Billy got me to the First Colorado Banc Corp building in good spirits. He dropped me at the curb and said he’d be in the parking lot across the street. I added his cell number to my phone–I put him under the Friends category–and then went inside.
The gargantuan lobby was done in multicolored glass sculptures and ultra-modern furniture groupings. I approached the large circular information desk in the center and asked a very cute guy named Mark for directions to Larry Weiss’s office. He gave me the info along with a killer smile. Yes indeed, I was feeling much better. Inside the elevator, I adjusted my hard dick into a more comfortable position, hoping I wasn’t on any cameras. Mark had my motor going.
The foyer on the tenth floor was all done in wood. Wood everything. Walls, doors and floors. It all gleamed with polish. You could almost smell the money seeping through the wood grain. The gold plaque on the double doors said “Private Trust Division” so I knew I was in the right place. Inside, I was greeted by a perky receptionist who looked up from her latest romance novel.
“Good afternoon, sir. Welcome to First Colorado. How may I help you?”
“Good afternoon. My name is Jack Schaeffer. I’m looking for Larry Weiss. I have an appointment.”
“Certainly sir. If you’d like to have a seat over there, I’ll let him know you’re here.” She pointed to a grouping of leather chairs and couches set into an alcove to my left. I sank into one of the chairs. The leather was soft and cool on my back. I had nearly fallen asleep when I heard a familiar voice.
“Well, Jack. You made it, I see. Welcome to my world.” I stood up and shook Larry’s hand.
“Hi, Larry. Thanks for making time for me. I’m sorry about yesterday. Not my best day.”
“Forget it, Jack. Water under the bridge. Come on, we’ve got lots to talk about and Clyde made me promise to get you out of here in time to say goodbye.”
“Okay then, lead the way.” I followed Larry deeper into the Private Trust domain. Unlike Clyde’s office, where there were lawyers and secretaries working out in the open, here, everyone was in offices behind closed doors. Most had thin glass panels on either side of the office door so I could see people in them, on their phones or hunched over computer screens. It was very quiet; so quiet, I could hear the air rush through the ventilation systems overhead.
Larry walked straight into a conference room and told me to have a seat.
“I’ll be right back Jack. Help yourself to coffee, tea or, if you prefer, I think there is some water and maybe even a soda or juice in the fridge right there.” He turned and departed.
I got up and got a water bottle while looking around at the various oil paintings of what had to be past bank Presidents. They all looked the same–blue or black suits, white shirts, striped ties, serious faces. Apparently there was no humor in money.
Might have been the heavy lunch, might have been the good mood I was in. Either way, I was feeling pretty relaxed when Larry returned carrying a stack of folders and his big binder. I really didn’t like his big binder.
“Well, Jack. Clyde sent over your name change on the trust. No problems there. Schaeffer & Associates Executive Trust. Has a nice ring to it. Very corporate sounding.”
“I was hoping to avoid everything being too personalized. I’m still trying to adjust to all of this.”
“Sure. I understand, Jack. It’s a big, big change for you. But let’s see if we can make it a little easier.” He handed me a slim folder and asked me to open it.
“Now Jack, the paper on top is what I showed you yesterday. It’s a very high level summary of all the assets and accounts within the trust. Does it make sense to you?”
“Yes, I think so. I don’t know what all the names mean or how they work, but I get the idea. But can I ask you a question which has been bothering me a lot?”
“Sure, Jack. Anything.”
“Where did all this money come from? I mean, I can’t even comprehend numbers this big. What did Phillip and Amanda do to accumulate it all? They seem to me like people who hardly even cared about money very much.”
“They didn’t. You’re right. It was like pulling teeth to get Phillip in here to do a quarterly review of things. Amanda? Forget it. She was definitely not interested. Just told me to handle it. So I did. But as to where the money came from, the bulk of it came from the sale of Franklin Pharmaceuticals. Did Clyde tell you much about the merger?
“No. We didn’t talk about it much at all. No details anyway.”
“Okay, well let me start with Arthur Franklin. Art was a small-time pharmacist who got a little lucky in the beginning. He figured out the real money in medicine was in manufacturing and selling the drugs wholesale, not the retail end, like he had been doing. So he found a couple of guys who had some money and, together, they managed to buy a patent on some drug which had languished—never properly marketed. Art was a born marketer. He could sell sand at the seashore. He turned their initial drug into the number two medicine for blood pressure control at the time. It’s since been replaced by any number of newer medicines but he had his start. Over time, he bought out each of the original investors and, pretty soon, was the sole owner and CEO of Franklin Pharmaceuticals.
“It was a small, but highly profitable operation. He understood the concept of slow, sustainable growth. He wasn’t interested in competing with the big dogs directly. He preferred to stay under the radar.
“As the cash came in, he needed to do something with it. So he slowly acquired additional drug companies who had promising patents but little marketing skills or operating budgets. He turned a number of those into real money makers and cash cows.
“Then his son, Phillip, convinced him they needed to do their own research. Art was not easily swayed–research was extremely expensive and Art liked to hold on to money pretty tightly. But this was his son who had a real passion for research. So Art relented and Franklin Applied Research was born, as a division of Franklin Pharma. When Amanda came along, Phillip was in his glory. Research and the girl of his dreams. He was in test tube heaven.
“Phillip wanted no part of running the whole company–he just wanted to do research. Art tried several times to get him involved, even made him a board member. But Phillip resisted. Then came the fateful day when Arthur Franklin dropped dead in the middle of the boardroom during a particularly hostile meeting. His sudden death forced some changes neither Phillip nor Amanda wanted but there were over 500 employees to consider. Franklin Pharma was their home too. Many of them had been there from the beginning.
“So Phillip did his best as the new CEO, but he wasn’t good at marketing, and even worse at refereeing executive scuffles so, when Merck & Company came calling, he was ready to listen. They made an offer which really was too good to refuse. Franklin Pharma had some market leading drugs in the diabetes realm, a market Merck was keen to get in on. Buying Franklin gave them instant control of the market so it was worth every penny of their generous offer. Phillip convinced enough of the board and the deal was struck. Phillip had to agree to be the figurehead CEO for one more year while the merger was consummated. Thankfully, he could spend most of the year in the lab with Amanda.
“When the sale was finalized, Phillip and Amanda, as the sole owners of Franklin Pharma, received just over 300 million dollars for the company. There was no debt–ol' Art was a stickler about credit. He was also a cash miser. He hoarded millions in off book accounts–he called it his rainy day fund.
“Thankfully for the majority of employees, most Franklin staff remained on board after the transition. A few executives took golden parachutes but, when the dust settled, the only real significant change was the name on the building and their paychecks. It was a win-win for everyone.
“He could have stayed on and continued his research, but Phillip always said his heart wasn’t in it after it was no longer “Franklin” on the door. I think he cared more about the company than he ever let on. But he threw himself into retirement the same way he did everything–all out. They travelled, saw most of the world together and settled into a quiet home life. Amanda did some charity work, which she loved, especially after Phillip’s tragic accident.
“They never put a dent in the money, despite some of Phillip’s more extravagant travel arrangements. They never really concerned themselves with the money. I think they were content to let us manage it for them and we did well.
“Over the course of the last four and a half years, I and my investment team have turned the initial 300 million into just under 600 million. Pretty good, wouldn’t you say?”
“Wow. Yeah, I guess that is pretty good. But what is it you really do? I mean, how do you make that kind of money?”
“Have you ever heard the phrase, ‘Put your money to work for you’?”
“Yeah, I think so.”
“Well, it’s what we do. We take your money and we put it to work for you. We invest it in places where we anticipate the highest returns. We are constantly exploring opportunities for where to put money to work.”
“How do you know where the best places are?”
“Well, that’s where my team comes in. I have two specialists who are highly trained and gifted to sniff out great opportunities. They analyze hundreds of stocks, funds, real estate investments–whatever is out there in the current market which could be a good place to put some money. And they are damn good at what they do. We win 8 out of 10 times on those investments.”
“So it works like a savings account? I put in one hundred dollars and, a year later, I get back one hundred two dollars?”
He laughed. “Kind of, Jack. But we operate on a much bigger scale, of course. And our returns are usually better than the one or two percent you can get from a regular bank account.”
“But what happens if it doesn’t work out? You pick one of the loser opportunities?”
“Well, we try to avoid those. If it happens, we could lose a portion of the original capital invested. Which is why we diversify. We never put everything in one basket. Much too risky.”
I knew he was being deliberately basic with me, but I was beginning to get a better picture of what he did.
“So, if I do nothing for a while, just kind of let things lie, what happens?”
“We keep doing what we’ve been doing. We keep growing your money for you. You really don’t have to do anything, Jack. It’s what you pay us for.”
“I’m paying you? How much?” Now he really started laughing.
“We are paid a small percentage on the gains of the account, and we make plenty for our efforts. Rest assured, Jack. If we don’t make money for you, we don’t get paid. So we are highly motivated to make your money grow.” It made sense to me. I really was financially naïve.
“So Jack, let me ask you a question. Do you have any plans for the money? Something you’ve always wanted to do and now you have the resources, you can?”
“I haven’t thought that far ahead, Larry. I have some bills–well, just my student loan–that would be nice to pay off. But I can handle it for now. I was planning on just leaving it all alone for now until I figure out what I’m supposed to do with it.”
“Well, Jack. I’m glad you aren’t one of those kids who would take this as an opportunity to buy a million dollar car or mega yacht or something. But I think we can certainly help you get the student loan squared away. I’ll tell you what, let me have Todd Martin, he’s on your team here, come in and give you a few more details and he can maybe help you decide what your next steps can be. Okay?”
“Sure, Larry. Whatever you say.” I was finding it to be the easiest thing to say when I was feeling over my head. Thankfully I trusted Larry–if Phillip and Amanda did, I would too.
Larry left to get Todd and I sat there trying to not be overwhelmed. I took a couple of deep breaths and stretched my arms. I was glad I didn’t really have to do much with the trust—for now. No chance I could screw it up that way.
I smiled to myself. It would be nice to have my student loan paid off–it would leave two hundred dollars a month in my pocket.
There was a knock at the door and before I could get up to open it, a very handsome young man came in, carrying several folders and a coffee cup. He set it all down and reached out to shake my hand across the table. “Todd Martin, nice to finally meet you, Mr. Schaeffer.”
“Please call me Jack.” I said.
He was probably about thirty, dark haired and looking very dapper in a trim cut, three piece suit. His tie was loose around his neck and I could see what looked to be the makings of a hickey peeking through his collar. He somehow sensed my staring at his neck and he reached to cover it up with his hand, blushing a bit.
“My wife got a little carried away last night.” He smiled. So much for him being gay. Still, he was very pleasant to look at. And he seemed very nice. Plus, Larry said he was extremely smart. I could like working with Todd Martin.
“So, Jack,” he said, quickly changing the subject of my thoughts. “Larry tells me you have a student loan which needs to be taken care of. I don’t suppose you have any of the details with you–bank name, loan numbers, amounts?”
“Nope, it’s all back at home.”
“Well, how ’bout I give you my number here at the office and you call me next week with the info? I can get it paid off for you right away.”
“You don’t even know how much it is.”
“Jack, I’m pretty sure we can cover it, no problem.” He was smiling gently. Of course, they could cover it. Geez, I really needed to get a grip.
I gave him a sheepish grin. “I keep forgetting. This is all so new for me.”
“I’m sure it is. I look at these big numbers all day and, after a while, they don’t mean anything anymore. They’re just numbers. But to be suddenly thrust into this, I bet it’s really daunting.”
“You’re telling me. When Larry first told me the balance, I lost my lunch. Literally.” He laughed. I don’t know why I told him that, but it felt okay.
“Well, Jack, I hope I don’t make you throw up, but I do have some things to give you today before you go.” He opened one of his folders and took out its contents.
“The first thing I need you to do is sign these signature cards. You need to sign twice in the boxes I checked.” He gave me the card and a pen and I signed my name, twice.
“Jack, this is an American Express Centurion credit card. There is no spending limit. And before you ask, I will tell you, unless you go out and buy a dozen multi-million dollar businesses or maybe your own 747, there is no way you can spend even a fraction of the money in the trust. So if you need, or even just want, to use this, please do. Amanda and Phillip both carried these. It works anywhere in the world.” He handed it across the table to me. It was black and made of some kind of metal instead of plastic. My name was embossed into it across the bottom.
“This second card is a Platinum Visa Debit card. It is linked to an account here at First Colorado Bank in your name. It is also essentially unlimited, but I think ATM and retail outlets might have a system limit on what you can do in a single transaction. But if you need cash anytime, anywhere, you can generally get it from any ATM you find out there.” He handed the card over to me.
“Now if you will fill out this form with your current bank name and account numbers, I will have additional funds transferred to your checking and savings accounts. This way you’ll have cash funds anytime you need them.”
“I don’t have a savings account, just a checking account.” I suddenly felt very small.
“No problem, just give me the checking account number and I’ll transfer some funds on Monday. We’ve also opened a checking account for you here, but I’m waiting for the checks to be printed. Should be here next week, I think.” I took the form and filled out the required fields. I signed my name again.
The last thing he gave me was an envelope full of cash. I didn’t want to be rude and count it in front of him, but it felt like more than I had ever held in my hand before.
“Any questions for me, Jack?”
“Uh...what just happened here? I’m a little confused.” Only it was more than a little, What the hell did I need with a Centurion card?
“These are just the basic things we give anyone who has an account with us. You don’t have to use any of it. They’re for you if you need them. I’ll get the money to your checking account over the weekend so you should see it on Monday. Until then, is there anything else you need?”
I slouched back in my chair. “Yeah, a heart monitor. I came in here with seven bucks in my pocket. I’m leaving with the keys to a fortune. Never in a million years...” I trailed off, dazed.
“Jack, I’m sure it’s gonna take time to get used to all this. Take it slow. I’ll tell you what, I’m gonna give you my number, like I said, and if you start to feel weird or confused or you aren’t sure what you can or should do, call me. I’m here for you, okay?” He gave me his number and I loaded it in my phone.
“Thanks, Todd. I really appreciate it. I think it will definitely take me a little while to get comfortable with all this. I may be calling you sooner than you think.”
“That’s why I’m here, Jack. I work only on your account, so if you need me, call. You aren’t taking me away from anybody else’s account. I work for you alone.” Great, I have employees now. More to deal with.
We shook hands and he left. I counted the money in the envelope under the table. Holy crap! It was a thousand dollars! Half the bills were hundreds.
I scrambled to hide my shock as Larry came back in.
“All set, Jack? Did Todd take care of you?”
“Yeah, I think so, Larry. He told me I could call him with any questions. Is that okay with you?”
“Of course, Jack. What an excellent idea. He works for you, so call him with whatever. He’s a great guy–and between you and me, he’s probably even smarter at financial management than me. But never tell him I said that.”
I laughed. “I won’t, I promise. Thanks for everything. I’ll try to get up to speed as fast as I can. Please be patient with me.”
“No worries, Jack. Take all the time you need. Now you better get back to Clyde before he accuses me of kidnapping you.” We shook hands and I left, considerably better off financially than I had come in.