Student Loan Scandals Abound: “Where Do San Francisco Parents Turn for Help?”

The rocket-jet stratospheric rise in College tuitions is hitting an all time high with no end in sight. This is a monster burden most parents are not prepared to take on when the time comes to send their children to college. Complicating and aggravating matters is the ongoing student loan scandal that continues to rock the nation’s universities.

In one of the worst examples of kickbacks, the University of Texas (Austin) fired their Director of Financial Aid Lawrence Burt. According to the University, the firing was handed down due to “improper conduct.” This conduct included “the determination that Burt had more ties to a student loan company than had been previously known and that Burt had begun recommending the lender to students a few months after he bought stock in it’s parent company.”

With multiple stories of this ilk littering our scholastic landscape, it is no wonder parents are feeling distrusting, outcast, and unsure where to turn for financial help. High schools are understaffed with guidance counselors often assigned hundreds of students. In many cases these counselors are not informed in alternative forms of student tuition financing. The information flow can be slow or even misinformed in some cases. Where do parents turn for answers?

Consequently “College Planning Specialists” main platform will be to provide pertinent, alternative, and important financial aid information for the parents of college bound students in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information about the student loan alternatives, we invite readers to follow our upcoming series “Student Loan Alternatives: Answers for Parents.” If you need immediate assistance, please contact Dan Evertsz of College Planning Specialists 415 756.6007.

If you would like to ask questions off line please contact Dean Guadagni at Thank you!


Pioneers of the Sexual Revolution: Jim Mitchell Gone But Not Forgotten!

For anyone over the age of 45, the late 1960’s, 1970’s, and the early 1980’s were a time of Sexual awakening and revolution. Norms and traditional roles for women and men were being challenged, sexual behavior was being redefined, and an awareness of one’s “body” was both embraced and encouraged.

One of the driving forces behind this freedom of expression were the Mitchell Brothers. Jim and Artie Mitchell, two local boys from Antioch, created a pornography empire with their crown jewel centerpiece the Mitchell Brothers O’Farrell Theatre in San Francisco. Jim and Artie challenged and fought for freedom of speech and expression for 30+ years. They pioneered and paved the way for many of the freedoms enjoyed by the television, cable television and print medias today.

The “boy’s” crowning achievement was their production of the movie “Behind the Green Door” starring Marilyn Chambers in 1972. The movie was and still is considered the “Citizen Kane” of the pornography world; it was the most successful film of it’s time and spawned an entire industry. Chambers went onto world wide fame and the Mitchell Brothers empire was off and running.

It was with a sad heart and fond memories that Jim Mitchell, surviving Mitchell Brother, was laid to rest at a Memorial service in his hometown of Antioch, California on Thursday. Funeral attendees included former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, writer Warren Hinckle, and ex San Francisco District Attorney Terrence Hallinan. Also amongst the crowd were movie producers, strippers, actors, and other entertainment people.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle reporter Peter Fimrite: In a final and fitting tribute, Mitchell’s son Raef stood up and said that although his father had his faults, he was a man of his word. “He always told me, ‘Son, I’m not the greatest man. I’m not perfect,’ Raef said. “Don’t try to be the greatest man. Just be a man.’ ”

God bless Jim Mitchell not a great man but definitely a man’s man.

Positive Thinking: A Realtor’s Guide to Prosperity, Joy and Stress-Free Living

The real estate profession is fraught with challenges and obstacles. Stress levels often run high and maintaining a positive pristine attitude can be difficult. The business of the real estate transaction has many moving parts that can run off the proverbial road. It is the largest most emotion packed purchase or sale most customers will experience in their lifetimes. Consequently, Realtors are expected to “wear many hats”: housing market expert, community resource, schools system consultant, and psychologist to name a few.

Compensation is almost exclusively on a 100% commission basis. Each Realtor is CEO running their individual businesses. Expenses are out of pocket and rarely if ever subsidized through a traditional “salary” or car compensation package.

Compounding a Realtor’s stress level are uncontrollable factors. Constantly changing housing markets, interest rate fluctuations, buyer and seller indecision, unreal buyer or seller expectations, and stiff competition are always part of a Realtor’s life.

With all of these factors in mind, becoming a successful real estate agent or professional is often a long road of hard work, perseverance, luck, and preparation. What is so often left behind, in the rush to perform all of these functions, is the awareness that positivity in attitude and thought is vital to success.

I am happy to announce a new series that will focus on positive thinking, stress management, and maintaining positive attitude/energy. I am very excited to announce Susan Hanshaw as a major contributor and driving force behind this project. The author of Unleashing Your Soul: Finding the Courage to Follow Your Heart and blog Sanctuary for Change, Susan was a recent guest on Maggie Mistal’s “Making a Living” formerly “Career Talk” show for Martha Stewart “Living” Radio channel on Sirius Satellite Radio. Susan’s business includes inspirational coaching and speech writing. Welcome Susan!


Huron Consulting Group Provides Information to 1031 Tax Group Victims: “Beware of the Hand That Feeds You!”

In “Victims of Okun and McGhan: Where Do We Go For Answers” I made a plea to any politician or participant in the tax proceedings for fresh information and answers. The answers I was hoping to elicit were the type that would describe exactly why the losses occurred and how they would be avoided in the future.

I then reprinted two comments I received from two separate victims of each of the 1031 swindles. My goal was to show everyone (reading this blog) the hurt and anger the victims are feeling. In addition I wanted to highlight cases where the victims had lost most if not all that they saved for their retirements. Real people devastated by this situation. A look at the unfortunates.

Although it is early, as expected, I received nothing from any of the politicians who claimed to be “looking into” or “working” on legislation for 1031 Exchange reform. As I expected, I have heard nothing from the Federation of Exchange Accommodators- Qualified Intermediaries only trade organization.

In a move true to their public relations media management role in the Okun case, I received information links from Huron Consultants. In “1031 Advance: Van Prooyen-Greenfield LLP Initial Contact Points for Clients” I documented the fact that these organizations were hired as spin doctors for the Okun disaster. The following are excerpts from that article and concepts to think about when reviewing the “new” information provided by Huron Consulting Group (below) :

Background on Huron Consulting Group
Huron Consulting Group helps clients effectively address complex challenges that arise in litigation, disputes, investigations, regulatory compliance, procurement, financial distress, and other sources of significant conflict or change. . “

Van Prooyen-Greenfield:

“We devise and execute communications campaigns that create and sustain competitive advantage. Clients involved in high-profile litigation depend on us for strategic communications counsel to press their case in the court of public opinion.

The following was a comment in response to “Victims of Okun and McGhan: Where Do We Go for Answers?” written by These are the sources of information provided to me. Critique this information with a regard for it’s source. My next article will examine the following comment and links provided by the Huron Consulting Group:

There are now three websites with information for customers of 1031 Tax Group and its affiliates:

  1. – managed by the – managed by the Claims Agent, provides links to all the filings in the bankrupcy case (no charge to download as opposed to PACER) – managed by the Unsecured Creditors Committtee, which represents all of the customersComment by Huron Consulting Group — July 18, 2007 @ 12:26 pm | Edit This

San Francisco Magazine: “Ultimate San Francisco Guide and Real Estate Resource”


San Francisco Magazine is a rich printed mashup that incorporates the classic dramatic flair of “Life” magazine, the hip trend identification of a burgeoning Web 2.0 blog, and the “city centric” feel of a Gentlemen’s Quarterly edition. SF mag focuses on San Francisco trends in the Arts, fashion, food, city life, Real estate, and California culture. Consequently it remains the best and most informative magazine about the City by the Bay and one of the best lifestyle magazines in California.

For the luxury market real estate broker, builder, hotel residence, resort, or agent’s print advertising campaign, San Francisco magazine is the Carnegie Hall of it’s niche. It is where the most successful and well positioned professionals advertise. The pages are full color, glossy, and impressively displayed. The dramatic 10″ by 12″ layout lends itself to luxurious and rich color photographed layouts.

One of the most exceptional, and best, examples of this advertising style is Coldwell Bankers’ Previews International advertisement by Newport Beach, California McMonigle Group. Their property is the magnificent Corona del Mar “Portobello Estate” listed, by Joyce Rey, at a Monte Carlo stratospheric price of $75,000,000. The following is the shot of the Portobello the same type of picture used in SF magazine’s full page advertisement.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then what is a full page color advertisement targeted to a world wide audience and focused on the San Francisco Bay Area worth to your advertisement campaign?


Victims of Okun and McGhan: “Where Do We Go for Answers?”

When I started investigating and reporting on the sad 1031 Advance case, I was stunned at the brazen and outlandish losses. I was offended to think that honest hard working people, many with their life savings on the line, would suffer their most significant loss from an industry that purports itself to be nearly flawless. I was angered by the culprits tip toeing out of town under the cover of darkness methods. And as I continued to report on the situation at hand, victims of the 1031 Tax Group swindle began to come out in a voice of unity: “We have been bambooseld and hoodwinked!

The following are two separate comments sent to me by victims of the 1031 Tax Group and the Southwest Exchange disaster in Las Vegas. These comments really struck a nerve; I feel that it is important to recognize the helplessness and desperation of the victims of this terrible rip off. I myself feel angry over the lack of political involvement or attention to this matter. I have written and profiled the politicians who spoke up when the 1031 Advance rip off was front page news on the San Jose Mercury news. I followed that first article up with a progress report on the politicians who “promised” to either “look into the matter” or “take action” to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again. We are still waiting! None of the politicians in California, who were profiled, have lifted a finger to help these people or introduce legislation to regulate the 1031 industry.

  1. Dear sir I don’t understand about what the government does or do sometimes. One thing needs to be addressd is where is the money they
    need to protect us from crooks like that.I’m one of the victims that were taken to the cleaner. Why because the IRS doesn’t trust people to do it themselves they trust crooks like those who are trying or tried to con people out of their own money.It is Funny that a business like that it is not even regulated by anything wow!!!!!
    that means any crook can go and open a 1031 exchange and make good money and file Bk. Only in America.Not sure what to do to get my money from this company who has taken me and lots of others to the cleaner.Do you have any suggestion?
    SamComment by sam eloatri
  2. Jack | | IP: am one of the many that lost money to the McGhan thieves. Not a big amount by the standards of those who lost several million, but the $180,000 I lost was most of my retirement. The lawyers will get most of any that I get back, so my retirement is gone, and at 60 I can look forward to working the rest of my life. I do so hope I can spend some of it visiting the McGhan scum in jail.I am writing to comment on the mention of people needing to do some homework before giving money to a 1031 QI. I actually did quite a bit of homework (not enough obviously). The reason I went with Arrow 1031/Southwest exchange and not with the other 8 I checked out was primarily because Southwest was the ONLY one that was registered with the state of Nevada, and Nevada was the only state requiring registration (I am from Texas).The one thing that frosts me so deeply about this whole thing is that Nevada did nothing to prevent it, and the IRS set up the whole program without requiring any over site or taking any responsibility for the loss.It is a sad truth, but the money is gone, and the McGhan scum will continue to live a life of luxury on the money they stole.Jul 12, 7:40 PM — [ Edit | Delete | Unapprove | Approve | Spam ] — Southwest Exchange: “Uh, Uhm. . . uh. . .” $100,000,000 Reasons to Perform Due Diligence on Your 1031 Exchange Company

Man of Honor: When You Don’t Have a Best Girlfriend to Stand In As Your Maid of Honor

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(image courtesy of copyright holder for “The Godfather 2” motion picture via Wikipedia)

I will never forget that phone call I received eight years ago this summer. The call was from a dear friend who was excited to tell me she was, in her own words, “finally” getting married. Little did I suspect that the next thing out of Megan’s mouth was the following salvo: “And I want you to be my Man of Honor.”

Man of Honor? I thought what the heck is a Man of Honor except some old Italian relative hanging out at his favorite “social club” sipping espresso and waxing nostalgic-with his bodyguard. Megan’s explanation was simple.I was her closest friend and she did not have any girlfriends at the time that would fit the bill. I was honored and I accepted her nomination. My only condition: no dresses! As it turned out, I was safe.

According to the wedding site, these are some of the major tasks assigned to the Maid of Honor:

*Decorate reception site

*Pick up or receive wedding flowers; distribute bouquets, boutonnieres, and corsages

*Stand in the receiving line

*Participate in the wedding photos

The only tasks that a Man of Honor could not perform that a Maid or Matron of Honor could perform is that of fashion consultant: adjusting the dress, fitting the veil, and helping the bride get ready.

Consequently, the role that a traditional Maid of Honor would perform can be performed by a Man of Honor. What is most important is that both the bride and groom feel comfortable with the role reversal, the bride feels supported in exactly the same way as if she had chosen a bridesmaid, and the Man of Honor acts as a rock of support for his friend-the bride.