Sheriff Porter 53
“Okay, I’ll pay you a salary equal to what you make now till you can retire. Then you work on a percentage of the business receipts. Frankly Wilson it would be easier if you lived with me. I know that might be a problem for you.”
“It won’t be a problem at all. If you are going to do that, you can reduce my salary to minimum wage for all I care,” he said.
“Give them your notice and pack your shit. If you want to work with me, you are going to be miserable I expect, but I’m sure as hell willing. If it doesn’t work out I’ll pay you the salary till you are 65,” I said.
“That’s more than fair. Give me about three weeks. They have already started to train a new criminologist, so I can leave in a couple of weeks for sure. I want to stop in Capitol City to visit my daughter and my wife,” he said.
“We can work that out anytime,” I said.
The Geek was about to take a loss, and didn’t know it, I thought. He also hadn’t called back so he either found something or he didn’t find anything. Oh well I would call him, if I didn’t hear by 4 PM. I was dicking around with the coffee warmer outside of a boat parts store downtown at 3:45. I was about to make a call to the Geek, but I wanted a cup of coffee in my hand when I did.
His call came while I was in the middle of arranging things. I decided not to keep him waiting. “So what you got for me?” I asked.
“First the good, your Trust Manager is very good. No investigations or anything and his record is quite impressive at managing other peoples money. He could probably retire now and manage his own, but those guys always want more. I had a friend look at your portfolio, no charge, he said you are well diversified and may not make a ton of income, but you shouldn’t lose any either. As you agreed there is about two million in pretty liquid assets that can be moved around.
“I knew all that except his background but move on along to the bad,” I suggested
“Bad is one EZ Thompson. He has a bunch of assault charges no convictions. He was either cleared or they were dropped. He couldn’t have bought them off, so he either intimidated the witnesses or the charges were groundless. They don’t keep records like that,” the Geek said.
Since I had figured EZ was a bad boy, I wasn’t shocked. It also didn’t disqualify him for the job I wanted him to do. “So who is the ugly the boatyard owner?”
“You got it. He is almost bankrupt. He seems to be telling everyone to hold on, he should have something soon. I would get everything in writing and be sure the work is really done,” the Geek said.
“Now that could prove dicey since I have a barge in dry dock with him. I think I should have a little talk with Everette,” I said. I decided to wait until the next day.
After the phone call I decided it was time to find out what my trustee knew. With that in mind I finished the coffee and then placed the call. They answered the phone with some pretentious asset management bullshit. “This is Sylvia Porter. You guys are supposed to be checking on a piece of property for me,” I said.
“Ms Porter let me transfer you to your account manager,” the receptionist said.
“Fine let’s get to it,” I replied.
“Ms. Porter, I’m Gerald your Account Manager,” he said.
“Fine what have you found out from the bank about that property in foreclosure down in New Wales?” I asked.
“Well we just started looking into it today. I just received your request for information on the land Friday afternoon,” he said as if that were an excuse.
“So what have you learned today,” I asked holding myself in check with great difficulty.
“We called the bank and put in the request for status of the foreclosure,” he said vaguely. “They haven’t gotten back to us yet.”
“Gerald, if I call the bank, are they going to have a record of your request?” I asked. Gerald began to stutter. “That’s what I thought. Gerald I think I’m going to move my account, but thanks for what you have done so far.”
“Please Ms. Porter, if I had known you wanted immediate action, I would have been on it immediately. I can have a full brochure by tomorrow afternoon.”
“This time Gerald you better fucking call me. If I call you again, it will be to fire you, do you quite understand?” I asked.
“Yes ma’am, I will call you no later than 3 PM with an update,” he said. I hung up without saying goodbye. I really wasn’t all that angry about the lack of information today. I had fully expected to find the situation like that. They didn’t realize that I was a very hand on person. Well I was pretty sure they did after our little talk.
EZ called on my cell, “Hey there Silvia, is there any word on the marina?”
“Not really, is there any chance you can find out from someone in town what the pay off is on the marina’s note?”
“You won’t tell that I told you will you?” he asked.
“I don’t think we know any of the same people,” I said.
“My Uncle owned the marina till he lost it. He is going to try to clean his credit up by getting that foreclosure off his records,” he said. “The bank is threatening to do a charge back for their loss against him.”
“He has to know that I am looking for a reduced price to buy a distress property. It would leave a balance, so there would be a charge back even if I bought it,” I replied.
“But he has your barge,” EZ said.
“Ah he pads the bill or gets the foreclosure off his record either way he gets his credit line reopened and maybe avoids bankruptcy for a while,” I said.
“And he might even have a new product to sell in advertising and selling houseboats like yours,” EZ said.
“Why are you telling me this?” I asked.
“Because after last night I know you will do the right thing. You don’t take advantage of people like he is trying to do to you. I trust you not to use the information to hurt him, just to protect yourself,” EZ said.
“I’ll tell you what I am going to do. I’m going to give him a chance to come clean. Then I’m going to either help him or I’m going to go for his throat. It’s going to be up to him, so you tell him what you think he needs to know,” I said.
It was after five when Ev called me. “I hear you called the bank and found out everything. You want to have a meeting?” he asked.
“If you have something to say, sure. If you are going to blow smoke at me, don’t bother. I will have all the numbers tomorrow by 3 PM,” I said.
“I’m still at the boat yard, so come on down and we will talk. You want me to order dinner for us, it might take a while,” he said.
“What did you have in mind?” I asked.
“Maybe we can find a way out of this together,” he said.
“No, I meant for dinner,” I said.
“Oh you like fried chicken,” he asked.
“How about a chief salad instead,” I suggested.
“Sure can you be here in say an hour?” he asked.
“How about twenty minutes I don’t need charts and shit. We can just talk,” I said.
When I arrived he was full of I’m sorry and all kinds of shit. I listened to it all then said, “You did your Mia Culpa thing, so lets get down to see what we can salvage from this shit sandwich,” I suggested. He looked like he wanted to hit me but I might hold the answer to his staying open. So he swallowed his bile.
“First of all, it is only in my best interest to keep you afloat long enough to get the work we have agreed on so far completed. It looks as though that could be complete in under ten working days.”
“Six to be honest if we work on it full blast and with all the men who are available, but that would be pretty expensive.”
We have agreed on a price for securing the containers and prepping and painting the hull and exterior of the containers. The agreed on price was 9k. I only agreed to that without getting competitive bids because the barge is sitting here. Now we know where we stand on the barge.”
“Yes we do,” he said.
“I would also expect that you want to allow me to use photos of the work and finished product to use in my advertising to sell more barge boats,” he said.
“Well that ain’t gonna happen unless it is part of the package deal we work out. I did some checking when you arranged for me to buy the barge and containers. I think you stiffed me about 5K on the sale. That and the 3K for delivery to your dock should have been more than enough for that transaction. Actually it probably about twice what it was worth. So I figure you are into me already for 4K.”
“I don’t see it that way,” he said.
“Do you really want me to call your competitors and see what the tow was worth. The next call would be to see what the broker fee should have been. I can do that or we can stay friendly here. I am putting my cards on the table, you should consider doing the same.”
“Okay I could have done it for 40k not 43k,” he said.
“Yes and still made a good profit. Now the painting and prep work is probably worth about 6k tops, according to a marine engineer I know.” I could tell that Ev looked relieved. “It probably was worth less than 6k. I can hear your mind rattling now. ‘She is rich what is 6k to her’. It’s enough to make me shut the whole project down and sell it all for scrap and walk away.” I could tell he believed me.
“So what do you owe on the marina? What is the payoff, I’m sure you know?” I asked.
“122k and change,” he said.
“Shit that is full retail,” I said. I had no idea what retail was but it sounded pretty close to what I thought it was worth.
“90% of retail actually. I refinanced to carry the boatyard business. It didn’t pick up like I expected,” Ev finally admitted. “I took a bath these last two years.”
“I’m counting on your house barge to turn the corner for me, at least a little. I can’t run the boat yard on the tugboat business, but if I just break even on the boatyard the tugboats can keep me in business.”
“Now Ev I don’t know shit about tugboats, or boat building. What I’m going to do is put together a package. One that leaves you in good shape on the day my boat is finished, and is also fair to me as well. That is if it is possible.”
“That’s all I want,” Ev said.
“Okay, I think I can buy the marina from the bank for 100k which would leave you with a 22k charge back. I propose you show me the bills for the boat and justify any other charges for the barge like that dry dock fee kind of thing, and I call the 22k the profit on the barge. That is going to be around a 20% profit.”
“I will be building it for nothing,” he said.
“No you will be building it to keep your grade A credit rating and staying out of bankruptcy. Not to mention you will be paying your employees in the boatyard a few more weeks. You also get to use the boat in your advertising and all the rest of it. How you keep the boatyard afloat after my boat is pulled out is up to you.”
“Let me think it over,” he said. “If I do this, you gonna hire EZ?”
“Quite possibly, but his employment is not in anyway a condition of our deal,” I said.
Edited by Walt