nice piece of revisionist history today in the Joplin Regional Business Journal.
As I have noted recently, since Joplin's master developer Wallace-Bajjali fled in the dead of night, the idea being pushed is that a con artist came to the city and fleeced us and we had no way of knowing what was happening.
Today's JRBJ story is based on the recent expose on Wallace-Bajjali by the Houston Chronicle, and includes this passage:
The Chronicle published the story on March 14, painting Wallace as a charming, confident huckster with a flair for convincing investors to give him money even when the world was falling down around him.
It all eventually fell apart.
“All the years of smooth sales pitches and economic development lectures, all the promising partnerships and ambitious projects that sounded so good when he first described them – everything that brought David Gordon Wallace to this moment – faded into the shadows,” the story reads. “His business was failing.”
To act like the leaders in Joplin were totally unaware of Wallace-Bajjali's problems is misleading at best. They were totally unaware if they relied on the vetting of Mark Rohr and Mike Woolston. They knew nothing if their sources of information were the Joplin Globe, or for that matter, the Joplin Regional Business Journal.
On the other hand, if city leaders had not ignored the warning issued by one of the city's most prominent businessmen, who did his due diligence and researched Wallace-Bajjali and recommended the city stay as far away from the Texas company. (I will have more information in my upcoming book, Silver Linings in a Funnel Cloud.)
Other city residents researched Wallace-Bajjali and came to the same conclusion.
The Turner Report, in a March 2012 post first noted Wallace-Bajjali's SEC fines and requirement to repay $1.2 million to investors. The Joplin Globe was satisfied with Mark Rohr's explanation that Wallace was taken in by some unsavory characters.
For the next three years I have written about one bankruptcy after another, one unfinished project after another, other cities that have been abandoned and how Wallace-Bajjali was offering excuse after excuse about why it could not repay the investors they cheated.
It was all in public documents, accessible to city officials and accessible to the media organizations who are supposed to protect us from disasters in the making like Wallace-Bajjali.
If we allow this spin of the Wallace-Bajjali debacle to continue, we increase the chance that sometime in the future some other charismatic con artist is going to take the city's leaders and well meaning, but know-it-all, groups like CART for a ride.