Sunday, August 31, 2014


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:

Sorta Maybe

Please help yourself to a salt tablet. 

The Story:

In a recent post - 

we learned from a police report that a Mr. Norman Woodmansee was a participant, with Mike Burns, in a deal to purchase a group of paintings from ElJuana Hermansen.

ElJuana, it seems, turned over eight paintings to Burns that he had verbally estimated to have a value of $350,000. The thrilling story of the disappearance of those paintings and their later recovery with the aid of Call 12 for Action, among others, has been reported with great verve by Robert Anglen. Anglen is a reporter for the Arizona Republic and a Call 12 for Action associate. His articles on this topic can be found here:

The Rest of the Story, Sorta

Such a deal! Man, Michael Burns could paint - in words - a picture of profits so enticing that even a savvy businessman and a successful "art picker" couldn't resist.

That, at least, is the upshot. 

According to that savvy businessman, Mr. Norman Woodmansee, Burns spun a tale of 20 or more valuable paintings that could return a quick profit  many times the $100,000 that he needed in order to pay ElJuana Hermansen for them. 

Woodmansee, with whom I spoke at length on August 31st, 2014, by phone, ultimately invested $7500 in the deal that would have returned his investment, with interest, plus 15% of the profits on the sale of the Hermansen paintings. The remaining 85% of the profits were to go to Burns and the other investor, art picker, Mr. Joe Michaels. 

Still entranced by the visions Burns conjured, just a day after he had forked over $7500, Woodmansee gave Burns another $3000 toward the purchase of a Tiffany lamp that Mike Burns said would generate a hefty profit.

Mr. Woodmansee's investment with Burns was protected by a contract signed by all three men. (See The ElJuana Compact, below.) Still, as a cautious businessman, he wanted additional protection. Mr. Woodmansee told me that he had insisted that Mike hand over one of of ElJuana's paintings to him, personally, as a guarantee against his investment. Joe Michaels, he said, received four other paintings for the same reason.

Reporter Robert Anglen has described the fiasco that followed in several articles in the Arizona Republic, referenced above.

As the pressure generated by negative publicity grew, Burns was forced to retrieve the paintings he had delivered to Messrs Woodmansee and Michaels so he could produce them for 12 for Action, acting on behalf of ElJuana Hermansen.

Initially, Woodmansee had planned to return his painting to Hermansen himself. He wanted no part of the potential criminal liability associated with retention of the artwork. Any financial considerations he might have had became moot. Woodmansee is both a businessman and a father.

After reading one of Anglen's articles, he quickly decided that Burns needed to assume that responsibility. Woodmansee says the article he read prompted him to call Burns and insist that he return the paintings as soon as possible. He contacted Joe Michaels and Michaels agreed.

Thus was Burns able to return those paintings to ElJuana. 

Ultimately, said Mr. Woodmansee, he successfully recovered $4300 of his investment. Additional compensation came in the form of tangible goods. "We went in one day after he (Burns) closed his doors for good and grabbed maybe 15 items."

Woodmansee says that he and Michaels obtained "a few decorative bowls, a few paintings, a fireplace shield, a stained glass pic with a peacock, a block of glass with an image engraved in it and a few other things that collectively aren't worth much."  

Mr. Woodmansee mentioned that two of the eight Hermansen paintings referenced in the Anglen articles ended up in the possession of a woman named "Tiffany."

According the story in the Arizona Republic:


Mr. Woodmansee says that Burns described Tiffany as a recently divorced and very attractive woman of means. Apparently, she showed an interest in buying the paintings. Burns, it seems, then turned them over to Tiffany, possibly without receiving so much as a deposit. Woodmansee believes - based on conversations with Burns - that she lacked the funds to complete the purchase and was unable to obtain the needed sum from her (ex?) husband.
As an aside: Burns told me more than once that had delivered several of my more valuable items to various interested parties who had yet to pay for them... and who apparently never returned them, either. One such individual, he described as the owner of a 14,000 square foot home on - if memory serves - either Mummy or Camelback Mountain.  
Mr. Woodmansee noted that while he had yet to contact the Attorney General regarding his outstanding claim against Burns per their contractual agreement, he intended to do so. He says that he has a 20 minute recording of Mike Burns insisting that they (the three investors) had "in fact purchased all of the paintings he asserted we had after I suggested that he'd received them on consignment."

Many thanks to Mr. Norman Woodmansee for helping to throw additional light on the nature of Mr. Burns's dealings.


The following document is the contract entered into by Joe Michaels, Michael Burns and Norman Woodmansee for the purpose of financing the purchase and anticipated resale of heirloom paintings belonging to ElJuana Hermansen. 
Mr. Woodmansee kindly offered to share the document with me. 



Date: August 31, 2014 
Revised: September 2, 2014 based on additional 
information provided by Mr. Norman Woodmansee.

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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