Dave Ramsey & the Debt Collector

Dave Ramsey referred consumers who have been bullied by debt collectors to a law firm managed by a debt collector.

Dave Ramsey says that the State of Washington shouldn’t have the right to ask him any questions about Timeshare Exit Team because the State can get answers to all its questions from lower-level Ramsey employees.

In an April 5, 2021 letter and again in an April 23, 2021 email message, Ramey’s lawyer argued that Dave Ramsey lacks “unique personal knowledge of any relevant facts.” 

Respectfully, that isn’t true.

The truth is that Dave Ramsey has unique personal knowledge about the Collection Bully program that he and Timeshare Exit Team were preparing to launch in 2019–2020.

Ramsey also has unique personal knowledge about his dealings with the lawyer whom he and Timeshare Exit Team founder Brandon Reed chose to represent consumers being harassed by debt collectors. 

The lawyer’s name is William Weinstein — and he is a debt collector

In 2019 and 2020, Dave Ramsey and Timeshare Exit Team were collaborating to build Collection Bully — a program for consumers being harassed by debt collectors. Today, Ramsey’s website nowhere mentions Collection Bully; it has been tossed down the memory hole, like his endorsement of Timeshare Exit Team.

William Weinstein

William Weinstein has earned a vast fortune as a consumer debt collector.

William Weinstein is an unlikely consumer advocate.

Weinstein has made a vast fortune as a consumer debt collector

Weinstein is the owner of Weinstein &  Riley, a Seattle-based law firm that represents many of the nation’s largest banks, credit unions, and other consumer lenders. In May 2010, Weinstein testified that he believed Weinstein & Riley to be “the largest firm representing creditors and creditor-rights matters in the United States.” 

Weinstein is also the owner of Oak Harbor Capital, LLC — a hedge fund that manages approximately $600 million in assets, and that has a “primary investment focus” on consumer debt. 

In a 2021 SEC disclosure form, Oak Harbor Capital describes its “primary investment focus.” A “consumer receivable” is money that a company is due to receive from a consumer.

Collection Bully

Weinstein described his involvement in Ramsey’s Collection Bully program during a September 2020 deposition.

According to Weinstein, Dave Ramsey is a “self-styled consumer advocate,” and Collection Bully was designed to help consumers who have been the “victims of predatory lending and abusive consumer-collection activity.” 

Weinstein testified that he consulted regularly about Collection Bully with the chief executive of Happy Hour Media Group: Chris Holcomb.

Happy Hour is owned by Brandon Reed, the same person who owns Timeshare Exit Team. Happy Hour handles Timeshare Exit Team’s advertising — including its relationships with paid endorsers like Dave Ramsey.

Dave Ramsey, with Brandon Reed (left) and Chris Holcomb (right). William Weinstein says that he met regularly with Chris Holcolmb to discuss Dave Ramsey’s Collection Bully program.

According to Weinstein, the plan was for Dave Ramsey to handle Collection Bully’s advertising and marketing, and to refer cases to a law firm. Holcomb proposed that Weinstein launch a law firm for the purpose of accepting Ramsey’s referrals, and Weinstein met with his lawyers to discuss the possibility.

Think about that: Dave Ramsey intended to generate referrals from among consumers who feel bullied by debt collectors — and to refer them to a law firm managed by a debt collector.

Quite frankly, Ramsey’s choice of Weinstein as a consumer lawyer is a far more important story than is Ramsey’s offensive treatment of reporter Lisa Guerrero.

William Weinstein regularly consulted about Dave Ramsey’s Collection Bully program with the chief executive of Happy Hour Media Group — Timeshare Exit Team’s advertising agency.

Weinstein & Ramsey

William Weinstein remembers speaking with Dave Ramsey. 

Unfortunately, Weinstein cannot remember what he and Ramsey talked about, except that Ramsey told him that he understood Weinstein to be a “capable lawyer.” 

Weinstein remembers that he flew to Tennessee, and that he drove approximately twenty minutes from the airport to the Ramsey Solutions headquarters. He remembers that he watched Ramsey record an edition of his radio broadcast, and that he and Ramsey spoke briefly. Weinstein cannot remember anything else about their interaction.

Weinstein summarized the extent of his memory in September 2020:

  • So your testimony is that you drove out to this broadcast studio that was in a somewhat remote area twenty minutes outside of Nashville for the purpose of meeting Mr. Ramsey, and that he told you that you’re a good lawyer, and that you’ve never communicated with him since. Is that your testimony today?
  • That’s my testimony today.
William Weinstein cannot remember much about the conversation he shared with Dave Ramsey. Hopefully, Ramsey has a better memory.

Ramsey’s Knowledge

Hopefully, Dave Ramsey has a stronger memory than William Weinstein. 

If the State of Washington wants to know what Ramsey and Weinstein discussed during Weinstein’s visit to the Ramsey Solutions headquarters, Ramsey has “unique personal knowledge of the relevant facts.”

The State may also want answers to deeper, more fundamental questions: 

  • Why did Dave Ramsey plan to refer consumers being harassed by debt collectors to a law firm managed by a debt collector?
  • What steps did Ramsey take to ensure that Weinstein would be loyal to the consumer-clients referred to him by Ramsey, rather than to the creditors and debt collectors that he typically represents?
William Weinstein owns Weinstein & Riley, a law firm that has represented “many of the nation’s largest banks, credit unions, consumer finance companies, and other credit lenders.”

Accountability

To begin the process of accepting accountability for his role in the vast consumer fraud that is Timeshare Exit Team, Dave Ramsey should do the following:

  • Disgorge into a trust account all money that he received for endorsing Timeshare Exit Team. The funds should be distributed to Timeshare Exit Team’s victims. 
  • Sit for a deposition and answer the State of Washington’s questions about his relationship with Timeshare Exit Team, and publicly release the transcript of the deposition.
  • Explain why he and Brandon Reed decided that the best lawyer to represent consumers who feel bullied by debt collectors is William Weinstein.

In short, Dave Ramsey should accept accountability. He should provide a full and complete accounting of his relationship with Timeshare Exit Team. He should be fulsome and honest with the larger public and with the people who have suffered harm because they trusted him. 

Today, Ramsey’s website recommends that consumers tell debt collectors to “go away” if they are being harassed because they cannot pay their obligations. In 2019–2020, Ramsey planned to refer consumers to a law firm managed by a debt collector.
Why the change?

The Bare Minimum

If Ramsey persists in his refusal to answer questions, he should explain to his followers why he is choosing to stay silent about his endorsement of a company that cheated tens of thousands of middle-class and working-class consumers out of tens of millions of dollars.

If Ramsey persists in his refusal to disgorge the money, he should explain to his followers why he gets to keep the money that he “earned” by referring consumers to a company that cheated them out of their money.

By staying silent, Ramsey implicitly acknowledges the truth — There is no good answer to those questions.

Hancock.Law

This blog first discussed a lawyer’s duty of undivided loyalty to his clients more than one year ago.

To speak with a lawyer who is loyal to his clients, and who knows the facts about Dave Ramsey, William Weinstein, Brandon Reed, and Timeshare Exit Team, click this link.

This blog post isn’t legal advice.
To schedule a free consultation with Hancock.Law, call us 24/7 at (206) 785-7019.

Author: David Hancock

consumer lawyer

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