While we were out for a drink a couple weeks ago, a friend who works for a bank recently let slip some information about a pending foreclosure on a property I would very much like to own. There’s no question that he should not have shared this information; it’s one of those things that’s supposed to be strictly private, at least until it’s public.
And it’s true that I might be peeved to learn that someone else got the jump on this or some other desirable investment with the help of inside information.
But what I’d like to do is contact the property owner, who is clearly having financial troubles, and make a fair offer that will prevent the bank from foreclosing. I’d think that both the property owner and the bank would welcome that intervention. Everybody wins.
May I act on the information, knowing that my friend should not have said anything and probably wishes he had not?
The Sales Guy says: Well, the sad truth is that this type of information is always leaked by the financial community so your banker friend is the rule not the exception. When money is involved ethics are rarely an issue. Real estate firms, speculators and investors who bankers know and have a reputation for prompt payment are contacted. It’s the way of the world, so you’re equating an ethical conflict here where none exists. The playing field is lopsided and always has been. Make your move!
Play Dumb says: This doesn’t seem to rise to a Martha Stewart level of insider trading. If this guy let the news out of the bag, it’s bound to make the rounds anyway. Besides, why should you be disqualified from persuing a property you were interested in just because of your loose-lipped friend?
Why not contact the owner of the property and say something like, “I know you’re probably not looking to sell, but I’ve had my eye on that place you own over on X street. I did a records search, and found you were the owner, and I hope I’m not being too forward, but I just wanted to let you know that if you ever decide to sell it, I hope you’ll give me a call.”
You may be pleasantly surprised where the conversation leads.
Yesterday I found a guy’s wallet in my side yard. In my side yard—which, to get to, you have to go through a gate. It’s usually unlocked, but what the hell was this guy doing going through my gate and into my side yard?
I considered that maybe a pickpocket had chucked the wallet over the fence, but it still had about $100 in cash in it. So that doesn’t make any sense.
I figure this guy was up to no good, and I want to just keep the money. What do you think?
—Suspicious and tempted
The Best Policy says: I have to ask, what would you want someone to do if the shoe was on the other foot? Return the wallet and the cash. While you’re at it, be a little ballsy and ask him what the hell he was doing in your yard!
Sarcastic says: Well if we are going to operate within your dim worldview (with all the pick-pockets, trespassers, and people casing your house) wouldn’t this guy be ever more likely to do you harm if he realizes that he not only wants to steal your things, but get his own back. I mean, if something were to happen to your house, you will have an obvious suspect and $100 to replace your stuff. But that is only if you get out of this thing alive. Some people would do a lot of things for $100. You spent time & energy thinking about this predicament and writing to this column just for $100.
If you want to keep the $100, keep it. But if your conscience is making you feel guilty enough to write in about the right course of action, what do you think that means?
Ruthless says: Wouldn’t you rather know what this guy was doing in your side yard than pilfer a measly $100? Maybe he is plotting against you and yours, or casing your house, or someone who stole his wallet is up to such things (“no good’” as you call it). If I were you I’d contact him—all this assuming there is some personal info in the wallet—with a “where were you on the night of” such and such a date, and solve this mystery!
Ask Anyone is local advice for locals with problems. Please send your questions for our panel of experts to firstname.lastname@example.org comments powered by Disqus
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