Get a leash for bracket dogs!

Mar 12, 2007 11:02 PM

Remember what I said about tournaments — the best team doesn’t always win, and if they do it might not be by enough. We all get trapped into filling out brackets for the NCAA tournament. Make sure you put at least 25% underdogs in your brackets, or you’ll never get there. Remember, diversity is essential to success.

When I first started this job with Eileen Di Rocco and her most competent crew it was difficult for me to imagine that anybody would read what I had to say. After the first couple of weeks at it I began to believe that maybe some of the Vegas old timers like me were getting a kick out of my stuff.

Many people send messages, mostly all of a complimentary nature, but I never could figure out who was my real audience, if I had one. Well, I’ve finally found out, as guys have come out of the woodwork after last week’s piece on the Quail Restaurant, but more especially on the reality of "Bonnie." I’ve been asked so many questions pertaining to her this week that I can’t believe it. If you had any doubt, she was real and was a great stand up gal. And most assuredly a "15." Bless her heart, she put me in the high rent district.

Now I want to pick up the rest of the story with what my partner and myself did with all of our proceeds after selling the joint. Remember, this was the middle 1960s and living in California, which we all believed was God’s country, it became logical to invest in real estate.

We hired a guy who had extensive experience in selling and buying foreclosures in and around Los Angeles, and was very successful at it. During that period they would auction off property on the courthouse steps, and there were bargains galore.

For the next six months, we bought and bought and bought until our bankroll was almost extinguished. Now we were ready to paint and fix up these places and begin selling them. Our new partner began hiring crews for us and the outlook was fantastic in everybody’s eyes.

We paid for the homes in cash, fixed them up, and sold them for 300% or 400% more than we had acquired them for. How smart were we by parlaying a $15,000 investment to a minimum of a cool million — what could be better than this?

All our ducks were in line, and then one night on the news I observed a little ruckus in South Central L.A., in a section called Watts. Most of our properties were in Watts, or close to it, but we felt like it would blow over in a week or so.

In the ensuing 30 days when the famous riots finally did blow over you couldn’t give away a house in that area for free. We rapidly went down the drain and only were able to salvage a few homes in other areas. In a 30-day period we went from the penthouse to the outhouse, and here I was busted again.

Somehow I never get upset when I’m busted, and usually have a clearer head. A lesson was surely learned by me in California that having diversity is essential to success. That’s why I bet all sports now, and not just my favorite, baseball.