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Editor’s note: The following is a guest letter by Mark Simms, president of M&J Construction in Springfield. Simms and his company were referenced in a Nov. 25 article by Sun columnist Ken Begley, and he writes the following in reply.
Dear Mr. Begley,
I was recently visited by a Mr. S. Wiley seeking gainful employment. He listed you as his only reference, and went on to say he had many other clients, but they wished to remain anonymous. Being an equal opportunity employer (and general sucker), I decided to give Slick Wiley an interview. When he listed Ken Begley as his former employer and current landlord, I was intrigued to say the least.
I am not an expert on the ways of Wall Street as you are, Ken, but I thought Mr. Wiley could shed some light as to where my so-called retirement fund has been misplaced. Oh, yeah, and I need to correct you. Our 401K’s are now officially labeled 201.5J’s, but enough about semantics.
Mr. Wiley was a very cordial and personable fellow as he explained to me that the Great Depression of 2008 was officially over.
“Really,” I said. “How do you figure?”
“Haven’t you read the papers?” Slick Wiley answered. “All the economic indicators and politicians say so!” However I explained to Mr. Wiley that my indicators do not show this good news. As a matter of fact, my figures say that light at the end of the proverbial tunnel could in fact be a train.
But down to brass tacks and on to our interview. Question number one, “Mr. Wiley what are your qualifications? What can you do?”
“I can manage your money,” he answered.
“We don’t have any left to manage,” I replied.
Question number two, “Can you work with your hands? Do you have a good back,” I asked.
He answered, “No and no!”
Well, I’m not a mental heavyweight, but I could see where this interview was headed, so I decided to wrap things up.
Question number three, “Mr. Wiley, what the heck can you do?”
His eyes lit up with a sparkle.
“Well, sir, I can make you believe that you should invest your hard-earned, pre-taxed (but will be taxed eventually) dollars with me to make our country strong. I can loan you 150 percent on your house by saying that it’s worth 200 percent of its actual value. I can make you believe that the more you spend on your family at Christmas, the more they will love you. Heck, I can even swindle money out of that skin flint Ken Begley.” (Mr. Wiley’s words Ken, not mine.)
Well, that was the final straw; bad enough to insult me, but Mr. Wiley had just snubbed my buddy Ken Begley. So, I stood up, placed my left hand on Mr. Wiley’s starched shirt collar and my right hooked under the back of his belt. Mr. Wiley was promptly escorted to the front door, out onto the stoop and thrown down the front steps. He fell into a pile of cheap crumpled dress suit, and much to my surprise, he flipped over and landed on his feet. (As most scam artists do.) He looked back at me and hissed. “Now you’ve had it. You’ll hear from my attorney, Ima Shyster, and his partner, U.R. Done. I’m suing you and I’m suing your friend Ken Begley for sending me down here.”
That was the last I saw of Slick Wiley as he hobbled off. And so I come to the end of my story. Ken Begley, I have new legal terminology for you this week.
“Guilt by Association.”