What About The Landlords With Business Jets? Will No One Think Of The Landlords With Business Jets?
Things are tough all over these days, and while the most obscenely rich Americans have made out like bandits during the COVID recession, many of the merely filthy rich have had to tighten their belts a little, a state of affairs that sent one self-described billionaire who runs an accounting technology firm crying about how the recently-extended federal eviction moratorium is causing him and his rental property business to suffer.
We have to think he might have garnered a bit more sympathy if the "as told to" story of a "suffering" landlord hadn't been illustrated by a photo of said landlord, Julio Gonzalez, CEO of Engineered Tax Services, standing in front of his private jet.
Now, it would be pretty weird to just pose at an airport in front of someone else's private jet, but we checked: the plane is owned by "Lamb Rock Properties LLC," a Florida company with Mr. Gonzalez listed as agent and sole officer. (If you click on the full picture from Insider, you can see the identifying number, on the aero-plane, which you can then plug in right here to find who owns it. Magic!) It's listed as a "fractional owner" arrangement, which means other part-owners get to use the jet too. And everybody has a share!
Yeah, sometimes we like to show our work.
So how is the eviction moratorium hurting this billionaire who has a private jet? Like any small businessman whose own website proclaims him to be "truly the Nation's forefather of specialty tax service," Mr. Gonzalez is just having a really rough time making ends meet. Like, at least as far as his 24-property side hustle goes. He doesn't talk much about his apparently thriving tax consulting business in this particular outlet.
Gonzalez notes that, of the 24 properties, 20 are residential, and Joe Biden's Eviction Moratorium is driving him to near-discomfort, because four (4) of his tenants are "taking advantage of the federally mandated eviction moratorium."
Yes, he said four, out of 20 residential properties, and we guess four business properties. But read on to see the suffering!
The moratoriums have led to a significant and negative effect in profitability — for me, it's been a 15% loss in profit. Residents not paying rent essentially leads to free living, while landlords still have to pay for taxes, utilities, and more.
It's just tough. My parents came to America from Cuba, and I grew up with nothing. I've worked hard to be successful, so I know what it's like to face challenges.
You did get the part where he's the hardworking son of Cuban immigrants and he started with "nothing," right? And he's lost 15 percent of his profits! Not his income, mind you, his profits. He goes on to say he's tried to be "very compassionate and understanding" with his tenants, but that he's really getting close to ... oh, not really eating beans for every meal, at least not just yet, because "We've been fortunate to be in a position where we can sustain no income," which is nice, and maybe a bit misleading, since apart from those four tenants the other 16 residential properties are indeed producing income. Still, he notes that it's gotten so bad that "we have stopped all improvements and renovations because we don't have the capital."
Suffering, ladies and gentlemen. You are looking at it. And lest you remain unsure of what suffering looks like, Gonzalez provided Insider with a second photo of him in his rundown hovel of a corporate office:
You can almost feel the hunger pangs, can't you? Update: since we finished our draft of the story, Insider has switched its main photo to this one instead of the jet)
Still, Gonzalez notes that some of his clients haven't been doing so great, and that some have had to sell their properties to private equity firms. "It's very tragic," he says, although he doesn't specify whether those clients have been driven to liquidate because of the eviction moratorium. Surely he wouldn't mislead us.
Weirdly, nowhere in his catalog of miseries does Gonzalez mention whether he or his renters have applied for the federal emergency rental assistance program that's supposed to help both landlords and tenants. If only he'd read our handy guide to the emergency program, he'd know landlords can apply too, if he didn't know! Now, it's true some states have had a hell of a problem actually disbursing the funds, but we're surprised he doesn't even mention the program.
But he sure is steamed about his lazy-ass tenants, who he suspects may be cheating him, since that's how people just are. He's not happy that to qualify for the eviction moratorium, tenants only need to provide a statement to their landlord that they've experienced a loss of income and are unable to pay rent, but they don't need to actually provide "proof of hardship," which he says could "eliminate some of the questions landlords like me have about our tenants."
Not having concrete proof his tenants are genuinely suffering makes him mighty suspicious, which we guess adds to his own suffering, which, in case you forgot, is a very real 15 percent reduction in profit.
We see that there's an incredible number of open jobs, and communities are opening up in spite of the COVID-19 Delta variant. It's likely that our tenants have received jobs and are now working.
Our tenants don't have to provide any documentation to us, so they could be working, and we see that they're buying new goods, but they're not paying rent.
NEW goods? Is that even allowed? He doesn't specifically mention what "goods" his cheating prosperous tenants are flaunting in his face, but we bet it must be outrageous. Like maybe a new business jet or a tacky giant globe with a chrome sculpture of a droopy Lockheed Constellation on it? Or maybe even clothes or toys that didn't come from a thrift store.
Gonzalez sniffs that if these outrages continue, there'll be trouble:
We're not there yet, but if it becomes clear people are taking advantage of the moratorium, we will have to discuss action with our legal team.
Ooh, maybe he spotted his tenants posting a video of themselves unboxing a shiny new lawyer of their own!
Also, Gonzalez offers advice for other beleaguered landlords, like for instance seeking Small Business Administration financing or even writing off their losses on prior tax years, so they won't suffer quite so much. (Hilariously, he notes again that "I haven't had to take these avenues, but I've helped my clients do so." What a humanitarian who works in the tax business!)
In conclusion, we sure are glad to know that things are tough all over, and our spirits were certainly lifted by Mr. Gonzalez's closing words:
The eviction moratorium is tricky for everyone. We're in this together, so we've got to come together and get through this.
Like, all of us together except those probably wealthy tenants he's keeping his eye on. One more slip-up and he will come down on them like a million-ton shithammer.
[Insider (subscription content)]
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.