James Arthur Ray Claims He's Broke; That's Funny, He Wasn't Broke Before His Bail Was Set at $5 Million

Spiritual Warrior James Arthur Ray, the snake-oil salesman who organized a self-help retreat in Sedona that left three people dead and dozens injured, is claiming he's broke.

That's funny... Part of his whole gimmick is bragging about his money and success, which he does quite often in media interviews and on his Web site. He even told Fortune Magazine in April 2008 that his annual financial goal is $21 million.

Ray, who now sits in a Yavapai County jail, had his bail set at $5 million, which may be part of the reason he's now claiming he's broke.

Ray's lawyer says $5 million for bail is "excessive and oppressive."

"Excessive and oppressive?" Oh, you mean like cramming scores of people into a tiny, steaming sweat-tent with little-to-no ventilation?

"Despite misconceptions perpetrated in the media, Mr. Ray is not a man of significant assets and certainly not the millions reported in the press," Ray's lawyer wrote in documents obtained by the Associated Press from the court. Those documents are now officially sealed.

We would argue that many of those "misconceptions" were created by Ray himself in an attempt to appear wealthier and more successful than he actually is. Ray's business is "self-help." Nobody's going to listen to some broke guy, no matter how tasty the Kool-Aid may be.

According to the AP, "
the court documents paint a much different picture, showing that he is severely in debt with a net worth of negative $4.2 million. Real estate makes up about $3.1 million of Ray's total assets of nearly $4.2 million, but he has little equity.

Ray's lawyer cites the fact that Ray has no criminal history and is not a flight risk, so the bail amount should be reduced.

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James King
Contact: James King