In these harsh economic times, it's easy to start crying. But yesterday, while perusing the unpaid bills of the West Valley's fallen bigshot developer, Jack Rose (pictured), we found ourselves laughing.
Rose, as loyal New Times readers will remember, was the boy wonder whose greed brought down a corporation commissioner -- and ruined his own reputation -- in the heady days of the late 90s. Rather than slink off to the political graveyard, Rose had the hubris to hotfoot over to the fertile fields of the West Valley, where he reinvented himself as a developer, philanthropist, and political kingmaker.
Naturally, the whole house of cards fell apart. The farm families that Rose had courted accused him of bilking them. Banks began to sue Rose and his partners -- eventually alleging that they'd defaulted on $36 million worth of loans. Rose even had to resign from the bank he'd help to charter, West Valley National Bank.
The latest lawsuit against Rose is much smaller, number-wise. Filed by attorney Dennis Wilenchik (yes, that Dennis Wilenchik) on behalf of Rose's former public relations company, Wade Communications of California, the suit merely seeks to collect on some $99,315 of unpaid bills.
Most of the invoices show pretty typical PR stuff -- Wade apparently designed business cards and Christmas cards and corporate Web sites. Blah blah blah. But then we spotted this little gem on one invoice:
"Organize Avondale fundraiser for three City Council candidates."
Wade Communications then billed Rose for six hours, at $75 per hour. All of that bill, according to the court file, has gone unpaid.
How much do you want to bet the Avondale council candidates got theirs, even as Rose stiffed as the working grunts at his public relations firm?
As journalists, we got a chuckle out of one additional item, too. We'd long been curious about the ridiculous puff piece on Rose that ran in Phoenix Magazine last year. Despite the fact that Rose was involved in one of the biggest political scandals in recent Arizona history -- and that Rose's shenanigans left Corporation Commissioner Jim Irvin facing one of the biggest punitive damage awards in state history, even as Rose sold him down the river -- Phoenix mag called Rose "a capitalist with a conscience." The story was shameless.
And, go figure, we have Rose's paid PR guys to thank for it. Court files show that Wade Communications billed Rose $175 to "coordinate graphics for Phoenix Magazine profile" and "conference with Jack Rose and reporter."
Naturally, the public relations gurus got stiffed on that one, too. Which led us to wonder: How much do you want to bet they regret pushing that whole "capitalist with a conscience" angle now?