Wikinvest Wire

David Lereah - now even more pathetic

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The saga of David Lereah, the former Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors, is getting more and more interesting and, as might be expected, more and more pathetic.

Recall that last week, in a CNN/Money report, he essentially confessed to being a paid shill for the realtors' trade group and was the subject of ridicule here and elsewhere (Barry Ritholtz was not nearly as kind as Paul Kedrosky)

This week, in a story appearing in tomorrow's Wall Street Journal, he bares even more of his soul and the details that emerge raise the "creepy" factor by at least an order of magnitude.

(Note: The image above comes courtesy of the Marin Real Estate Bubble blog and, yes, just like his Wikipedia entry, the WSJ story mentions Baghdad Bob.)

Disturbing new revelations include the following:

  • the NAR won't return his phone calls (stop calling!)
  • he works out of a home office that doubles as an exercise room
  • he drives to McDonald's or Dunkin' Donuts everyday and eats in his car
Seriously. You have to wonder what he held back...
Mr. Lereah, who says he left NAR voluntarily, says he was pressured by executives to issue optimistic forecasts -- then was left to shoulder the blame when things went sour. "I was there for seven years doing everything they wanted me to," he said, looking out his window to his tree-filled yard in this Washington suburb. Mr. Lereah now works at home, trying to rebuild his career and saddled with a sagging portfolio of real-estate investments.
During the boom years, Mr. Lereah was eager to profit himself. He snapped up condos, including two in Washington in 2003 and 2004 and one each in Tampa, Richmond, Va., Alexandria, Va., and Naples, Fla. By 2006, he says, he owned six condos worth between $150,000 and $400,000 apiece.
In April 2007, Mr. Lereah left NAR, and after working about a year on a start-up venture, took some time off for a few months. He cruised around on his 29-foot sport-fishing boat and played golf at the country club. He eventually started consulting on the real-estate market again, this time to hedge funds and Japanese companies.

Mr. Lereah now works in a small upstairs office that doubles as an exercise room. He has started his own company, Reecon Advisors, that puts out a weekly newsletter on the housing market and provides consulting services. "I feel I have such a refreshing view now because I'm not representing any interests," says Mr. Lereah.

He charges $495 annually for the newsletter, and currently has fewer than 50 paying subscribers -- a number Mr. Lereah aims to increase to 1,500 by the end of this year.

"He's starting to make some money off it now, not much," says Mrs. Lereah. "We have an expensive lifestyle: a big house, a housekeeper once a week, college tuitions, the country club."

Mrs. Lereah, a CPA who also works at home, decided the only way she and her husband could work in the same house was if they pretended they were at outside offices. They communicate during the day by email and cellphone.
Well, one thing that appears to make a lot more sense now than it did a week ago is why anyone in Mr. Lereah's position would subject themselves to such public scrutiny again.

It should be clear from the above - there are newsletters to sell and there are bills to pay. As Mrs. Lereah notes, "they have an expensive lifestyle", not the least of which are all those mortgage payments.

Pathetic. Even more pathetic.


Anonymous said...

Any publicity is good publicity. What are the odds he consulted with John Paulson, like Greenspan did????

Ted S. said...

I wonder what his pitch is to potential clients when they ask him about these reports. Maybe he says, "Well I really wasn't telling the truth back then, but I am now". I think pathetic is the right word Tim.

Tim said...

Wow. I didn't realize this was on the front page of the print edition until just a short time ago.

Anonymous said...

Could you post a link to his newsletter subscription site?

I need some RE advice!!!!!

Tim said...

Here you go: Reecon Advisory Report. It says:

"The Reecon Advisory Report is an independent source of news, insight and actionable intelligence on residential real estate."

FRANK LL0SA Va Broker- said...

But that was then, this is now.
Now you should trust YUN.

Trust me, trust you, trust nobody.


p.s. At least be believed his own BS and his portfolio tanked too.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Diarrhea
So full of crap! So what happend to those people who believed him when he was with NAR. ( putting the good news). Where is self responsibility NOW! What about those people that listend.
I think its only fair for
Mr. Diarrhea to assume their mortgage. Dumb Schmuck!!!!!!!!

Paul said...

How about a little empathy for this guy. I knew he was smoking us all along and made fun of him and what he said when he was "strong". Anybody that paid too much for RE was just not wise. When RE values disconnected from household incomes, we should have figured out the cost of "pride of ownership".

Now that he is weak: consider that he is being honest and transparent. What if he was your brother or son?

Hey! We are all just people. Give him a break!

Anonymous said...

"What if he was your brother or son?"

If this rodent was my son, I would disown him.

Anonymous said...

Give him a break, yea, right. The guy is a hustler. Someone start warming up the tar while I go fetch some goose feathers.

Anonymous said...

What kind of car is he driving over to Mickey-D's? I doubt it's a beater - his dbag friends at the country club wearing the checkered pants would never have that.

Boo Hoo.

Anonymous said...

You have to love how the wife comes right out and proudly candidly chuckles at their "expensive life style" like a typical out-of-touch wealthy prick.

Clearly has never worked a hard job for a living otherwise might be more sensitive about popping off about country club membership in the middle of a recession when real people are suffering.

Let the hag wash dishes in a diner for a few months and then ask her how her golf game is coming along.

Jenna's Bush said...

I want to know who the (less than) 50 paying subscribers to his newsletter are. Folks at the Treasury and Federal Reserve?

Anonymous said...

I love it! Just like all the mortgage broker friends we had who use to flaunt their McJoneses lifestyle and call us old fashioned for not they are all suffering..having to come down from their high horse and admit that they are just like every other middle class person...except for their McBills!

Anonymous said...

"He's starting to make some money off it now, not much," says Mrs. Lereah. "We have an expensive lifestyle: a big house, a housekeeper once a week, college tuitions, the country club."

Mrs. Lereah, a CPA who also works at home, decided the only way she and her husband could work in the same house was if they pretended they were at outside offices. They communicate during the day by email and cellphone. Every morning, Mr. Lereah drives to a Dunkin' Donuts or McDonald's and eats in the car, just as he would have on his commute to NAR.

I love it..the McJoneses going to McDonald's still worried about their "expensive lifestyle"..this womans needs a shot in the arm of reality!...

Anonymous said...

Looks like he found 50 Pauls to feel sorry for him and send money. He can finally get caught up on his club dues.

Anonymous said...

How many of those 50 sheeple bought his books and property that subsequently tanked?

Anonymous said...

Make sure you only charge 495.00 - not 500.00; people are not easily tricked these days!

jmcmanus said...

What trade association has a mission that is not about putting a positive spin on things, valid or not? From the level of his vitriol aimed at Lereah, you’d think that Barry had never heard Mark Twain’s quote of Benjamin Disraeli: “There are three kinds of lies. Lies, damn lies, and statistics.”

We’re not defending the research or the spin. Association data is notoriously undependable for almost every industry sector, and it should always be looked at with healthy skepticism, in good times or bad.

Anonymous said...

jmcmanus you are defending the research and the spin.

You are too pre-occupied with looking for opportunities to copy-paste your Mark Twain slogans.

It's classic apologist-speak:

"Oh well, everyone does it" WINK WINK

"Hate the game not the player"

"Ho Ho Ho Hah Hah Hah Life is just a game"

There need be no social outrage for low lifes like Lereah because he is only doing what any good ol boy capitalist would do.

One word: "Bull"

marin_explorer said...

"Oh well, everyone does it" WINK WINK

And so went a few decades of unmitigated stupidity--"business" as one big narcissistic impulse. I saw it the moment I stepped from the U into the working world--and got hell every time I called people on their BS. The results are proportional to the strategy--or lack thereof.

Molehill TMI said...

Pick me up in your beater, anon, and we can have a beer or two. i'll say things. you'll tell me they're not; and you'll tell me about the fun you have kicking dead horses. hey, how bout you call out Yun and pillory him before he's out of that job and hanging up his shingle?

Anonymous said...

Good idea. Let's frog march Yun and Lereah right on over to the penitentiary. They can be even "cellies". That would be a lot more fun than kicking dead horses, pervert.

Anonymous said...

When he was at NAR, everybody knew he was full of crap.

Shame on the lazy media for constantly repeating his tripe over and over and over.

Realtors - what a scam.

Anonymous said...

subscribe to his letter, do the exact opposite of what he advises, and you will make a fortune.

Anonymous said...

FIRST OF ALL, dont talk about his wife. She HAS worked all her life. She worked and put herself through college, STARTING AS A WAITRESS LIKE MOST TEENAGERS, has worked hard as an accountant and now has her own firm, with her own clients. Most of the things you all are saying about David are untrue, IRRELEVANT, and hurtful. I am a member of the family, and I dont care how bitter all you people are with the economy, the people who were working on it and the choices they made, but this slander is awful. Whether it is their fault or not, they worked hard in college and grad school to get where they are and did the best they could. THANKS.

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