Teach Skepticism

The Tacoma News Tribune has a lengthy, sordid story on a 41 year old con artist named Ryan Rhodes. The story’s utter ordinariness makes it noteworthy. At the center were well-to-do parents who took on faith that Rhodes would build a “high end” competitive baseball league for their 10-14 year old sons. Little did they know that Rhodes ripped $100k off of his grandparents when he was 24 years old and had a history of writing bad checks.

The final sentences of the article:

The list of parents and families dismayed by the Pioneer debacle includes Ed Troyer, Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman, who had a grandson in the Tacoma-based league and coached in his spare time. No stranger to scammers, Troyer said the real cost falls on young people who just wanted to play baseball. “Tacoma really needed a league like that, and now it’s gone,” he said. “It’s pretty sad that all those kids don’t have a league.”

ET, please tell me you’re kidding! That’s the take-away?! The most important take-aways from this case study have nothing to do with baseball. The real cost falls on young people who will never cultivate a healthy skepticism if their parents and grandparents don’t detail for them all of the mistakes they made from the very beginning of the sad saga.

If the boys learn these life lessons all is not lost:

• Learn from your mistakes.

• Never trust anyone automatically. Especially people asking you for money. Know that some people will lie to you, steal your money, and run.

• Be doubly wary of solicitors that are more personable and charismatic than normal.

• If you’ve never done business with a person or group asking you for money, never give it to them in advance of whatever their promising.

• Before giving money to any unfamiliar individual or group, find independent references who can vouch for the veracity of whatever they’re claiming about themselves.





2 thoughts on “Teach Skepticism

  1. A lot of us here in North Texas went through this recently following severe hail storms. Roofers were all over out town the minute the storms stopped. Most were credible but because there were so many that were not part of this community it took some efforts on our part to make sure they were legit.

    I would up choosing a company whose owners were two middle age brothers who approached me the next day as I was cleaning up in my yard. Fortunately I had been in the building trades for years and could get a feel for how genuine they were. None-the-less I still checked to make sure they were accredited with the BBB and I insisted they provide 3 references I could call.

    I had them do a contract and it was understood that they would be paid only when the job was complete. They complied with all of this and I am thoroughly pleased with their work but I can’t help but feel that some of my neighbors may have been duped by eager, fly-by-nights who promised them much they will likely not deliver on

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