Sunday, June 1, 2014

DEAR MIKE: Notes to and on the Consignment Vampire

For more details, see the blog posts listed at the bottom of this page.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Anglen, Robert  
Date: Sun, Sep 28, 2014 at 9:40 AM
Subject: Story on camelback consign
To: Glenn Michaels

Story is in today's paper. Your blog is mentioned prominently in the story. Thanks for all of your help. Here is a link:







October 4, 2013

Mike Burns
Camelback Consign & Design
1030 E. Camelback Road
Phoenix, AZ  85014


I can’t help it, I like you. You’re personable. You’re energetic. You deeply dislike “the Troll.” Dad’s name was “Mike.” He was in the antique business, too.

It appears that our business relationship is about to conclude. Our three-month contract expires on October 9th. I've not yet received a penny because your check bounced. How can I renew?

It’s not necessarily your fault when a client does you wrong. However,  a successful businessman like you must have reserve of some sort – or a line of credit – that would enable you to meet immediate obligations. If you can’t pay me, how on earth will you buy that new building?

You promised me a copy – from the start – of an inventory with a list of sales prices that I could review and use to obtain insurance. Multiple times. I still don’t have it.

You promised me a copy of the complete estate inventory with original valuations more than three month ago. Multiple times. I still don’t have it.

You offered to give me an affidavit long ago. Then, at more or less the last minute, you said it would be available the next day. That didn’t happen, either.

You haven’t kept your word. Your commitments aren’t reliable.

Complaints have started piling up about Camelback Consign & Design on the BBB website. KPHO Channel 5 recently published an article about a parallel issue another client had with you. The trend isn’t looking good.

Look, despite everything I’ve written, I still want to do business with you. I don’t want to add to your problems. I absolutely don’t want to deal with the hassle of picking up all of the items we consigned with you, moving them into storage again, and finding another dealer I can work with. I have much better things to do with my life.

My sister and I put many, many valuable items in your hands: things we love, things our parents loved. We trusted you to treat us well. Now’s the time to deliver, Mike.

Sincerely and respectfully,

Glenn Scott Michaels





From: Glenn Michaels 
Sent: Tuesday, November 05, 2013 4:21 PM

Subject: Hey, everybody makes mistakes. // glenn michaels

None of us are immune from stress and bad snap judgments. We are, after all, merely human. Our potential for divinity comes down to admitting past mistakes, correcting our errors, and trying hard to avoid making more of them,  if at all possible.

Please! Let’s resolve this like gentlemen.

Neither of us will – I’m sure – ultimately feel better about ourselves because we decided to try our hand at mud wrestling. Nor would we be better people for it.
We want to evolve up (!) as opposed to working our way down to the lowest common denominator. And sadly, it’s pretty low.

Meanwhile, although it truly pains me, I have to do what I can to protect what is actually mine. I imagine you would do the same.

Glenn Michaels 

(Note: The following image was included at end of the email.)

After work, on November 5th, I distributed 11 four-color fliers depicting a pair of antique Chinese jars I had consigned with Mike Burns under the doors of antique and consignment stores located on 7th Ave between Camelback and Thomas. I also left one at the antique mall on the corner of Central and Camelback. The jars were never reported sold. Nor were they returned. 

On November 6th, Mike Burns called me. He asked if I had been distributing fliers to other antique stores? I confirmed that I had. The rest of the conversation went something like this:

What do you want from me?” he asked.

You know exactly what I want from you. I want you to honor your contract. I want to be paid. I want the stuff that hasn't sold.”

How do you expect me to take care of business if I have to deal with this, too? For every action there is a reaction. I just want to get you out of my life.

 And this is the reaction. I told you that if I weren't paid things would happen and you wouldn't like it.”

I have your things back from Christies and Sothebys, I was getting valuations.

Mike, I’d like to believe you. But nothing you’ve told me to date has happened. I can’t believe you.”

Are you trying to ruin me? Fine. Ruin me. I’ll close my business and declare bankruptcy.  I’m going to sit down with my lawyers.” 

The phone went dead.

I never received the two jars.  






April 24, 2014: Text to Mike Burns:
"I’ve called Joe Ducey, too. 
"Wouldn’t it make sense to pay up and avoid the shitstorm that is certain to come? You’ve screwed so many folks it can only be a matter of time until the AG, IRS or another heavyweight comes calling with handcuffs for you and your associates, don’t you think? It’s never too late – or too soon – to repent."

The text message was prompted my the information that Joe Ducey ( Call Joe:  accompanied by a cameraman - had taped Mike Burns (aka the Consignment Vampire) in the course of a surprise confrontation with several other victims as part of an upcoming news segment.  Apparently, I wasn't convincing.  

About Mike Burns: My 2 Cents

I think Mike Burns is an intelligent guy. Very flawed, but nonetheless intelligent. Smart enough to scam a lot of other fairly smart folks and and almost smart enough to get away with it. In fact, had he chosen his victims with more care, instead of scamming nearly every consignor who walked in the door for something over six months and maybe a year, he would still be at it.

A psychiatrist told me that another acquaintance of mine who had put himself into an equally miserable position and refused to extricate himself was actually fulfilling a subconscious desire to punish himself. 

Since Mike had to know he couldn't get away with his scheme indefinitely, I see a strong parallel. 

I can believe he wanted to punish himself. I find a little harder to understand his need to punish his sons, his (ex?) wife, his colleagues and his clients. Maybe he blamed them / us, in some way, for putting him in the untenable position he found himself in.

Years ago I wrote an article about gifted children. In the course of my research, I learned that approximately 10% of the US prison population tested out as intellectually gifted. 

Today, I suspect that various social and psychological factors (such as ADD, bi-polarity, etc.) can combine to  frustrate the ability of an otherwise highly capable individual to live "by the rules."  The survival instinct being what it is, needs unmet through legal means are perhaps satisfied in other - more thrilling and fulfilling - ways. 

Crudely put, Michael Burns likely has a screw loose. But, if that's true, it suggests, at least to me, just opposite of what conventional wisdom seems to tell us. 

It doesn't mean that Mike Burns is 
an irretrievably broken human being. 

Quite the contrary, it suggests that Mike Burns is, in fact, eminently fixable. What he needs - MAYBE - is the help of someone handy with a screwdriver. The sort of someone who can help him open up, locate the lose screw, tighten it, re-calibrate and stay that way. 

You better believe that I'm angry at Mike Burns. But the way I see it, it's always better to fix something that can be fixed and made useful, rather than just throwing the damn thing away. Recycling ain't just for inanimate trash, you know. I think it can work for people, too.  

I think Mike Burns probably led his sons into the darkness. They loved him and they followed... when they should have known better. 

Now they need their father to lead them back into the light.   

Redemption happens. Now and then. And now would be a very, very good time to see a bit of it in action. 

Glenn S. Michaels June 24, 2014.

Mike Burns wasn't born yesterday. He wasn't born on the Fourth of July, either. NOPE. Mike Burns was born on 9/11 in 1952. He was destined. 

I don't know if the truth will set you free. But fuss loud enough with a big 'nough bunch a friends and I swear folks 'll do near anything to get you to shut up. Fast as they can. 

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