­

What happens to you at Russ Whitney' "free training" by John T. Reed 1 The main way Russ Whitney makes money is by persuading a group of people to go to a hotel meeting room. Once you are there, his extremely skilled, highly paid ($450,000 to $600,000 a year Whitney claims and others corroborate) salesmen, persuade you to sign up for an expensive seminar. There is an extreme danger that you will waste thousands of dollars of your money and dozens of hours of your time if you attend that "free training" unprepared. To avoid that fate, read on. Closed doors Normally, when you attend a meeting at a hotel, you register outside the meeting room then go in, pick a seat, and sit down to await the program. That is the way it was when I did seminars. No other approach occurred to me. Russ Whitney, however, is a whole different breed of guru. When you arrive at Russ Whitney' "free training," you will be deliberately kept out in the hallway. I have heard that they often start an hour or more late. There is no excuse for that. Apparently it is some sort of manipulation tactic. The meeting room doors will be closed. You will not be allowed into the meeting room. Why is this, you may wonder. One Whitney attendee I spoke to said he suspected Whitney was trying to make it seem like Whitney' programs were extremely popular by deliberately choosing a meeting room that was too small. He then wandered around the meeting-room area of the hotel in question to see if all the bigger meeting rooms were taken that evening. As he suspected, they were not. Whitney had indeed rented a smaller meeting room than the number of people trying to get into the "free training" warranted. Would you like a full confession from Whitney himself that he was doing that? Not a problem. Turn to Step 9, page 3 of his Mortgage Payoff Acceleration Program. There you will read how to set up seminars to sell MPAP, and you will read how Whitney used a seminar to sell you. It says: Seating area One of the most important calls you will make is the number of chairs you set up. It has a major psychological impact. If you fully expect 75 people, set for 65 and have 15 extra chairs available in case. If your room looks like it' only half occupied, it sends a subconscious signal that maybe what you are offering isn"t that good or important. Conversely, if your room appears packed, it sends the opposite message. People tend to be followers: "I told you this was an important seminar." At that point a fast head count is made. If it appears you are not going to attract as many participants as hoped for, then chairs can be taken out of the room without the attendees seeing it done. I am going to add this to my Real Estate B.S. Artist Detection Checklist. What a phony! He can"t even let you sit down in a meeting room without trying to run some kind of con on you. You may want to amuse yourself by opening the doors early and watching Whitney' toadies freak out. A guy who attended the Cherry Hill, NJ free training on 3/4/03 said they were still playing the game with the closed doors. Ditto a guy who attended in Salt Lake City on 3/13/03. Fast talking A number of people have complained that the speakers at the "free training" talk real fast and put up slides so fast that you cannot copy them. The Salt Lake attendee said the speaker claimed to have been a former NHL hockey player. Here' what he said about it. "When he started his presentation, I was shocked by his presentation style. It was like a Marine sergeant verbally battering new recruits at boot camp. He spoke very loud and fast and used an intimidating Marine sergeant style. He would use a high-pitched inflection at the end of his sentences like he was yelling at you. It was a very intimidating and threatening style. The presentation was basically a high-pressure coercion style presentation to get you to sign up for a $1,590 three day "training" course." Another guy said this speaker talked so fast that it reminded him of the disclaimers and disclosures at the end of many radio commercials like "memberFDICcertainrestrictionsapply" or

"voidwhereprohibitedyoumustbe18yearsoldtoenter." The guy spoke so fast the attendee could not understand his last name. What is the price really? Whitney' speakers and salespeople tell you that you have to pay $4,450 or some similar number normally, but if you buy right now, the price is just $1,590. In some cases, the price cut from $4,450 to $1,590 is called a "scholarship" and can only be obtained by the first X number of people who go to the back of the room and sign up"”where X appears to be 20% of whatever number of people happen to be in the room. I remember reading somewhere that escapes my memory at present that Whitney was charging that same $1,590 years ago for seminars. Apparently he believes it to be the magic number that extracts the maximum amount of money out of the audience. But is $4,450 a price that anyone pays or just a lie to make the $1,590 real price sound like a bargain? In other words, is it a misrepresentation, fraud? On page 18 of the Form S-1 that Whitney Information Network, Inc. filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on 2/12/03, they said, "Tuition ranges from approximately $3,000 to $32,000 per course of study." They also say that 90% of their revenue comes from the three-day real estate course sold at the "free training." So it would appear that the statement in the Form S-1 is false, which is illegal. In the U.K., the fake price is 3,000 pounds and the tonight-only price is 1,200 pounds. A former Whitney employee told me their Real Estate Training Academy has long been referred to by Whitney employees as "the 1590" as in, "I have to work back of the room at the 1590 in Miami this weekend." In late 2003 I heard that Whitney had finally raised this price. I have heard amounts of $1,690, $1,790, and $1,990. If these reports are true, I suspect that he is trying to get away from the price I said because I said it and/or he is experimenting with new prices to see if he can get more. Pricing get-rich-quick seminars is like what Jean Baptiste Colbert once said about taxing: "The art of taxation consists of so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest amount of feathers with the least amount of hissing." In raising his prices, Whitney apparently thinks he can get more "feathers" without much more "hissing." "Only room for seven more at the next paid seminar" Another ploy that Whitney' people apparently use is to tell the "free training" audience that they only have room for seven more at the next paid seminar. I have heard that number from several attendees. It probably is a percentage of the number of people in the room"”apparently around 20%. Some other reports indicate that it is around seven to eleven no matter how big the crowd. Indeed, the guy who told me about the 3/13/03 Salt Lake City "free training" said that they offered "scholarships" to the first eleven people to sign up, which was, indeed, 20% of that audience size. In that seminar, ten people did indeed sign up. (The "scholarships" were simply price cuts that lowered the fake $4,000+ price to the normal $1,590.) I surmise that Whitney has figured out that his normal kill ratio is about 15% of an audience. So he sets a number that is around 20% of the "free training" audience size as the "limit" of how many can sign up for the next paid seminar in that area. This is a ploy to push wavering people into signing before they "lose out." A guy who called me said he and his wife were told they were the last two being allowed to sign up, which they did. Later, the speaker announced that they had two more slots. The guy who called me could not figure out where the two more slots came from. Think about this, folks. Each sign-up pays $1,590. If you were Whitney, would you turn away someone who was offering you $1,590 to sit in a room while one of your speakers made a speech? What possible reason could anyone have for doing that? I used to do seminars. I had nine people at the smallest (Don"t schedule a seminar in Detroit) and 80+ at the biggest (San Francisco). Sometimes, the room I scheduled was too small. As the sign-ups came in, I would call the hotel and tell them the revised number. They would invariably find me a bigger meeting room to accommodate the larger-than-expected audience. At the nine-person seminar, I acted as my own registration person. With larger audiences, I hired a temp. When the audience was larger still, I hired two temps. With small audiences, I allowed audience members to ask questions whenever they wanted. With larger audiences, I told them to write the questions down or to wait until a special question period. If I were giving instruction on golf or weight lifting or something like that, I would have to limit the class size because of the need to give each student personal attention. But a lecture can be given to almost any size audience with minor changes in registration staffing, raising the projector screen, speaking from an elevated stage, and so forth. I spoke to 1,500 in the SuperDome in New Orleans at the National Apartment Association convention once. In other words, I don"t believe there is only room for seven more at the next paid seminar. I think there' room for as many as sign up. If more sign up than the fire marshal will allow in the room, they"ll schedule another session or a second hotel. "The first seven" The number seven also comes up with regard to Whitney' salespeople offering a special bonus for the first seven who go to the back of the room and sign up. I believe it was an MPAP course or some such that they claimed was "worth" $995. Nowadays, you can find out what it' really worth by seeing what it is selling for on eBay. My Cherry Hill correspondent says it' $30 bucks on eBay. He also said they did a special deal for the first nine to the back of the room. As I said above, I suspect the number they pick is a percentage of the number in the room. Furthermore, he said that later they offered the same deal to more than the first nine. Pump-priming shills? Another couple of attendees said they were suspicious of a couple of attendees who signed up for the paid seminar. He thought they might be shills planted by Whitney"”not real students. What would the purpose of such folks be? I suspect many attendees might decide they want to sign up for the paid seminar, but are reluctant to be the first or, worse, the only, attendees who sign up. By planting shills in the room to sign up as if they were normal paying customers, you eliminate both the problem of being first and the problem of being the only sign up. I may be getting beyond reality here"”although with all the other tricks that have been confirmed by multiple people or Whitney himself, who can blame me? This attendee was just suspicious. I really need an insider to confirm this. The Cherry Hill guy saw no one who seemed to be a shill. A person who said he was a former Whitney employee told me he and others were paid $50 cash to attend Whitney seminars in Tampa and other Florida locations to fill out the audience. "Peppy music" Whitney' lackeys are ordered to play "peppy music" during registration and prior to the speaker beginning. (Step 9, Page 3 of the MPAP manual) This corroborates the use of phrases like "pep rally" and "cheerleaders" used by many attendees to describe what happens at the "free training." Whitney is big on intellectual property rights. The attorney who signed the papers suing me has a masters in intellectual property law. Trademark infringement, one of the things he sued me over, is an intellectual-property matter. So is copyright, as in the copyright to the "peppy music Whitney' people are playing. Has he obtained the rights to play that music for that purpose? Is he paying royalties to the composers and recording artists who performed the music in question? Let' find out. The fact that Whitney makes no mention of the copyright issue in his MPAP manual suggests that either he is oblivious to the intellectual-property rights of the music creators, or he feels that he and his subordinates are entitled to violate those rights. Please note the tune(s) and performing artist(s) of the "peppy music" if you attend one of Whitney' "free trainings" or paid seminars and send them to me. I will also ask about it in depositions of Whitney. And I will contact ASCAP to report Whitney' use of the music in question. ASCAP is the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (They have many locations. One is in Miami at 420 Lincoln Road, Suite 385, Miami Beach, FL 33139 305-673-3446 fax 305-673-2446) A man I have been doing publishing business with for years used to be the drummer for the band Norman Greenbaum. Their biggest hit was Spirit in the Sky. A few years back, Chrysler started using that song in their commercials. My friend contacted ASCAP to ask where his royalties were. They were in an ASCAP escrow account. Chrysler had been unable to find the band members, but being a reputable firm, they contacted ASCAP and paid into the escrow. Did you ever wonder why chain restaurant waiters sing such sappy songs when celebrating a customer' birthday? Why don"t they just sing the ubiquitous "Happy Birthday to You" song that everyone sings at private parties? Because it is copyrighted and they will get a bill from ASCAP if they use it. Even kids who put on plays in elementary, junior high, and high schools have to pay royalties on the music they use. A woman who says she was fired by Whitney says the "peppy" song Whitney tells his speakers to use is called "I wanna be rich." One of my best friends, Dick Steiner, is a professional magician as well as a music expert. I asked him about "I wanna be rich." He says it was a #2 hit for the group Calloway in 1990. The group consists of brothers Reggie and Vincent Calloway. It' on the Solar label and is Solar74005. Is Whitney really using this song? If so, is he paying them royalties? I"ll find out. A number of people have told me Whitney is extremely cheap. If that' true, the "peppy" music future "free training" attendees hear may be a recording of Russ Whitney playing Yankee Doodle Dandy on a kazoo. A recent attendee told me they were now using a video of an infomercial in the hallway instead of peppy music. The Cherry Hill guy said they did nothing in the hall, but had the video going in the meeting room before they started. A U.K. guy who took the "free training" there in 3/03 said the "peppy music" was a Beach Boys CD circa 1966. In a public statement in July of 2003, Whitney said he made proper arrangements and paid all the royalties. I cannot confirm that. Also, he failed to mention the need to do that when he urged readers to play peppy music at their seminars to sell his bi-weekly mortgage program. Email from skeptical hockey fan who attended I thought you might appreciate (or be amused by?) some information about Whitney's latest free seminar in Oak Brook, IL. I was there this morning, and although Whitney himself did not conduct the session, I did get the supposed ex-NHL hockey star you mentioned on your site. Talked way too fast, never smiled, and basically left me with a feeling of distrust(Whitney's devil-like grin on the obnoxious posters in the background may also have had something to do with it). Imagine my surprise when this "ex-NHL star" told us that he had played hockey while he attended Cornell University! He probably didn't suspect he had a current Cornell University student and rabid hockey fan in today's audience. Of course, I went up to him after the presentation to chat with this Cornell "alum." I told him that I am currently enrolled at Cornell and asked him what school he had attened. He blurted out, "Ashton." There is no such school at Cornell. He then went on to say, "You know...business, medical." I still had a blank stare on my face, so he went on..."Well, they probably changed it since I was there." Right. I'm a university tour guide and was sure that of our seven colleges, none had ever carried a name. They were simply the "School of Industrial and Labor Relations" or the "College of Arts and Sciences," etc. I placed a quick call to a fellow tour guide who was working at the information desk at Cornell that day, and asked him to check up on that. No "Ashton" in Cornell history. I must have made myself a nuisance. After the presentation, as I was talking to other seminar audience members, his creepy henchmen would repeatedly find excuses to pass by me or stand a few feet away from where I was(to listen in?). [Reed Note: I have heard several comments of this nature"”that Whitney employees eavesdrop on seminar attendees apparently looking for anyone who might be undermining their sales efforts. One guy said the Whitney employees actually separated him and another somewhat knowledgeable guy to whom he was speaking"”as if they were misbehaving kindergartners.]

Log in to comment
­