Tuesday, December 26, 2006

He should have just asked to be on the Apprentice

Apparently Donald Trump can be conned. At least on a resume. E.J. Ridings was hired as head of Trump Mortgage in April.

At the time, Trump said that the goal of Trump Mortgage was to

inject integrity into an industry that has the reputation for giving customers a raw deal....

"Trump Mortgage is going to take better care of people than anyone in the mortgage industry ever has," said Trump.

Sounds like integrity has a way to go. Until this week, Trump Mortgage's website described Ridings as a 'seasoned pro.'

First, Ridings' initial bio stated that before joining the company he was "a top executive at one of Wall Street's most prestigious investment banks."

Second, the bio had said that Ridings was an "established leader" at one of New York's leading mortgage boutiques.

Third, the bio said he had 15 years of experience in the financial industry.

All three claims appear to be false, according to regulatory documents obtained by Money and interviews with former colleagues of Ridings.

In fact, Ridings apparently worked for a whole six days as a registered broker with Morgan Stanley subsidiary Dean Witter Reynolds, out of a three month stint total. He also later worked as a day trader and at a company called GuardHill Financial, where he was a 'loan originator,' an entry-level position. Beyond this, he also sold health drinks and vitamins, and had his own cleaning service. Yup, that's right, a janitor fooled Donald Trump.

OK, so that brings us to the next question: Now that the fraud has been exposed, how did 'wonder boy' do? I mean, if anyone would forgive even this level of indiscretion in getting hired if it was balanced by an outstanding record of achievement since then, you'd expect it to be Trump. He said just last week in the Miss USA controversy, "I've always been a believer in second chances." So what kind of performance did Ridings turn in the past eight months, apparently learning as he went?

Well, not so hot.

Trump Mortgage is off to a bumpy start. At least six residential mortgage professionals have left the firm in the past six months, including Scheck and Craig Lane, who was hired to run the company's Florida operations.

And Trump Mortgage has fallen short of Ridings' earlier forecasts. At the time of the company's launch, Ridings predicted the company would complete $3 billion in loans in 2006, much of it in residential lending. Now Ridings says, "Trump Mortgage anticipated doing close to $1 billion in residential mortgages, but that figure may not be reached by the end of this year."

I'm surprised that Ridings hasn't been fired yet. He made a monkey out of 'the Donald,' and I doubt if the Donald is going to give him another chance.

No comments: