Death by Parking - Chapter 19 - The Tale, Part II
Smith wanted to see Veronica and Josh tomorrow. We put the meeting off ‘til late afternoon, but that still didn’t give us a lot of time. I called a meeting of the principals for 7 AM. We needed to give V and J, at a minimum, an outline for their meeting with Smith.
The best con is where the mark cons himself.
We met at Maryann’s house. May Jansen, the banker’s wife, Barbara, the power behind the throne, Rickie, my con man uncle, Mary Ellen McKinney, my bodyguard and of course, Maryann Leyman, the “L” of S and L, the developer of the new building on Wilshire. Veronica and Josh rounded out our little group.
I turned the meeting over to Rickie.
“The best con is where the mark cons himself. We need to keep turning him down, time after time, until he simply can’t stand it anymore and is willing to do anything to get what he perceives is at the end of the rainbow. The reason cons work is greed. Smith wants more, and more, and more, money that is. Now, we assume that the failure of May’s husband’s bank will bring great riches to Smith. May, how does a bank failure bring riches?”
“Normally, if a bank fails, the Feds step in and cover the loss, and either take over running the bank or sell it to another bank. In this case, however, Smith has loaned the bank a considerable amount of money. The bank used its equity in S and L’s building as collateral. Should the bank fail, Smith would have first refusal in taking over the building, lock, stock and barrel. We are talking hundreds of millions here.”
“What if we sat up another bank,” said Richie, “and threatened to loan May and her hubby the money to cover Smith’s Loan?
Smith would do almost anything to prevent that. We could hint that our bank was for sale, and….”
“And Smith would fall all over himself to buy it,” I concluded.
“But we don’t own a bank,” said Mary Ellen.
“Smith doesn’t know that,” said Rickie.
V and J need to have a branch of a UK bank at their disposal here in LA. That’s easy enough. I have a number of ‘associates’ who can help. We can find a good spot and since it will be primarily a bank dealing with investments and not the public, we don’t need a storefront. I also have a friend in London who can cover that end. If Smith calls to check us out, it will be ok. If he decides to take a trip, it will be up to V and J to prevent that. If they can’t, then our task gets considerably more expensive.
“It’s OK,” said Maryann, “I have enough funding to cover. And I’m sure if we all do our jobs well, it will be a good investment.”
“Right,” said Rickie. “Our goal will be to have Smith buy our bank, transfer the funds, and then we fade away into the night.
“Paul, you, May, Barbara, and Mary Ellen will have to work behind the scenes. Smith knows you. However, Mary Ellen, plus her father, and a crew I can put together, can pull this off. But don’t worry, there will be plenty for you to do. To start with, we need a high-end office, fully furnished, in a high rise downtown. I’ll give you the details. Barbara we will need your eyes and ears at S and L. Remember that Smith has infiltrated the company and we need to know who we can trust, and who we can’t.
“Mary Ellen, I think a full dress party at your humble digs would be in order. Everyone can attend, it will be expected, and give V and J and opportunity to work the room and impress the hell out of Smith. Maybe we could have someone with an English accent be present to play the part of the President of the UK Bank. He or She can snub the hell out of Smith and get his greed and panic flowing.
“We need a timeline. Just when do we need to make this happen?”
“Well,” said May, “the bank is solvent at this time, but Smith is keeping the pressure on. I think we can hold him off for about a month, but that’s it.”
“That should be plenty of time,” said Rickie. “Let’s meet in two days and see where we stand.”
To be continued... Return to the Summary Page - click here