Commentary by Ralph R. Roberts
RISMEDIA, Dec. 18, 2007-No doubt about it, investors involved with the Mile High Capital Group (Denver, Colorado) lost millions of dollars. They put down earnest money on residential duplex properties, most of which were never built. The Mile High Capital Group sold a product that it failed to deliver, and investors lost a lot of money.
Rick Dryer, founder and former CEO of Mile High is currently under indictment on 67 felony charges ranging from theft to securities fraud for his involvement in an alleged real estate Ponzi scheme.
Dryer has pleaded not guilty on all of the charges, and is scheduled to appear in Denver District Court in February of 2008. Clearly, someone is guilty of wrongdoing here, but which (if any) laws were broken, by whom, and for what purpose are still a mystery.
Shortly after my book “Protect Yourself from Real Estate and Mortgage Fraud” (co-authored with attorney and noted mortgage fraud expert Rachel Dollar) hit the bookstores, Kaplan’s public relations department contacted me. They informed me of an opportunity to promote the book via a talk show called “Real Estate Wealth, Myths Facts and Strategies,” a spin off of the Real Estate Dialogues with Rick Dryer and Professor Gary Eldred, the best selling author and head of curriculum at Trump University.
I was shocked to learn of the indictments against Dryer when I “Googled” him prior to the show. I also learned that he “had moved to North Carolina where he was hosting his popular “Right Place Right Time Real Estate Investment Strategies” work and working as a consultant for a company called Convergent Acquisitions and Development Inc. in Charlotte, among others. He also has a home in Colorado.
I had known of Rick Dryer and his seminars for some time. I also knew of his very public record of accurate predictions as to emerging markets and trends. If there is anyone whose knowledge of real estate would seem to empower investors to earn millions in real estate, Rick Dryer would be such a person. So when I heard the rumors about millions stolen from Mile High investors, I was stunned. After all, why would a successful real estate investor, a multi-millionaire, need to steal money?
I did an informative and interesting interview with Dryer and Professor Eldred, which is offered by podcast to swarms of subscribers. The show was scheduled to debut on XM Satellite, too, but XM pulled the plug on the show after receiving calls from a reporter. That apparent violation of its contract will be the subject of another column.
In doing some background on Convergent, a company for which Dryer was working as a consultant. I discovered that Convergent has two things in common with Mile High. First, it acquires rental properties for investors, which is basically the same service that Mile High offered investors. Secondly, it had had great success in following Rick Dryer’s Right Place Right Time principles.
I called Convergent president Nicolas “Nick” Sabardin to find out more about what was going on and about Dryer’s involvement with the company. Sabardin was very cooperative; he believed anyone who looks into this will help in clearing Dryer’s name. He welcomed my interest, and thought an independent analysis would be fantastic. He offered to help in anyway he could. Shortly thereafter, my assistant and I flew to Charlotte to meet with Sabardin.
After a couple meetings, Sabardin had aroused my curiosity. He and his company have an impeccable reputation. He is a Sorbonne graduate, a former airline pilot, and an MBA. He had had his lawyers do a complete background on Dryer before hiring him. What he told me, which I confirmed, made me become fascinated with the Mile High case.
Here was a company that had over a quarter billion in sales and $45 million in cash flow, and records showed that Dryer was on the receiving end of only $50,000 in cash. If this was a case of real estate and mortgage fraud, someone was doing an excellent job of laundering the money. Where did all that money go? Why did Dryer leave Mile High? And why were clients like Convergent enjoying such success? Is Rick Dryer a criminal mastermind or the fall guy for clever con artists who used him as an unwitting accomplice, as Mr. Sabardin believes?
Over the course of the next several months, I will be independently reviewing the Mile High case myself and posting my findings, most every Monday, under the “Mile High Monday” header on www.FlippingFrenzy.com . Through my posts, I hope we will all be able to discover the truth about Mile High Capital Group. From its very beginnings, through the trial, to the very end, when the judge or jury reads the verdicts…if it ever gets to trial. I invite you to tune in to what appears to be the unveiling of one of the most complicated and sinister corporate real estate cons of our times. But is Rick Dryer mastermind or victim? Stay tuned.