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 MAX...you 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.