Following Three Bells Winery money trail helps explain why DA, FBI are interested in Estate

April 3, 2008


Angry investors wondering where their money went after funding Estate Financial of Paso Robles may be on the road to an eventual explanation.

Whether that translates into returns for those who have put money into Estate is yet to be learned. What is known is that millions of investor dollars have apparently been misappropriated, misspent, or misdirected, according to an investigation by

Now, law enforcement investigators from the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s office and the FBI have finally entered the picture with a “preliminary inquiry” into a growing litany of fraud allegations leveled by an ever-widening group of individuals. Joint interviews with investors are being conducted by the two agencies, according to some who have shared information.

Deputy District Attorney Steve VonDohlen confirmed the interviews: “We are talking to some of the plaintiffs, and the FBI,” he said this week. “It’s a preliminary inquiry. We are mindful that some of these complainants are well over 65 years of age. There may, or may not be, criminal wrongdoing here.”

Criminal or not, many of the financial transactions of Estate Financial principals Karen Guth, her son, Joshua Yaguda, and others with access to the lending company’s money, are interesting if confusing. As a result, the money trail often becomes tangled. (Information for this article was gathered from court documents, interviews with investors and lenders alike, and a variety of informed sources. Guth declined comment when contacted by telephone Thursday.)

Trying to answer questions about how money moved once it was invested with Guth, focused on the funding and construction of Three Bells Winery in Paso Robles. The probe discovered critical inconsistencies in many documents; identical names buried within a potpourri of limited liability companies; and questionable use of Estate Financial funds intended for development of the Paso Robles winery.

In 2006, Estate Financial President Guth and her vice president, Yaguda, under the name Third Press Partners LLC, and Al D’Amico, as Signature Homes LLC, became financially equal partners in Three Bells LLC. An operating agreement between the three holds Guth and Yaguda responsible for day-to-day management and record keeping of the winery project.

Three Bells LLC borrowed $3,665,720 from Estate Financial to construct the winery. Of that total amount, Estate Financial doled out approximately $1.4 million for actual building and other facility construction.

D’Amico allegedly snagged more than $1.2 million for his own personal use. Guth filed bankruptcy, claiming $6,199,929 in liabilities on the project and noting her failure, as an owner of the winery, to stay current on her loan payments.

“The question is, how you can foreclose on a property for $6 million when the construction loan was for $3.7 million, and the actual construction cost was only $1.5 million?” wondered one involved party who asked to remain unnamed.

Three Bells LLC filed a lawsuit June 18, 2007, against its non-managing partner, Signature Homes LLC; D’Amico individually; and D’Amico’s Town and Country Landscaping LLC, alleging fraud, intentional misrepresentation, conversion, breach of fiduciary duty, and imposition of constructive trust. The latter allegation suggested that D’Amico used his position as construction manager to rent equipment, purchase sod, and hire supervisors for property other than the winery.

“Yes, I am involved in both sides of the lawsuit, not as myself, but as separate entities. It’s a legal thing,” D’Amico said, responding to’s questions about why he would sue himself for fraud. He then added, “The case has been dismissed by mutual parties.”

A subsequent check of county records, however, shows the lawsuit has not been dismissed, and a case management conference is scheduled May 7 in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court.

D’Amico and Guth continue to work together on other projects despite their mutual, intertwining litigation. On August 1, Guth signed over six deeds of trusts to D’Amico valued at approximately $77,000 each.

“That was reimbursement for money she (Guth) owed me for out of pocket expenses,” D’Amico said.

D’Amico contends the loan for the winery project was never properly funded.

“What happened to the money is the million-dollar question,” D’Amico said. “She (Guth) foreclosed on herself. She will own the property in a month or two and I will be out of the picture.”

Guth allegedly sent a letter to a number of investors placing the blame for the demise of the winery investment on D’Amico’s shoulders.

“I lent the money to Estate Financial and she is responsible to live up to her promises,” said one winery investor. “The money lost to D’Amico has nothing to do with me.”

Information obtained by suggests Guth knew her hard money lending business was in trouble back in 2004, long before the downturn in the market. Investors and contractors claim projects, funded from as early as 2002, have not been finished due to alleged mismanagement of funds.

Even so, Guth continued at the time, and to this day, to seek investors, primarily seniors, with the lure of high interest on property secured loans — without disclosing the company’s financial woes. On her Web site, Guth touts interest payments of 11 to 13 percent, though most investors claim they are no longer receiving any interest payments.

“If she is running a business and knows she is having financial problems, I think she would have to tell people,” said investor John Childers. “A person robs a grocery store, they go to jail that day. Guth robs millions from the elderly and nothing happens. She is continuing to get money from the elderly.”

Hard money loans are based on the value of the underlying asset rather than borrowers’ credit rating. It works if the lender finances no more than 60 to 70 percent of the project, secures licensed appraisals, and makes payments as the work progresses. Numerous investors claim Guth failed to follow through on these promises.

“If she had followed these rules, she would not be in trouble,” Childers said. “It’s a good business, but if people get greedy, it goes to hell. She made the loan to value, not an appraisal by a licensed appraiser.”

A San Diego investment firm in 2004 failed to disclose information regarding investments, and used new investment capital to pay off existing investors, which resulted in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing an emergency action to halt the ongoing fraud. Authorities froze finances and set up a receivership.

(Editor’s note: Contact information should be included in comments if individuals want to share information in more detail.)

Where else to look for help:

Call Rene Esquarel, California Department of Real Estate, 559-445-5009, touch “O” when recording comes on, and ask operator to connect you.

(See initial article on Estate Financial and its investors.)


By: Anonymous on 4/23/08

Paso lenders – including Estate Financial – get more scrutiny from state and DA

DA’s Office receives an update from several state agencies on investigations, but details are private

By Melanie Cleveland

Local prosecutors and state regulators met in San Luis Obispo on Tuesday to discuss investigations into troubled Paso Robles real estate lenders whose investors may have lost money, the county District Attorney’s Office confirmed.

The firms under scrutiny include Estate Financial Inc. and Real Property Lenders. The companies pooled investors’ money to fund high-interest loans to real estate developers.

Estate Financial has become the target of sometimes harsh public complaints since the company disclosed in the fall that its real estate portfolio was in serious financial difficulty.

The firm’s leaders have blamed the real estate market downturn for its problems.

Tuesday’s closed-door meeting included representatives from the state Department of Corporations, as well as other unspecified state agencies, according to Deputy District Attorney Steve von Dohlen.

He said that at least three representatives from the District Attorney’s Office attended, including Assistant District Attorney Dan Hilford; John Tooley, an investigator working for the District Attorney’s Office and von Dohlen, who specializes in consumer protection.

Von Dohlen did not disclose specifics or the status of the investigation, except to say the agencies were continuing to respond to complaints about the companies.

“We got an update from the various agencies to find out where they are,” von Dohlen said. “Other than that, I’m not at liberty to discuss details.”

Karen Guth, president of Estate Financial, said Tuesday that she had met last week with state regulators.

“It went like a routine audit, and we’re cooperating with them,” she said. “I assume this is something that will take awhile.”

Real Property Lenders owner Rod Jarmin could not be reached for comment.

Von Dohlen said the District Attorney’s Of fice encourages investors with concerns about the companies to file complaints with the state’s Department of Corporations or Department of Real Estate if they haven’t already done so.

Those two agencies regulate investing and lending practices in California.

Von Dohlen confirmed a month ago that his office had been in touch with both state agencies over investor complaints about Estate Financial’s management of its real estate loans.

Von Dohlen said then that the state agencies could take a range of actions against such companies, including probation, suspension or revocation of its license to do business, assessment of fines or referral of the case to prosecutors.

By: Anonymous on 4/21/08

Public Record (3)

That is not all. More actions filed against them since than.


By: Anonymous on 4/21/08


"Since last February 1, 2006, Estate Financial was a borrower from Heritage Oaks Bank on an unsecured line of credit in the amount of $5,000,000. Guth was a guarantor on the line of credit. About 11/15/07 EFI entered into a "CHANGE IN TERMS AGREEMENT" with Heritage Oaks Bank. "The third paragraph on the first page of the agreement describes the change in terms including an extension of the maturity to 11/15/08, that the loan is no longer a revolving line of credit and that collateral for the loan has been added which includes a deed of trust on each of the two gas station properties owned by Templeton Products, Inc.

Can Heritage Oaks Bank sustain a $5,000,000 loss?

LYING: Guth/Estate have no lawsuits against them. Here's two for you to look up – 6/22/07 Case CV070549 and 1/10/07 CV071107. The latter includes a cause of action asking the court to issue a permanent injunction prohibiting Guth and Yaguda from continuing to engage in unfair, deceptive and/or fraudulent business practices.

Investors – you are LAST IN LINE as Guth/Yaguda have mortgage away EVERYTHING.

By: Anonymous on 4/21/08


Karen is hard at work keeping investors/borrowers at a distance, while covering her tracks from investigators.

Yes, she is thinking of investors evry waking hours. She has no problem denigaring anyone who is qustioning everything.

God forbid, we may fi9nd something that she's been hiding for so long. Along with her puppy dog Josh.

By: Anonymous on 4/21/08

to: Let's get it together

I think the first step is: for everyone to get a PROPERTY PROFILE from a title company (I understand that this report is either free or nominal) this will let them know all of the investors on the account then if there is more than 50% investors (and hopefully it's not one of the many corporations of EFS), contact each person and if agreed than we can take over as the "folks in charge" of each loan—

As I understand it, our only option is NOT receivorship- we can take control of our own stuff.

Second: if at all possible we should get from EFS a disbursment registry on each loan— and a list of investors–

I think if everyone takes control a pro-active stance in this and works hard on their own loans we can start to have some of the power back!

Hopefully, some folks are already doing this and we will be hearing from each other soon–

You MUST take action on your behalf, don't wait for someone else to do it- it will not get done!

If a meeting is called again, and we shouldn't wait for Ron Cooper to do it— if we have to, we can meet at a park– (we could meet at EF office :-) anyway, I'm sure there are a few people (I would help) that can set up tables and do exactly what the atty. at the last meeting did- gather information— I know her name was Karen (don't know last name) maybe she will have a fair amount of info. and we can work with her.

I would think there's an atty. out there that would work on this case, without upfront money and take it at the end— surely that has to be cheaper in the long run than to leave it in the hands of EFS.

By: Anonymous on 4/21/08

So I wonder, do you think Karen spends her time thinking of ways to help the investors recover thier money, or how to keep her own ass out of the fire.


By: Anonymous on 4/21/08

Dewdog – Well put!

By: Anonymous on 4/20/08

Looks like my suspicion was right after all. Now, we just have to connect the dots. There is more to come

By: Anonymous on 4/20/08

Oh my G_d.

On March 17, 2004 Karen Guth swears under penalty of perjury as follows:

"EFI's largest asset is a note receivable from Republic Properties, which is not collectable."


By: Anonymous on 4/20/08

Quote Charlie Applebaum 12/2/2003 in a sworn statement in court in SLO County. Go to the court and see it for yourself.

"The real reason Estate Financial has had to transfer "bad loans" to Republic for workout is that the Respondent (Karen Guth) decided to advance certain funds which were invested by investors on one project, to the builder on another project. This action is clearly inappropriate….."

She has been committing this illegal act of commingling fund since at least 2003, so says her ex-life partner.

By: Anonymous on 4/20/08

Go to that website and see for yourself the lies and fraud that started all of this.

1. Interest stays constant . . . eliminating fluctuations due to changing economic conditions.

2. Principal value of investment does not vary.



Four bold lies.

What else do we need to know!

That's what my complaint to the Department of Corporations says. What does your's say?

By: Anonymous on 4/19/08

You all should be smart enough by now to know that each and every one of those loan accounts as well as the fund has some kind of balance. As long as Karen can keep you off balance Estate can continue to raid each and every one of those accounts under the guise of management fees. First the builders stopped recieving thier draws, then the investors stopped recieving thier interest payments. I haven't heard anything about Estate not getting thier draws. This is ass backwards. When things started going south they should have stopped taking fees and next the investors should have stopped recieving interest so the constuction could have been completed and finally the the construction would have to be halted. At least you would have been made aware early in the process of system failure and the construction would be complete or closer. If Karen really wants to make things right request she turn the fund managment over to a board of directors made up of the larger investors in the fund, say 10. Karen and Josh could be on the board. Hire an independent CPA to do a quick review of all accounts to determine how much money exists in each loan account. The ongoing question seems to be where did the money go. I am suggesting the more important questions is how much is left, where is it going right now, and where are we going to get the money needed to finish the things that need to be finised to liquidate the properties. I guarentee you no one, no bank, and no new investors are going to loan anything on this mess unless you get control of it and leaving Karen in total charge at this point shows to everyone you don't have control.

By: Anonymous on 4/19/08

Folks go get a title report on your properties, it should tell you who the investors are. If individual investors amount to more than 51% of ownership make your move. If you have not received payment file a Notice of Default and then foreclose on your properties and take control of them. Getting someone to take over EF would be disastrous. Each property more than likely has it's own set of terms and conditions and each should be treated by itself.

If the project was "fully funded" the money went somewhere. If the money manager,Karen & Josh, can't tell you where it went how much more incompetant can you get?


By: Anonymous on 4/18/08

Ron Cooper says:

Mike: You are a very smart and honorable man. Thank you for allowing all of us to learn from your willingness to share your insight.

It was nice meeting you Thursday.

Best, Ron

April 18th, 2008 at 10:33 PM

They Are Criminals says:

It's the oldest trick in the book and taken right out of the con man's playbook:

1.) Take evasive action.

2.) Go on the offensive.

3.) Deny, deny, deny.

4.) When cornered, act concerned, and then leave.

5.) Repeat.

Karen and Josh executed play number yesterday. Evidently it worked as they were given a two week reprieve. Two weeks from now they will be back to executing play number one.

April 18th, 2008 at 10:24 PM

annie says:

To Whatever,

You have convinced me that I can no longer tell fact from fiction. They are equally ridiculous.

We have all heard so many far fetched things from EFI we think anything is possible.

Or at least we are expected to believe almost anything.

At a second read of your post it was really quite funny. Glad you can still have such a good sence of humor.

April 18th, 2008 at 10:12 PM

yancygirl says:

to: 444horses

I am an investor in B519-05–were you at the meeting on Thur? How do we contact each other?

April 18th, 2008 at 10:11 PM

yancygirl says:

I am an investor in B519-05–were you at the meeting on Thur? How do we contact each other?

April 18th, 2008 at 10:10 PM

Whatever says:

To Mike Knecht:

Thank you Mike, for your sophisticated analogy, within your commentary. At the meeting, I made similar observations while watching and listening to the mother and son speak their wisdom. It was interesting to observe their body language. I agree with you 1000%. You are so articulate in what you just described. I admire your courage to put your name out there, and seeing how honest you have been. I feel your integrity, whenever I read your postings on this blog. It was truly an honor to meet you yesterday. Please keep up the great job educating and informing us. You have been very unselfish sharing your knowledge. Please, Please, Please…..when you have anything noteworthy to say, we are all ears, and can learn a wealth of information from you. Thank you, Thank you….. Thank God for you! You are the wind beneath our wings!

April 18th, 2008 at 9:52 PM

Whatever says:

To Annie:

Yes, indeed, it was a joke! Sorry if I confused you, Annie. Please forgive me!

April 18th, 2008 at 9:20 PM

Mike Knecht says:

After the April 17 meeting, I found my admiration for Karen Guth reaching a new high. Not only did she have the courage to show up to the meeting with investors but she managed to smoothly denigrate everyone who had a problem getting facts from Estate Financial. If you had difficulty getting financial details out of Estate Financial, Karen coolly implied you were the one with the problem. One investor took up too much of her time with her questions. One investor needed money to pay taxes (much of the property Karen is a partner on is delinquent on taxes so maybe taxes aren’t that big of a deal). Another customer had become so frustrated by a lack of response from Estate Financial that the police had to be called to remove him. Karen managed to sound like a grandmother who was discussing the short comings of the nephews and nieces she didn’t like. Her verbal condescension and belittlement was delivered in a perfect tone of pseudo sweetness.

Joshua seemed nervous and tense. He had a little trouble completing his sentences but I admired him as well. He had the cojones to stand there and say that monies received from the sale of property in the mortgage fund would not be returned to investors but rather, after the appropriate fees were deducted by Estate Financial, would be automatically reinvested with the mortgage fund. While his mother was the personification of ice at least Joshua had the decency to appear uneasy in telling people they weren’t going to get any money at the present time from the sale of their investment property.

Joshua and Karen acted like this was their first inkling that there was a problem with investors getting any information on the fund members or property. They also seemed genuinely relieved to learn that hiring more people might be a solution. If there is/was a hundred and seventy million in the mortgage fund and the fund is now valued at eighty percent of the money invested at the beginning, and one percent fee is being deducted from investor funds every month? That comes to roughly one million six hundred thousand dollars a month (nineteen million a year) that Karen and Joshua take out of the mortgage fund in management fees every month. If I was taking down a million six every month I could probably spare some of that to hire some people to help out.

PS If I have the figures wrong Karen is welcome to tell investors exactly how much money Estate Financial takes from investor funds every month. No one would mind.


By: Anonymous on 4/18/08

Truman says:

Karen and Josh did not tell us anything new at the meeting yesterday except to tell us that they did not have the staff to provide professional, polite, and timely investor communications. I applaud them for finally admitting that, and for promising to immediately resolve that problem. It only took a meeting like yesterday to get them to agree to do that. And that fact says volumns about who Karen and Josh are.

They also admitted that they did not know where the money for the "fully funded" loans went for the projects where there is no construction. I hear people blaming Ron Cooper for that. Folks, Ron Cooper wasn't managing our money. We did not get to select Ron Cooper as the receipant of our money. Karen did that all by herself. If it was a poor decision, and I'm not convinced it was, it was Karen's decision. If the money is "fully funded" but the project itself doesn't reflect that, then the blame is squarely on Karen and Josh.

Many questions were left unanswwered yesterday, but then we only had two hours. Nevertheless here is a question for all of you to ponder. If, for the past 18 months EF did not have the ability (for whatever reason) to respond to our investor inquiries then how in the world is Estate Financial going to manage the properties they have foreclosed upon.

Investors like me need to take control of our own money, and we need to do it now.

Who is going to lead us there?

Or, do we wait for a governmental agency to control our money. Surely if that happens we lose everything. And fellow investors, the goverment is closely looking at EF right now!

With the list EF is going to give us, I urge you to contact your fellow investors and develop a plan.

April 18th, 2008 at 2:18 PM

By: Anonymous on 4/17/08

I couldn't make it to the meeting today. I hope someone will compile a summary of the proceedings and either post it here or give an email where we can see what happened.

Thanks, all, I hope it went well.

By: Anonymous on 4/16/08

There will be a meeting of the investors on the Hinds Ave.project in Pismo Beach. Loan #518-05 on Monday April 21, 2008 at 12 noon at the Colony Inn Hall; 3600 El Camino Real, Atascadero. It is located next door to the Kennedy Nautilis Center. 805-466-4449. The purpose of the meeting is to hear about the different options available to the investors, to hear from the investors as to what they want to do, and to vote on these options. It is very important that all voting investors attend this meeting. Karen Guth, EFI President, Tony Wells a developer, Madeline Winn the junior lien holder, Wyndham Resorts, and two other interested developers will be there to tell us what they have to offer.

This meeting is definitely happening; if you want a voice in what happens to your investment on this project, then you should attend this meeting.You may e-mail me at and put in the subject line, loan 518-05 or call me 805-610-6331

By: Anonymous on 4/16/08

fred—what was the loan number on that property that was sold 6 mos. ago?


By: Anonymous on 4/16/08

Ef is taking 1% off the top of the mortgage fund income to pay themselves. I imagine that is quite a bit of money. Investors need someone who will work for us to earn that money, instead of Ef which is currently only working for the benefit of Guth's pet projects, or for those within her "circle." At the meeting on Thursday, let's hear from attorneys who have a plan to remove Ef as manager. We investors need to hear some ideas of approaches we can take which will be the most efficient and cost effective. Perhaps attorneys could also discuss how they should be paid and how this can be worked out given the large number of investors and their varying interests and needs.

The current forward momentum is pushing towards the state taking over as a receivership. If this happpens a court and judge will have to approve every single action. Blood sucking attornies will eat up every single penny.

To fight this, instead of all these small factions, we need to unite, have 1-4 attorneys prepare the action, remove Ef as manager, replace them with a manager who will work for everyone's benefit.

Time is of the essence. We will all lose money. If we can somehow work this out, we will not lose everything.

By: Anonymous on 4/16/08

Definetly sounds like some criminal activity has occurred here with Karen Guth and her son being the culprits. To expedite things someone who has the documentation of improprieties, like Fred, should gather up there paperwork and make a citizens arrest against both Ms. Guth and her son. It should then be much easier to take control of your assets.

Unfortunately it is looking like everyone is having difficulty getting together with this and consequently the lawyers will be swarming in on this. The only difference will be is that the lawyers will have a license to steal the balance of any funds that you have that are still available.

By: Anonymous on 4/15/08

I have sat back long enough watching these blogs, hoping against hope that these accusations against Estate were wrong. Well they are not wrong.

I have just learned that Estate sold a property I have an interest in through a fractionalized first deed of trust. That sale occurred more than 6 months ago. I have not seen a penny of my investment and interest payments stopped late last year.

Mrs. Guth – where is my money? Did you steal it?

By: Anonymous on 4/15/08


On April 8th two major subcontractors who worked for San Dimas 18, LLC sued San Dimas 18, LLC, ESTATE FINANCIAL, INC. AND ESTATE FINANCIAL MORTGAGE FUND, LCC.

Why does that matter! Because other subcontractors will likely begin their own lawsuits. And the more lawsuits Estate has to defend the costlier it is going to be for all investors.

Case # KC052088 and KC052068. Pomona court (Los Angeles County)Attorney for Plaintiffs is Jonathan Zeko -619-233-7078


By: Anonymous on 4/15/08

Annie, well said. I mentioned the same things on another local blog after Davis said much the same thing as Barbara did. Let's work together for a faster, cheaper and less painful resolution.

I suggest we all talk to any seniors we come across. They may not know what is going on and will need our help.

By: Anonymous on 4/15/08

To Barbara,

It is time for us all to find a way to share information.

Those of us who have our life savings in the fund need to participate in a group effort.

I only know the surface but at least 6 lawyers are involved and it could be 600 unless we organize. If you are interested in sharing information please post a contact e-mail or leave a message for jill or annie at

If you plan to attend the meeting on thursday you might consider speeking on the facts you uncovered.

By: Anonymous on 4/15/08

I hired a Private Investigator long ago to investigate all she could in this situation. She after about one week followed the paper trail and as much of the money as she could. It went through so many Banks and Private Equity Funds and this so called Private Lenders it made my head spin.

She thus far learned it was an ongoing money laundering scam for others who had assets they wanted to co-mingle with good monies. The names she found out are: Bryan Troxler, Thomas Habbick, Robert JS Fowler, Atascadero Ventures, LLC, Verdot Group, Hertel Group, Hertel Investments Rossi Enterprises, Karl Wittstrom, WADCO, LLC Santa Margarita Farms, and over a dozen profit sharing programs and scams. So Investor beware and now hire a good well known Law Firm and none locally got to the Bay area or LA . This is so much bigger of a Con Game than we all know. My Investigator is packaging it all together to send to the FBI & IRS. If you all have nothing to hide report it to the Authorities.

By: Anonymous on 4/15/08

Maybe you all ought to hire the Mafia or the Hell's Angels to recover your money. They are usually very successful in these areas. They are also probably a whole cheaper than attorneys also.

By: Anonymous on 4/15/08

After being interviewed by Federal Agents on the mess, I can now say we got screwed. The mess is some what a " Civil Matter" but they are reviewing Federal Statutes to see if any Law were broken. That will take a very long time and many needed complaints and documents as well as personal financial information. Whom most do not want to reveal to Federal Officials. As many of the unnamed person in this scam as they called it. Those people have concealed them selves in many and I mean many LLC's, LP's, Holding Companies etc. From California to Florida and them some. The vast majority of the cash is missing ? secretly sent to other projects like Winery's Gambling debts, Gold Coins, Yachts, Expensive Collector Cars and Land in other States. So I guess what i am saying is we did get really screwed unless we are one of the many named insiders who are now profiting from our loss. Shame on you guys

By: Anonymous on 4/14/08

Ron Cooper says:


DATE: Thursday April 17th


LOCATION: Atascadero

Colony Park Community Center

5599 Traffic Way

Traffic way exit off of 101 Whether going N or S


By: Anonymous on 4/14/08

Dave: I have no problem with you posting the "other side of the coin." That's what a good reporter does. It doesn't make what the email said truthful, nor does it make it a lie.

For those who attended the first public meeting I OFFERED UP the information about the bankruptcy. No one asked. I offered it up.

I am NOBODY's "boy" but that is not the only misstatement in the email. I have a major interest in both my my projects. Estate's foreclosure in the San Dimas project is being litigated. But I discussed that in detail at the first meeting.

Anyway, this blog is not about me so I wont waste anymore space.

By: Anonymous on 4/14/08

I know the VERDOT Group there are several of them in the many Groups all into Winery business/ Namely Santa Margarita Ranch, Farms, etc.. names like Rossi, Fowler, Habbick, Roewald, Wittstrom, and many more all are hiding something ? they all just retained the same lawyer to help them stay out of Jail.

By: Anonymous on 4/14/08

You might want to dig into all the monies that have suddenly went into a new winery called 5 Mile bridge AKA VERDOT Group, LP the money trail is interesting of who's involved. FOLLOW THE $$

By: Anonymous on 4/14/08

Be carefull who you trust

You are only required to file taxes if you make money. Is it possible when you stopped funding this mans construction you forced him into bankruptcy. So if he has not filed taxes maybe there is a reason. And maybe EF is the reason.

By: Anonymous on 4/14/08

That last note must be from someone in EF…. I was at the meeting with Ron Cooper, and he was willing to answer any questions asked. His chararter is not the question here. What is EF hiding??? Anyone willing to help get to the bottom of this mess, is what's important.

By: Anonymous on 4/14/08

"I did a little back ground check on your boy Ron Cooper…Did you know that this man has not filed a Federal or State Tax return in over 6 years? I also looked

On the LA County recorder’s office and he no longer has a loan with Estate Financial, it was foreclosed on months ago. This man has filed bankruptcy under so many LLC’s

It’s a joke….I’m sure if you called a few investors in Southern California they would tell you how much money they have lost because of RON COOPER. The man is not the one that should be leading ANY investors anywhere!!

I used to really like your show because your presented both sides of the story. I feel this show has been very one sided against Estate Financial. As an example, Julie Roderwald was out of the office for a few days due to the DEATH of her FATHER (SHAME ON YOU!!) Last year you had Julie on your show and had nothing but nice things to say about this woman? What factual data do you have that caused you to change your opinion of Julie? SLO county recorder is not the only county that is behind on their postings of Foreclosures…..It is going on all over the state…..GET REAL…. We are having a 30 year RECORD of Foreclosures across the country….

Thank you for your time in this matter….……..You need to WAKE UP!!!"


By: Anonymous on 4/13/08

It was a sobering moment to read the Security and Exchange commissions involvement in shutting down the San Diego firm which operated exactly like EF. (See above article) It makes me strongly believe that what we have been involved with, is in reality, aPonzi scheme. I went to where I filled out a complaint form. The Federal government is only too happy to hear about cases like this, which,if we investors lose our money, that's a loss of millions and millions of dollars in lost tax revenue. In my complaint, I explained the particulars of my situation, but I also let them know that EF refuses to give the investors information about what is happening, as well as information about who is in the mortgage fund and what their share of the interests are. To get faster action, I recommend those with the time and initiative, to go to and urge them to investigate.

By: Anonymous on 4/13/08

A reminder.

Uncoveredslo has brought us invaluable information (be sure to see their latest story about the Count Clerk website being down for a month-how convenient for Guth et all). I have made a healthy donation to this press corps-how about you?

If we don't support them they won't be there for us. Come on folks-where would we all be without this information and venue to communicate with each other?

By: Anonymous on 4/11/08

Ron Cooper says:


DATE: Thursday April 17th


LOCATION: Atascadero

Colony Park Community Center

5599 Traffic Way

Traffic way exit off of 101 Whether going N or S

April 10th, 2008 at 12:54 PM

By: Anonymous on 4/11/08

If the members of the mortgage fund eject EF as manager, the issue is difficult on who to appoint as the new manager. We would need to hire either an attorney, a real estate broker, or other seasoned business person. I personally plan to attend the meeting on Thursday in Atascadero to help address this issue.

Some EF investors have already been through this with 21st Century Mortgage where they fired the Manager and the investors took over. They formed many LLC's to protect themselves. The investors at Vanguard Lending let the managers remain as they were much more cooperative and forthcoming than what we are experiencing at EF.

By: Anonymous on 4/11/08


You're already responsible for all those things. All those things you mention will be taken from any funds from any liquidated project. The only difference instead of a honest trusted employee Karen will decide how much. Every day this goes on the interest, taxes, and damages to the never funded builders goes on.