Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Tuesday, April 09, 2013 -

The Casting Couch

by Jack Crawford
Published: Apr 08, 2013
Words: 29,352
Category: general
Orientation: M/F
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A Brain Storm

AHB Enterprises was a grandiose name for a company that was essentially a slum lord. Anthony H. Barone, or "Fat Tony" as everyone knew him (though none called him that to his face) had inherited a string of rental properties upon the death of his father. Fat Tony had idled his way through college on a football scholarship. He put no effort into his classes and the fact that the college he attended was better known as a "basketball school" was all you really needed to know about its football team and its players. Upon graduation (some suggested he didn't really graduate, rather the football program made sure he got his degree so they could free up his scholarship), Fat Tony took a job as a minor functionary with a small loan company. He maintained his job through a series of shrewdly pointed fingers that sloughed off his mistakes on his co-workers.

Then his father died and left him all these rental properties. There was little to do as Tony adopted his father's strategy of "hands off maintenance", effectively forcing the tenants to repair anything necessary themselves. His only real job was to collect the rent and it was something that Fat Tony was good at. No ... he was ruthless. The very day the law allowed him to lock out tenants, he would change locks and secure the properties. If the tenant wanted the contents, they would have to pay the rent current and post an additional security deposit ... or they forfeited the contents to the landlord.

Fat Tony would put any seized contents up for sale, first through classified ads, then through liquidators, and the rest he would create fictitious renters at one of his storage facilities. There, he would sell off the contents of a "seized storage unit" and liquidate the worthless left-over property for much more money than it was worth ... because bidders could only view the contents from outside the storage unit and guess at what might be included. Tony actually got quite good at making supposedly "abandoned" storage units look quite enticing. In all ... Fat Tony had quite the tidy income and considerable assets, run down though they were.

But this week, Fat Tony had an unusual set of circumstances that he was now forced to consider. One of the run down retail strip centers he owned was suddenly entirely vacant. It wasn't very large, only about 10,000 square feet of space and it had recently only had two tenants. A small furniture dealer occupied a little more than 8,000 square feet of the center and a videographer had the remaining 2,000 square feet. Both had gone delinquent at the same time, and Tony locked out both tenants. He stood by his iron fisted policy and refused access without payment and soon had possession of the entire retail center and all of the contents left by the former tenants.

The furniture store included a series of walls that would make no sense other than to serve as partitions for the various furniture pieces displayed.