“We Exist for the People Outside These Walls”

This quote, as well as "If we help enough people, we don't have to worry about money" were two that I heard time and time again as part of leadership lessons. These quotes had been immortalized in the wall art at the corporate headquarters. This is also a place where we were given lectures about "tacit endorsements", and "due-diligence".

Two years ago (May 2021) my family was driving to Missouri to visit family, when friends of mine called to let me know that my former employer of 10 years was in the news again. Inside Edition had "ambushed" (his words) Dave in Dallas on behalf of former fans who had been scammed by one of the company's biggest advertisers, Timeshare Exit Team (TSET). These fans had heard the same thing I had heard time and time again (the show would be aired on the TV's in the break rooms): "if you've tried selling your time share ... if the resort refuses to take it back, call [TSET], the people I trust." These fans had argued that they only ended up wasting thousands of dollars with TSET because they trusted Dave's endorsement. That company that had been personally endorsed by Dave for years, failed miserably at delivering on their promise to do so.

Around that time, I had been writing more about my time there, processing what it was like to spend nearly 10 years working for a borderline cult, and included in the drafts on my blog was a post "Two Things Can be Scummy At the Same Time". This was referencing a phrase Dave used to address this event on his show. I was trying to process how the company I worked for, a company that repeatedly billed itself as one built on a "trust brand", kept supporting a advertiser that seemed to not be trust worthy. I never finished it that post, and moved on.

Later that year (September 2021), on the eve of Dave being deposed by the State of Washington, TSET settled their case. They were effectively shut down. They ended up paying a settlement, and had a bunch of conditions placed on them. Breaking those conditions would cause them to have to pay a large suspended pentalty.

Two years after this all started to come to light (May 2023), my attorney friend Melissa came across a new court case against Ramsey. He is being sued by these same fans from 2021, to the tune of $150 million. The lawsuit is being brought by the same attorney who represented dozens of fans and was interviewed by Inside Edition in 2021, Albert Law PLCC. This story has since been picked up by news outlets.

So (for the current employees), if you heard a rant from Dave a couple weeks ago about TSET or other "Trusted Providers" [as I have heard took place from some insider friends], this likely sheds some light on why he might have been a bit upset:

2. The Defendants, David L. Ramsey III (“Dave Ramsey”) and his Lampo Group, were paid tens of millions of dollars over the course of more than five years by Reid Hein’s media group, Defendant Happy Hour Media Group, to convince Ramsey’s loyal followers to buy into this scheme through the use of deceptive, incomplete, and false information that Defendants knew or should have known was false and deceptive in violation of Washington State’s Consumer Protection Act and the common law tort of negligent misrepresentation. Defendants have been unjustly enriched by their participation in this scheme and are subject to disgorgement of their profits.

Excerpt from Patrick v. Ramsey (2:23-cv-00630).

I try to not spend too much time thinking or writing about that place these days. I tried to wrap that up for the most part here. If I write something, it's usually to help my fellow former employees who are trying to process the crazy experience we shared. That, or it is to give an update to friends and family who are convinced that I worked for a cult.

One thing I've encountered in reconnecting with old work friends is that many of us have this moment where we question our own sanity. "Did Dave really say that?" "What was actually true?" "Was I crazy to think ....?" are common questions I've heard through the past few years as part of the sensemaking.

Recordings of staff meetings and other crazy rants by the man are hard to come by, but sometimes something makes it on the air that remind us the kind of "Christian" we were working for:

So this is why Timeshare [Exit Team] is not on the air anymore. But guess who's still on the air? Me! Me! And I'm sitting in a 300 million dollar, paid-for building, neck deep in cash, you jerks. Bring it.

Dave Ramsey, May 20, 2021

To the victims of TSET: It sounds like you are "bringing it". You, who placed your trust in Dave when he endorsed them, I hear you. I hope you can get a small bit of justice. The company and its CEO have the opportunity to show they "exist for the people outside these walls". He also is nearing retirement, and maybe will be spending more time reflecting on how he won that $300 million dollar building:

I have a goal to get to the end of my life and have one of the great joys be not only winning at business but how I won at business. None of us get to the end of our lives and think we should have done one more deal or made one more dollar; when your life draws to a close you realize what is important: people and how you treated them.

EntreLeadership, Chapter 11

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