Feedback from the issue of Thursday, August 14, 2008
BIG SHOT'S DEMISE
A cesspool of an enterprise: All borrowers who didn't get the money they were promised by Mortgages Ltd. have rights now as creditors of the estate, and they have been damaged by all of Scott Coles' lies and attempts to defraud them ("The Rise and Fall of Scott Coles," John Dickerson, August 6) — as do the citizens of Tempe, Phoenix, and Glendale, who now have to deal with all these unfinished projects in their cities.
This entire enterprise is a cesspool, from the bottom up and from the top down, and the only way anyone will ever know what really happened is to open the doors and let the fresh air of a court-appointed trustee into the room.
The big war is coming between the investors groups and creditors and the insiders, who are still trying to milk the last remaining ounces of fat off this bloated pig.
I say liquidate the entire damn thing now and pray to God you get back maybe 20 cents on the dollar.
Mike Walder, Tempe
A sad day in history: I have been a Mortgages Ltd. investor since 1984, and I am sad to say that it seems Scott turned this company into a giant fraud and Ponzi scheme to make money to support his extravagant lifestyle while all the investors were left out in the cold.
If even 10 percent of what has been said is true, this company will be shut down for good, and we are going to get next to nothing back.
A trustee must be appointed here because there is just too much evidence of wrongdoing and continued scamming by insiders.
This is a sad day in the history of the Coles family and the state of Arizona. It looks like this will be the scam that everyone will now compare future scams to, much like the Baptist Foundation.
Good job, Scott. You surpassed even your own desire to be a big shot. You will now live in infamy forever as a stain on the record books of one of Arizona's greatest financial debacles.
Brian Fuller, Tempe
Sickening cover illustration: The tuxedo on New Times' cover with the [headline] "The Rise and Fall of Scott Coles" was completely tasteless. I didn't personally know Scott Coles or his family, but I couldn't help feeling sick to my stomach when I saw your cover. Congrats.
Todd Stevens, Scottsdale
Throwing good money after bad: Mortgages Ltd. is now liable for money it promised but could never deliver. If there is evidence that this whole operation was a big Ponzi scheme, then the company is pretty much a total loss.
It seems most of the loans were bad loans, and the ones that were still good were good only because Coles fed them with additional interest reserve to feed himself fees and line his own pockets. This while hiding the problems so no one would know how many loans were truly bad.
Doing this, he threw even more good money after bad. Now you have projects that have even more debt than value on them. This is a disaster for all involved.
Just look at Centerpoint. What a worthless piece of shit that project is, with $130 million of debt. It still needs another $75 million to finish. Then it would sell box condo units in the middle of Tempe to people who couldn't qualify for loans if their very lives depended on it. What a complete and total joke!
RightPath should settle with Mortgages Ltd.: I have been a Mortgages Ltd. direct investor for four years, and I had excellent returns (averaging 10 percent) until July 1, 2008. Mortgages Ltd. is not a Ponzi scheme. A Ponzi scheme entails abnormally high rates of return (like 20 percent) and a promise for the return in a short period of time.
M.L.'s assets outweigh its liabilities, and if everyone would be patient and stop the courtroom fighting, we could all get our money back in 18 to 24 months.
Why doesn't RightPath settle with M.L. and go get the remainder of its money elsewhere? That sounds like a simple solution that would work. But, instead, RightPath wants to use litigation and big lawyers to avoid having to pay its debt.
The jury is still out on Scott Coles: There are two glaring inaccuracies in this story. First, Scott didn't throw the Super Bowl party. Scott rented his property to the Hollyrod Foundation for the week. Everything that happened that week was orchestrated by the Hollyrod Foundation and its vendors, which included the private party coordinator, called the Opium Group.
The Hollyrod foundation is run by Holly Robinson and Rodney Peete. Scott did not even know how big a deal it was going to be until a couple of weeks prior to the event. All the money paid for the use of the land during that week was donated to Scott's charities.
Second, you write about Scott's "use of a private jet and the hiring of salaried personal employees, including around-the-clock security, more than a dozen groundskeepers, a personal assistant, and an executive assistant." The jet was a time-share that Scott could use when necessary. This is very common in the business world today. The dozen groundskeepers were actually employees of the single landscape architect that Scott employed. The personal assistant had been with Scott for over 10 years and was an employee of Mortgages Ltd. She also doubled as office manager. I hardly see that as extravagant.
Write all you want about Scott's mistakes, eccentricities, and possible lack of fiscal integrity. Just keep in mind that there is a possibility that Scott will receive some level of vindication when this is all said and done. Unfortunately, closure appears to be several years in the future.
Fanatics and elitists: I feel that the recent "Pedalphiles" article (Benjamin Leatherman July 24) failed to cover two aspects prevalent in the Valley's fixed-gear culture:
Fixed-gears are stupid, and their riders are elitists.
I've been riding and working on bicycles since I was 5 and was intrigued when I first learned of fixed-gears. My disdain for this trend was inspired by a brief dialogue I shared with a pony-tailed enthusiast and well-known fix-head who rode his bike up to my coffee shop a couple of years ago. When I inquired as to why he chose a fixed-gear, he contemptuously replied, "Man, I rode a fixed-gear in Baltimore for four years!" Sadly, this statement failed to address my query.
Yes, the first bicycles ever constructed were fixed-gears. Soon thereafter, something occurred: ingenuity and innovation. The creation of multiple speeds and brakes was a boon to the utility of bicycles. Although full-suspension mountain bikes are overkill in an urban environment, brakes and gears are still efficient and practical.
First off, spending hundreds of dollars at a bike shop for a new fixie discredits the argument that a fixed-gear is a good way to save a mechanically unsound road bike from the scrapheap.
Furthermore, some of these hipsters drive automobiles to downtown Phoenix, unload their fixed-gear bikes and ride en masse to our local watering holes. If exercise is your aim, how about riding an efficient 21-speed or mountain bike from Scottsdale, or keeping the fucking bottle out of your mouth? It begs the question if this trend isn't based wholly on the aesthetic.
Riding bicycles is fun. Many of the people riding fixed-gears are good people. Fanaticism and elitism are grotesque. Please don't let your diet or vehicle identify you.
Benjamin Gallaty, Phoenix
What a bunch of wankers: After reading the "Pedalphiles" story, all I have to say is, Wow, what a bunch of wankers. Can't wait until they get creamed by a bus during one of their little races. I'll sit back and laugh my ass off then.
D.K. Rogers, via the Internet
Booze Pig blows: What is the point of Booze Pig's excuse for a column? How much do Arizonans really need to know about hole-in-the-wall taverns ("Dirty Verde," C.M. Redding, July 31)? Do we need to be regaled with Booze Pig's pride in his excessive consumption of alcohol?
Or what about his obvious hostility toward "random whores"? That is just so offensive on so many levels that I can't even begin to fathom why you would print this.
Why are you wasting space? If you are trying to be taken seriously as a paper, and you do seem to try, lose Booze Pig. Or lose readership that just can't seem to take your attempts to be Arizona's political watchdog and at the same time publish Booze Pig's pathetic attempts to wax proudly about his obvious low-life mentality.
Nancy Germond, Phoenix
WHAT A DRAG
Judges, lawyers act above the law: What's wrong with the judge and the prosecutors? They, without a doubt, should lose their jobs ("Deaf Justice," Sarah Fenske, July 10). Maricopa County has made national news before, and what you hear isn't good.
The judge and prosecutors have a control problem and can't even admit they're wrong. This isn't justice. Your whole state should stand up and protect this young man, Jacob Ritter-Clark. Write or call your senator. Do something!
When law enforcement and judges put themselves above the law, we have a big problem. This young man and his family have been put through enough hell. Someone, maybe your governor, should take care of this ASAP.
Hire a mathematician, not a lawyer: I read "Deaf Justice" with a bit of skeptical interest. Though Jacob might actually have been drag racing, I'd opine that it probably isn't legally provable.
It seems to me that the answer lies in a simple set of time, speed, distance calculations, and a real-world test. We know, per the accident investigation, that Jonathan Hernandez's car was going at least 88 miles per hour when it crashed. The distance from the light at Greenfield and Mesa, where the incident started, to the crash site is a known value. Calculate the time and speed based on the information at hand.
Ritter-Clark's car, likewise, started at the same point. The distance traveled to where he stopped is also known. Stopping distances can be determined from tables and values already calculated for his vehicle. His likely top speed or range of possible maximum speeds can then be calculated, using the available data.
The time to the crash of Hernandez's car from its start also gives a good indicator of what speed Ritter-Clark might have reached (and stopped from).
One could then check these calculations in controlled conditions by the simple expedient of driving Ritter-Clark's car under maximum acceleration and normal braking over the measured distance.
It seems to me that this would prove or disprove the drag-racing theory of the police. It also would be far better than the anecdotal evidence the police have now. Eyewitness accounts of untrained, uninterested observers are unreliable.
Seems to me that Jacob Ritter-Clark needs a mathematician more than a lawyer. After all, didn't something similar work for a Catholic bishop who actually hit a pedestrian several years ago?
Terry A. Gardner, Glendale
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.