Q. On the Internet, I read Mr. Wells described as some sort of “huckster” who steals money from widows. What’s that about?
A. It’s absurd. An anonymous blogger has focused on one investor out of more than 200,000. While we will not comment on any specific investor, the fund in question was a mid-1980s Wells limited partnership – and a particular class of partnership units. (For the record, that Wells fund exists today; unlike many of its contemporaries, it survived changes in tax law and the real estate downturn of the mid-‘80s. It is nearing the end of its life cycle, and will be returning proceeds to investors.)
My response: It's not absurd. That widow took the time to write a long letter to me — I did not solicit her story — and quite obviously from their response it's clear they never paid her back. So nothing new there... they took her money and are trying to dismiss it as a "mid-1980s" thing, because taking money from widows was obviously standard operating procedure way back then.
Q. That same blog says Leo Wells “has never fully repaid investors in any of his funds over the last 20 years.” True?
A. This is simply not true. Most Wells funds, including Wells’ flagship REITs, are designed as long-term income investments to be held for a number of years, and are not traded on the stock market. But our REITs have clearly stated redemption procedures, and more than 10,000 investors have asked for – and received – redemption of their shares. Additionally, last year Wells REIT sold more than $700 million in properties from its portfolio and returned the proceeds to REIT investors.
My response: "That same blog" was not the origin of this claim. The quotation “has never fully repaid investors in any of his funds over the last 20 years" is not from me, but is from the Wall Street Journal of August 5, 2004, as I document here. Falsely attributing these words to me, instead of to the most respected business newspaper who actually said it, is just plain lying. The full quotation from the Wall Street Journal is as follows: "In fact, Mr. Wells has never fully repaid investors in any of his funds over the last 20 years." Note, once again, that I did not say this — the Journal did.
The remainder of the Leo Wells Pathetic Defense Page is about how his Christianity is so great. But I vaguely remember something called the Ten Commandments, which includes the commandment "Thou shalt not steal." I notice God did not asterisk the commandment to disclose in the fine print that it would be okay if the theft involved a "mid-1980s Wells limited partnership – and a particular class of partnership units."
Sorry for having to state the obvious, but if the WSJ and Forbes have identified Mr. Wells's empire as questionable, far be it from me to argue with them. Further reading here.
Literally nothing on the Leo Wells Pathetic Defense Page is new. (And I haven't even mentioned the regulatory sanctions — how's that for self-control?) The Wells real estate empire is based on a flimsy facade of fake Christianity. It is an illiquid, overpriced investment of dubious quality and suspicious management. When the Wall Street Journal says, "In fact, Mr. Wells has never fully repaid investors in any of his funds over the last 20 years," investors would be well-advised to stay the hell away.
Hey, Bob Byrd! PR guy for Leo Wells! You're the one who wrote the Leo Wells Pathetic Defense Page — it says so in the page source &mdash can't you do any better?