Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Update on the Ed Fitzgerald Saga

After a lengthly hiatus of not writing about the disappearance of yacht broker Edward Sellers Fitzgerald, it's time to dust off the desk and get writing again. Fitzgerald left Dana Point, California, on or about July 17, 2009, and has not returned. The problem: he allegedly left with close to $3,000,000 in debts owed to almost 40 different people.

He remains a "person of interest" with the Orange County, California Sheriff's Department, but no warrant has been issued for his arrest. I am told by my sources that the OC Sheriff knows where he is.

Why hasn't a warrant been put out for his arrest? White-collar crime cases take time. The Sheriff needs to dot all of the "i"s and cross all of the "t"s before presenting the case to the District Attorney. The officer investigating the case has been promoted to a new position, but it is rumored that she is taking the case with her to her new position. Something tells me that 2011 will bring some action in the case.

It's time to resume a dialogue and flush out new information that might help the Sheriff move the case to the next level. If you have information to share, please post it in this blog.

A new Ebook will be available on www.smashwords.com under my name fairly soon.

Tom Blake

Dana Point, California

Monday, December 27, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

March 10, 2010 Ed Fitzgerald update

By Tom Blake – Update March 10, 2010

People I have never met before come into Tutor and Spunky’s--my Dana Point, California, deli at the intersection of Coast Highway and Blue Lantern--and say, “Anything new regarding the Ed Fitzgerald case?”

If I have time, I usually sit down with them and ask if they knew Fitzgerald. Surprisingly, many of them have boats in the harbor and are very aware of him and his story. And many are frustrated that he is on the loose, and that the authorities haven’t even picked him up for questioning. They point out that a man named William Baker was arrested for a home-flipping Ponzi scheme of $900,000 or so while Fitzgerald’s white collar shenanigans total somewhere in the $2-3 million range. Why Baker and not Fitzgerald they want to know.

If people have any doubt of Fitzgerald’s intentions in 2009, here is a new indication that he knew what he was doing. In mid-July, a person inquired to Fitzgerald about the availability of a boat slip. That person was promised by Fitzgerald a slip for a loan of $20,000 or $30,000, depending on the terms the person wanted. Here are excerpts from that email sent July 15, 2009:

“This letter will act as the contract between (intentionally blank) and Dana Island Yachts,
provider of a 43 foot slip. For a loan to Dana Island Yachts of $20,000.00 on Wednesday July 15th, 2009.

“Dana Island Yachts will provide (blank) a 43 foot slip, side tie or end tie, at the current slip rate of the Marina Company at the time, somewhere in Dana Point Harbor. It is understood that the possible start date for the slip use could be March 1, 2010 but will be left open ended until (blank) notifies Dana Island Yachts at least 60 days in advance, that he needs a slip to be provided by Dana Island Yachts.

“The loan to Dana Island Yachts will be in effect until the end of the contract which is as follows: $20,000.00 for a three year slip guarantee, $30,000.00 for an unlimited slip guarantee (until (blank) gets his own slip) *Payment to be provided to Dana Island Yachts in the form of a cashiers check or wire transfer on July 15th, 2009.

“*Loan payment in full to be refunded to (blank) within 30 days of the end of his contract or he moves his boat to his own slip, which ever happens first.
“For Dana Island Yachts, Ed Fitzgerald, President”

It is important to note that Fitzgerald wanted a cashier’s check or wire transfer on July 15, two days before he disappeared on July 17. Is there any doubt that Fitzgerald was going to pad his bank account with these funds? And the person involved would have never gotten a slip, and would have been out that money.

The problem for Fitzgerald is this: He is going to get caught. And if a thorough investigation follows, his history of scamming people is going to surface. There are lots of folks who haven’t come forward yet, at least not that I am aware of. But as time goes by, more and more of them are.

For example, here is another spanking new story, revealed to me in the last week. One couple put their boat in Fitzgerald’s charter boat pool. He was to notify them in advance when their boat was going to be chartered. They decided to take their boat to Catalina for a nice long week-end. They packed and went down to Dana Point Harbor. Their boat was gone. Fitzgerald had taken it out for a private party. They were really pissed. He paid them for that charter, but they feel he didn’t pay for many more when the boat was used. They parted company with him on bad terms.

How many stories are there like the two above? Who knows? But trust me, there are a lot. There is no way he came come back to Dana Point to try to salvage his reputation.
And what a sad feeling it must be for him. He turned his back on almost all of his friends. For what, money? And now he can’t come home to where he was known, and in most cases, loved and cared about. The jolly, old Ed. The guy who bought drinks for people at the Wind and Sea.

Here is my proposal for Ed Fitzgerald, a way for him to at least partially pay his victims back.
He should co-author a nothing-held-back book about what happened. All of the dirty details. Don’t bullshit anybody. When did his money-juggling activities turn into money-stealing activity. Why he snapped. When he snapped. Was it when Marcia died? Is that why or when he gave up? Or, was it when the economy went south and he wasn’t selling boats, charters fell off, and people stopped loaning him money, and were demanding their money back? Only Fitz knows for sure.
He could make a mint selling that book and of course the movie rights would follow. And with the profits, he would make restitution with those he ripped off.

Of course, authors and ghost writers cost money. They charge big fees in anticipation of making big bucks. So I am offering to co-author the book with him, for one penny of the profits, after writing expenses are paid. The profits would flow into a trust fund at the Pacific Western Bank in Dana Point (sorry Fitz, you would not have access to it). That bank might already have a funded interest in the story so it would be a good place to park the funds.

One question begs to be answered: Wouldn’t it be dangerous, even life-threatening, for him to return to the area to write the book? Certainly.

So, he and I would correspond by email or telephone. He wouldn’t even have to show his face. That’s how the book information would be exchanged.

Ed, you may email me at tpblake@aol.com or call me on my cell 949-412-4261 to discuss. It’s kind of your last hope to become the good guy you once were. You are likely thinking, but the authorities will be able to trace me. Let me say this, if the authorities wanted you, they would have picked you up by now. They know where you are, or where you’ve recently been.

My co-authoring conditions are:

-The whole truth, and nothing but the truth, would have to be revealed

-You’d have to be willing to disclose all of your victims, even though you feel some people lost their money just through a failed business deal and not through fraud

-I would have the content and edit final say

-Neither you nor I would be allowed to keep any of the profits

Tom’s final comment: Here’s an amazing stat: there have been approximately 900 downloads of the "Dana Point Disappearance. Where is Ed Fitzgerald?" Ebook on Smashwords.com since September. There is a huge interest in the Fitzgerald case around the water cooler in Dana Point Harbor.I think it is time to convert the Ebook into the traditional book format on Smashwords.

Please post your comments or feel free to contact me: tpblake@aol.com.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What is Ed's motivation to return to Dana Point?

Initial post

On approximately Friday, July 17, 2009, Ed Fitzgerald disappeared from Dana Point, California. Ed was a trusted and respected businessman, who had owned Dana Island Yachts, a yacht and sail boat brokerage firm that also specialized in chartering boats for excursions, particularly whale watching. I had known him as a friend and a vendor of sandwiches from my Dana Point deli for 22+ years.

Normally, a disappearance like this would raise cause for great concern for his well being. But, the events around Fitzgerald's departure would indicate he disappeared intentionally. Soon, people that Fitzgerald owed money to started to emerge and wonder what happen to their "investments." Now, two months later, it appears that Fitzgerald may have owed more than $2 million to investors and victims.

One man had sold his boat through Dana Island Yachts. He was owed $85,500. When the check he was given July 14 bounced, he asked Fitzgerald to make it right. Fitzgerald told him to return on Monday, July 21, and he would receive a cashier's check for $87,500, the extra two grand to cover the inconvenience. Fitzgerald disappeared that weekend, and the man is out both his boat, and the proceeds from the boat sale.

On July 21, black Monday in Dana Point Harbor, business at Dana Island Yachts started to unravel.

Three single moms who had individually invested, and were friends of each other who had encouraged each other to invest, found out that the more than $500,000 in loans they had made to Fitzgerald and Dana Island Yachts were most likely gone. It is difficult to say with any precision just how many others had made loans to Dana Island Yachts. It's predicted at least 20 to 30 others, with loans totaling more than $2 million, had likely lost money.

Another single mom, who had invested more than $100,000 in June, 2009, came to pick up the principal amount of her loan, only to find out it was gone.

And then there were the boat owners who had sublet boat slips from Dana Island Yachts--perhaps as many as 49 of them, many of whom had paid years in advance--found out they were losing their boat slips on September 1. And their advance payments were also gone. That could total another $300,000 to $400,000 in unaccounted for funds.

Also, the employees of Dana Island Yachts were left holding the bag. Salesmen due commissions were not going to get paid, and the office staff would be looking for work later in the week. No one received final paychecks.

These situations are just the tip of the iceberg. My intention is to dig into them and try to uncover some answers.

To date, a great deal has been written about the Fitzgerald case, most of which has been published in newspapers and in an electronic book (ebook), written by me. I also wrote a three-part series for the Dana Point News, which is a community newspaper owned by the Orange County Register. The links to these articles are in the link sections below. More links will be added as they become available. I will attempt to not repeat the information that has already been published.

This initial post is just the start. I encourage readers to make comments, which I will monitor. The blog will be updated almost daily.

Questions remain: Where is Fitzgerald? Will he be coming back? Will he face criminal charges?

Will people get any of their money back? Many of the "investors" are now "victims." Losing the money they entrusted to Fitzgerald has become a terrible hardship for them. They are hurt, devastated--and angry!

Of course there are two sides to every story. It is hard to tell Ed's side because he isn't around. I encourage him to contact me at TPBlake@aol.com or on my cell phone at, 949 412-4261.

To be continued...