Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Marcus Schrenker, evil genius

"And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?"--W.B. Yeats, "The Second Coming (Slouching towards Bethlehem)."

--We've topped the 1920s in every respect. Once, dumb formerly-rich people used to jump out of windows, off of ledges, or off of bridges. This was fine, and it had the dignified sense of not leaving such a mess. Schrenker wasn't from aristocratic-stock--he couldn't be, he's leaving too much of a mess.

Things are more complicated these days: Now, crooked and unlucky businessmen get into a plane, radio in a false distress signal, bail-out (pun intended), hit the chute, then somehow head North 225 miles to a pre-picked location in Alabama...to a waiting, rented motorcycle at a rental storage shed, and they disappear. See simple jumping-off a ledge is? They were smarter in "good-old-days." This guy wanted to be Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, to be able to enjoy the fruits of being dead without all the hassle. Who can blame him when it's "fight or flight"?

Having lost a Federal District case against one of his wealth management firms in Maryland, and knowing his assets were going to be frozen after December 31st, the time had come to face the music. Maybe read Twain in High School, but I'd imagine the lessons were lost on him. Anyway, his wife wisely left the schmuck before the events that began on Sunday...

This guy reminds me of all the morons I had to endure in college, and not people that I knew directly back then, but the business majors and that curious species known as the free market advocate, the Young Republican, the Chamber of Commerce cardholder, but really, the eventual businessman. Schrenker was this last sort of individual, a real card, no doubt, and he never really became a "real"one. Being stupid hurts, and Schrenker appears to have been "the stupidest guy in the room."

At 38, Marcus Schrenker is a creature I've met and know all too well. If you've ever had the misfortune of working for someone like him or entrusted your investments with his used car salesman (future politicians) ilk, you have my sincere sympathy and condolences. I'm sure you want that part of your life back too. Schrenker is that special kind of Midwestern jackass--the boss and
petit bourgeois personality who thinks that they're a god after they've made their first $1,000,000 (after taxes). Frequently, they start out in fast food, but that's a story for another time.

Yes, yes, I'm "just jealous"--it's true--but these folks know everything. Just ask them, but it's going to take a time machine to do it now, the hang-dogs. That's just how the market crashes, that'll learn ya'.

Time machine? No problem. The Republican Party has violated most human laws, so why not the laws of physics?
They appear willing and able. Yes, some people have a "funny" way of not thinking, and it's not just me. But hey, Schrenker (say it fast, win a prize!) could fly an airplane, he just couldn't run a sustainable business, that's all, no big deal. Perhaps he might have focused on his flying-abilities as a career--just a thought--but the former-business aspirant is at least getting more air and sunlight and experiencing some self-actualization.

Funnier still, I'm familiar with the city he took-off from--blessed Anderson, Indiana--which is not exactly the kind of town fit for human life (nearby Muncie isn't either), but a great place to build a Church (CHOGS occupy the town), discriminate against a Black person on the way home from work, or burn a cross on those hot weekends when the nits are biting. That the people there have almost no real culture, personality, taste, or intelligence, is a given, but not atypical of Indiana. Hey, at least it's a place where one has plenty of time to contemplate. But Anderson is a squalid town in a squalid part of the Hoosier state. Expect it to die almost entirely with the American auto industry along with a whole string of similarly stagnant Midwestern towns.

As is well known by now, Marcus Schrenker's
Icon Group ( along with his other "wealth" mismanagement "firms") was under an Indiana Securities Fraud investigation, partly because the fun is over with George W. Bush and most of the GOP leaving office, the other part because what goes up, must come down when you're selling lies and air. He chartered an airplane and flew it out of Anderson on Sunday, January 11th, ostensibly to fly down to Destin, Florida. Schrenker radioed a distress signal over Birmingham, Alabama. Unsurprisingly, he'd already rented a storage shed in Harpersville on that Saturday and placed a Yamaha motorcycle with loaded saddlebags. Maybe he's in Mexico by now.

Unlike during 9/11, military interceptors had actually been sent up promptly to--uh--intercept his plane; they got close to the aircraft before its crash, noting that a side-panel door was open and that nobody was inside, fancy that. FAA authorities authorized that the plane be safely put onto autopilot so that it could crash in an unpopulated area, God bless them. It was just one more mess left by the business community that law enforcement authorities are going to have to clean-up, an era of the lie. Lies are what this story is all about.

Like most of his life--and the lives and values of the average Indiana businessman--it was all a sad lie. He probably lied about the orgasms too. Schrenker wrote his neighbor Tom Britt: "I embarrassed my family for the last time. By the time you read this I'll be gone. ..."Hypoxia can cause people to make terrible decisions and I simply put on my parachute and survival gear and bailed out. [I] just made a 2 million dollar mistake...I did not tell them [the Alabama Police] about what happened as I was embarrassed and scared."
You could take the email at face value, and his comments to Britt are still going to be ridden with half-truths and outright lies. Of course he'll embarrass his family again. No, this not is amazing, and the full original must read like a Burroughs-Gysin cut-up thanks to its twisted logic.

What's not amazing is that Schrenker is clearly a pathological liar who cannot stop lying whether it benefits him or not, even in an ostensible "suicide note." He premeditatively bought the rental shed, put an also rented motorcycle in it, and is presumably riding it right now after his escape from the very stupid Alabama Police whom he earlier lied to, telling them he'd been in a canoe accident.
Exactly how do you get into a canoe accident and only end-up wet up to your knees? I would have noticed this, but I'm just being observant here. Unfair, I know. At that previous moment in Childersberg, he was 225 miles from the scene of the plane wreck in Florida.

Schrenker bailed-out (pun intended) of his plane D.B. Cooper-style (Cooper was smarter) and probably landed in a Florida swamp thanks to a trusty parachute he'd packed. There's every reason to believe he had some kind of vehicle waiting down there as he did in Alabama. The problem is, he didn't figure-in the fact that the FAA would take it all very seriously, or the fact that those investigating him were going put the word out there on him, that he was fleeing. Now, Federal Marshals are looking for him and he's left a very good trail for them to follow.

Now, in this, the final week of the Bush II administration, the
SEC and numerous other state, municipal, and federal law enforcement investigators can untie their hands for the first time in eight years and actually start shooting all the ducks in the mostly GOP-constructed barrel.

Schrenker is just a footnote, but his behavior has made him a noteworthy coda to an era of unparalleled business corruption under the Republican Party's stewardship.
He is a clown, but he's not the only one wearing a suit-and-tie and doing the ordering. Marcus Schrenker isn't likely to kill himself, he's too much of an egomaniac, he loves his ass too much.

Postscript, 01.14.2008: Told you so. He couldn't carry it out properly, and he embarrassed himself and his family again. Yes, he tried to kill himself by cutting his wrist, but you cannot be half-pregnant, he failed again. "dual personality" my ass, he was liar who led a double life, end of story. Good riddance to Reaganism, it's over folks, praise God.

$$$ In hoc signo vinces. $$$...

"Schrenker's wife issues statement," WTHR (NBC), Indianapolis, 01.14.2008:
"Delta filings unveiled adviser's shaky record," AP, 01.14.2008: http://www.ajc.com/services/content/printedition/2009/01/14/planeside.html

"Wanted pilot's life had been falling apart," AP, 01.14.2008: http://www.ajc.com/services/content/printedition/2009/01/14/planecrash.html

The statement from Michelle Schrenker's counsel:

"Michelle first contacted me this past summer to discuss a divorce from her husband because he was having an affair. At the time, she wanted to work on reconciling with her husband. However, he continued his affair and, as a result, on December 30, 2008, she filed a petition for dissolution of her marriage to Marcus Schrenker. Her decision to file for divorce was based on her husband's infidelity and in no way was based on the investment fraud of which he is accused. In fact, Michelle first learned of the allegations against him when, on December 31, 2008, the police and investigators came to her door to search her home. To Michelle's dismay, at the time her home was being searched, Marcus was in Florida with his girlfriend.

Clearly, Michelle and her three young children are victims of this man's deceitfulness as well. She is not guilty of anything other than trusting her husband of 13 years. Everyone should remember that Michelle and her children are suffering through a terrible time right now. Through no fault of their own, they are having to deal with the repercussions of this man's behavior and will be doing so for a long time to come."