Venus Williams’ lawyer claims man who died after car accident wasn’t wearing seat belt

Lawyer for Venus Williams claims in a court filing that the man who died after a car accident involving Williams was not wearing a seat belt.




from Phoenix – ASU

Update on Phoenix condo owners being forced from homes

Last week we told you about Courtney Hoogervorst and her fellow Phoenix Condo homeowners being forced to sell their Phoenix Condo units. Courtney purchased her condo for $93,000 cash last year, has put in over $15,000 in updates and is being forced to sell her unit for less than she has into it. Another thing to take into consideration is the value of most properties in Phoenix has gone up around 9% over the last year.

The Buyer and a real estate representative for him have both contacted me. They told me that the information I provided in the first article is wrong and should be corrected and I have agreed to look into it further. The numbers contained in the previous article for sales of those units came straight from the tax records. I will give their side of the story as it was relayed to me, but I will also let you know why I still do not agree with what is being done to Courtney.

Their first claim is the units that were sold for $160,000, $124,500 and $118,000 should not be listed because Mr. Karl overpaid for those to make the Seller’s whole on what they owed.Of course, if I owed $160k on a unit that may be worth only $110k and I could sell it for what I owed I would jump on it. Who wouldn’t? I would ask, If Mr. Karl is willing to overpay to make them whole, why would he not be willing to pay the money Courtney has into her unit in the last year to make her whole?

They also thought that the picture I painted was unfair because I only showed the top of the sales list which was the most expensive. That is true, but these units were also the larger 1066sqft units like Courtney has, and with Courtney’s updates hers would be considered towards the top of the list.

The next complaint they had was I showed a bunch of units that Mr. Karl purchased in a bulk sale that are shown in the screen shot from the tax records as selling for $108,154 per unit. These units are the same exact floor plan as Courtney has. Mr. Karl states he did not purchase these for $108k, but they were a part of a bulk sale and that he paid $90k per unit.

Here are the details of his bulk sale according to the tax records:
Mr. Karl purchased 135 units at $12,150,000 total price.
That works out to $90,000/unit.
The units that sold broke down in the following way:
There were 29 units that were 1066 sqft, which is what Courtney owns.
There were 33 units that listed as 969 sqft.
There were 32 units that listed as 794 sqft.
There were 9 units listed as 720 sqft.
There were 16 units listed as 649 sqft.
And there were 16 units listed as 449 sqft.

If you take the total price, divided by the total number of units, this would indeed show a total purchase price of $90k per unit, but does anyone believe the 449 sqft unit is worth the same $90k as a 1066 sqft unit? I believe that is why the tax records show the 1066 sqft units at the $108k price in the tax records.

Let’s take Mr. Karl at his word that the $108k number in the tax records is just made up and not correct. That could be true, and I have no evidence to say it is not so that I will concede that point. What we do know is Mr. Karl paid a little over $12million for 112,347 sqft of condo units. That works out to $108.15 per square foot. So if Courtney has a unit that is 1066 sqft, then her unit would be worth a little bit over $115k.

I will also concede that the cost per sqft is not the same in a 449 sqft unit as a 1066sqft unit so this is not an exact formula that should be used either. But when we consider Courtney paid $93k for the unit, values have risen, let’s be conservative and say 8% since she purchased it, that would put it right around $100k, and then you add in her upgrades she has done. Well, you can see where this is going.

The system is flawed. Homeowners are being forced to sell at a loss with no moving expenses. Courtney is getting screwed. Now is what he is doing illegal? No, it appears not, and I stated that several times in the first article. But just because something is not illegal does not make it right to do. Courtney and the other homeowners deserve some protection. An accurate appraisal was never done as the appraiser never even stepped foot into Courtney’s unit. Again, not illegal, but not right either.



Originally posted on Phoenix Real Estate Guy. If you are reading this anywhere but inside your RSS feed reader or your email client, the site you are on is guilty of stealing content.

(c) Copyright Jay Thompson. All Rights Reserved.

from The Phoenix Real Estate Guy

Hogan’s New Play: Factory Direct

The curtain came down on the Ben Hogan Company last winter, as the 2-year old venture collapsed under its bloated infrastructure and overly optimistic – some say delusional – business plan when the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Forth Worth, Texas.

It certainly looked like the end of the line for Hogan. Founder Terry Koehler had been ousted/voluntarily retired months earlier, and the company had laid off nearly its entire staff. Market share and sales were virtually nonexistent, but accounts payable certainly were very existent.

Dead and gone. All that was left was the funeral and the slow singing and flower bringing.

No one figured there’d be Third Act in this play.


Welcome Back, Lazarus

Sometime this week, or perhaps next, you can expect the curtain to come up on Act III of the Ben Hogan Company. Call it Hogan 3.0.

“The company has been sold and refinanced,” says Hogan CEO Scott White. “We have a new business model and business strategy. It’s not novel to commerce, but it’s fairly new to our industry. We’re going to sell premium Ben Hogan products at factory direct pricing.”

What that means is you’ll be able to buy Hogan equipment directly from the company via its new website, and only directly from the company via its new website.

“Consumers will be able to buy ultra-premium Ben Hogan products at dramatically lower prices than they’d ever see at retail. There will be no retail markup.” – Scott White, Hogan CEO

Hogan is cutting out the middle man. There’s no MSRP, no retail partner pricing or margins to protect. White says the current lineup will be the same, forged FT Worth blades and PTx players cavity backs, TK 15 wedges, VKTR hybrids and FT Worth 15 hi utility irons.


“They’ll be offered at prices that will allow us to make a decent margin – not a greedy one by any stretch of the imagination – but again, there’s no retail markup.”

White says you’ll be able to buy TK wedges for $95.00 each or a set of FT Worth irons for $665.00. Consider that when it launched, Hogan’s wedges sold for upwards of $150.00 each, and iron sets for well over $1,000.00.

How Did This Happen?

White says management did flirt with the idea of just closing the brand down and calling it a day.

“That was the worse possible scenario. We didn’t want to do that.”

During the bankruptcy proceedings, the Hogan brand was purchased – sort of – by ExWorks Capital of Chicago. ExWorks is, among other things, a capital investment firm and had been listed as a secured lender for Hogan in bankruptcy court. White says ExWorks did a credit bid on the assets and basically bought Hogan for what they were owed.


Recent court documents show significant changes in the Hogan bankruptcy case. Within the past few weeks the name of the debtor has been changed from the Ben Hogan Company to Eidelon Brands LLC. To get to the bare bones of the story, Eidelon was Terry Koehler’s company (SCOR wedges), which he rebranded into the Ben Hogan Company in 2013. ExWorks has essentially purchased the brand name out of bankruptcy, but none of the debt. Eidelon is now the company of record in the bankruptcy proceedings and has applied to transfer the case from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7. That’s a procedural manuever and means any assets Eidelon has left will be liquidated, and the remaining creditors will get whatever they get.

Perry Ellis, the owner of the Hogan brand, was one of the largest creditors in the original Hogan bankruptcy case. White says Hogan is still a licensee of Perry Ellis, but the structure of the deal is vastly different. Perry Ellis now has an equity stake in the new organization.

The New Hogan

White has been nothing if not consistent about Hogan’s prospects. Back in January, the day most of the staff was let go, White said it’s a reset opportunity. He said the same thing last spring when Hogan started liquidating product, and he’s saying the same thing now.

“We’ve spent a lot of time restructuring,” he says. “We’re in the old Callaway building in Fort Worth, and we’re going to maintain our headquarters here, but it’s going to be a very small structure.”

“One of the challenges we had was our overhead was so out of whack. We’ll have manufacturing, R&D, assembly and a few other functions at Fort Worth, but we’re going to outsource a lot of other functions, like marketing, finance and accounting.” – Scott White, Hogan CEO

We’ve written about how and where Hogan went wrong – and White is very frank about the fact the original Hogan concept was flawed from the get go.

“We’re not going to make the same mistakes we made in the past. Not again,” he says. “ We’re going to be very calculated, very nimble and will grow as needed. But we’re not going to build something and bet that if we build it, they will come. We’re going to do our best to minimize costs and pass the reduced overhead on to the consumer.”


There’s still a 2-person R&D team in place, and White says you can expect some new Hogan equipment perhaps by the end of this year or early next. The plan is to expand its hard goods offerings – drivers and fairway metals were in the works before the bankruptcy – and add accessories.

“We’re never going to have an enormously wide or deep product line,” says White. “But we are committed to bringing new product to market.”

Will It Work?

Well that depends on what you mean by “work.”

If you’re thinking Hogan will try to rival TaylorMade, Callaway or PING right out of the gate, then no, that’s not going to happen.

And I don’t think anyone in Fort Worth is thinking anything of the sort. This game plan, unlike the original Hogan relaunch, seems a bit more – shall we say – realistic. Start small, keep overhead limited and build slowly, with no delusions of grandeur.

But will golfers buy premium product at a direct-to-consumer pricing? This past spring Hogan tried just that by selling off inventory at, comparatively speaking, bargain-basement prices. White says no one was expecting what ultimately happened.

“Consumers had the opportunity to buy directly from us with no real retail markup,” he explains. “The response was more than we could keep up with. We had to hire outside help to field all the calls and emails we were getting. It really took us by surprise.”

Hogan’s new model of online only with no retail does mean the If-I-can’t-try-it-I-won’t-buy-it crowd will be out of luck.

“The demo and trial thing is something we’re going to have to figure out. In the short term we’re counting on our primary audience of pretty serious golfers. They know us, they know what they like and they know their specs. There will be an issue with people absolutely committed to fitting and demo and trial, but it’s something we don’t have an exact answer for right now.” – Scott White

Consumers are funny beings. Price makes a statement and while it’s not always the case, a high price does carry with it the impression of high quality and premium performance. But with golf equipment high prices tend to heighten emotions. Every time MyGolfSpy runs a story on PXG, for example, we see Torch and Pitchfork Nation screaming with genuine anger in the Comments section about how ridiculous the pricing is.  This new Hogan seems to be taking the opposite approach – offering what the company considers premium product at a lower price by cutting out standard retail markup.

We all might jump at the opportunity to buy a set of $1,200.00 clubs for $700.00. But will you jump at Hogan irons priced to move at $665.00 per set? Would that pricing devalue the clubs in your mind, or make you think of Hogan as a discounted brand?

“That’s something we’re going to have to get over,” says White. “How do you retrain people to understand that when they go into a retail store, they’re paying 40 to 50% markup off the top, for nothing? It’s not a discounted brand if it was never marked up in the first place. This isn’t discounted product. It’s factory-direct product.”


The new Hogan website should be up within the next few days. White says there are still a few I’s to dot and T’s to cross.

“I had hoped to get it going before The Open starts this week, but there are still some details to figure out. But we’re 90-plus% there.”

Ben Hogan famously said the most important shot in golf is the next one. After being all but dead and buried in January, Hogan’s namesake company is getting another shot, maybe its last shot.

The cynic in you may say Hogan is down its last strike. The optimist may say the curtain is rising on Act III, and we’ll see what happens next.

Which are you?

from MyGolfSpy