Friday, April 5, 2013

Black Pages Business Directory From The Year 2000 Is A Blast From The Past, Starring Convicted Mortgage Fraudster Larry "Maximum" Maxwell...

Photo, blog post by John Hoff

A friend on the Northside was cleaning out his desk and found a copy of the Minnesota "Black Pages" business directory from the year 2000. On the entire back page was an advertisement from Larry Maxwell, and inside the directory was a write-up of Larry Maxwell labeled a "Profile of Excellence."

Larry Maxwell later achieved fame and infamy in a wide-ranging mortgage fraud scandal. He was sentenced under racketeering and corrupt organization laws and is now sitting in prison. This blog provided the most comprehensive coverage of the trial of any media entity because Maxwell's crimes involved Northside properties and Northside personalities, including disgraced former JACC Executive Director Jerry Moore.

 Along the way, this blog nicknamed him Larry "Maximum" Maxwell and the name sort of stuck.

So, naturally, I was pleased and excited to receive this old artifact. Reading the "Profile of Excellence" I realized I have to make this document (currently trapped in the form of "dead tree media") available to the wider wired world...

Oh, but first let's page through this old book and enjoy how the passage of time has created sedimentary  layers of irony. First, check out the advertisement pictured above. Note how Larry Maxwell says he can help you whether you're buying a home or selling a home.

Yes, as well all discovered years later, (click here for example) Larry Maxwell had mastered the art of representing BOTH the buyer and the seller in dubious deals.  

Human beings have a tendency to see foreboding omens mostly in retrospect (after all, if we'd heeded the foreboding omen we could have stopped the bad thing from happening, so clearly we weren't paying enough attention to the foreboding omen) and maybe that's what I'm doing when I overanalyze these images, below, but LOOK at these images.

Look hard. What do you see?

What I tend to notice is the way both of these photographs have Larry Maxwell's shadow.

Consider: Normally, images featured in advertisements are taken by professional photographers who use tricks like cropping and backlighting to create professional portraits. Look through thousands of color advertisements in magazines, telephone books, billboards, bus station benches and you will not see a single human shadow. The people in advertisements live in a perfectly lighted world.

But these "amateur hour" photographs, which somehow made their way into the "prime real estate" of a full color back page business directory advertisement...

They have shadows.

As early as the year 2000, a dark shadow followed Larry Maxwell.

A subtle omen, a foreboding harbinger of DOOOOOOOM.

Here's another advertisement from the same directory. This advertisement features the law firm of Hassan and Reed, Ltd.

Do you recognize the guy on the far right? That would be Congressman Keith Ellison. The guy second from the right is Larry Reed, who was Larry Maxwell's defense attorney during the mortgage fraud trial. There aren't that many big, full-page, glossy paper advertisements in the 2000 Black Pages directory. (Nine, to be exact) The advertisements for Larry Maxwell and Larry Reed's law firm have good, prominent placement and seem to leap off the page.

This was the golden era. But a dark age was coming. Larry Maxwell would go to prison for a long stretch. This despite the best efforts of defense attorney Larry Reed, who at one point was fined for his "insolent" attitude toward the judge at the trial. Right at the end of the trial, Larry Maxwell made it known he "did not require his attorney's services." (Larry Reed didn't use the word "fired" but it sure didn't sound like retirement with a pension)

Anyway, pictured below is the cover of the 2000 edition of the black pages. As Borat would say, it's VERY NICE. 

Here, below, is the article about Larry Maxwell. The punctuation makes me cringe but I've reproduced it exactly to replicate the tone and flavor of the article.

(Oh, I should mention the directory contains several "Portraits of Excellence" but, interestingly, Maxwell's blurb is the only blurb written in the first person instead of third person, i.e., the writing is Maxwell talking about himself instead of an anonymous author talking about Maxwell. So the tone of the article, even within the context of the directory, comes off as very self-promoting)

(Anyway, without further ado, here is Larry Maxwell pontificating on the subject of Larry Maxwell in the year 2000)

Anyone who knows Larry Maxwell or has read my last professional profile, published in the first edition of the Minnesota Black Pages, knows about my background, my family, and my success. Now, I want to focus on my clients - those people who helped me succeed. That's you!

Whether you choose me because of my connection to RE/MAX, a leader in the Real Estate industry, or because of a personal connection with me, I am tremendously grateful that you have given me the opportunity to serve you. And even when you did not choose me (and I thought you should have) you made me pray, and that made me stronger. Every experience contributed to growth, determination, and a very successful ten years with RE/MAX.

While affiliated with RE/MAX, I was more concerned with "production and numbers" because gaining recognition in such a large company was easier for those associates who were listed in the "top sales" clubs. It was a privilege to have worked with RE/MAX because the experience gained and the connections made there are immeasurable. However, as a leading minority in the business, and a lifetime member of the RE/MAX Hall of Fame, it is now my turn to help others achieve their dreams just as so many of you have helped me.

Because of my commitment to serve you, I am continuously exploring more ways to help you become a more educated and equipped investor. For this reason, we present to you Homes & More, Inc., where it is our goal to give you just that! Although we will continue to deliver the very best quality service and professional expertise in home buying, our goal is to empower you to do more.

(JNS Blog says: like fraudulently transform from a down-and-out crackhead named Jerome KingRussell into a man with perfect credit named John Foster. Sorry, I couldn't resist interjecting my sarcasm)

Through Homes & More, Inc. we will invest our time and resources into the economic development of the ethnic community. Although we welcome clients of all racial backgrounds, it is our primary goal to help minorities advance into a position to buy more, build more, and invest more. For those of you who are more sophisticated buyers or sellers, there is simply nowhere else that you can get better service. Perhaps you will find others who are good, but we are among the best.

(Paragraph break not in original text)

(Oh, and god help us the real estate industry if that last sentence was actually true) 

In addition, we want to serve as mentors for younger agents in the Real Estate business to give them the opportunity to do well faster. Having succeeded (to some degree) in the business and overcome many obstacles that minorities face, we feel that we can provide more appropriate solutions than (sic) they would find in a majority-owned company.

I value you and appreciate and count on your continued support. We gave you THE made us The MAXimum Alternative!! I truly love you for that.

JNS blog says: The article also has a "pull quote" which, interestingly, is not in the text of the complete article...a case of seriously sloppy editing and layout. In fact, I haven't seen an example of an editor pulling that particular stunt since the mid-1980s, when I saw it happen in a college newspaper. Here is the "pull quote" which appears near the bottom of the page.

Remember that you, my very special circle, will always be in my prayers and I trust that I shall remain in yours as well. Continue to encourage and inspire me to do MORE. Many thanks to you and to God for helping me to see my mission through. 

JNS Blog says: "Pull quotes" are also known as "lift quotes." The idea is to entice a browsing reader into the text with a particularly compelling sentence pulled from the article, hence the name "pull quote" or "lift quote." In this case, however, it is a false pull quote since it never actually appears in the smaller text of the article.

A forgery, if you will.

Again, a strange little omen in retrospect. Also, consider what the sentence says. Maxwell sounds a little like Apostle Paul enduring terrible suffering, asking for his special circle to pray for him. Now prayer and God is about the only thing that can help Larry Maxwell as he spends most of his golden years in prison instead of a comfortable retirement. He has become Larry "Maximum" Maxwell or, to put it in his own words from the article:

(Y)ou made us The MAXimum Alternative!!

JNS Blog says: Thanks to my own "special circle" for sharing this fascinating old artifact with me so I could share it with readers. Reading these old inscriptions, one cannot help but think...

How the mighty have fallen. 


Johnny Northside! said...

I am publishing the following comment I received with a single word removed. I do not customarily allow this word on my blog.

Johnny, how is it that Al Flowers and Lori Wilson went on a trip to Washington, DC (all expenses paid) from the Teachers Union and Mr. Flowers appointed as the "spokesperson" for EDUCATION and OUTREACH for Minneapolis Public Schools? Is this not totally fucked up? How come them (racist epithet) aren't protesting this?

Johnny Northside! said...

As for the content of the remark itself, I went to the website briefly but did not see the alleged all-expenses-paid trip you are referencing. If there's something on that website, could you point me to the specific place? Or tell me more about how you know about this and more details, such as when it happened and how much were the expenses?

Anonymous said...

Is the poster talking about what is discussed on starting on page 19? If it is something else then I want another clue or two.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

The anonymous poster is most likely Don Allen. He put something very similar up on North Talk lately.

Johnny Northside! said...

That would be oh-so-interesting, Don, since I haven't spoken to you in forever due to your habit of taping phone conversations and putting them on the internet, like that conversation with Kenya McKnight. Or the time me and Megan wanted to sit down with you and have a conversation with you and you kept flipping up the top of your laptop, clearly (from where I was sitting) trying to tape, and then your crazy friend the Mpls Mirror lady, Terry Yzaguirre, with the troubled and criminally inclined children, showed up with a video camera and literally chased me and Megan down the street.

Then the footage of me and Megan walking down the street ends up on the internet as though it's proof of some vast conspiracy.

No, Don Allen, I can't talk to you on the phone or meet with you in person because you don't follow the norms of civilized behavior followed by decent people.

By the way, in regard to the Blogosphere Trial Of The Century, how's it feel to pick the losing side and go down in the legal history books as JUDAS ISCARIOT?

Johnny Northside! said...

Oh, gee. That last comment was in response to a comment left by Don Allen. Which got deleted somehow.


By the way, just try leaving a comment on Don Allen's blog sometime. God knows there might be a way to do it, if you can burrow your way through the junk pile of internet bells and whistles.

Or, shall I say, DIGG your way through.

(JNS doing Don Allen imitation)

ALL DAY LONG I DIGG, DIGG, DIGG. That's what I do all day. Work my fingers to the bone. DIGGING. Make my money one penny at a time, but I make it, oh yes.

Johnny Northside! said...

To Hawthorne Hawkman:

If Al Flowers would have the sense to pay off Don Allen, then Don Allen wouldn't have to post this kind of information, now would he?

Don Allen is a shakedown blogger. He always has an angle. It's not about the pure flow of information to Don Allen, it's about trying to figure out how to cash in, even if it borders on blackmail.

Anonymous said...

I believe Big Al Flowers is pumping the shit out of the bitch that runs Minneapolis's schools "... Johnson, give me a goddamn break....system of a down" that is the only reason, I am guessing now, how he keeps getting these gigs.
While remaining so heinously dubious and in lockstep with AL, these naïve and totally ignorant fools are either in on it, or should be fired and replaced with someone that at least doesn't scheme WITH these lame fucks or are afraid of having the proverbially convenient "race card" flung in their direction encased in a clump of shit even if it is delivered to someone of parallel backgrounds.
Timid motherfuckers will continue to fall for the bullshit that the likes of Donny and Albert like to spread once it has left their shithole that they fondly call mouths.

Johnny Northside! said...

Oh, correction. Turns out I didn't delete the Don Allen comment by mistake (which is a pity) but it's actually on the blog posting right above this one, where Don Allen outlines his salary expectations if he were elected chair of the State GOP and the room ERUPTS IN LAUGHTER.

Was it good natured laughter? Or was it cruel, affected, derisive laughter? The Twitter report on this incident sayeth not. I have my own picture of the incident, just as I have my own picture of what would happen if Don Allen had his hands on a fat expense account.

(Cue YouTube video, remix of The Hangover, song Strippers And Cocaine)

Anonymous said...

Hey Don is offering the candid interview on another post, this one: Don Allen Makes A Play To Become Minnesota State GOP Chairman, Room Erupts In Laughter At His Salary Expectations...

Johnny Northside! said...

To the commenter at 2:45, see previous comment about how I handle offers by Don to communicate, since he can't follow simple decorum and not have his crazy Mpls Mirror lady friend running down the street with a video camera when people meet to talk about stuff.

Besides, hasn't Don beaten his little moment in the spotlight enough? Moving on, folks. Nothing to see here.

Johnny Northside! said...

To the commenter at 11:47, I do not like the tone of your comment and I do not endorse what you're saying, but the comment has been published on the basis of it being "substantive" and containing no racial epithets and not being the obvious work of a known troll.

Anonymous said...

everyone bow to lord johnny and be thankful; meg got tired of it

Anonymous said...

When I noticed Don Allen's name as a GOP chair candidate, my hope was a deadlock among others, multiple ballots, and a consensus "we don't know this guy but he's not one of the two key conflicting candidates" compromise election - of Don Allen, to be top Minnesota Republican not holding any office requiring voter election.

What he could have done, with a party a million and a half in debt after having lost to the DFL control of the Minnesota Senate, House, and Executive boggles the mind.

The IP would rise again, even without a wrestler atop the ticket.

Next up - he runs against Franken. Or at least makes the offer. That job does carry a six figure salary. Comedian against comedian for voters to choose, one with a keen mind, the other with hope and intentions.

So, Don Allen for the US of A Senate. Next election, an opportunity too difficult to resist.

Also, Franken appears in the past quarter to have raised a million dollars toward reelection. Can you imagine Don Allen pondering the thought, "I could raise twice that in a heartbeat."?

Johnny Northside! said...

I've already told you in the blog post above what I imagine when it comes to Don Allen having access to a lot of money. But in case you didn't remember...

Las Vegas.


And cocaine.