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I think it might be time to start running a book on how it finished up.
My bet is the bank manager deputised Sherpa to find the bikes, on return of both bikes to the bank he received his choice of bikes as payment for finding the bikes and the debtor.
There are obvously other possible hurdles such as the fortified strongroom the bikes were stored in.
Let the speculation begin, since the ad break has been too long.
 

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Yes, but now it's underwater.
Underwater? Colorado is a pretty dry state. I thought you said you knew the story? (although there are only 3 people on the planet who actually know the story)

I have been slammed at work but I’ll see if I can continue with the story sometime today.
 

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I could see clearly by her face and the change in her tone that something is seriously wrong, so I ask her what has been on my mind the whole time: “Is this a scam?” Followed up with, “no, I don’t really know where the bikes are right now."

She looks at the screen, looks back at me, looks at the screen and says, “No, this isn’t a scam but I can’t talk to you about this account or anything about it. This account is flagged on several levels.”

I explained to her that I had permission of the debtor to work this out with the bank and he really wants me to buy one of the bikes out of the loan. She says that no one has heard from the debtor in years and if I have his info, she would like to get it.

Right then my phone rings. It’s the guy. As soon as I answer he is, once again, talking a mile a minute and I can’t get a word in. For not the last time, I try to remind myself to ask him sometime what kind of coffee he’s drinking. As soon as he pauses for a second I jump in and explain that I’m at the bank right now and the bank manager cannot talk to me about the loan and apparently there is an issue. She is looking at me and I mouth “do you want to speak to him?” She nods vigorously although I want to tell her that maybe she really doesn’t.

I hand my cell to her and she says hello and and then is instantly silenced by the long and winding retelling of the guy’s life story (which I could hear through the phone for the second time). After about a 10 minute phone call with a lot of her saying, “uh huh” and “mm hmm,” she gives me the thumbs up signaling that she can talk to me. She eventually gets him off the phone and we can begin a real conversation.

I ask her what in the holy hell is the deal. She explains that this loan is actually several loans all wrapped into one. They were originally issued out of a credit union in Chicago’s north shore suburbs for two Ducatis. But the debtor got behind on payments and then the loan was sold a number of times, combined with other penalties, and then at one point they started proceedings against him. It got very complicated but it’s clear that the bikes were hidden so that they wouldn’t be repossessed and there were a series of lawsuits and judgments against my guy. Then the paper was sold again to the current bank at whose satellite branch I was currently sitting. The current loan amount was for an absolutely staggering number that could buy many, many SPS's and I had no intention of paying that amount. And the bikes were still hidden from the banks, the law, and everyone else on the planet. At this point, they were considered stolen property.

So what I was walking into was a very, very complicated mess and I had to figure out if these bikes were worth the trouble. What I also realized is that I couldn’t buy some of the collateral out of the loan. I would have to buy ALL of the collateral out of the loan.

Before I could get there, I had to come up with a game plan. Not to get off track but I built and run several companies that do a fair number of deals both here and internationally. I figured this shouldn’t be any different. So I proposed a game plan to the branch manager:

I asked if she had the titles. She looked and said the computer indicates they’re in a warehouse in the midwest someplace but no one has laid eyes on them in 10 years at least (another red flag that I ignored). I said here’s what I would like to do.

I will confirm the existence of the bikes and where they are. What I will do then is determine what they are worth and I will make an offer to the bank for both bikes and whatever else is in the loan. I will make an offer based on the value of the collateral and not the amount owed. If the bank wants the full amount, this deal is dead in the water. However, if the bank accepts my offer, we will come up with a time that I will show up at the branch with cash and they will hand over the titles to me. At that very moment, I will have someone in whatever undisclosed location that the bikes are to collect and load the bikes at that very moment. Then I can see about getting them back to Colorado where I will figure out what to do with them. And I would also need some sort of legal indemnification to make sure that there aren’t any loose ends legally where the bikes could later be repossessed or I could get into trouble or anything like that.

She said that she understood this is going to be complicated. She said that my plan could work but she would have to do some homework on her end. I said I would too because I have to see who can verify the existence of the bikes first and then secondly pick them up for me. It's not an easy thing to ask someone. We made a plan to meet back at the bank in 24 hours.

I knew no matter how this turned out, this was going to be as complicated a business transaction as anything I’ve ever done and amount of hair on this was enough to choke a cat.

So I got in the car, took a breath, and made the first of two very important phone calls.
 

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You do know how to spin a good yarn Sherpa. In all honesty, this is quite interesting and engrossing.
It's fun too, a little off the beaten path of what we usually get in these pages.., it's not often we get treated to a good ol'fashioned story!
Thanks for playing along in such an entertaining fashion Sherpa
 

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Matt
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654 Posts
Discussion Starter #50
Part 4...

I'm sitting in a meeting and my phone rings, it's Ryan (aka Sherpa23F). I wasn't able to take the call so I let it go to voicemail, figuring I'd just call him later as I really needed to participate in this hour-long meeting that had just started. After a few seconds it rings again. I get up, pretending like I was expecting this, and lean outside the meeting room to take the call. I wasn't greeted with any of the normal pleasantries and instead the first thing Ryan said was, "I need your help." And this wasn't a casually stated, "Hey, I need your help" type of thing. Instead, he said it in the way you would had you just robbed a bank. Even the tone was muted. Ryan was anxious and I was struggling to determine if it was fear or excitement that I was detecting in his voice; turns out it was both. "Where are you?" I asked. Ryan said, "I'm at a bank. Well, I'm in the parking lot of a bank actually." Time to step fully out of the meeting room and close the door behind me. I decided not to ask which direction he was running, nor did I share what had just popped into my mind: the fact that rubbing alcohol mixed with soap is one of the best ways to rid your skin of red dye. Saying that out loud to answer a question Ryan hadn’t yet asked, I mean didn’t ask, seemed completely inappropriate.

I then listened to the entire, simply unbelievable, story. I said, "Wait, he sent you a picture of his drivers license? Really?” Ryan answered back, "He really did. Here, I'll send it to you." A few seconds later I find myself examining the details of a well worn Illinois drivers license. I imagined this same haunting image plastered across the screen of a Dateline episode while Keith Morrison narrates the story of Ryan's unfortunate disappearance. "Who in the world dresses in military fatigues for their drivers license picture?" I said only to myself. The answer of course is someone in the military, but this clearly wasn't someone in the military. "Is the guy in this picture really capable of all of this?" I said, continuing the conversation with myself. I remember mentally confirming that day's date; no, it wasn't April 1st.

I knew my role...it was up to me to play the voice of reason, just like Ryan had done for me so many times before. In an attempt to provide some comfort I started with the easy questions knowing that Ryan undoubtedly would have bailed long ago if this seemed high risk. "Surely you're more comfortable after having spoken to the seller?" Ryan responded, "No, absolutely not. Totally, totally not." I followed with, "So where are the bikes at, I think I missed that?" Ryan answered, "I don't know. Chicago I think. He won't tell me." Two questions and two bad answers, horrifically bad answers really. I didn't want to pile on anymore so I decided to leverage a positive point, "Well, at least the bank has the ti..." Ryan cut me off, "The bank said they THINK they have the titles. MAYBE they have the titles. They SHOULD have the titles. PERHAPS they have the titles. The only thing they know for certain is that the titles aren't in the hands of the guy responsible for the longest unresolved loan default still being held on their books." Another horrible, horrible answer.

We've all watched horror movies where the main protagonist heads to the basement in the dark during a power outage, barefooted, carrying a flashlight with dead batteries to investigate an odd sound that he’s never heard before. As an audience member it's easy to scream "Why?!?!?" As I learned through this experience, the reason why is simple: it's curiosity. Ryan and I agreed that this deal was so weird that he in fact had an obligation to press ahead. There would be no other way to learn what was really going on with this and we wouldn't be content if we found ourselves never knowing. We began identifying risks and one by one we vetted options for mitigating each one. Our discussion focused on the safety of the bikes and the safety of Ryan's finances. Risk of bodily harm wasn't well accounted for and was still a complete mystery. Time to take our first step into the basement.

I suggested that we really needed to determine if the bikes actually even existed. Ryan already had a plan for that and said he would be making another call after we were done talking. We continued our discussion, all the while framing in the details of a high level strategy that amounted to having to thread a needle in a Category 5 hurricane. If this were to work with an acceptable level of risk we'd ultimately have to exchange money, titles and bikes at precisely the same moment in time...which would be no easy feat considering these three elements resided, presumably, in three different states. And at that moment we only knew where one of them was - - the money. And there was a fourth variable to manage - - a possible madman. Now I fully understood what I was hearing in Ryan's voice; he already knew very well what I was just learning. Next I started reminiscing about a guy named Doc and 1.21 Gigawatts of electricity, but there was no time for daydreaming as a lot of groundwork had to be thought out and put into place. In less the 24 hours Ryan had to be prepared for his next meeting with the bank. We ended the conversation and Ryan went off to place his next call. I went back into the meeting room, the lights were out and the meeting was long since over. Everyone had left. Damn.
 

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I was thinking Michigan.
Michigan? I have never lived in Michigan. I have lived in Colorado for the majority of my life.

I thought you said you knew the story (although as I said, there are only three people on the planet who actually know the story). How can you know the story when you don't even know where the bikes ended up?
 

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Part 4...

I'm sitting in a meeting and my phone rings, it's Ryan (aka Sherpa23F). I wasn't able to take the call so I let it go to voicemail, figuring I'd just call him later as I really needed to participate in this hour-long meeting that had just started. After a few seconds it rings again. I get up, pretending like I was expecting this, and lean outside the meeting room to take the call. I wasn't greeted with any of the normal pleasantries and instead the first thing Ryan said was, "I need your help." And this wasn't a casually stated, "Hey, I need your help" type of thing. Instead, he said it in the way you would had you just robbed a bank. Even the tone was muted. Ryan was anxious and I was struggling to determine if it was fear or excitement that I was detecting in his voice; turns out it was both. "Where are you?" I asked. Ryan said, "I'm at a bank. Well, I'm in the parking lot of a bank actually." Time to step fully out of the meeting room and close the door behind me. I decided not to ask which direction he was running, nor did I share what had just popped into my mind: the fact that rubbing alcohol mixed with soap is one of the best ways to rid your skin of red dye. Saying that out loud to answer a question Ryan hadn’t yet asked, I mean didn’t ask, seemed completely inappropriate.

I then listened to the entire, simply unbelievable, story. I said, "Wait, he sent you a picture of his drivers license? Really?” Ryan answered back, "He really did. Here, I'll send it to you." A few seconds later I find myself examining the details of a well worn Illinois drivers license. I imagined this same haunting image plastered across the screen of a Dateline episode while Keith Morrison narrates the story of Ryan's unfortunate disappearance. "Who in the world dresses in military fatigues for their drivers license picture?" I said only to myself. The answer of course is someone in the military, but this clearly wasn't someone in the military. "Is the guy in this picture really capable of all of this?" I said, continuing the conversation with myself. I remember mentally confirming that day's date; no, it wasn't April 1st.

I knew my role...it was up to me to play the voice of reason, just like Ryan had done for me so many times before. In an attempt to provide some comfort I started with the easy questions knowing that Ryan undoubtedly would have bailed long ago if this seemed high risk. "Surely you're more comfortable after having spoken to the seller?" Ryan responded, "No, absolutely not. Totally, totally not." I followed with, "So where are the bikes at, I think I missed that?" Ryan answered, "I don't know. Chicago I think. He won't tell me." Two questions and two bad answers, horrifically bad answers really. I didn't want to pile on anymore so I decided to leverage a positive point, "Well, at least the bank has the ti..." Ryan cut me off, "The bank said they THINK they have the titles. MAYBE they have the titles. They SHOULD have the titles. PERHAPS they have the titles. The only thing they know for certain is that the titles aren't in the hands of the guy responsible for the longest unresolved loan default still being held on their books." Another horrible, horrible answer.

We've all watched horror movies where the main protagonist heads to the basement in the dark during a power outage, barefooted, carrying a flashlight with dead batteries to investigate an odd sound that he’s never heard before. As an audience member it's easy to scream "Why?!?!?" As I learned through this experience, the reason why is simple: it's curiosity. Ryan and I agreed that this deal was so weird that he in fact had an obligation to press ahead. There would be no other way to learn what was really going on with this and we wouldn't be content if we found ourselves never knowing. We began identifying risks and one by one we vetted options for mitigating each one. Our discussion focused on the safety of the bikes and the safety of Ryan's finances. Risk of bodily harm wasn't well accounted for and was still a complete mystery. Time to take our first step into the basement.

I suggested that we really needed to determine if the bikes actually even existed. Ryan already had a plan for that and said he would be making another call after we were done talking. We continued our discussion, all the while framing in the details of a high level strategy that amounted to having to thread a needle in a Category 5 hurricane. If this were to work with an acceptable level of risk we'd ultimately have to exchange money, titles and bikes at precisely the same moment in time...which would be no easy feat considering these three elements resided, presumably, in three different states. And at that moment we only knew where one of them was - - the money. And there was a fourth variable to manage - - a possible madman. Now I fully understood what I was hearing in Ryan's voice; he already knew very well what I was just learning. Next I started reminiscing about a guy named Doc and 1.21 Gigawatts of electricity, but there was no time for daydreaming as a lot of groundwork had to be thought out and put into place. In less the 24 hours Ryan had to be prepared for his next meeting with the bank. We ended the conversation and Ryan went off to place his next call. I went back into the meeting room, the lights were out and the meeting was long since over. Everyone had left. Damn.
Am loving how this is progressing...
986128
 

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Michigan? I have never lived in Michigan. I have lived in Colorado for the majority of my life.

Settle down, Francis. I was thinking it was Matt telling the story.
 
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