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 Thoughts on GMAC Realty, Ray Vinson's Dog, and the Dirt Cheap Chicken
By: Darin "Sid" Cameron, CRS
Tue, Apr 26th, 2005 11:59 pm

One thing I’ve now learned about blogging: No matter how much energy and effort Kimberly and I put into writing lengthy, in-depth, time consuming “on-topic” real estate articles, it’s the 20 seconds I took to write the smarta**ed “St. Louis Celebrity Dirt” post last month on Ray “Mr. Nahndee-nahn, Nahndee-nahn” Vinson that has people coming back to the website. That and the title, "Hey, Your Basement Smells Like Urine!"

Go figure.

So to pander to those who like smacking around the local news, I encourage you to go read the story in the Post titled, "Shutting down" by Jack Naudi (04/22/2005). You can find the article on-line at

Basically, it reads like the set up of an A&E Television “City Confidential” script. To summarize, James Andrew GMAC Real Estate was a fast growing local residential real estate company here in St. Louis that just went belly up last week (to the surprise of pretty much everyone involved in the company I’m told).

The owner, James Thurman, is missing- as is $1 million from the St. Charles, MO-based Phoenix Title which Thurman also owned. The Missouri Insurance Commission, The Missouri Real Estate Commission, HUD, and I’m sure a few other local, state and federal agencies would really like to ask Thurman a few questions. Assuming they could find him that is.


Things to think about while wondering where this guy will eventually show up…

How exactly do you resign from a company you are the sole shareholder of? Do you have to take a shareholder vote?

Wouldn’t it have great comedic value if the hand scrawled note Thurman used to resign from his own company with turns out to have been written on a used cocktail napkin from one of the more nefarious East Side adult night clubs?

Do you suppose HUD scoped out the Ritz-Carlton to see if Thurman was hiding out with Ray Vinson’s Dog? And if you have to be in the dog house, can you really think of a better one than Vinson's pooch has?

(With apologies, BTW, to Jeff Gordon of the St Louis Post's Sports Page for stealing his shtick).

My prediction is that for better or worse, this is going to be one of the more interesting local stories to watch unfold in 2005.

I don’t know any of the folks over at GMAC (Kimberly, for the most part, keeps me locked up in the basement working on marketing), but having lived through an implosion like this with a former employer, my sympathies go out to the workers of the two businesses who without warning now find themselves out of work (and probably stiffed on a paycheck or two). It sucks; I’ve been there.

The other folks to feel sorry for are the poor people who find the sale or purchase of their home caught up in this mess. For those keeping score, this is the second St. Louis title company to shut its doors in recent months. Capital Title shut down in January amid allegations of embezzlement (there’s about $12 million missing in that case).

The investigation has held up hundreds of real estate transactions- wrecking the lives of a whole lot of homeowners in the process. (Read: The 4/24/05 Post Article “Title insurance business here may be most competitive in U.S.” by Jack Naudi on for more details.) This leaves you to wonder how long it will take local and state politicians to form a bandwagon and start calling for more state regulation of the title industry. (You know it’s coming…)

But on the positive side, I should probably stop and wish a warm welcome to the bus load of GMAC agents who have just made our home, Prudential Alliance, their new home. Welcome! This is the second wave of real estate agents to join our office this month. A few weeks ago a group of (now former) Blake and Davis Agents joined Prudential Alliance as well (again, welcome!).

But back to the Thurman/GMAC story. Hopefully for those involved this story has a happy ending somehow. Personally, I’m hoping the scandal somehow involving that Queen of Carpets chick, and ends with an FBI raid finding the embezzling money at the home of the Dirt Cheap Chicken. Now that would make for a good local gossip column!

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Darin "Sid" Cameron spent 15 years working in the technology industry which in 1998 relocated him to St. Louis. In 2004 he took over web development tasks for Kimberly's real estate team and later became the full-time Marketing and Operations Director in 2005. In 2011 Sid launched two brokerages, The Realty Store, Inc. and Realty Referral Partners, Inc, while continuing to perform marketing and operations for Kimberly's team. Sid holds a real estate broker's license in Missouri, CRS certification and was the first CyberStar in the St. Louis area.
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