Bad News On The Beach
Thank you for publishing an article concerning the investment firm of WFP Securities (“These Are Right for Client?” “City Lights,” April 21). I hope that other people will be forewarned before dealing with this company. As a retiree, I lost my entire life savings listening to their advice. I had no idea that they were getting me into high-risk, high-commission investments. In fact, the opposite was stressed. I was told that even in the worst-case scenario, my principal would be safe because each of these companies (Medical Capital and Striker Oil) had enough assets to cover my original investment. It was explained to me by their investment “advisor” that these were safe investments in which I would receive a reasonable return over a three-year period. Nothing could be further from the truth. These were Ponzi-like schemes that paid high commissions to him and the firm.
Even though your exposé was right on target, it failed to mention that WFP was also represented by the brand name Aloha Wealth Management. This branch of the firm specifically targets surfers and the surfing community. This is how I got involved with them. People in the beach areas should be made aware of this.
After realizing where my investments were headed, I met with John Schooler to discuss my concerns. He stated that he was sorry that I had lost my retirement savings but blamed it on a downturn in the economy. Of course, this was not true. He took no fiduciary responsibility for what had happened. He vigorously defended the salesman that had lured me in. These were trash investments that rewarded the seller handsomely but were a crapshoot for the investor.
The callousness demonstrated by this company is reprehensible. Their motto should be caveat emptor. I’ve been threatened with legal action; they’ve stopped handling my accounts and refused to answer any questions about the direction my investments were taking. They tried to browbeat me into going away.
Since that time, I have been in close contact with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority for over two years trying to rectify this debacle. I’m not the only one who got caught up in this web. There are over a dozen of us, mostly retirees who are veterans that have been duped into these investments because we trusted a financial advisor we’ve surfed with for over ten years.
Richard Rocco Emma
Regarding Don Bauder’s article “Money Orgy” in the April 28 issue (“City Lights”), I would like to comment as a retired 20-year Wall Streeter, from 1973 to 1994, a time when we were “honest crooks”!
The U.S. populace is riding along in Rudolph’s sleigh, but now his red nose indicates a flying brothel from a sinister trinity harnessed alongside ol’ Rudy — Congress, the Fed, and Wall Street. We are a sleigh of fools, convinced that we’re on a glorious ride of capitalism, not realizing that capitalism is a synonym for predator, and we who ride are, in fact, its prey.
While right-wingers in both major parties — with the help of churches, I might add — divert our attention to what should be nonissues, like gay marriage and adoption, or said Right’s version of sugarcoated misogyny, their smoke screens allow them to divert billions to the “Haves,” no different than the offshore dictators we hypocritically blast because of their fat offshore bank accounts. No different.
How many clumps of reindeer waste will we suffer before we storm the Bastille?
Didn’t Pick Up Palin
I did not pick up the Reader this past week because of the photo of Sarah Palin on the cover (“The Fall of Western Civilization”) because nothing that has Palin, her family, or any other anti-American, antipatriotic, and anti-Christian as the focal point is of interest to me because this ideology is what I believe is wrong in America today. Your advertisers wasted their advertising dollars on me and my family this week.
What I Remember
I was thoroughly surprised to see this past week’s cover for the April 28 issue of the Reader (“The Fall of Western Civilization”), and I’d like to share with you an interesting story as to why.
Just above Sarah Palin’s head and underneath the red-blocked title box was a small storefront sign that said simply “Coffeehouse.”
I painted that sign.
I was 24, and it was my first day at work. I had just moved to San Diego from Texas two weeks earlier, and I remember how thrilled I was to have been lucky enough to find a job so quickly.
There was a sense of determination in the air for me that day. I recall feeling full of promise and the possibilities I conjured up in my head as I rode my bike to work for the first time were endless.
I had arrived in San Diego heartbroken and tattered. Leaving home wasn’t very easy, and saying good-bye to family and friends had been rough. Despite the wear of that experience, I was somehow still hopeful enough.
I got to work that day and remember repeating a mantra in my head as I locked my bike next to a Dumpster on Polk Avenue and 30th Street. “Today is the first day of the rest of your life, John,” I repeated silently to myself, over and over again, and I laughed.
I walked into what was then the Otherside Coffeehouse triumphant and smiling, raring to go. I had a grin, but when I got there the faces of the people inside the café when I exclaimed “Good morning!” were too much to bear.
It was 8:55 a.m., September 11th, 2001.
When I painted that sign, I remember painting it to get my mind off things. All of the televisions in the café were on, everybody was talking about war, and the tragedy and violence of the situation were overwhelming.
There was a lump in my throat where a song had been. I remember feeling defeated. My mantra had not worked. If this was a sign of things to come, I had better be worried.