Jim Gibsons Client put the 2nd Highest Bid on Atlanta's Bank of America Building (valued at $400,000,000+) that was being foreclosed upon at the Fulton County courthouse steps in February 2012.
Our story was so good that Rand could not resist putting together a trailer for a possible upcoming movie.
In this 2 minute CNN video featuring the foreclosure on the Fulton County Steps (February 7, 2012):
At 0:20, in the middle of the screen, I am over the left shoulder of the fellow in the blue jacket looking over the shoulder of an attorney caller in a grey suit and Rand is over the right shoulder of the same fellow. Jason is there but not in the shot. He appears to my left at 0:28 just in front of the guy in the red hat. We were interested in bidding the property that an attorney was calling at that point (not the BOA building.)
At 0:56 my Client, Jason, is at screen right looking at the caller for the BOA building. I am actually on the screen left looking over his shoulder but out of the shot. Of particular notice, the attorney caller of the Bank of Americal building SAYS "The sales today require the immediate tender of cash."
Now, normally, the caller will submit an opening bid submitted by the lender foreclosing on the property - usually for every dime owed plus all legal fees, etc. owed on the property. Very, very rare to have no (essentially) reserve bid by the foreclosing lender on the property. However, TODAY the caller says (at 1:08) “I now open the floor for bids.” - What? No opening bid by the lender?….
And then my Client (bless his adventuresome heart) says “I bid $100,000.” The caller was not expecting that as his scripted buyer was to his right and he quickly looks over to him. In fact, NOBODY was expecting this offer and it got really quiet for a moment. A moment that lasted long enough for me (and Jason) to think, “Did he just buy that building for $100,000?” I was already calculating my commission for listing that puppy - lets see, at 5% that was going to be a $20,000,000 brokerage fee. Then about 5 seconds later - at 1:20, the real buyer, also surprised about this opening bid by someone else, stammered and finally bid $235,000,000. You can see my cell phone in between caller and buyer as I am recording the audio of this half hour foreclosure. The caller says “I have a bid for $235,000,000.” and then looks at my Client to see if he wants to up his bid from $100,000 - Jason, clearly outbid, politely declines and his profit and my multimillion brokerage fee instantly vanished. "Going once, Going twice, Sold for $235,000,000." My Client then says “Where is his cash? This is a cash only sale. I have my cash!” The reporters then start repeating the statement since clearly, it seemed likely that buyer didn’t have the cash on him and we didn’t see any armored vehicles. This caused quite a stir for a couple minutes with many questions from the financial press peppering the foreclosing attorney. The calling attorney stammered and stuttered and finally said that a pre-arranged credit bid had been made.
At 1:29, Jason and I are being interviewed by this CNN reporter (Martin Savage) and many more reporters as the bid was something to talk about. I think we were interviewed by a half dozen or more reporters. It was fun. I am hoping to get the entire, unedited, video some day.
The rest of the story: Afterward, my Client went to his attorney who told him that technically and legally, he had a case since the courthouse steps is a cash only transaction by law but the precedent of allowing lenders to submit their opening bid (effectively) by credit, caused enough uncertainty to make it a case that could go either way. Unfortunately, Jason didn’t have the money to enter into the probable million dollar litigation and the attorney wasn’t going to take it on a contingency. Rule #1 - Never sue someone with deeper pockets than you.
Oh well, it was fun and memorable day.
Below is a CNN YouTube video showing where my Client (Jason Yowell) put the 2nd highest bid on the foreclosing Bank of America building downtown Atlanta. Jason and his friend (Rand) and I were at the Fulton County courthouse steps, back in February 2012, buying foreclosing homes for Jason to renovate and me to sell. It was about 3:00 and we were just finishing buying for the day but we knew the $436,000,000 BOA building was coming up for foreclosure. All the major network and cable news folks were there as well as reporters for financial publications. This was to be the largest foreclosure in the southeast. We didn’t want to miss that!