By Jamie Stoudt
Vic Driscoll, founder and owner of Minnesota On-Road Equipment Company (More-Co), is a grand man around town in Alexandria, MN, (population 13,756).
He’s a Korean War veteran, a member of the City Council and the Planning Commission, a volunteer firefighter and a Little League baseball umpire.
He believes in the innate goodness of all people — except bankers.
Vic’s business philosophy is:
- “Everyone is a buyer if only someone will finance them.”
- Bankers are bastards. They stand in the way of his customers being able to drive a new truck off his lot because they are too stingy about making loans.
- “It’s not cheating unless you get caught. Don’t get caught.”
When he discovers leasing in 1973, Vic thinks he’s found the perfect way to bypass the banks:
“You didn’t have to disclose the price of the item you were selling, because you weren’t selling it — you were leasing it. And you didn’t have to disclose the interest rate on the financing, because the item wasn’t financed. You established a ‘residual value’ of what the truck would be worth at lease end and you established how many months you would lease the truck for. And then, you sold a payment.”
The only problem is too many of Vic’s customers don’t make payments. Some don’t have the money, but some believe they can get away with something for nothing.
Vic multiplies his problems by hiring Justin Ballard, a popular, former local basketball star. Justin doesn’t do due diligence and check the paperwork on the vehicles he trades. He doesn’t demand payment when it’s due. He uses the same vehicles as collateral for multiple loans from different banks and he kites checks.
By the time Vic turns over the reins of his business to his eldest son Kelly, More-Co. was in a deep pit of poo. Within 20 minutes of starting the job, the company’s new office manager Margaret Kratski realizes the books are cooked.
When Kelly brings in his younger brother, attorney Ryan Driscoll, and they focus in on the company’s financial situation, they realize that More-Co owes nearly $92 million.
Now if you’re thinking this book sounds as interesting as a general ledger, you’re wrong. It’s hilarious! Kelly and Ryan are honest men who set out to clean up the mess like new sheriffs in town. Margaret is as sharp as the KA-BAR knife her ex-Marine girlfriend Donna Carlasccio carries.
Given that Ryan has thousands of vehicles to repossess and resell, he hires Donna and a team of ex-cons to go get them. From a shoot out at the OK Corral Truck Stop across the street from More-Co to ferreting out assets in the lonely woods of Minnesota, from bringing in the FBI to exposing millions of dollars of hidden assets in bankruptcy hearings, this is one exciting rodeo.
Margaret and Donna are the smart, creative, resourceful, courageous characters that are delightful to discover in books. Ryan is humble but so good at his craft as a lawyer that he does almost as much as the police in turning up foul deeds of great interest to the courts and the IRS.
This is a totally fun book.
DON’T GET CAUGHT (2021) was followed by DONNA CARLASCCIO (2022), which tells the story of how she escapes the homicidal attentions of the Aryan Pure prison gang,
The Author: Jamie Stoudt
After earning a degree in communications from the University of North Dakota, Jame owned and managed a Ford dealership, worked as director of client services for a technology company, did home renovations as a licensed contractor and was chief executive officer, chief financial officer and president cook for Lefse By Lars, a concession-wagon enterprise.
In addition to DON’T GET CAUGHT, he is the author of BACK AGAIN and its sequel, Stoudt wrote BACK AGAIN (2021) and THE MAN UNDER THE MOON (due out in August 2022)
He occasionally plays trombone in a jazz band and is a substitute vocalist when the band’s singer is “ill, in surgery, or in jail.”
He enjoys working on and driving old cars and lives by the motto, “Never drive farther than you’re willing to walk.”
Jamie grew up in Jamestown, ND. He currently divides his time between Stillwater, MN, and Ft. Myers Beach, FL. His Minnesota home is within five miles of his son, daughter and seven grandchildren.
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