Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Galactic Transcripts

It’s the 1950’s. A man sees a cigar-shaped UFO, subsequently becomes involved in receiving channeled messages from intergalactic “human” beings, and then, within hours of his death, writes ‘Border to Infinity’ as the final entry in his personal journal. What does it all mean? And could these events be interconnected?

The Galactic Transcripts will take you on a journey that is as provocative as it is mysterious. Its thirty-seven transmissions are channeled from a non-earth, alien group who identify themselves as members of the Space Brotherhood – messages imparted by representatives known as Monka, Korton, Traenor, Klala, Hatton, Lalur, and Soltec.

Learn what the Space Brotherhood also has to say about other organizations such as the Galactic Counsel, Confederation of Galaxies, Counsel of Lords, Solar Tribunal, and the Solar Cross Foundation.
The Galactic Transcripts offer us descriptions of other worlds, their inhabitants, morals, ethics, and histories. They even forewarn of the coming cleansing of Earth and the cataclysms preceding it. Other messages shed light on the original colonization of Earth, telepathic communication, the power of love, the program of the Radiant One, and much more.

Those who have read The Galactic Transcripts have found them to be life-altering, profound, inspirational, transformative. Will they have that effect on you? Open your mind and allow the transcripts to take you beyond the limitations of our world and into new, undiscovered worlds beyond our galaxy.

The quotation above was taken directly from the back cover of The Galactic Transcripts © by Richard Andrew King.

I've had the distinct privilege of working with Richard Andrew King on this amazing publication which was newly released on 27 September 2013, and I simply can't want for you read it!

Get ready to stretch your awareness beyond what you have been taught to believe and discover what life can be like among the stars ... even beyond our galaxy.

Get your copy today!! Paperback and eBook Kindle versions are now available at:

Friday, September 27, 2013

Living The Big Sky Life: The Smell Of B.S.

In an earlier post titled “Well-Heeled Bulldogs,” I made mention of an affluent and prominent pillar in the Whitefish community named Werner E. BusterSchreiber, whom I dubbed Mr. B.S. As I said, Mr. B.S. was always impeccably coiffed and expensively dressed in tailored suits, silk ties and tasseled loafers, weather notwithstanding. He drove the only new Mercedes in the village and there was never a question about who was in your midst when that pale yellow 450SL came around the corner. I also said that Mr. B.S. appeared to have his fingers into everything, and I meant everything.

Carla had told me early on that Mr. B.S. came from a relatively well-to-do cattle ranching family with roots in the wide open ranges of northeastern Montana, and that he was raised in a tiny town called Wolf Point. His public C.V. described him as an attorney and owner/president of Mountain Bank. He’d been named “Citizen of the Year” by the Whitefish Chamber of Commerce in 1988, had been once celebrated as the King of Winter Carnival, and he’d served on the Whitefish city council, amongst other things. He was basically hailed throughout town as a model, church-going citizen with a devoted wife and two nice children.

His political influence was unquestionable for he was known during my tenure to be friends with (former) Montana Governor Marc Racicot (R-Mont.) and he had active ties with Montana Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.) As president of Mountain Bank, Mr. B.S. had made it a point to be a driving force in the business community, and this included a 10% ownership investment in my office, Whitefish Title Services, and various real estate development projects, especially around Whitefish Lake where he lived with his family.

In 1990, about 18 months before my big sky arrival in May of 1992, Mountain Bank had begun to attract the unwanted attention of the FDIC. Apparently the Feds were hot on the scent of what they believed was dirty money being laundered through the bank with insider help. Their pursuit ultimately led them to insider Gordon Ochenrider, bank Vice President and second in command under B.S., who they determined was processing illegal transactions through Mountain Bank on behalf of the Colombian drug cartel and the Luciano mafia family.

Unfortunately, Gordon Ochenrider didn’t live long enough to write a book about it, let alone sing like a canary when he eventually turned state’s evidence. (More to come on Gordon in a future post) After ensnaring Gordon, the Feds struggled unsuccessfully to tie Buster to the scheme since they allegedly suspected that Gordon couldn’t have done what he did without Buster’s complaisant knowledge or even participation. They smelled a rat but couldn’t find enough evidence to cage it so they made sure the FDIC came in to thoroughly audit the bank every year thereafter. When the Feds couldn’t find anything incriminating after five consecutive years of audits, they had to stop targeting the bank and simply wait. FDIC suspicions still swirling, they didn't have to wait long because the whole thing blew wide open about a year later, but not for the reasons suspected.

Like most things small town Whitefish, people were rarely what they appeared to be on the surface. I suppose when a man like Mr. B.S. is perceived by the community to be substantial, influential, even powerful, the by-product can be not only a false sense of security and self-importance, but an untouchable sense of impunity.

Case in point takes me back to my arrival in to the office one Monday morning. When I walked through the office door, Joan excitedly greeted me with a question, “Did you hear about the incident at Mountain Bank over the weekend?” Incident? Clearly I had not, yet everyone was talking about it. Apparently late Saturday afternoon (former) Assistant Police Chief, Larry Hayward, was out on a routine patrol of downtown Whitefish which included the parking lot of Mountain Bank. When he saw that the front lobby door of the bank was slightly ajar, he called the incident in to the station and cautiously entered the building to investigate. Reverberating throughout the two-story atrium lobby were voices that seemed to be coming from one of the offices on the second level, so he quietly proceeded up the stairs with his handgun leading the way. When Larry came upon the occupied office which happened to be Buster’s, he found Mr. B.S. with his pants down around his ankles robustly copulating with a woman who was bent over his desk. The woman was Larry’s wife.
The story was even confirmed by my daughter who was a classmate of Larry’s daughter. The Hayward marriage did not survive the incident. Buster’s wife, however, was a classic stand-by-your-man type of wife. On the surface, nothing seemed to change with the Schreiber’s public image of coupledom. It was business as usual.

I had a stinking suspicion that something untoward was up with Mr. B.S. when I got a phone call at work from an east coast mortgage lender in July of 1995. The lender wanted me to do a courtesy loan package signing in my office for the Schreiber’s since the location of my title office was more convenient than the Kalispell County Guaranty Title office contracted to insure the $600,000 jumbo loan transaction. The loan was secured by their home on Whitefish Lake and was done to pull cash out of the property's equity. Buster needed the cash for something big and his wife appeared to be quite oblivious to the implications.

One of the things that made the transaction suspicious to me was the fact that he didn’t have the transaction insured through my office – an office he owned a 10% interest in. Not only would he likely have received a discount for the $2,400 title insurance premium collected from the transaction, any premium paid would’ve benefited the financial bottom line of a business he had an ownership interest in. It didn’t make sense to me. It was obvious he’d intended for the transaction to be kept secret, and when it became unexpectedly exposed, Buster was friendly enough yet fidgety and very uncomfortable in my presence.

During that courtesy signing and much to Buster’s relief, his wife chatted me up about Cater To You. She’d recently been to a party Chef had catered and loved it, and she wanted to know if we could cater a party on short notice. The first dinner party we catered for the Schreiber’s was at their home on 16 September 1995.

It was a small group of nine. The guest of honor was a Mr. Hudson – we were told he was a top-level executive with the Las Vegas Hilton. Also in attendance were Buster and his wife of course, Jim Nabors and his friend Stan, a commercial contractor with his wife, and another couple. 

Chef was asked to build the menu around large vacuum sealed packages of fresh salmon that had been caught by Mr. B.S. while on an Alaskan fishing excursion with Mr. Hudson several months earlier. As I served the guests, it was hard not to notice how Buster thoroughly enjoyed living the big sky high life, and running with a Vegas mucky-muck added a high-rolling edge to the fun. For me, I suppose it was all about having an opportunity to proudly wear the ring Soho had given me.   

The next function we were asked to cater for the Schreiber’s was a political fundraiser for Montana Senator, Max Baucus (D-Mont.) on 4 May 1996. There were quite a few movers and shakers in attendance and a sit down dinner wasn’t feasible. As I worked the room with my hors d’oeuvre tray, it became apparent that the talk around town about the state preparing to consider proposals from commercial contractors for the expansion of the “pray for me, I drive 93” highway was of primary importance to several of the attendees. It was clear that the large commercial contractor who attended Buster's private party mentioned earlier was at this fundraiser on behalf of his construction company, and he was prepared to make a persuasive donation for favorable positioning when it came to contract consideration. Mary Hart, along with her husband Burt Sugarman, were also in attendance.

It wasn’t long after the Baucus fundraiser that FDIC regulators had what they needed to force Mr. B.S. to step down as President of Mountain Bank, but not enough to charge and convict him. Buster moved out of the bank and went across the alley to set up his office in the Frank Lloyd Wright Building where my old Security Title office had been located. With the help of several faithful employees and their daily delivery of reports and documents, Buster had what he needed to secretly run the bank. What he didn’t know was that the FBI had enlisted, under a secret grand jury task force, the help of (former) police detective, Roger Bergstrom, whose job it was to daily dumpster dive in the alley at 4:00am in search of incriminating evidence.

Bergstrom must’ve found what the Feds needed to charge and convict because in 1998, Mr. B.S. was sentenced to six years and four months in the big sky big house on charges of fraud, embezzlement and money laundering. I don’t believe he served the entire sentence and benefited from an early release. Court testimony did note that Mr. B.S. repaid all of the money lost by the bank, including the money that fraudulently went to con-man extraordinaire and convicted felon, John Petersen - the man who proved in the end to be the nucleus of Buster’s downfall.

In my experience, Mr. B.S. was pretty likeable, albeit a bit naïve. It was said in court reports that he lacked toughness and street smarts. Was he a slick and heartless con-man with a strategic criminal mind? Hardly. Had he thought more like a criminal instead of being used by one, he would’ve undoubtedly been less vulnerable to the predator who was ultimately convicted of conning him. At the very least, he would’ve protected himself better.

After he was released from the big sky big house, word on the street was that he returned to Kalispell and began to work as a mortgage loan officer for a local mortgage company. As a convicted felon, his banking days were clearly over forever. I don’t believe the mortgage job lasted very long however, and it was said that he and his wife looked to get a fresh start in Arizona although their ties to Whitefish still remain.

It’s funny how small our world is. About a year or so after I’d left Whitefish, my girlfriend, Soho, found herself enjoying a happy hour glass of merlot at the Martini Club in Atlanta’s Buckhead district when she began to have a friendly conversation with a nice couple sitting next to her. When Soho mentioned that she’d come to Atlanta from Whitefish, the couple incredulously responded with an all-knowing, “Whitefish is a bad place. Bad things have been going on there.” That couple knew what they were talking about. They worked for the FDIC.

Living The Big Sky LifeTM 
© by DK King

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Living The Big Sky Life: Infamous Files

It takes all sorts to make a world, yet the smaller the world, the smaller the margin for those deemed to be out of sorts. At least that’s how it seemed to me. But it’s not as if what happened around me in small town Whitefish was really any different than what was happening anywhere else in the world. It was simply more encapsulated, more magnified.

Whatever our sort may be, the world’s machine continues to turn with little heart or without letting a little thing like inequity get in the way. Life goes on and the business of living right along with it. And so it was with my work-a-day-world and the demanding flow of escrow files that continued to ceaselessly cross my desk during my big sky incarceration.

A snapshot of that incarceration would’ve likely shown me onerously confined to my Whitefish title office with a burdensome ball and chain, but I had one seller client who knew what real life incarceration looked like from the inside - and I’m talking the big sky big house here. You know, the state penitentiary located just outside of Deer Lodge.

This particular escrow file involved the sale of a large tract house in an established neighborhood south of Whitefish off of Highway 2/LaSalle Road. The transaction started out normal enough, meaning the real estate agent brought me a signed sales contract with no extraordinary conditions, and Joan set up the file by ordering the prelim with our Flathead County Title branch.

The next day I received a phone call from Clyde, the title officer who’d been assigned to prepare the title work I needed to close the transaction. In that deep baritone voice dripping with the dry wit and sarcasm he was known for, Clyde drolly began our phone conversation with, “I’m calling you about your Pedo-File.”

Pedo-File? What Pedo-File? Apparently this particular seller was no longer living in the house he was trying to sell, but was confined to a cell in the big house down in Deer Lodge. He’d been convicted of sexually abusing his young stepdaughter and needed to pay his legal fees with the proceeds from the sale of the house I was tasked with closing. I thought it strange that the contract made no mention of the seller’s unusual residence, let alone offer up instruction on how I was supposed to arrange for the seller’s proper execution of the closing package, which ultimately proved to be a little challenging.

Suffice it to say, the Pedo-File closed without incident or fanfare. Clyde’s title report came with a full copy of the court’s summary and conviction which provided me with far more information than I ever cared to know about the convicted felon who was now my seller. Every subsequent conversation I had with Clyde regarding this transaction heard us only refer to the escrow as the Pedo-File, never by name – which frankly I couldn’t remember today even under torture.

And then there was the 3-way property exchange instigated by a con-artist that had to be closed before 31 December 1994. The year-end deadline wasn’t highly unusual for this business when considering fiscal year end income tax issues, but the fact that the contract wasn’t delivered to me by the real estate agent, Ron Laurent, until Christmas Eve was a major issue. And it was the sloppiest and most poorly drawn up contract I had ever seen, hands down. How was I supposed to structure this complicated triangle of transactions without proper contract instruction or proper legal clarification/documentation for the commercial and 1031 exchange aspects of the deal that were not mine to handle?

I was told by Ron that no assistance would be forthcoming, just slap it together and make sure it closes on time, he demanded with little sympathy. He clearly had a large personal stake in the deal and it came in the form of a huge commission check, amongst perhaps other things that I didn’t care to know about. He pressured me mercilessly for updates by showing up at my office unannounced and unwanted several times throughout the day.

When most people are peacefully enjoying the holiday season between Christmas and New Years, I was having a full-on melt down and popping migraine medication like candy just so I could function well enough to close these deals under deadline as instructed.

Although it was not my responsibility to determine whether or not these transactions were in the best interests of the parties involved, it was incumbent upon me to make sure I didn’t complacently participate in something that was illegal. And while there appeared to be nothing illegal on the surface, I knew something wasn’t right. Everything about the contract felt suspicious to me, especially when considering that one of the parties to the contract was Kalispell attorney, John Lence. Like I said, the contract was the sloppiest and most poorly drawn up contract I had ever seen, and this so-called professional signed it that way?

I learned not long after leaving my big sky life behind that John Lence, Michael Allen (a Columbia Falls dentist,) and John Petersen (investment advisor and con-man extraordinaire) – all parties to this convoluted nightmare of a contract, were the trio that ultimately brought down Werner “Buster” Schreiber (aka Mr. B.S.) and his Mountain Bank.

A State of Confinement?
Fraud, embezzlement, conspiracy … it’s the stuff of crime novels, yet there it was, sinisterly simmering beneath the secretive smiles of the small town movers and shakers. As for the tried and convicted trio, they too got to do time in the big sky big house right alongside the Pedo-File.

Living The Big Sky LifeTM
© by DK King

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Living The Big Sky Life: Closing The One Percent

When I was busy living the big sky life, no one with buku-bucks purposefully came to Montana to propagate those bucks. They only came to hunt them. Like I’ve said before, the aphorism I heard repeatedly tossed around my closing room was, “If you want to make a $1Million in Montana, you’ve got to bring $10Million with you.”

And when it came to the arrival of those who could easily afford to lose $10Million in an attempt to make $1Million – a/k/a the one percent - there were usually two types of transplants: those who preferred to keep a low profile because they were looking for a hideaway (“lone wolf pack”,) and those who had a rich vision of controlling proportions (“leaders of the pack”.)

Bill Pennington of Circus-Circus fame was, from what I could see, a top dog member of the “lone wolf pack.” He knew what he wanted, and in direct contrast to the bargaining control tactics used by his neighbor, Burt Sugarman, it appeared that he preferred to go about getting it by paying a fair price for it. After buying Kiefer Sutherland’s secluded lakefront log mansion not long after my own arrival in Whitefish in 1992, he became intent upon quietly securing a privacy buffer around his new hideaway house by systematically buying up as much of the surrounding acreage as possible.

I handled one of his escrow closings for the purchase of a large neighboring parcel with a house for the uncomplicated cash price of $1Million. It was probably one of the easiest closings I’d ever done. Of course, Pennington’s people in Las Vegas handled everything except his signature. I even had the full purchase price wired into my trust account more than a week in advance of the closing date.

In preparation for the closing, Bill’s representative requested that I fax all of the closing documents to him for review. After several phone conversations, we were good to go and the funds were wired. The only problem was that no one knew when Bill would be signing the paperwork, let alone which state he’d be in when he did sign. So I sat on the funds and waited.

One afternoon in the middle of the week, right before his expected closing date, the waiting unexpectedly ended.

I happened to be manning the office alone that particular afternoon because Joan had left to do our banking and run other office errands. I wasn’t alone, however. I was with a couple of local sellers and their real estate agent, Vince Walton, in my closing room facilitating their modest $75,000 home sale when I noticed an older gentleman walk through the front door of my office and look around helplessly at the two empty desks.

I excused myself from the closing and went out to assist my surprise visitor who promptly introduced himself as Bill Pennington. He was there to sign his paperwork.

Standing before me was a 70-year old man with a full shock of white hair. He was short and somewhat stocky in stature and dressed to the nines in full cowboy regalia which included tailored and pressed jeans with a crisp center crease, cowboy plaid shirt with pearl snap buttons, and snake skin boots. The ensemble was impressively adorned with accessories made from little more than gleaming gold nuggets that shimmered in the reflective light. My eyes were blinded first by the designer belt buckle … and then by the bolo-bling chains around his neck … and then by the massive Rolex watch … and lastly by the chunky man rings that encircled his stubby well-manicured fingers.
I motioned toward the window of my closing room and told Mr. Pennington that I was with clients at the moment but would be happy to assist him when I became available. Since I expected to be finished with the closing in progress within the half hour, I told him he could either wait or return in thirty minutes when he could have my undivided attention, or he could make an appointment for another time.

He began to fidget and look around nervously as if he couldn’t decide what to do now that his schedule was going to be upended. He eventually came back with, “Is there any way I can do it now because I have to be at the shooting range in 45 minutes?” Wow, and impeccably dressed to impress he was, even if it was only for target practice.   

I thought for a second and offered him a seat at my desk as I pulled out his file. I put the documents before him, quickly highlighted where he needed to sign, and reminded him that I needed to return to my closing.

When I walked back into the closing room, I could see that Vince Walton had perked right up as he excitedly asked me, “Isn’t that Bill Pennington?” I merely looked at him and continued with his sellers where I’d left off. At this point, Vince had noticeably lost interest in his little $75,000 sale and seemed to want only to stare at Pennington sitting at my desk.   

My desk sat right outside of the closing room, and through the closing room window I could see Bill shuffle around those papers with the expression of a lost child, but sign nothing. After five minutes of that, Joan finally walked in and reacted with surprise when she saw him sitting at my desk. She exclaimed in her usual high-pitched happy voice, “Oh Hi! And who are you?” I overheard Bill explaining to Joan how I’d given him the paperwork to sign, but I had gone through everything so fast that he wasn’t sure if it was right, that maybe I’d missed something. Internally I was howling as I watched Joan stand next to him and kindly guide him through his signing as she would a novice first-time homebuyer, not a seasoned investor who’d just paid $1Million in cash for a little privacy buffer. It was one of the funniest oxymoronic scenes I can remember ever having during my days in that office.

I learned after leaving the Flathead Valley that the Big Mountain Ski Resort had a persuasive infusion of capital around 2007, and with the cash came an official name change to Whitefish Mountain Resort. The community and Big Mountain owner/operator, Winter Sports, Inc., had “leader of the pack” and one-percenter, Bill Foley of Fidelity National Financial fame, and his very rich vision to thank for that. Apparently even the local MOWBs could be convinced for the right price that change was inevitable.

Around the same time, Foley additionally acquired a 30,000 acre trophy ranch near Deer Lodge called the Rock Creek Cattle Company. Because he did a Burt Sugarman and secured the surrounding 50,000 acres for cattle grazing via lease from the state of Montana - thereby increasing his controlling proportion to 80,000 acres in total, he’s been able to market the exclusive development as a working ranch to other city slickers of his financial caliber. I wouldn’t go so far as to call that sharing the wealth, but more like like attracts like.

So how have these infusions by the one percent changed the quality of life for the regional residents in a state that has no sales tax? Apparently it’s gone a long way toward pricing many of the locals out of home ownership, especially when the property taxes for homes around Whitefish Lake alone have increased about 2000% in the last twenty years. And everyone knows that no cost of living increase of that magnitude has managed to trickle its way down into the average worker's paycheck.

Living The Big Sky LifeTM
© by DK King

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Living The Big Sky Life: Famous Files

Although U.S. Highway 93 (a/k/a “Pray for me, I drive 93”) was considered during my residency to be the most direct route north into Whitefish from Kalispell, there were several other north/south options into town as well. Farm-To-Market Road was an old west-of-town option. Highway 2/LaSalle Road was an east-of-town option, and where Kalispell’s Glacier Park International Airport is located. And then there was Whitefish Stage Road which ran parallel between Highways 93 and 2.

It was west of Whitefish Stage Road just south of Highway 40 that you would’ve found Wagon Wheel Road – home to the house once owned by Emilio Estevez. When it came time to exchange his humble hideaway house in the Wagon Wheel neighborhood south of town for something more desirable like waterfront property on Whitefish Lake, he listed his property for sale with local agent, Ben Singer.

Ben Singer was, and I’m assuming still is, a longtime local real estate broker who – I was told - had Hollywood connections. He was known to handle his fair share of the valley’s higher profile celebrity transactions so I had little reason to question what I was told with regard to the family connections he had. The transactional truth in dealing with Ben was hard to deny however. He was obviously getting the business somehow and it wasn’t because of his business acumen or acute attention to detail. It seemed that’s what his wife, Candace, was for, and frankly, it was a good thing he had her.

I never knew Ben before the accident, and therefore have nothing to compare things to, but I was told that after he dangerously slammed into a tree while skiing and suffered a serious head injury, he was never quite the same. No surprise there. He was lucky to be alive they said. One had to admire his spirit and perseverance in spite of it all, and far be it from me to take that away from him.

The low key sale of Emilio’s low profile Wagon Wheel Road house sometime in 1993 was hardly noteworthy … until I got an urgent phone call one morning from Ben asking me to come to his office in person to do the closing that afternoon. Not a biggie unto itself, but it was something that simply never happened in Whitefish. My office was barely three blocks away from Ben’s office and was by far the most efficient closing option. But he insisted, so I complied without really understanding what all the fuss was about.

I showed up at Ben’s office as agreed, briefcase in hand, and was ushered into a poorly lit windowless conference room where Emilio and then wife, Paula Abdul, were seated around the closing table. Emilio was seated at the head of the table with his back to the door. Paula was seated near the middle of the table to the right of Emilio backed up against the wall, and Ben sat in a chair in the corner between Emilio and Paula, also backed up against the wall. I chose to sit at the table to the left of Emilio and across from Paula where I could see everyone in the room.

After the introductions were made, I pulled the closing paperwork out of my briefcase and began the signing. The house was bought by Emilio prior to his marriage to Paula so she was not an owner/seller of the Wagon Wheel house, and was in attendance as merely an observer. My dealings were solely with Emilio at this point.

His intentions were to sell the Wagon Wheel house utilizing a 1031 tax deferred exchange which required legal agreements/paperwork be prepared by the MOWB (and in my opinion, inept) Kalispell attorney Ben had referred him to, and the exchange accommodator chosen by said attorney whose sole function was to act as a neutral third party to the transaction for the purpose of holding the sales proceeds from this closing in a trust account only he controlled for later use in the exchange purchase of a new lakefront property yet to be named.

1031 exchanges are done all of the time in the investment real estate business. The tax code is complicated and the requirements for a successful tax deferred exchange are very specific so the details are extremely important. One of the most important requirements for a successful exchange stipulates that the seller should never have control over the funds received from the sale of the exchange property, or the “down leg.” Another requirement is that ownership to the newly purchased property, or the “up leg,” must match the vested ownership of the down leg property at the time of sale.

The exchange accommodator for Emilio’s transaction was a Kalispell accountant whom I’d never met (other than over the phone) but had transacted other uneventful 1031 closings with. I had no real reason for concern this day, but I would be lying if I didn’t say the entire 1031 accommodator thing has always disturbed me, for a variety of reasons - the primary being that the accommodator can theoretically be anybody. No insurance or bonding required, no protection for the seller and its funds being held in trust by some unknown the seller is supposed to trust - a person who could essentially abscond with enormous sums in cash proceeds if so inclined. And believe you me, it’s happened.

Let me add too that the IRS typically does not care if the seller’s down leg proceeds have been embezzled by an unscrupulous accommodator. It will require the seller to pay any capital gains tax owed on the proceeds realized from the sale of the down leg should the up leg purchase not be consummated as required by the tax code. No matter the reason.

As I began moving paperwork by Emilio for signature, we chatted casually about the house being sold and the ping pong table being left behind, but when we got to the exchange part of the closing, there was nothing casual about his examination of the attorney prepared paperwork. His sales proceeds were relatively substantial and quite unexpectedly, he focused his piercing blue eyes upon me and asked the million dollar question no seller had ever asked me before: “What’s to keep this accommodator from taking off with my money?”

I could see Ben’s face in the corner go apoplectic red as his eyes bulged in their sockets, but Emilio was oblivious to everything except my answer, which was, “Well, you’d better hope he has a wife and a family that he loves.” What else was there to say? He was a smart man or he wouldn’t have asked the question. His response (and I was the only one who saw it) saw his sharp blue eyes widen to double their size, and then he quietly turned to re-review the attorney's paperwork as he slowly exhaled. And that was it. He signed everything while we informally conversed about what he was looking to replace the Wagon Wheel house with.

The up leg purchase was going to involve Paula and that’s where her paranoia of paparazzi got involved. She was adamant that everything be top secret. She wanted absolutely no one to know anything about anything. Having been a part of the Flathead Valley for as long as he had, Emilio was far more laid back about the whole thing, but strived to pacify Paula all the same. The ownership vesting on the up leg did ultimately prove to be an issue, but the attorney believed he knew better so I shut my mouth and proceeded as instructed. 

Less than a month later, Penny Brooks , the listing agent on the Whitefish Lake house Emilio had identified as his up leg delivered the signed contract to my office so we could open escrow. It was indeed top secret and she wanted to make sure Joan and I understood the confidentiality clause in the contract. Yes, of course - every transaction that took place in our office was treated with the level of confidentiality now required by law simply because I believed that good business was nobody’s business.

It wasn’t long before word got out around town all the same. Penny came storming into our office one afternoon in a fit of rage accusing us of violating the contract’s confidentiality clause by divulging sensitive details about the super-secret sale on Whitefish Lake. I told her flat out that if word got out, it didn’t come from my office. Hell, Carla didn’t even know who Emilio Estevez or Paula Abdul were. Penny was unconvinced and left in a dramatic huff.

It wasn’t long after those false accusations that we learned the source of the leak was Penny’s very own seller who’d gotten drunk on the golf course and bragged over the course of an afternoon to anyone who would listen about who was buying his house. So much for confidences and small town secrets.

And now for my favorite part! On his new lakefront purchase contract, I noticed immediately that Emilio had set the earnest money deposit for the exact amount of the sales proceeds I’d deposited with his 1031 accommodator on the down leg sale barely a month earlier. All of that money he was justifiably concerned about was now going to be legitimately moved from the unknown to the known until close of escrow - from the accommodator’s trust account to Ben’s broker trust account where Emil clearly believed it more secure. 

I chuckled with smug delight for days, and have been air high-fiving Emil ever since. Nice job, Mr. Estevez. I suspect your brother would righteously call this "Winning!" 

Living The Big Sky LifeTM 
© by DK King

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Journey

A special thanks to Artist KAd Collins for allowing me to use as my avatar the magical surrealistic portrait she created in silverpoint called "The Journey." She has beautifully captured a part of my life's journey in a highly personalized story-telling work of art bursting with expressive and meaningful symbology. For me, it transcends all words.

The Journey © Copyright by Artist, KAd Collins
To find out more about the artist or to commission your own surrealistic story-telling portrait, contact the artist directly at ArtistKAdCollins or KAd's Etsy Studio.
© by DK King

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Living The Big Sky Life: I Could Run But I Couldn't Hide

I discovered early on that one of the easiest ways to get a pulse on the inherent cultural nuances of the Whitefish community in 1992 was to simply read the local weekly paper, the Whitefish Pilot. I personally found 82-year old Ida Hunnewell’s “Olney Briefs” column to be especially enchanting. And who wouldn’t? An Olney native herself, Ida proudly reported the social goings-on of those born and bred in her tiny town of Olney (15 miles northwest of Whitefish) with the unsophisticated simplicity of a fifth grader.

Ultimately though, it took working in a Whitefish title office and closing a majority of the regional residents’ real estate transactions to show me just how incestuously intertwined those residents really were.

Living the big sky life in a small town like Whitefish meant that just about everyone knew where I lived and worked. It was unavoidable. The kind of work I did, however, meant that if I wanted to protect my personal time, I had to keep my home phone number private. By carelessly allowing my home number to become public knowledge, I would’ve been forced to fight against the assumption of the local real estate agents that I was on call and available for business and problem solving 24/7 - a challenge effectively circumvented with an unlisted home phone number. The only person who knew that phone number was my assistant Joan, and she’d been given strict instruction not to share it with anyone for any reason, no matter how pushy they got or how much they begged. And faithful Joan never surrendered it.

When it came to the delivery of packages, on the other hand, it was admissibly convenient for both the postman and the FedEx delivery lady to know where I lived and worked; and they somehow always seemed to know where I was at any given moment. There were more than several occasions when the postman showed up at my office so that I could sign for a package that had been addressed to my home, or when I saw the FedEx lady drive her big delivery truck down my long dirt driveway to deliver a package to me at home that had been sent to my office.

My moderately multi-cultural upbringing in The OC gave me a pretty open-minded and tolerant approach to diversity when it came to people, their belief systems, and their lifestyle preferences. I arrived in Montana taking much of that social conditioning for granted, and I naïvely made the mistake of assuming most Americans operated under a similar premise until I rudely realized, of course, that they did not. Not only was good ole boy intolerance the norm in big sky country, there appeared to be no need or desire to change the way things had been done since Custer tried to take out the original Americans at Little Bighorn.

  • White alone - (99%)
  • Hispanic - (2.8%)
  • Two or more races - (1.6%)
  • American Indian alone - (0.7%)
  • Asian alone - (0.7%)
  • Black alone - (0.5%)
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone - (0.06%)
  • Other race alone - (0.05%)
Every year the Whitefish Pilot was known to publish the town’s census statistics by race. This was something I’d never seen before, and yet I was utterly fascinated with its blatant (and proud) lack of diversity. In spite of any compulsory public show of political correctness, the truth was, anyone who was different didn’t tend to last long enough to make the paper a year later.  

As hard as some tried to sustain the pretense of political correctness, it couldn’t completely cover up the area’s shadowed past, for truth has the strangest way of rising to the surface in spite of all attempts to suppress it … kind of like a mushroom sprouting from a pile of dung.

One big mushroom that comes to mind involved a sales transaction I closed for a lot along the shoreline of Coon Lake, a few miles west of town. I know water front property is supposed to be all the rage, but whatever water front property was claimed to exist around this lake was, in my opinion, a joke. It was, hands down, the ugliest algae infested tully lake I’d ever seen - good only for breeding mosquitoes and the bass that feed upon them. By the time this escrow had opened and Joan had ordered the title work, I’d closed quite a few transactions around Coon Lake and gave little thought to the place, let alone where the name of the lake came from. I simply assumed it was short for ‘raccoon’ or ‘coondog’.

When I got the title prelim a week later, I began casually reviewing it for closing conditions as was customary, but something wasn’t right, and I kept saying that out loud to Joan. The exceptions listed in the report were not the usual Coon Lake exceptions, and when I got to the plat map, I just about lost it. What was this???

The plat map read Nigger Lake, not Coon Lake. I turned to Joan, a Whitefish native, and demanded answers.

By the time I pulled my eyes away from the prelim report to look at her, Joan had turned her head away from me and cowered over her desk with her hand blocking the side of her face I was looking at, ashamed and reluctant to talk about awful things that she wished had been buried along with their sordid past. Nothing she personally had anything to do with, but apparently some unsavory things she’d been witness to as a young girl.   

Joan told me that the reason this prelim was different than every other Coon Lake transaction we’d previously closed was because this sale was from an original owner and the title work had never been dated down to the present day like all the others. After this sale closed, the report I saw would no longer exist and all future title work for the property would be from the date of closing onward.

As for the name of the lake, she believed it had been originally named because of the lynchings that had been known to occur on its shores during the first part of the century. It was changed in the 1960’s after the federal government required all states to be in compliance with the Civil Rights Act; meaning any inappropriately named lake, waterway, park, etc. would need to be changed to something that was considered racially neutral and not derogatory. Apparently Nigger Lake, Nigger River, and Nigger Road in upstate New York were overlooked by the 1960’s compliance police. And then there are the private exceptions, such as Texas governor Rick Perry’s Niggerhead Ranch…

Undoubtedly, the Montana Moby Dicks of the 1960’s pulled a fast one on the federal government by selecting the name of Coon Lake, for no one seemed to catch the poorly disguised slur. Given my original assumption about the name however, I can hardly find fault with the enforcers in Washington way back when. Maybe they’d been naïve too. Either that or well paid off.  

In the end, I think the good ole boy intolerance that permeated just about everything took a huge toll on me. It bred limitation in every possible way, and for someone like me, that limitation felt like incarceration. No wonder I couldn’t wait to escape.

Living The Big Sky LifeTM
© by DK King

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Rocking It On Holy Ground

céad míle fáilte (a hundred thousand welcomes) ~

The bucket list adventure I shared with Eileen last fall did not end with a little ferry ride from Mallaig to the Isle of Skye on All Saints’ Day. We had bigger plans for the second half of our trip. Giant plans, in fact - plans so gigantic that if we could’ve followed in the giant’s footsteps straight from Fingal’s Cave on the Scottish side of the Causeway to get there, we would have.

Our determination to rock it big on holy ground required instead that we fly into Belfast and drive to the northern shoreline of County Antrim to reach our landmark destination, the Giant’s Causeway - one of the windiest points in Northern Ireland. It was November 3rd, and it was (not surprisingly) a very blustery, cold winter day.

To step out of our car was to step headlong into a forceful wind that was so biting it made us question our reason for being there in the first place. Just how bad did we want to do this? Eileen gave me every opportunity to back out, but I’d told her from the beginning that I was in, and in I was. So we sucked it up - faces frozen in place from the icy cold - and leaned into the wind that seemed determined to knock us over in the parking lot as we strived to reach the visitor center with satchels in hand.

Inside that suitcase full of costumes Eileen had been determined to schlepp across several continents were two pink morph body suits, pink ballet slippers, and frosted long haired wigs for this very occasion - but an on-site costume change would be required. We giggled like two giddy schoolgirls behind our respective bathroom stall doors while we struggled (over many layers of long underwear and as much insulation as we could manage) to change into those pink morph suits.

Once changed, we walked out of the bathroom camoflauged in sweatsuits, wigs securely safety-pinned to the hoods of our morph suits. No one even noticed that we had transformed ourselves into seasoned nymphs intent upon shamelessly re-creating an amazing album cover from our youth in front of a hundred tourists, many of whom were too young to get it. The album cover, of course, was Led Zepplin’s “Houses of the Holy.”

Conceptually we may have been dating ourselves, but we weren’t looking so old once we stripped off our sweatsuits and began scrambling over those slippery octagonal stones against heavy winds and seaspray like a pair of performance art monkeys … monkey see, monkey do.

It was awesome! 


© by DK King

Eileen with a fist full of Irish soil
Giant Finn MacCool’s Chimney Stacks as backdrop