Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Forshizzle! Bob Leedy and Sterling Webb were almost cell mates!

It's true, folks.  Hammer and a Feather went fishing for information, thanks to this commenting tipster in the "Eschewing Obfuscation" post:

Anonymous said...

To the above poster:
Please contact the Sevier County District Attorney, ASAP. They will need copies of your lease, but only if it is signed by Bob; and copies of any receipts for payments.
Bob was just indicted/arrested today on 5 counts of impersonating a licensed professional (or something like that).
I'm so happy Sevier County is finally doing something!
I would send also contact an attorney to see to whom you should pay your rent.

Truly, there it was in the Seymour Herald, along with another surprise:

2010-11-15: Robert A Leedy, 68, of Sevier Impersonation of a Licensed Professional, was released on $10000 bond.
2010-11-18Sterling Ernest Webb, 42, of Sevier Contempt of court, was released on $1500 bond.

We all know that Bob's problem was continuing his business as usual, which was REALLY bad after losing his broker's license.  Hopefully, Bob's was able to bond out without having to dip into his pretend escrow account.

But, what court order did Sterling Webb violate?  Is there a myriad of court orders?  A plethora?  A bunch?  Sterling probably beat up a kid for his milk money just prior to being arrested, so he at least had his chump-change $150 bail.

Any tipsters out there?  If so, please vent, vent, vent.

Seymour Herald link:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sterling Webb at Sterling Springs by any other name is still Sterling Webb at Sterling Springs

And add Wahoo Vacation Club, and Skytrek Ziplines to Sterling Springs and Overlook Resort to Mr. Webb's list of aliases.

There's no way to name them all because, no doubt, there are many names that Sterling Webb has used in order to get people to do business with him.

A new one has popped up:  Eco Summit Development Group, LLC.  Well, that is the name in a magazine article, anyway.  A full-page ad in Knox Life promotes Sterling Webb as the President of Eco Summit Development Group, LLC.  Here's a link and a quote:

Webb says the mortgage crisis exposed flaws in Sevier County's investment properties.

In this slick 'special advertisement' is also where Sterling declares himself as Eco Summit president.  It's really a cool online publication; use the Zoom tool to read every word written about Sterling being a jewel of the Smokies.

And let's just hope and pray that the Bullock Group of Knoxville got their money.  You can check out the REALTORs ad for The Green Mountain Cabin here: http://www.realestatesmokies.com/Homes_For_Sale/TN/Sevierville/15434447.html

Here's what i was able to find out about the name of Sterling's new LLC, according to what is published in the magazine ad:

Eco Summit Development Group LLC
2 messages

Hammer and a Feather Mon, Oct 18, 2010 at 3:25 AM

To: business.services@state.tn.us
Dear State Department ~

In September 2010, Sterling Webb, d/b/a Eco Summit Development Group LLC advertised rental properties for sale in a Knoxville online magazine.

Could you please verify that Eco Summit Development Group LLC is a legitimate Tennessee limited liability company?

This function of your website seems to be unavailable.  So, i thank you, in advance, for your time to answer my question.

Hammer and a Feather

"If it ain't right, it ain't right."

Angie Tatum Mon, Oct 18, 2010 at 8:53 AM

To: Hammer and a Feather

I apologize for our website being down at this time.  I have reported the issue to the appropriate staff.
We do have a record of Eco Summit Development, LLC, control #635130 (listed without 'Group").  Their articles of organization were filed on 07/08/10 and their address is listed as 1081 Towering Oaks Dr, Sevierville, Tn 37876.  Their registered agent is currently listed as United States Corporation Agents, Inc, 3903 Volunteer Dr, Suite #200, Chattanooga, Tn 37416.
If I can be of further assistance, please contact me at angie.tatum@tn.gov

Best wishes,
Angie Tatum, Supervisor
Division of Business Services

Isn't it funny how that address, 1081 Towering Oaks Drive, is the address he uses for his Wahoo game.

As for Eco Summit Development Group, LLC vs Eco Summit Development, LLC vs Eco Summit ~ well ~ how the man keeps up with it all, i don't know... anyone with that much going on could easily make that mistake.

In the meantime, people are still hurting from their association with the stinging nettle* known as Sterling Webb:

On Monday, October 19th, a person using the screen name 'Lost Everything' said

I invested my entire life savings into a cabin in sterling springs only to have it go belly up.
Questionable situations,and hollow promises is all i ever experienced.
I am not the only one who has been a victim of sterling springs, There have been several and our stories are pretty much the same.

On Sunday, October 18th, Debbie in West Virginia, in regards to the Wahoo Vacation Club said
I have owned this for over a year and have yet to rent a condo for the price listed on my contract. Very unhappy. There is no management personnel to talk to, and no one to complain to, only the service personnel, whom I might add have been very helpful, but they have no authority to make anything right.

Hey.  You all be careful out there.  If you stumbled on this blog because you are checking on Sterling Webb before you invest money with him, please investigate some of the other posts and comments here so you'll at least know what you're getting yourself into...

*Okay, i know that a stinging nettle has medicinal properties when used to make a tea ~ and therefore is not a good analogy for the pain that can be inflicted by Sterling Webb..

UPDATE:  It's amazing that Sterling was able to pull himself together to set up his new LLC, considering all the turmoil he was enduring.  This is according to the comments for June and July 2010 at http://hammerandafeather.blogspot.com/2009/05/teetering-on-bring-of-insanity.html#comments

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sterling Webb Lost The Benefit Of The Doubt With Me

It looks like things didn't go so well for Mr. Bob Burns and his marketing efforts for Sterling Springs Resort and Spa and Zipline and Vacation Club.

There is no tellin' what happened between Mr. Burns and Mr. Webb.  Perhaps Mr. Burns smelled a rat.

(Remind me to tell you the story, someday, of how Mr. Webb came into possession of the property now known as "Sterling Springs".  It's NOT pretty.  For now, let's go back to the original thought.)

So, exit Mr. Burns?

Enter, My Realty Source.

Here is a direct quote from their website (http://www.myrealtysource.com/recommended-opportunity/sterling-springs-resort/):

During my visits over the last 6 months, Sterling Springs has maintained a 97% Occupancy Rate, with absolutely zero vacancies from Thursday-Mondays.  As of today, the resort is entirely booked until October 15, and is in desperate need of rental inventory.  Don’t believe me?  Fly down and see for yourself.  We are offering a “Fly and Buy” to all of our investors.  If you fly to the resort, we will put you up in our private cabin (if available through management), give you a compimentary ZipLine pass, and reimburse your travel expenses upon successful closing.

If were anyone else but Sterling Webb, i would say C*O*N*G*R*A*T*U*L*A*T*I*O*N*S
If it were ANYONE else, i might ALMOST believe them.  But, given the probable source of the data, i can't help but think that his claims are fabricated.  Sterling's fabrications are always whoppers.

... sorry folks, but the man has lost the benefit of the doubt with me.

According to a comment on a prior post, the Wahoo Vacation Club is in shambles.  It was believable to me when the anonymous commenter states that the employees did not get paid "as a parting gift":

"Wahoo Vacation Club that Sterling Webb owns has closed it's doors as of Friday the 25th of June,but as a parting gift to his employees he did not pay them.Wonder what his new scam will be now since nobody in Severville will do business with the con-man anymore.We can just hope someone will call the labor board and the feds will get him."
Sterling Webb is the type of person who would take food out of peoples' mouths if it benefited him.

He is a known falsifier of things.  And that makes me leery of  "Fly and Buy".  If Sterling Webb is involved, it feels like a Ponzi-Palooza scam.

And i hope the My Realty Source people don't get screwed over in their business deal exclusively huffing and puffing Sterling Webb and his damn mess.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sterling Webb Jumps The Shark

Do you have the will power to turn down 1100% Return On Investment (ROI) when looking to buy real estate?

Mr. Bob Burns from Miami Florida hopes you do not... Mr. Burns is marketing Sterling Springs for Sevier County's illustrious Mr. Sterling Webb. If you click on that link, you will see the full-page ad (in all it's glory) and contact Mr. Burns for yourself ( In case you are the lumber yard or cell phone company or innocent victim recently wronged or ripped off by Mr. Sterling Webb, Or in case you are a guest who walked in on beer bottles and condoms ).

I honestly believe a license from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is required to counsel an investor and sell an investment ~ but that was probably just another rule that fell by the wayside in a greed stampede.

Mr. Burns posts a very nice chart that shows you can expect over an 1100% return if you'll just turn loose of a little bit of money and invest in a One Bedroom Gold Mine in Sterling Springs Resort.

The only problem is that Mr. Burns bases his 1100+% return projections on an 82% occupancy rate and 15% appreciation. That means that he believes your new little Bank 'O Webb will be booked 299 and one-third days out of 365, and your new One Bedroom would increase in value from $378,500 in 2008 to $543,400 by 2013.

Uh, yeeaaah. Riiiiight. (The beer bottle and condom thingie is not the way to build repeat guestship, and anything over a 60% occupancy requires extreme repeat guests.)

Maybe one of the commentators from the previous article about Mr. Webb would like to get out their wallets, invest, and maybe recover some of what they say they have lost:

I would lust like to add that the investors were not the only ones screwed by Sterling. A local lumber supplier was screwed out of over 100K in logs and other materials

Yes we lost our hard earned money, and now we live in an apartment and dream about buying a home that we cannot because of his lies and our purchase. Not only did he not pay us, he stole all of our appliances, blinds, electrical fixtures and more to put in another cabin, we only know this because he and his partner Victor Milton had a fight and he let us know. I gave the serial number to my appliances to the Sevier county police along with the cabin that the items were put in. Still waiting for prosecution. We should sue him. Thanks for this Blog.

The man is a lier and a cheat.Do not do business with this man or his many company's,you will lose your money.

Yes I agree. We handled advertisement for him in 2008 and still haven't been paid.

Did people snap up luxury cabins in Sterling Springs? Will Sterling Webb finally get to build his helipad? Will Sterling ever build the long-promised spa? Did Bob Burns make some fat commissions? Why did Sterling change the zip-line's name from Wahoo Ziplines to Skytrek?

Will the innocent property owner get their appliances back? Will the advertising firm get paid? People say Sterling Webb has lots of law enforcement friends in Sevierville ~ so getting a warrant served might be a little hard in that good ole' boy town.

Stay tuned for Karma.


UPDATE 3/28/2010:

Holy Moly! I think these guys talked someone into investing pension money** in Mr. Webb's dream of a resort with a spa and helipad!

**Look at the lower left-hand corner of the linked-to page.


Maybe this is why Sterling Webb decided to change the name of Wahoo to Skytrek: Because they got an 'F' from the BBB.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Who Knew? Not Cooperating Costs A Lot Less!

I love the intertubes. ("Intertubes": What the former United States Senator Ted Stevens from Alaska calls the internet.) Since the late 90's, every-day people have been doing their business online. This puts everybodies' business ~ online.

Old newsletters become a snapshot of an organization's personality. Let's look at the Tennessee Real Estate News-Journal (an Official Publication of the Tennessee Real Estate Commission) ~ for instance:

In the Summer 2000 TREN-J, there is a very nice explanation of exactly what makes up a Vacation Lodging Service (VLS) license. An excerpt:
Both types of firms [real estate
offices and VLS licensed offices] are
subject to the same requirements
regarding handling of escrow
funds which include: proper and
timely deposit and disbursement
of all funds received by the VLS
firm, proper accounting procedures
to assure compliance with
TREC regulations, retention of
records, review of records by
TREC, and discipline when mishandling
or misrepresentation of
funds is determined.
Bill Stewart, the TREC Auditor, contributed to the Fall-Winter 2001 edition with "Primer on Escrow Accounts" and includes a distinct paragraph relating to vacation rental management companies:
For vacation lodging operations,
all funds received for a
customer to reserve or occupy a
rental unit must be deposited to
and maintained in the escrow
bank account until that customer
has checked out. Multiple units
and multiple reservations of
each unit at any point in time
make detailed records keeping
a necessity. Bank statement
reconciliation should be coordinated
with the accounting records
on which monthly reports to unit
owners are based. Reservation
deposits must be maintained in
the escrow account until they
become earned rental revenue.
Rental revenue due a unit owner
must remain in the escrow
account until properly paid to
that owner. Commissions or
expenses deducted from rental
revenue and due the firm must
be disbursed at least monthly.
Sales and hotel/motel taxes are
additional examples of amounts
that may be included in funding
requirements depending on firm
Very interesting! Thank you, Mr. Stewart!

Oh, yeah. I forgot to mention that the TREN-J, published about quarterly, always has a DISCIPLINARY ACTION section. Yup. Every issue. The DA section is what makes that publication the gossip rag of the industry.

Two very interesting disciplinary actions appear in the same issue as Mr. Stewart's escrow article. I would go so far as to say ~ dare i say ~ that these two companies were actually the INSPIRATION for what now feels like a lecture on escrow accounting from Mr. Stewart:
Lic. No. VLS254741
Pigeon Forge, TN
Following an audit of the firm where
a deficit in the escrow account was
found, Principal Broker Bradley K.
Walker agreed to the following: (1)
pay a civil penalty of $7000.00, (2)
have the firm be on probation for
one year, (3) fully fund the escrow
account, and (4) provide the
Commission with quarterly reconciliation
reports while on probation.
Lic. No. 255489
VLS Applicant
Sevierville, TN
The respondent, at the time of
audit, was found to have a
substantial escrow account deficit
and was also operating an unlicensed
branch office. For these
actions the respondent agreed to:
(1) pay a civil penalty of $11,100.00;
(2) fully fund the escrow account
and make restitution of all monies
due by 09-30-01; (3) be on
probation for a period of one year;
and (4) provide the Commission
reconciliation reports on a quarterly
basis while on probation.
Chad McCarter at Great Smokies Management Corporation (Echota) also received a fine and probation in that issue, but only to the tune of $3000 for his substantial escrow deficit. Otherwise, the rest of the hand-slappings for Tennessee licensees is pretty boring.

This DISCIPLINARY ACTION appeared in the July 2001 issue of TREN-J:
Lic. NO. F255329
Sevierville, TN
Principal Broker Chuck B.
McCarter agreed to pay a
$1000.00 civil penalty, be on
probation one year, provide the
Commission with quarterly reports
about the escrow account
and fully fund the escrow
account after an audit of the firm
revealed a deficit in the escrow
Fast forward from Fall 2001 ~ 4 or 5 months, to TREN-J VOLUME: 11 - SPRING 2002 - NUMBER: 3. If you go look at it, scroll down to the DISCIPLINARY ACTION section to see what i see:
Lic. No. FM 254925
Pigeon Forge, TN
Following an audit conducted by
Commission staff which noted a
deficit in the firm’s escrow account,
Principal Broker David B.
Myers agreed to the following:
Pay a civil penalty of $4,000.00,
have the firm placed on probation
for a one year period, fully
fund the escrow account by November
30, 2001, and provide
the Commission quarterly reconciliation
reports while on probation.
And, on the same page, this little gem:
Lic. No. FM 255738
Gatlinburg, TN
Principal Broker Ted L. Mullikin
agreed to pay a civil penalty of
$1,000.00 for refusal to provide
a Commission auditor access to
information required to complete
an audit and further for acting as
principal broker of the firm after
expiration of his license.
Here's what i read into this: 5 companies were fined $23,100 for allowing the Auditor in the door. One company, Mountain Rentals owned by Ted Mullikin of Gatlinburg, was fined $1,000 for not... OMG! This means crime pays in Tennessee.

Yes, it makes me mad at the fined offenders for disrespecting their escrow accounts. But it just doesn't seem fair that not complying with the Auditor's request for access to the books results in a much, much, much, much smaller fine.

And did you just ask yourself "Why didn't Ted get probation like the others?" I asked myself the same thing. For goodness sakes, Ted's hands were even dirtier because he was operating without a license. Was the $1,000 harsh (not) penalty he received punishment for ignoring his license or ignoring the Auditor?

With this kind of disparity, you can see the attitudes and conduct that led to the rules being changed in 2003 so that these poor rental companies don't have to be fined for driving Jags and Escalades and Mercedes, anymore (aw, the real estate agents don't get to cash in on the rule change that would let them pay for that stuff from their escrow accounts).

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Harvesting the Fruit from the Money Tree

Dear Tennessee Guest ~

I'm so so sorry to risk your money. But, the Great Sensible Wise State of Tennessee allows me to do it... so it must be OK with you, too.

You see, if i go out of business, you are SOoL [ that's code for 'out of luck' ]. The UNlucky part for you is that you will not get a refund and you will not have a reservation.

I spent over a million dollars of your money on clothes and cars and this and that. Sometimes my Operating Account was unable to cover my great big payroll so i would need to make a transfer to keep my employees happy (and, because i don't know exactly what i'm doing, it takes a lot of personnel to keep things going).

It isn't all bad... i will get to keep my cars and clothes, and i'll have enough cash to start up somewhere else. Nothing will happen to me because i operated within the law. Thank God the Tennessee Real Estate Commission does not care about you ~ or i would be the one who was SOoL.

Your Licensed (or not) Vacation Rental Management Company in Tennessee

Dear Tennessee Vacation Rental Property Owner ~

Oh my. I am so sorry your check is late, again. My escrow is short, again. I had to wait until i had made enough advance bookings and gathered enough advance deposits to make a deposit into my escrow account to cover the owner checks, again.

Now, i'm sweating my taxes, again. But i do have confidence in the booking public ~ they will come through for me, again and again. Thank God for that magic little paragraph in the rental contract that allows me to spend their deposit as i see fit. That's how i use their money to pay you. I realize this is a Ponzi Scheme (and that you are SICK, SICK, SICK of such a damn thing), but the State of Tennessee allows me to operate this way without any interference from a regulating agency.

I SHOULD be holding everyone's money safe and sound in my escrow. I SHOULD never take a penny for myself until i'm entitled to it. I SHOULD never have to worry about covering your checks and the tax checks and the cleaners' checks. But that is the price i am willing to pay in order to live my life in the fashion of which is too tempting not to when there is all this lovely, free money available to me (again, thank you State of Tennessee, and thank you to my cohorts who lobbied like hell to get the law changed in 2003). I don't want to run my business leaner and meaner and within my commission income.

I know, i know... because it's a Ponzi, i can never get out of the rental business. Well, except that i could, if i wanted to. [laughing] I will just go home one day if i feel like it and you will probably lose your house to foreclosure (because i owed you so much money). Not to sound callous, but why should that matter to me? Nothing bad will happen to me because i operated within the law. I don't think i'll even bother to get a license when i crank back up in the business. I've observed that this something the Tennessee Real Estate Commission feels is NOT any of THEIR business.

...sorry 'bout your luck,
Your Licensed (soon not) Vacation Rental Management Company in Tennessee

A NOTE FROM HAMMER: I'm not exaggerating. I wish i was.