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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Price Of Experience by Randall Sullivan



Do you remember the Billionaire Boy's Club in the 1980's? I remembered just enough but certainly not all the details. Randall Sullivan did an indepth book on the rise and fall of Joseph Gamsky (who later changed his name to Joseph Hunt or Joe Hunt) and his Billionaire Boy's Club.

Joe was admitted into a prestigious Los Angeles prep school, the Harvard Club, on a scholarship. Joe, 12, didn't fit in very well with the children of actors, moviemakers, and corporate businessmen because of his family's lack of money and he was socially stunted. He was a genius with near photographic mind. Around graduation time (when they would move on to college) Joe managed to impress some of the other young men at school especially Dean Karny and Ben Dosti, who had attended the Harvard School as well. He began to hang around with them and their circle of wealthy sons. These boys had every advantage coming from monied families and having the best education and the best money could buy. But instead of being grateful and using their advantages for good, they managed to be spoiled, arrogant, feeling entitled as though they deserved everything they wanted by the mere existence of being who they were. They wanted money and all that comes with being super rich but they didn't want to have to work for it or have any responsibilities. There was no "Noblesse Oblige" in their vocabulary. It was all about them. They were so proud and cocky and know-it-all that they were obnoxious and the only way they could have relationships was to appeal to someone's greed, drug needs, etc. To me, it seemed no one could stand to be in the same room with them unless they were drugged, drunk or needed money. They partied all the time and had groups around them but that was so other parasites could get something off of them. Money, drugs, alcohol, contacts, financial advice, to look good and be known...all this led to very shallow, casual relationships and these young men didn't know any other kind of relationships. Joe didn't either, but like some deranged guru, he realized their need and their vulnerabilities and gave them what they thought they wanted.

Joe Hunt

These boys weren't looking for Jesus, or Hari Krishna, or some other religion. (Although they desperately need Jesus Chirst!) They wouldn't have looked "ridiculous" for anything! Joe appealed to the one thing they all had in common...greed! They all wanted money and wanted BIG money! And quick! Like last week, please! They didn't want to have to work for it, be accountable for it, ask their parents for it, etc. Just money falling from the sky would suit. And Joe was the worst one, but he had the "fatal attraction" that allowed him to con all these boys into following him. He began to talk about starting an investment club with members from well-to-do families who could make a good impression and help the club to succeed. He described some of his ideas for trading commodities at low risk, and the other boys were impressed.

Ben Dosti

He also told them he wanted to create a corporation with a Utopian atmosphere based on the works of Ayn Rand, where each person would do what he was best qualified to do. He called it the Paradox Philosophy. Basically it was situational ethics. I.e. do whatever you have to do to bring you happiness. It's all about you. Keep yourself happy, safe, out of jail, rolling in money and don't worry about who you have to rob, lie to, cheat, murder, steal, rape, etc. You don't worry aboutanyone else, you only worry about yourself and do whatever it takes because you are number one. Once he had those boys hooked (and they are just as stupid and vulnerable as Jim Jones followers or the Hale-Bopp Comet followers, they just didn't drink Koolaid or pack a bag), he led them to do all those things. Situational Ethics has no boundaries. There is no end to it.

Tom May

These boys went on to prestigious colleges but a lot of them didn't follow through, including Joe. He felt like he was wasting his time. The others were just partying their way through. Most graduated and a couple went on to law school. But Joe got in touch with Dean Karny and Ben Dosti and the others (Dave and Tom Mays, Evan Dickers, Steve Taglienetti, etc) and told them a bunch of nonsense (which they didn't have the good sense to check on) about how well he had done and he had dropped out of college because he was doing so well in the stock market. So they began to tell others and their parents and Joe started raking in cash to "invest". It soon became a typical Ponzi scheme. But, as the screws began to tighten, Joe and his buddies decided to kill Ron Levin.


Ron was also a con man and he had conned the cons! He had bilked the BBC and Joe out of at least $300,000. Joe decided to kidnap Ron and try to make him turn over anything of value, then kill him. By now, Joe had acquired a more experienced "friend" in Jim Pittman (calling himself Jim Graham). A young black man in very good physical condition but who had no more morals than Joe did. They made a good match. Joe began hanging around more with Jim than with his other buddies while he learned what Jim could teach him about firearms, burglaries, electronic spying devices, etc. Jim would do anything for the money that Joe siphoned from his investor's accounts.

Jim Graham

But Jim wasn't too smart. He ended up killing Ron Levine before they could get anything from him. The way the book described it, it was as though Jim couldn't control himself, he just wanted to kill. This bungle caused them even more trouble and they still desperately need money.


Reza Eslamania

One of the new men that had joined their club was the spoiled and evil Reza Hedayat whose father had been a fabulously wealthy man in Iraq before he was supposedly ruined when Iraq fell to the Ayatollah Khomeini. He made it out of the country and came to America and said he had no money.


Hedayat Eslamania

Reza did not believe his father and was always arguing with him for money. So Reza and Joe, Jim, Ben Dosti and Dean Karny decided to try to kidnap Hedayat Eslamania and force him to give them everything before killing him. They planned to chloroform him and throw him into a trunk and cart him somewhere to torture him and get his money. But the man died in the trunk enroute either of fear of suffocation. Another bungle that left them with nothing. This time, Dean Karney, turned them in and they were caught. Joe went to prison for life for the murder of Joe Levin. He represented himself in the trial for the murder of Hedayat Eslamania and there was a hung jury.


You can read a quicker synopsis at
http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/notorious_murders/young/joe_hunt/1.html

Randall Sullivan had a very complicated story to tell and he did it well. But it was a long book and very convoluted. Sullivan makes it easy enough to follow but it's just long. It's completely disgusting that these men would work so hard to steal, kill, cheat and lie. It would have taken a lot less work to have made a living the old fashioned way...earning it! And they wouldn't have spent the rest of their lives in jail. So much talent, brains, education, health, experience and good beginnings (you know, the silver spoon type of beginnings) to waste. God blessed them with so much and yet they never used it to do anything good. Rotten to the core! The Billionaire Boy's Club would be better named the Bye-Bye Club because they can kiss the rest of their lives goodbye!

But, as long as we are still breathing, there is still a chance that God can get through to us and we can turn our lives around. If there is life, then there is still time for God to use us for good. I hope and pray that God will be able to get to their hearts and save them from their sins and that they can know what it's like to be forgiven, loved and know their eternity will be spent in heaven instead of hell.

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