What’s happening with BizRadio and Daniel Frishberg – well…probably more than meets the eye. For those who have been following this story, you know by now that investors are up in arms about the apparent collapse of their investments in BizRadio while others believe that it was mostly a scam scattered with some helpful information from time to time. What is true is that investors and/or potential investors seem willing to share their experiences – hoping that bringing to light their story might help others to avoid what has turned into a mess.
As a business ethics and fraud prevention expert, I know that there are three things that come together to effect a fraud or turn an otherwise investor into a scam victim. Those three components are: PROMISE – ILLUSION and TRUST. As the story here unfolds all three seem to come to light, now almost daily.
First lets look up what we can find about Daniel Frishberg’s background. The following is now found in Wikipedia (not that Wikipedia is a trusted source, but I have found that more times than not it is accurate):
Daniel Frishberg is an American businessman, author and talk-radio host. He is the founder and president of the Biz Radio Network, where he broadcasts his own show, “The MoneyMan Report”, under the nickname, “The MoneyMan”. He is also a partner of the private equity trust Laffer Frishberg Wallace Economic Opportunity Fund and the CEO and chief investment strategist for the management firm Frishberg and Kaleta Advisors.
Frishberg was born in Staten Island, New York, where his parents raised him and his two brothers. He graduated early from Fair Lawn High School in New Jersey at the age of sixteen and later attended New York University.
Frishberg worked for the financial services division at Prudential in San Antonio and later did radio advertising for the company; he appeared frequently on air. Radio station KTSA hired him to do a financial program. After the show gained popularity, Frishberg formed the BizRadio Network in Houston.
Frishberg hosts The MoneyMan Report on the BizRadio Network. The network broadcasts in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, and San Antonio.
Frishberg and BizRadio recently opened the BizRadio Academy in Houston which was operated for approximately 4 months before closing it’s doors.
Frishberg also operates Daniel Frishberg Financial Services Inc. The majority of the firm’s clients come from the BizRadio audience. The firm has partnered with Wallace Bajjali Development Partners, L.P.
The Laffer Frishberg Wallace Economic Opportunity Fund has committed millions of dollars in capital over the past two years to real estate, media, and other holdings.
Based on what is show here, Frishberg is a self-made man and has some background that reflects his ability to provide investment advice and manage investments. However, it is interesting that the following statement is made above:
The majority of the firm’s clients come from the BizRadio audience.
This is not a statement of fact or conclusion, but when you own your own station that airs your own show that feeds investors to you – well, that is the foundation of a prospective will oiled ILLUSION. I think that most who read would agree – there is power in the media. What people hear on air or in print (which I am aware of in these blogs) carries weight and credibility. It is therefore important to state facts when we know them and expose opinions when we state them. OPINION: The statement that most of the firms clients came from the BizRadio audience doesn’t make it so or wrong. Yet, that statement has come from many sources including investors themselves and seems suspect when there is a cloud of impropriety over their investment and the BizRadio – Frishberg motives.
NOW TO THE PROSPECTIVE INVESTORS COMMENTS:
I have had personal experience with their incompetence. I signed up for a bond course last spring or summer. When the night came, I went to the office and they had postponed it but not contacted me. From then on I kept calling and calling trying asking when it would be rescheduled. Finally, after about 3 months, I had my money refunded (even that was like pulling teeth).
COMMENT: Reputable financial firms know that their reputation is their lifeblood. After all, if you can’t trust the firm you won’t invest your money. So having to wait that long for a simple refund is a sign that something is a miss… but the Prospective Investor Comments continue…
The next nail in the coffin was when I went to a free open house update. Frishberg touted “his” market X-ray of buying power and selling pressure. He did it all on the time on the radio. He threw up a graph and it was someone else’s technical research. I know because I buy the same research. I spotted it right off. Frishberg is the one who first recommended it to me. It was in that moment I knew he was a fraud.
COMMENT: Well…nothing is new in this world. Mostly what we hear is a repackaged thought that someone else surely has had. But, in fairness, it enhances ones reputation if they acknowledge their sources rather than claiming them as their own. Does this make Mr. Frishberg a fraud – no, but again, it does challenge his self proclaimed reputation. But the Prospective Investor Comments continue…
I started to notice he stole ideas from other guests like John Rutledge and a University of Houston professor who specializes in natural gas. After a few weeks, those ideas became his originals. If I noticed a few, how many did I miss?
COMMENT: While this may seem unrelated, there is a story today in the Chronicle of Higher Education about a University President resigning because some suspect him of plagiarism in his work. POINT: It is important to be honest. If you idea is your idea – by all means CLAIM IT. On the other hand, give credit where credit is due – if nothing else, it shows that you are well read and seeking knowledge outside of your own experience. Just a thought. And still the Prospective Investor Comments continue…
Another disturbing thing is Frishberg became like a cult figure. At that same open house market update, I observed it during a break. About 15 people hovered around him like he was a celebrity. It was creepy. Whenever I see hero worship like that, I know something is wrong.
I also recall that he said something about how it was difficult to attract rich people (doctors, lawyers, business people) because they already knew other rich people. What rich people want is to be around celebrities. So, that is why he started to get celebrities on his radio show and then try and become one himself by going on CNBC, Fox etc.
COMMENT: Now here’s where I think there is something more than meets the eye. There is nothing wrong with celebrity – Oprah has it, Glen Beck has it, President Obama has it. Now, there are three folks that conjurer up strong opinion by many, but the one thing they have in common is that they earned the status (in some form or another). On the other hand, if CELEBRITY is created to find investors to perpetuate some scam and thereby support the ILLUSION – then we have CELEBRITY that is ill gotten and soon to fail.
Is that the case with Mr. Frishberg? Only time will tell. But, one has to wonder if a guy who worked at Prentice Hall and later earned a living trading part-time on Wall Street, who then worked for the financial services division at Prudential in San Antonio and later did radio advertising for the company is really “The Money Man” or is that just a radio ILLUSION?
Gordon Grigg, now a felon serving time in federal prison, convicted of a Ponzi scheme was too a reputed investment adviser who gained credibility by his appearances on Fox Business, etc. Gordon was (almost) the master of the ILLUSION till some of his investors wised up. There are so many similarities in his case to the BizRadio Frishberg drama that it isn’t funny.
Perhaps not all is as it seems and BizRadio will emerge stronger and the investors will get the returns they seek. Frankly that would be good for all concerned. For now however, the drama continues to unfold. It is true, YOU DO REAP WHAT YOU SOW. I know I’ve been there and lived that. I hope for the best, but know that more is to come.
YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME…