Monday, October 22, 2007

How does Mr. Koerber avoid reporting?

Last week, after I got a note from a "Free Capitalist insider," I wondered how the Free Capitalist Project was registered with the Lieutenant Governor's office, since it was allowing its resources to be used by Parents for Choice in Education to support the voucher referendum. I would think that a mailing list, even if it's an email list, would be a thing of value. If it wasn't valuable, why would PCE want to use it? And if it is valuable, then contributing the use of it to a referendum campaign would have to be reported somewhere.

So I looked at the Lieutenant Governor's website again to see if the Free Capitalist Project had a political action committee. It doesn't.

I looked to see if FCP has a political issues committee. It doesn't.

I looked to see if it's registered as a corporation. It isn't.

It has no statement of organization as a PAC or as a PIC.

And when I search the "candidate contributor summary" feature, I find that FCP hasn't reported any contributions to any campaigns.

Yet both the Trib and the DesNews last week reported clearly that the Free Capitalist Project had allowed the use of its email list -- which has to be considered something valuable -- for Parents for Choice in Education employees. And the embarrassing retraction offered by FCP said the PCE employees were also FCP volunteers. So FCP has to be registered somehow, somewhere, right?

FCP isn't registered as a business with the Utah Department of Commerce here (https://secure.utah.gov/bes/action/index), although it does business in Utah. There's a Free Capitalist Enterprises LLC in Provo. Its agent is Forrest Allen, but its address is 85 Eastbay Boulevard, which is the same address shown at the Lieutenant Governor's website for a string of $5,000 contributions made to Parents for Choice in Education on September 12, 2006. Each of these businesses, all located at 85 East Bay Boulevard in Provo, gave $5,000 to PCE on that date: Founders Capital LLC, Hill Erickson LLC, Franklin Squires Investments LLC, McGuire Group LLC, and New Castle Holdings. Some other individuals and businesses are shown in that report giving $5,000 to PCE on that date, and one of them is Rick Koerber of Springville, who is apparently the owner of all of the businesses I just listed.

Also, I googled the FranklinSquires company name again, and sure enough, Rick Koerber is founder and CEO of FranklinSquires Investments.

So Mr. Koerber = FranklinSquires Investments = 85 East Bay Boulevard in Provo = Free Capitalist Enterprises = Free Capitalist Project.

That's not all you'll find if you google FranklinSquires Investments, I learned. There's a website here (http://www.mycollector.com/news_FranklinSquires2.html) that points to actions taken by the Wyoming Securities Division against FranklinSquires Investments, and news about a lawsuit going all the way back to 1997 has been given its own website here (www.FranklinSquiresLawsuit.com). I learned two more things about Mr. Koerber -- that apparently he owns or operates a "university" (called FranklinSquires University) and that he owns the Iceberg Drive Inns!

With 11 Iceberg Drive Inn locations in three states, the rapidly expanding foodservice franchise is famous for its deliciously think, made-to-order shakes standing two inches above an oversized cup. Founded in the summer of 1960 in Salt Lake City, Utah, the original Iceberg Drive Inn quickly turned into the city’s most popular ice cream destination. Today Iceberg Drive Inn, Inc. provides unique, flavorsome products to thousands of Americans and continues to make each of its shakes the old fashioned way: personally by hand.

NOW I know how he makes his money!

Plus, there's this link (http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070510100845AAuJ3wT&show=7) but I honestly don't know how to evaluate the information there, whether it comes from people who have direct experience with Mr. Koerber and his companies or whether it comes from his competitors.

And there are questions about "equity milling," something apparently devised by Mr. Koerber, here (http://www.websitetoolbox.com/tool/post/sdcia/vpost?id=1821780).

One of the links took me back to Wikipedia's entry on the Free Capitalist Project, which reiterated what I thought: that FCP does do business in Utah, though it isn't registered anywhere as a business. The entry here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Capitalist_Project) says,

Membership in the Free Capitalist Project is free and open to the public, however individuals are required to make a public declaration called the "Producer Pledge" at a formal Free Capitalist events in order to become a formal member of the organization.
...
Members are not required to pay a membership fee, however following the one hour Thursday night Free Enterprise Forum meetings, the FCP holds "Prosperity Quest Study Group" sessions which are open only to FCP members who have become "Free Capitalist Apprentice Members" which includes the requirement to have paid a $250 fee and a $30 month fee.

Those fees represent a business transaction, right? If so, then where is the FCP registered as a business? At the Better Business Bureau?

No, FCP isn't shown at the Better Business Bureau of Salt Lake City, but FranklinSquires Investments is. And while it isn't a member of the BBB, it does get some attention from the BBB, as explained here (http://www.saltlakecity.bbb.org/commonreport.html?bid=22008292&language=1&bu). Six complaints against FranklinSquires were filed in the past 36 months for contract issues, billing or collection issues, or refund or exchange issues, and at least one is still unresolved.

I started with a simple question and still don't have a simple answer. I learned a lot about Mr. Koerber's business dealings, but I still can't tell how his Free Capitalist Project is able to use its resources to help the voucher referendum without registering as a political issues committee, or as a political action committee, or as a corporation, with the Lieutenant Governor's office. Does anyone else know?

2 comments:

Davis Didjeridu said...

As with most things dealing with the UCRS nowadays, I blame it more on the convenient laziness of Herbert's election office than any conspiracy. Meaning, he may have submitted reports and they are too lazy to process them quickly. I suspect a lot of things will get done around November 7.

Marshall said...

I wrote this post about the free capitalist awhile back that is actually ranked pretty high in google for "free capitalist". You might have seen it.

I got some emails from people telling me about how the way free capitalist makes their money is by selling "education" and more or less members are told if the they don't pony up then they will be a failure. Now normally that might not be seen as such a threat but when friends and family are doing the recruiting sometimes it can be hard to say no.

Friends and family get people hooked on this by saying there are all these great principles to live by that will make them successful (and usually to people that have had a rough go at it and would try anything to be successful) and then keep them hooked by selling them this "educational" material.