30 JAN 09: Oil Slick
You probably realize plenty of people are desperate for income right now. Thursday's news brought word of 105 layoffs at the Columbus Cessna plant, with promises of more new jobs put on hold. I never thought of Cessna as a fly-by-night company....
So is someone taking advantage of a recession to flim-flam people? Another story on the Thursday news raised that question. Someone is going up to property owners along U.S. 80 in Russell County, offering to drill for oil. Come to think of it, didn't some people on U.S. 80 try to make money years ago selling emu oil?
patch pitch is not confined to Russell County. An Opelika landowner says Roy Dent came to him, promising to double a $3,000 "investment" in 60 days. This makes several assumptions - one of them being that people still have $3,000 to invest in anything, after the stock market's slide.
Roy Dent reportedly tells potential investors there's plenty of oil beneath the ground of Russell and Lee Counties. Really now - I don't think that's why Ladonia and Auburn tend to have lower gas prices than Columbus.
At least one Russell County landowner apparently has accepted Roy Dent's offer, and leased some of his land. In fact, that landowner says Dent is living on the land from time to time. If Dent keeps coming to the door asking to borrow flour and sugar, be careful....
But there may be big problems with this dream of making east Alabama look like west Texas. For one thing, Dent received a "cease and desist" order from the state of Alabama two years ago -- and he was asking for leases to drill for oil then. I don't think oil is how the "black belt" area gained its name.
(One of Roy Dent's companies was called Spirit Resources, and was based in Troy. But one listing shows the company had only two employees. Recalling my years in Oklahoma, I think you need more than two people to drill an oil well - but my understanding of oil admittedly is crude.)
On top of that, the evening news discovered Roy Dent doesn't have a license to offer investments in Alabama. And he doesn't have a state permit to dig oil wells. Governor Bob Riley simply hasn't reduced state government enough for this man.
We did a little online research of our own Thursday night, and found a Roy V. Dent published a book four years ago. We don't know if it's the same man - but the book happens to have the title "Fool's Gold." If they're two different people, one of them may have the perfect subject for a sequel.
If Roy Dent knocks on your door offering an oil lease deal, I'd suggest being at least a little skeptical. My older brother was taken for several thousand dollars years ago, in an investment scheme involving pineapples. No, the scam artist did NOT suggest you could grow them in Kansas during winter.
Besides, one Alabama state geologist says rural Lee and Russell Counties are unlikely hiding places for oil. If you want to search for hidden moonshine stills, that could be another story....
This isn't the only unusual investment story we've heard lately. A woman reportedly walked around the parking lot of a Columbus supermarket, telling people she could turn their 20-dollar investment into $20,000 overnight. I don't know the woman's name - or where she buys her lingerie for strip club dancing.
BLOG SPECIAL EVENT: We're asking for words and phrases which are distinctive to the Columbus area. And that request brought this, in color....
Uhhhhh - maybe we should be more specific here. We're talking about Columbus, Georgia. This is NOT Ohio. We're not into Blue Jacket hockey, but Jordan Red Jacket basketball -- as long as the players don't grow addicted to Red Jacket ale from the Cannon Brew Pub.
-> Our other blog gets visitors from Columbus to Europe. Read about poker and life at "On the Flop!" <--
E-MAIL UPDATE: Legacy - whose Legacy?
Richard, Since Mr. Jones, the owner of Legacy Chevrolet, was on TV bragging about exceeding his sales goals for his first month in business (150 vehicles vs. 200 sold) it makes me wonder why he has written the President asking for bailout money for minority car dealers. And I also wonder if he realized that act in itself would cause some prospective customers to shop elsewhere.
Now, now - one good month does NOT a full recovery make. Not even three good months might ensure that. Ask any Alabama football fan....
Sports takes the spotlight in our review of Thursday's news:
+ The University of Georgia fired men's basketball coach Dennis Felton. The Bulldogs' loss to Florida Wednesday night put their record at 9-11. Hmmmm - coincidence?
(This comes only days after Alabama's head coach resigned. Auburn head coach Jeff Lebo is wondering whether he should feel superior, or start pricing moving companies.)
+ ESPN announced former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville will be part of their "Signing Day" coverage next week. Tuberville probably will practice all weekend, to make sure he doesn't say "resigning day" by mistake.
+ Atlanta pitcher Tim Hudson visited Auburn, and said he hopes to return to major-league action in August. This leaves six months for President Obama to fly to Georgia, and persuade Hudson to forfeit most of his 2009 salary.
+ WLTZ reported the Fort Benning Commandant will move to a temporary office in April, due to base realignment construction. Huh? You mean that new hotel being built on Victory Drive isn't for him?
+ The Georgia Senate approved the "Zero-Based Budget Act," for planning future funding of state agencies. But some Republicans were disappointed, because the bill doesn't actually reduce the agencies' budgets to zero.
+ Instant Message to the U.S. Postmaster-General: Yes, I know I should be sending a post card. But that's an interesting cost-cutting idea you have - reducing mail delivery service to five days a week. Which WRBL employee suggested that?
SCHEDULED THIS WEEKEND: A local event which could get its organizers in a lot of trouble....
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