For sale: $30,000. Here’s your chance to own an island in the middle of Bokeelia’s Back Bay. Gorgeous views in all directions.
Nearly 50 years ago, a Senate subcommittee met in May of 1964 to discuss the epidemic of frauds and misrepresentations in land sales. Read this excerpt from an interchange during the Senate hearing between journalist Robert A. Caro from Newsday and Senator Harrison A Williams, Jr. of New Jersey. (for the full minutes rollover and click here for the website of the United States Senate Special Committee on Aging)
"Senator WILLIAMS. In your studies, did you go back and compare this current boom with the land booms of the 1920’s in Florida?
Mr. CARO. When I say “compare,” I interviewed people in Florida about it. They found some differences and many similarities. This isn’t a subject I went into too deeply. The differences are that in that boom they were using paper there. They were discounting freely and using the paper, the contracts, to try to build up paper empires. Here, in the present boom, the land actually exists, although it may be under 3 feet of water. They are dealing more in properties than in paper. But the similarities far outweigh the differences. It bears the same vast sales to far more people than could possibly move down there over a decade or two decades, or half century. The same thing that happened in that boom-well, that was touched off by the depression. People tried to cash in their paper. Found out it was worth far less than they had paid for it, and the prices plummeted. Some people felt-and I am not an expert on this-that, if there was a recession, a tightening of the economy, precisely the same thing would happen. People with sales contracts would attempt to dispose of them, needing the cash. They would then find out that they were worth the original price of the land, which might, be $20 an acre instead of $9,000. The prices would then plummet in that fashion.
Senator WILLIAMS. That is most helpful. Thank you very much.”
During this hearing, Senator Williams summed up land sales in Florida in a timeless manner, "some old techniques, however, appear to have long lives."
Clearly we haven’t learned from the 1920’s land bust, or the subsequent busts throughout the 20th century, let alone the recent 2008 land bust. Just replace mail-order and newspaper advertising with the internet of the 21st century. Happy land buying!
For more information on the decades old scheming, go to Wikipedia and search Swampland in Florida.
Government Shutdown Fail
At home sick today and my landline home office phone is ringing off the hook with telemarketers. I definitely signed up for the Do Not Call Registry a few years back, so I went to inquire on https://www.donotcall.gov/ . Out of my ill spaciness, I had forgotten that the government is shutdown, and definitely did not expect to see this. Hopefully the National Do Not Call Registry ‘will resume normal operations when the government is funded’ so that I can sleep at home during the day without having to take my phone off the hook.
One of my best friends from college sent me this email informing me that I made it on her will…
"Sean Lennon Salyards and his wife have dibs on all my photo equipment, photo lights, photo backdrops, cameras, and photo gear that do not belong to Dad or did not belong to Grandpa Meeusen (heirlooms)."
I must be getting really old.
I met Josh a few weeks back. He works laying oil pipeline in the South.
"The work isn’t for everyone, it’s hard and you’ve got to be smart and pay attention." Josh is a part of a team of guys working together in adverse and precarious circumstances and often in lengthy, drawn-out shifts. "I’ve seen a couple guys get killed. They weren’t safe, they didn’t do what they were supposed to."
The team, working on different projects across the region, regularly away from the place they call home: “They pay for everything, the flight, the food, the hotel… The work is tough, but at the end it’s worth it when you get that check.”
About meeting a stranger with a camera: “There’s no reason to be mean. Everyone’s got a job to do. People just need to relax. A lot of guys who do what I do, they are angry, cursing all the time, yelling. There’s no need for that.”
Cape Coral, FL: 8/2013
Sales presentation in NYC today. Design and illustrations by my talented designers Sarita Loredo and Guillermo Barrera.
Memorial Day Weekend 2013
Piney Point, MD
Check out a small snippet of the piece I’ve been working on for the past few months with writer Jeff Parker. Click on the link to view the online version of the story published in this month’s Sarasota Magazine:
If you are traveling through the southeast, get your own hard copy off the newsstands before the end of the month.