Monday, Feb 11 2008 10:50 PM
Last Updated: Monday, Feb 11 2008 11:04 PM
A former Crisp & Cole Real Estate employee who owes more than $4.2 million in outstanding mortgage
payments and other unpaid bills has filed for bankruptcy.
Last week's filing appears to be the first bankruptcy to stem from the unraveling of a business that gained notoriety for
the way its principals and employees flaunted luxury cars, expensive suits and other symbols of wealth.
Zane Richards, a former worker for the defunct real estate firm, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection seeking forgiveness
of a mound of debt, including unpaid property taxes, credit card bills and utilities charges, court records show.
Richards declined to comment on the filing, but one of his lawyers, Fresno-based Carl Faller, said his client's situation
was similar to that of several others who became involved with the Crisp & Cole agency, which is now the subject of a
Faller declined to state Richards' job at Crisp & Cole, but said his situation was "basically collateral damages from
the business practices Crisp & Cole were engaged in."
Crisp & Cole's former principal, David Crisp, 28, did not return a voice mail message seeking comment. Crisp's ex-business
partner, Carl Cole, 60, could not be reached.
Five homes Richards bought have been foreclosed on, the bankruptcy filing shows.
A sixth property at 322 Camwood Ave. will likely be surrendered, according to Richards' bankruptcy attorney, Phillip Gillet
At year's end, associates of the former Crisp & Cole company had defaulted on more than 105 properties, according to
an ongoing Californian tally of public records.
The California Department of Real Estate, an industry regulatory agency, accused Crisp, Cole and three employees of deceiving
mortgage lenders in September.
Days later, agents from the FBI and IRS raided 13 properties, including offices and private homes, associated with the
Crisp & Cole company.
No charges have been filed against Richards, but he has been contacted in regard to the investigation, Faller said.
STORY SO FAR
Major events in the Crisp & Cole saga.
February 2005: David Crisp and Carl Cole open Crisp & Cole Real Estate.
The same month, they form Tower Lending, a mortgage brokerage.
June 2006: Crisp lands on The Californian’s front page, described as “a millionaire at 26.”
November 2006: Cole steps down as Crisp & Cole’s designated broker.
January 2007: Cal State Bakersfield grants conceptual approval for a Crisp and Cole plan to build a set of luxury high-rise
towers at the university.
March 2007: The Department of Real Estate, a state regulatory agency, alleges Cole allowed an unlicensed salesman to work
on loans at Tower Lending. Crisp also is unable to make payroll for some employees, and Tower Lending closes its last loans.
April 2007: Crisp and several family members begin to accrue home loan defaults.
July 2007: CSUB nixes the towers proposal. Also in July, residents of the North Country Meadows subdivision learned the
homes they bought through a Crisp & Cole lease-to-buy program are in default.
Sept. 10, 2007: A California Department of Real Estate complaint alleges Cole, Crisp and three employees deceived lenders
on loans totaling more than $12 million.
Sept. 12, 2007: FBI and IRS agent fan across Bakersfield, searching 13 properties associated with the Crisp & Cole
agency and its principals.
December 2007: Crisp’s Seven Oaks mansion is repossessed. More than 105 defaulted and foreclosed properties are linked
to Cole, Crisp and their associates, according to an ongoing Californian tally.
Feb. 7, 2008: Former Crisp & Cole employee Zane Richards files for bankruptcy.