, loud laugh, as if we'd just shared a hilarious inside joke, and quickly turned on his heel and sped into the banquet room.

The room was paneled in dark wood and filled with circular tables bearing white lilies. A woman seated next to me at the table I chose told me the message of the event was likely to be "buy low, sell high."

I took some pictures of Rossi glad-handing before his speech, though the table candles and faint lighting didn't make for great images:


Then a conference organizer came over and told me that no cameras or audio recording equipment of any kind were allowed. I put the camera away and took notes.

Rossi's speech was mostly motivational pablum ("There's a lot of naysayers in the world... Don't listen to the naysayers!") mixed with biographical anecdotes (including a very extended talk about his kids' efforts to encourage him to get a family dog).

As he talked, he spun an up-by-the-bootstraps tale of going from janitor to big-time real estate investor, and described his current employment this way: "I’m a principal at Coast Equity Partners, based in Everett... I’m part of the buying arm." (Worth noting as Democrats continue to try to tie Rossi to any and all mistakes made by Coast Equity, including its recent failure to pay $20,000 in property taxes.)

Though he's part of the Coast Equity buying arm, Rossi said he hadn't bought a building since 2005. “My real estate purchases are even more conservative than my politics," he said. “Right now we’re seeing some reasonable values, some rational values, whereas a few years ago it didn’t make a lot of sense, at least to me.”

Rossi also noted the appearance of some protesters outside the event, but said he wasn't impressed by their numbers.


He did, however, make one attempt at casting real estate investing as an altruistic pursuit not deserving of scorn. “You’re providing shelter and you’re providing homes for people," he said. "It’s a good thing.”

Then he closed with another exhortation to buy now: "I'm telling you folks, don't listen to the naysayers."


Comments (18) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
laterite 1
Ugh. The gold tie. Classic, hackneyed component of the salesman's wardrobe. Instant way to identify an asshole.
Posted by laterite on May 26, 2010 at 9:50 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 2
"to save the economy, we must buy, buy anything!"
-dwight eisenhower
Posted by Max Solomon on May 26, 2010 at 9:50 AM · Report this
That is the most adorable protest group ever! The "oops ran low on markers" sign on the right is awesome. As is the blue hat there on Will in Seattle.
Posted by gloomy gus on May 26, 2010 at 9:52 AM · Report this
Martin H. Duke 4
I'm no fan of Rossi, but there's nothing morally wrong with buying foreclosed properties. In fact, it helps support real estate prices, helping people sell out of bad situations.
Posted by Martin H. Duke on May 26, 2010 at 9:56 AM · Report this
TVDinner 5
So support economic policies that immiserate the populace, then charge people to learn how to exploit the immiseration for their own profit.

Yep. Sounds like a Republican.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on May 26, 2010 at 9:58 AM · Report this
aardvark 6
wow that girl with the "help himself" sign has nice bone structure and facial symmetry. but does she have the big booty?? just kidding. kind of.

yeah fuck dino rossi. providing shelter by pricing people out of homes? what a dick.

thanks eli, your my fav seattle political reporter
Posted by aardvark on May 26, 2010 at 10:08 AM · Report this
If the market was really as good as he says why is he not already all in. He wants suckers to take the risks of be the first into a risky market. When others stop the free fall then Coast Equity steps in buys up properties and profits when the market starts climbing.
Posted by wl on May 26, 2010 at 10:08 AM · Report this
Isn't "Buy, Buy, Buy, things are getting better and you'll be able to sell for a nice profit" sort of contradicting Rossi / the GOP platform of Obama and the Democrats are screwing up the economy?
Posted by just_another_matt on May 26, 2010 at 10:52 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 9
Normally, Third Strike Dino would have an uphill battle.

But this year he has the massive turnout of Democrats and Independents due to the Income Tax on the Rich and the Legalize MJ initiatives, so he doesn't even have a ghost of a chance.

Kind of like what just happened in Idaho. Nobody wants the GOP retreads. Especially the liars.
Posted by Will in Seattle on May 26, 2010 at 10:57 AM · Report this
Knat 10
“You’re providing shelter and you’re providing homes for people," he said. "It’s a good thing.”

Yeah, and God forbid that these people in need of shelter buy these homes at the market price, before you've purchased them, sat on them until the market rebounds, and jacked up the price for your own profit, right? How altruistic can you get?
Posted by Knat on May 26, 2010 at 11:11 AM · Report this
JF 11
I'm super confused over all the moral outrage/anger in here. If the home is foreclosed and the bank owns it, isn't the prior party who failed to make the payments already out of the equation?

Also 10's comments are even more confusing. Is there some rule out there that allows Rossi or anyone in that audience to buy a home before the general public?
Posted by JF on May 26, 2010 at 11:24 AM · Report this
rob! 12
@11, yes. Realty sign in the front yard = retail. Realtor™ = Retailor. Millions of foreclosed homes are subject to trading as a bulk commodity, like wheat or pork bellies, among the international gazillionaires and megabanks. They decide when, and at what price range, they trickle out for public availability. That's why Las Vegas is starting to build huge new tracts of houses again, even though--what, 9000 or so?--foreclosed homes sit empty.
Posted by rob! on May 26, 2010 at 11:46 AM · Report this
Lol. You protesters need to find something better to get pissed off about.
Posted by xxx123 on May 26, 2010 at 11:51 AM · Report this
totally bangable...
Posted by mmmmmmm.......booty...... on May 26, 2010 at 12:02 PM · Report this
elenchos 15
I guess if you are so offended by people buying foreclosed houses at the current market value, you could go outbid these evil profiteers. Pay what the former homeowner paid for it back during the bubble instead of the current market rate. Let me know how that works out for you.

If you want to find something to criticize Valentino Rossi for, ask the simple question: What does a motorcycle racer know about being a Senator? He's a great competitor on two wheels but, honestly, is he qualified for political office?
Posted by elenchos on May 26, 2010 at 12:10 PM · Report this
15 what do the two cows we have in there now know about being a Senator?
Posted by nada. zippo. on May 26, 2010 at 12:26 PM · Report this
JF 17
@12 Agreed. All of what you said exists and is true - though you are being disengenious by implying the general public doesn't have access to the foreclosed homes.

I doubt Rossi was telling a room full of people how to become a mega bank and purchase huge blocks of foreclosed homes. Now I wasn't there and I could be wrong, but I believe he was spitballing theories on how individuals and can capitalize on foreclosed homes being sold by banks, or say, I dunno, perhaps a Retailor who owns the rights to a block of homes they purchased on the open market.
Posted by JF on May 26, 2010 at 1:19 PM · Report this
rob! 18
Wow, the server's fucked up today.

@17, I have no interest in trying to obscure anything. I'm not part of the industry, thank dog. I know this because an adjacent house was one of the rare foreclosures in my county in the early part of the crisis. It became a health hazard/public nuisance. While trying to find out who was responsible, I discovered that it had changed hands among shadowy entities a half-dozen times before a local Retailor got the listing. Paper records in the courthouse were way behind, and never listed most of the owners.

If you can't even find the owner without hiring a private detective and a cybersleuth, it's not available to the general public, by definition. They're obviously not interested in selling to _you_ at that stage.

It's a giant pyramid scheme. The people at the top make billions by moving large amounts of product very quickly for relatively small sums. The people at the bottom (agents, owner-occupiers, landlords, "investors" [a.k.a. flippers]) make the most on a single property, but it's a grain of sand on the beach where the big boys play.
Posted by rob! on May 26, 2010 at 4:50 PM · Report this

Add a comment


Want great deals and a chance to win tickets to the best shows in Seattle? Join The Stranger Presents email list!

All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC
1535 11th Ave (Third Floor), Seattle, WA 98122
Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy