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Is this tasteful? Na-nu! na-NO! - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
Is this tasteful? Na-nu! na-NO!
I get solicitations all the time from non-profits that were built into the 2005 Bankruptcy Code amendments as providers of "counseling" and "education" courses demanded by the banking and creditor industries to ensure that debtors (a) weren't able to pay all their debts before filing and (b) learned a few things about personal finance and budgeting before they obtained final bankruptcy relief.  In practice, these courses only serve as annoyances and delays in the process; I have never seen a counseling service produce a "debt repayment plan" which the law contemplated, and most of the "debtor education" courses are smarmy, filled with "let's play a game!" learning exercises, and serve mainly to deny discharges to the debtors not savvy enough to complete them in time (or who then have to pay the court to reopen their cases to take the courses).

Mostly, I ignore the siren songs from the dozens of approved providers; I keep lists of the less annoying ones and pass them on.  But today, I got this from a Rochester based one. I repeat it in more or less its entirety:

Robin Williams is Broke—He’s Not Laughing or Crying

     HELLOOOOO!  He’s  BAAAACCCKKK!  After a 31 year hiatus from network television, Actor/Comedian Robin Williams made an impressive debut on the small screen last month—15.5 million viewers watched the premier of his new sitcom, THE CRAZY ONES.  Williams, who attended the prestigious Juliard  School in New York City along with Superman actor Christopher Reeve, has a long list of big screen acting roles as well as a widely popular stand-up comedy career.   The 62 year-old actor’s break-out role began in 1978 with the quirky tv sitcom, Mork & Mindy.  

     After the five-year run of  Mork & Mindy, Robin’s acting career focused on dramatic as well as comedic big-screen roles that were very well-received, including three Oscar nominations (winning Best Supporting Actor for Good Will Hunting in 1997), two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globes, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and five Grammy Awards.  Not surprisingly, Williams became one of Hollywood’s most popular and well compensated actors; he earned an estimated $15 million for Jamanji (1999) and $20 million for Bicentennial Man (2006).  Unfortunately, Williams’s meteoric professional success came with severe personal costs as his life unraveled in the mid-2000s including drug addiction, drug rehab in 2006, and end of his 19-year marriage in 2008.

     Like the collapse of the housing market, Williams financial situation has imploded over the last few years—from a fortune estimated at nearly $130 million to about $50 million today.  And, the sources of his financial distress are strikingly similar to the experiences of your average clients.  Two divorces, chemical dependency, disputes with employer (Disney), lavish lifestyle, and an incredibly expensive home.   According to Williams, “Divorce is expensive.  I used to joke they were going to call it ‘all the money,’ but they changed it to ‘alimony.’”  Both divorces are reputed to have cost over $20 million.   And the lifestyle during the actor’s financial “bubble” period was extravagant.  His Napa Valley estate or ‘the ranch’ (653 acres with 20,000 square foot mansion) is on the market for a whopping $35 million.

     As age and financial reality have tempered Robin’s lavish lifestyle aspirations, his professional goals have adjusted accordingly.  As Williams explained, ‘The idea of having a steady job is appealing…  There are bills to pay.  My life has downsized, in a good way.  I just can’t afford [the lifestyle] anymore.’   We hope the CRAZY ONES enjoys a successful run on CBS so that Robin will continue to entertain us on tv rather than in the bankruptcy court. 

     As you consider the pre-filing and pre-discharge Bankruptcy Education courses for your clients, you can TRUST [some name] as YOUR 501 (c) 3 nonprofit provider with the Best Value courses and high quality services. Only $25 for pre-filing Credit Counseling and only $15 for post-filing Debtor Education courses for single filers! Our telephonic courses are only $34.95 for pre-filing Credit Counseling and only $24.95 for post-filing Debtor Education. For your most distressed clients, we have a generous fee waiver policy—free codes issued within hours for eligible filers as dictated by DOJ guidelines. And, our experienced counselors are available--seven days per week—here in Rochester, NY! Unlike other larger bankruptcy education providers, DebtorWise does not contribute to U.S. unemployment by outsourcing its staff to low-wage countries! And, you don’t have to worry about difficult to understand counselors or poor quality phone service. Plus, our easy to use [some thing] focuses on your needs, including immediate access to client course completion certificates and our Emergency Hotline system.

     If you would like to learn more about us, please contact me at [phone snip] or [email snap]; If you include the 'code name' “Hootie”, you will automatically receive THREE course codes to hand out to your clients. I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Best Regards,

[My Name is Not Important]

Hmmmm. Wonder if Robin Williams knows that his name, if not likeness, is being used to shill for a bankruptcy-related product. Wonder if this "provider" knows that at least one friend of mine is personally acquainted with the man and might want to let him know about said shilling.

I've met the proprietor of this site. Ironically, he teaches at RIT- though not in Em's department.  I expect better from them. I will not be answering the trivia question or emailing the "Hootie" code, because this, frankly, blows fish.

This entry was originally posted at http://captainsblog.dreamwidth.org/165615.html. Please comment here, or there using OpenID.
3 comments or Leave a comment
symian From: symian Date: October 22nd, 2013 10:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sometimes you don't know what ads are saying on your site. That's why I take tight control of mine, only displaying ads that are hosted on my sites. I'd seen too many "Judge Judy Recommeds..." when it is obvious to anyone with a brain that Judge Judy would never.
thediva_laments From: thediva_laments Date: October 22nd, 2013 11:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aside from the obvious Robin Williams quasi endorsement BS... Maybe my POV is skewed here because I'm not going to be able to pay my rent on 11/1, but since when is having only $50 million broke???
captainsblog From: captainsblog Date: October 24th, 2013 12:29 am (UTC) (Link)
That did occur to me, too, reading the thing....
3 comments or Leave a comment