As a child I learned the story of Chicken Little. She’s the children’s storybook character who ran around telling her friends, “The sky is falling. The sky is falling!”
It’s a good story for kids. They learn the value of rational thinking. And even though most of us know the story well, as adults, we all have Chicken Little moments and know others who seem to perpetually see the worst.
Panic most often spreads as deadlines approach, and guess what: There’s an important ethics education deadline looming for our membership. I urge all of you to begin planning now, lest you find yourself or your colleagues running around yelling, “The deadline is here! The deadline is here!”
What floored me when I found this daft trade journal article wasn’t its daft, overwrought prose, but its author: Ted Loring, Jr. Loring is the president of Professional Property Management, the former landlord I’ve been preparing to sue in small claims court for the illegal retention of part of my security deposit. This dude presides over what may be one of the most notoriously unethical residential rental companies in California, and he’s on the record in a real estate trade rag putting in a good word for continuing professional education in ethics. He has ultimate authority over and responsibility for a provable criminal enterprise involved in the wholesale exploitation of his county’s poor, but he wouldn’t want any of his colleagues to get caught short by a deadline to read and talk shop about ethics.
You can’t make this shit up. You just fucking can’t.
In my experience, Loring has stayed entirely behind the scenes at PPM. I’ve never met him, and I only vaguely recall seeing him at the office once, although I can’t say for sure that I did. A mutual acquaintance whom I know not to be easily taken in by sleazeballs told me that he always seemed decent enough, not sleazy. If that’s true, I don’t know how to square it with the repugnant bottomfeeding behavior of his company. He has obviously kept some really nasty henchmen (of both sexes) around over the years to do his dirty work, and PPM has an internal chain of command that appears designed to shift responsibility as needed to make sure that no one will be forced to take any.
It just now occurred to me that I can’t find a reliable way to get in touch with Loring directly through the PPM website, even though it’s a small company and he appears to be the only principal. There are a number of conceivable problems with this inaccessibility, the one currently facing me being the possibility that I may need to name Loring as an individual defendant and have him served with a copy of my small claim. Given my past experiences with PPM and his (or someone’s) failure to respond to serious legal correspondence that I had sent him through PPM’s online contact portal, I wouldn’t put it past him to evade process service. No one else at the company has admitted to personally ordering and having the fully independent authority to order the partial retention of my security deposit, so I can’t think of anyone but Loring who can properly be named as an individual defendant, should I in fact need to name one.
It’s an opaque outfit, but it’s hard to believe that the Tsar knows not what the Cossacks are doing in his name when the entire office staff consists of Loring, one lieutenant, and maybe a dozen line employees, if even that. I have to assume that the fish has rotted from its head.
Next article in this series: new and improved methods to keep your whorehouse and/or hog farm code-compliant, by Robert William Pickton.