I thought long and hard before writing this Article. The National Property Preservation Guild (NPPG) was and still may be the only opportunity for Contractors within the Property Preservation Industry to have a fighting chance. Facebook rhetoric aside, my deepest concerns about NPPG centers around it’s Deep 6 Secrecy Policy. Fundamentally, an organization which is not transparent and attempts to obtain a foothold in the Industry deserves candid attention. Accordingly, I am presenting this Introduction to an expose I have been working on for several weeks.
I have always been a bit leery of people wanting to help people at taxpayer’s expense. I have never found a Non Profit that didn’t make a profit. I recently came into possession of a Newsletter that the National Property Preservation Guild (NPPG) circulated amongst its own; obviously I was not on the mailing list. The fact that
NPPG had become a non profit corporation in Texas stopped me dead in my tracks.
The choice of Texas is extremely interesting to say the least. I wanted to have an open mind, though, and I figured I would begin to track down the names and surely there would be a logical explanation.
I started with the NPPG’s Address of Business. Most outfits that put together a business generally get an office. The address listed for the NPPG Non Profit was: 4926 Greenville, Suite 200, Dallas, TX. Good. A Suite. So, I figured why not Google it and take a look. BAM! The address wasn’t an address after all; it was a building, but it is what is called a Virtual Office!
From the DaVinci Virtual Website — The NPPG Headquarters:
What are the main features included for Dallas, TX Location Services?
- Professional business address
- Mail & package receipt, dedicated locking mail box on site in most locations
- Mail forwarding on request (daily, weekly, or monthly) cost of postage additional
- Use of address for business license, business cards, website, etc.
- Local presence & drop off & pick up point for clientele
- Lobby & directory listings available for $25 per month at most locations
- Access to private day offices & conference rooms at hourly rates ($25+)
- Complimentary access to cyber café’s with wireless internet, coffee/tea bar, etc. where available
I guess I am just getting a bit too old. I understand call forwarding when you are in the field working. I understand email forwarding
when you are maintaining multiple emails. What I do not understand is why the NPPG would go to such great lengths to create an office somewhere it really isn’t!
When I reached out to the NPPG Public Affairs Officer (PIO) Meg Barnes with a few questions, the original candid demeanor had become quite icy. My Inquiry was met with one line, bullet statements. The previous discussions with Thomas Clark, Chairman of the NPPG, was met with silence. I then knew that I needed to begin to dig.
Receiving the cold shoulder is nothing new in what I do. Frequently, I encounter it when a Company has something to hide. Researching people or Companies is really not all that difficult. You just need be persistent. So, I began to plug the listed Director’s names into databases and was fairly amazed at what came out. (See Wiki Tree to the left).
I am presuming that in NPPG’s rush to get a Non Profit Status; that in their hiring of an Outsourcing Firm named Incorp Services, Inc. no one thought to check whether or not the Director’s Information was correct. Chris Ziolkowski, the Vice Chairman of NPPG, has his name spelled as Chris P ziolkow ska (This is precisely how it is spelled with punctuation, case sensitive and all). While I presume that NPPG was attempting to save money, most Non Profits hire a lawyer to file their documents for precisely these issues. Now, also bear in mind that NPPG is not a Federally Recognized Non Profit. This kind of confused me as well. It still does as there is no information anywhere discussing precisely what NPPG is up to. We are still awaiting a reply from the Texas Secretary of State.
We decided to take a hard look at the NPPG’s Structure; who calls the shots. We did the same thing with the National Association of Mortgage Field Services (NAMFS) a few months back. One of my biggest problems with anyone in the Industry is folks whom are Order Mills. The Regional and Otherwise Unspecified Order Mills have been the bane of the Property Preservation Industry since they began coming out of the woodwork. ANYONE whom Order Mills’ work to a Contractor is in an extremely difficult position to explain how they are going to help their fellow Contractor. Why? If you are Order Milling and accept absolutely no mark up, so be it. If you are making profit upon the back of a Contractor then this is a mandatory withholding which needs to be publicly made.
This isn’t a legal requirement; the public withholding, it is a moral and ethical requirement. For all the hell I raise about NAMFS, I will say that at least their Website is forthcoming. They do not make any bones about whom they are nor what they do. Eric Miller, whether he and I like each other or not, is forthcoming when questions are asked. Part of that is because the law requires it and the other part is because he is an honest man.
I am not intimating that NPPG is dishonest. Here is what I AM saying: NPPG went dark and silent months ago. Getting any information from NPPG has been much like pulling teeth without anesthesia. Contractors are still trying to find out whether or not they are Members and emailing Foreclosurepedia (This email was sent to Chris Z.). This point, alone, is concerning. If a Corporation is spinning up Non Profit Status and does not even have the ability to communicate with its Members (or I guess Pledge or whatever the term is for the Club) then how am I, as a taxpayer going to be confident that the funds are being properly handled? Generally, there is biography page on each Board Member of any Non Profit so that members of the Public may investigate to ensure that nothing nefarious is ongoing — felons, bankruptcy(s), etc. Maybe all this is coming in the future and maybe not. Strikes me as putting the cart before the horse.
If I was a Contractor, I would have some pretty pointed questions. First, what precisely are you going to do for me? How much is it going to cost me? How safe is my information with you (e.g.; is it on a secure server, whom has access, etc.)? Who has rights to money(s) brought into NPPG? How much money is going to be paid to the Board of Directors?
The final question in the previous paragraph of hypothetical questions is the main reason I had serious qualms with NAMFS. The Executive Director’s salary, for a 40 hour work week, is well over $100,000.00. Now that NPPG is a legal entity; now that NPPG is a Non Profit, these are all questions that need to be aksed and answered. I, myself, could apply for Membership. That would truly be ironic. Applying for Membership and then being turned down. A discrimination suit against the very same NPPG I founded.
No, it’s not the same NPPG I founded. The Constitution I hammered out was very precise in NEVER allowing National to dictate to those below it. NO Board Member could ever be on payroll. The Regional Guilds were to be Masters of their own Destiny. No, it is a Brave New World. I am saddened; I am truly saddened. I am fearful for Contractors should NPPG not be forthcoming with information very soon.
Maybe I will be proven wrong. Maybe when I begin to pull everyone’s Corporation History Searches I will find Sole Proprietorships. Maybe I won’t find any employees of any of the Board Members.
At the end of the day it is the Contractors that I am most concerned about. That is why I am up each and every night putting out the information that I do! For all the bitching and pointing of fingers that the cliques within NPPG does towards Foreclosurepedia I ask this: Are you going to go to bat for the Contractors when Companies begin to fire Contractors? Are you going to tell them what Contracts are coming up for bid? Are you going to be there for them when the lawn cuts hit $5? Are the Treasury funds going to be used to by infant formula when someone’s baby is crying itself sick? See, that is the real world for many Contractors today! Take a Poll and ASK them! Many still write me and worry about the Top Secret Project called the NPPG.
The lofty goals of Non Profit status may be well and good for Contractors whom hold big contracts; whom are capable of selling off assets to profit from. The average Contractor, like myself, whom cuts grass and scrubs shitters needs to know exactly what they are becoming a part of.
Tomorrow, we are going to take a look into the Corporate World of the Board.