View Full Version : Interview with "Emmett"

04-20-2009, 09:51 AM
As I've been a bit behind in interviewing those who have thrown their names in the hat, Kathianne has stepped forward and asked to do an interview or more. The first name on my list was Emmett and I think having Kath interview him was the perfect "match". It's nice to see a different perspective on the questioning. Emmett has taken the time to give some great answers to his questions and I hope you all enjoy. If anyone else wants to be interviewed, please shoot me a PM. If you would like to be an interviewer and ask the questions, please shoot me a PM..

And off to the interview. Thanks, Kath & Emmett!

After conversing with Jim, we decided it was a time to interview our newest staff member, Emmett. He's the only online friend I've met in real life, so I volunteered to ask the questions. It was a pleasure! He lives and has lived an interesting life thus far, as I think you will agree. Of course I began by asking if he'd be willing to answer the following questions:

I'm always game for anything and I am flattered.

Emmett, you are the only member I've met personally, quite an honor on my part. We had a great time, dinner and talk, (yes, ever the gentleman he insisted on paying. Curious minds may have wanted to know.)

Yes we did and a treat it was ! I was laid over in Chicago to deliver the next day and yes guys I got to take or should I say Kathy drove me to dinner. I had a great time. When I first joined USMB back in 04 Kathy helped me place some prospective on things at a very confusing and depressing time in my life. I see that a question here later addresses that so I 'll save the rest of the answer.

During that meeting I was able to peruse your first draft of the book that soon will be available to all, regarding your experience being the 'Repo Man'. I found the story compelling, I really liked what you shared with me about the magazine interview. Can you give our members a short synopsis of what you consider the main message?

The Book is entitled "The TakeBack Man", the true life story of the repoman. It is my autobiography about a life in the industry. Essentially I lay out a story that involves a natural path to becoming what many consider a most unnatural means of making a living. LOL. I start from childhood and explain this path for the reader so as to walk them through this trek from my prospective. A most unique set of circumstances led to my founding Auto Investigators of Georgia, Inc. at age 39, with the contents of a five gallon water bottle of change, after working in the business for many years. In six short years the company experienced a roller coaster ride of sorts. We were fortunate enough to have been afforded a wonderful ride. Within it's fourth year we were considered the fastest growing company in the repossession business nationwide. After swelling to five offices and operations in four states we unfortunately met our fate, which was due to a frivilous law suit. The book walks the reader through each stage, explaining the details of how we built the company, how we grew, the marketing, the investigations and I tell some very wild repo stories. The reader will be taken inside these investigations that led to the takedown of some of the largest auto and identity theft rings in the country at the time. I also tell of the circumstances which led to my being featured as the Recovery Agent of the Month for Professional Repossessor Magazine, which I believe I showed you Kathy when we met in Chicago. Of course I tell the in depth details involving the case that would eventually lead to our demise in August of 2004 just six years into our company history. During our fourth year we were offered 3,450,000 dollars for Auto Investigators by a corporation that owns Wrecker Services,Repossession Companies and other related businesses.

An autobiography is extremely hard to write. Especially if you really pen it yourself and you happen to be only a mediocre writer. I felt I had a good story to tell that would benefit people in a lot of ways. Its not a hornblowing story as I was especially careful to prevent this in my theme. Its a small town boy beats the odds and makes good story, aimed at the person who just needs a little confidence and a few tricks to cut the curves so to speak. There is a lot of action in it, sometimes hardly believeable but every detail is true. Had I not lived it myself I'm not sure I could even believe it. Methodology, many industry secrets and an in depth look inside the "real" repo business is of course its main theme.

I especially look forward to, and will feel truly honored to have my good friends here on DP read my book. I don't want to give anything away in this regard but many of you were so very helpful to me in the three years immediately following the tradegy that led to the end of my company. There are no words that anyone could muster that could properly describe how much I appreciate your words of confidence and friendship.

You told me a story about being a less than ideal teen, or should we say, a 'challenging teen', who was given a choice in filling out those later years in service to his country or another alternative. What did you get from the service and what did you give? Lasting effects?

Well Kathy...I was a challenged teen all right. By sixteen, I had ran away from home, was living in my own apartment in California, working and living a lie. If you have ever been fortunate enough to read "Catch me if you can" by Frank Abagnale you might get an idea. LOL. I was a little bastard. Just prior to my seventeeth birthday I was caught and brought back to Georgia. The Juvenile Referee, a wonderful and understanding man by the name of Frank Fulford in DeKalb County made me a deal. He said if I could pass a GED test the following day at the local Community College he would let me join the military. So, given the alternative of being locked up until I was 21 years old, I took him up on it! The US Navy took over from there! Ironically, after boot camp, I was sent right back to the same area I had lived in when I ran away. Some buddies and I actually rented an apartment in the very same complex I lived in.

During that meeting, which I'm very glad we had, you were in this area because of doing long haul trucking, not the best job you've had. In fact, you hated it. You've written great posts on why, some may have missed those, especially newer members or those perusing this site. Can you explain, within the limits allowed, why?

Well, I was sued. That is what caused Auto Investigators of Ga to sink. (Note: my company's initials were AIG. Is that ironic or what? LOL)

Immediately following the fall of Auto Investigators I bought a truck and set out hauling cars all over the country. It was a very trying for me. I'm a very family oriented person and being away from them at that particular time was extremely difficult. It was necessary however as I had many contacts in the auto industry and felt it was the only way to produce the type of income that would be required to sustain my children during a transitionary period. My son had chosen to stay in the repossession business so a new company was formed that would bear the family name. It was a much watered down version and lacked the business of our biggest client whom we had lost. The trucking company is what kept it afloat for the first couple of years. I worked 530 straight days right out of the box without a day off. This was actually the second time in my life that I had worked a period of over 500 days like that. One could probably go back and see some of the old posts on USMB and see that I was probably losing it there at one point. I was very bitter but somehow by the grace of the Heavenly Father I managed to endure it.

Many of us have great experiences with grandparents with our own children and some with their own. I've always felt I missed out by never having living grandparents, the last died shortly after my parents married. My own children's success as adults I credit in great measure to the involvement of my parents when times were hard. I believe your grandparents gave you many gifts, perhaps you would be good enough to share how they influenced you and made you the man/father you are?

When our grandparents die they take with them something that we just do not seem to have Kathy. Mine were wonderful people. Don't misinterpret my statements about juvenile delinquency as being a reflection on mine. The problem was 100% me! My grandparents were married for 60 years when my grandfather died in April of 77. My grandma lived on until 87. Neither one had ever been with anyone else before they were married. It was a precious and everlasting love affair between two very loving people. They took on the responsibility of me when in their sixties. I have to say that while I was the troubled kid whom I describe, I remained mindful at all times of my grandparents. I walked all over them basically but somehow I was able to keep the worst of my youth from them. They had no idea of most of my antics and frankly my grandmother wouldn't have believed it if you showed her a picture. She loved me unconditionally and I did her as well. My grandfather was a firm believer in the old fashioned traditonal saying that "big enough is old enough!" I worked a full time job at 14, owned a car and came and went as I pleased and that was fine with him. All he asked of me was I never raise a hand to an innocent person and taught me to always "become involved", to speak my mind and never leave a job incomplete. My grandmother asked me to never get a tattoo, which I have not or pierce my left ear like a lot of the kids in my generation were doing. I've kidded people and been kidded about the fact that I have been involved with four of life's lesser thought of reputations: A sailor, A trucker, I'm an avid biker and a Repoman who is long haired hippe with NO PIERCED EAR and NO TATTOOS. How about that one?

I know you have a very special relationship with both your son and his wife. Indeed, from our conversations I know you give his wife much credit with making him a better person and helping your family business. Not to mention her being a role model for your adored grandaughter, Lexi. I'd love if you'd expound on the father-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship. What it might add to a family?

When my son was sixteen he came to me and said......."Ah Dad....AH Ah AH....Ah. his lips were quivering and he looked a young man about to rush out in the first line at a machine gun nest" And I said, "she's pregnate isn't she?" In our family there is no decision to make or lesser of evils to figure or anything like that. Joe was 16 and Kristy (my beloved Daughter in Law) was almost 17. Everyone and I mean everyone in the families concerned thought differently. But to Kristy, Joe and I, we knew destiny had dealt these cards for a special reason. Kristy, like myself had grown up with her grandparents. We had that in common. I loved her from the first minute. Even as a teenage mother she was a doting overseer of her child. After Lexi was born, Kristy came to live with us and stayed until Lexi was four and a half. Kristy finished high School while with us but unfortunately Joe did not. One wouldn't know it to speak with my son today at age 29 as he commands the English language so eloquently. His vocabulary would make you think he was an English professor. They are still together, they defy the odds every day, have added my grandson Tyler(7), Lexi is (11) to the equation and we now work together as we always
have. My children have never held a job working outside the family in their lives. This does concern me so every day is do or die for us as we continue on a mission that absolutely contains no room for failure. Kristy is the nucleus of the entire thing. If it were not for her I have no idea where Joe and I would be today. She wears a lot of hats. A brilliant child. From her phone voice to her quick witted investigative skills, mother, teacher and wife, she is a truly incredible kid. The children reflect it and Lexi is a complete clone of her mother. I don't think the kid has ever made a B, she missed one school day when she broke her arm and has been in the newspaper having won spelling bees, head of 4-H, Drama Club and is soon to star in another play coming up soon. She's done so many I can't even remember which one it is. All I know is she has had to learn the part with a British accent which she has been practicing for weeks. We have attributed Lexis' progress as being the result of Kristy being able to be home with her and not utilize day care. The kids come to our office every day after school where they see what their family does and have the opportunity to share in helping out. I know this is unconventional nowadays but like my grandfather said, "Big enough old enough!"

It's obvious from all you've posted over the years, you've been an active and concerned parent. I believe that for some years, you were a single parent of a son? Obviously a good job was done there, everyone is thriving. It would be great if you could give some advice to dads, whether single or not on how to perhaps address the issues that arise during the 'teen years.' Women pipe up quite a lot, but this intrepid interviewer will say, I'd wished at times that the kids heard from more than 'mom.' Men are needed in the raising of children, many think sons, but I'll say daughters as well. You didn't have a daughter, but the imput may help all.

Ah Kathy...the truth is, I haven't been that great a father. if I had it to do over I would change a lot. I was a single dad and raised Joe from age four on. I also adopted another boy, Matthew, now 30, when he was 14. Well...that is when it became legal, he actually always lived with us. Not having any brothers or sisters and being from a small town it was challenging at times for me to juggle my schedule. Fact is, if DFACS would have known some of the things I had to do they would have removed joe from my custody. Joe was latch key at 9 years old sometimes. He like me got into a little trouble, nothing like my childhood, but somehow I always managed to cut it off at the pass. The Chief of Police in our little town was a very close personal friend of mine and helped out a good deal. My neighbors helped me and i would always lend out a room for free rent to have someone at my house at night while working in the field as a repoman. In a small country town like ours it is a bit easier. This is why I left Atlanta after my divorce. On the positive side we were very active in the community. I coached Youth Sports, was active in PTA activities and served a year as President of the Booster Club at Joe's school. We were sort of the community's bachelors of sorts, men about town if you may, and life was wonderful in our little town. I sort of got into the repossession business because of my schedule. It left me days to do these type of things and I didn't have to go to work until Jow was about ready for bed.

A father in the home is imperative. No child should ever know the horror of a broken family. We are all so selfish in this regard. Not so much that we can't find the inner fortitude to work harder on our marriages so much, it's just that we don't choose our mates properly. The trickle down effect of the loss of the fundamental 50's family, where June cooks breakfast for the Beaver, is destorying our country. Men just lost something in the 60's and 70's and it snowballed after that. Spousal abuse, two parent working families, and so many other factors just slowly deteriorated the sanctity of family. I remember when I was coaching ball I would look over in the bleachers at practice and see the moms...but the dads weren't there. Some years I couldn't even find an assistant coach for some of the teams. It bothered me and I swore that given the situation I was in I was going to make certain that the next generation of my family was going to beat these odds. It has been my most important goal in life. I never knew my father Kathy, having been born an illegitimate child in the 50's, so each time I pull into my son's driveway I thank God that at least together we have accomplished the only thing in life that really ever should matter. Finally...we have a family. My son has a 2.3 kid, 2 car, 2 garage, straight A, one furry creature loving family AND.... a zero turn commercial Cub Cadet lawn mower to prove it! For whatever part I played in this I am truly blessed and thankful.

Notice the next time you ride through one of those little towns, the baseball field in spring. I know I have used this analogy before but its just the one that comes to mind. The damn ivy growing on the backstop. The absence of the little boys bicycles leaned up against it at 10:30 in the morning. The kids are at home, probably laying around in bed or playing video games. Their one person parent is probably off working their second job and won't be much of a factor this day. For too many kids, dad won't be there any time! Moms today, like yourself, have due to the times been forced or worked into becoming both parents. Our government has become the sudden policy maker for families. What should we expect our families to become? Its a shame. Until we marry better, become more responsible and step up to the plate, this won't get better.

I know I'm being lengthy but I have to mention this because it's something that dear to my heart. My biker group (no names mentioned) sponsored a children's home for children who were sexually abused. I can barely even type this right now as I've had to clear my eyes several times..I can't even mention the name due to the secrecy of it's location and persons involved. I mention this though because I had the chance to see first hand the devastating result of misguided and criminal intent in such a demented fashion. Every time I would look into the eyes of one of those innocent little souls I asked myself many times how in God's name could things like that happen to children. I mean...what the hell are we thinking?!!! Was this the kind of thing that always happened and was just covered somehow or is it the culmination of a failed society of parents who sold out thier children, didn't teach them correctly, left them idle to grow into monsters or failed to just do that one little thing, or have that one conversation or show the concern that would have nurtured them into normal people? People may think me too melodramatic in this regard however i think the things that we find detestful today are a result of our misgivings as a parental society yesterday. We must rebuild the American family in order to overcome yesterday's fallacies. This must be done one child at a time. I would ask that eveyone who can to take even an hour a week to be involved in some sort of community effort to benefit our children. Boys and Girls clubs, Church and other organizations are nothing without the solidifying effect of our input. Sometimes just the simple act of showing a fatherless boy how to sharpen his knife or build a fire without a match can be such precious time that he may otherwise have spent learning how to sell crack or steal. If you don't have the time maybe just a few dollars can also be so precious a resource. I had to plug that.

Changing gears, (ie., get ready for whiplash), while you always hang back, some of us have noticed you've become quite the Libertarian. ;) What does that mean to you? How does your view differ substantially from the conservative point of view?

I'm gonna spare yall another long answer. Trying to continually explain to republicans what part of the agenda they are forgetting is getting harder. It is so frustrating! Conservative people are good folks. They seem to care about the important things and this is of course vital to the survival of American life. Mr. Obama was elected by minorities, young people, college kids, first time voters and radical left wing thinkers. The elasticity of the voting blocks has really gotten gooey. People with completely different agendas have poured money into Democrats causes. Republicans had a majority in the House, the Senate, the Supreme Court and a President, all at the same time. Now one would think that this is a can't lose situation. Actually...it's a guarenteed to lose situation. We need more than two choices. I don't think the right lost it's majority in 2006 for the reasons I hear the anylists saying. We lost it was lost because all it could be was lost. What was to win? All you gotta do is stand up there and scream"change". Change to what? The other end? Flip the coin over and look at tails for a while. A serious third party would make thinkers out of voters. A 12 to 15 % party would change the agenda of the left and right back toward the middle so fast it would make your head swim.

I don't call myself a Libertarian to be a troublemaker or naysayer. I'm a "real" Libertarian! I believe when we compromised that very first time, when we allowed liberty to be encroached upon in any way at all, we were on a fast track to here! Of course history will prove this point correct and in essence already has. Eminent Domain, Taxation without Representation, Social Welfare and Entitlements, I can go on and on. Most conservatives know a gap has been created that is hard to fill. I personally think based on what I see people say here and everywhere that if a lot of conservatives felt confident that 10 or 12 million other people were going to vote Libertarian...they would too! Where they falter in thought is to understand that with an influx of this amount it would change the basic face of the LP also back a bit to reality. I agree with manyof the arguments that the LP is filled with fanciful wishing, an unaccomplishable agenda and radical beliefs. I openly admit this. But that is the case because the stage has been set for this. The Republican Party left it's members and abandoned many of the core beliefs in order to compromise again and again the Liberty of the American people. People don't want their bank accounts monitored. They don't want to be stopped in traffic and held on the side of the road because they have a bumper sticker that is unpopular with the majority. I don't want to answer any questions of a police officer about where the hell I'm going or what I'm doing. If I've committed a crime, or you can explain breifly why you think I have committed a particular crime, fine! Otherwise, I'm leaving! And I mean it! I'm not going to sell the soul of a dead American soldier to you for any price what so ever! I'm sorry, if someone thinks me a radical for saying this, so be it. It was pretty damn radical when that boy's body was blown to bits while he thought he was fighting for my right to move around anywhere I want to in this country and live in the only place on earth where a human being can truly do that. That is our very soveriegn base. Freedom! Freedom to do whatever the hell I want to as long as I don't hurt someone else.

As a Legislative Director for ABATE (American Bikers Active Toward Education) I have for years fought a worthless battle here in Georgia about the Freedom to Choose to wear a helmet or not. Not understand, I think if you ride a motorcycle down the expressway without a helmet on in Atlanta traffic...you're just stupid! However...that said, I still think a person should be allowed to choose. I mean hell....rockclimbing is dangerous. Let's put nets under em! Let's put body armor on drivers of cars. I mean...you'd be safer? Come on..argue with that. So let's make it law. It'll serve the common good. Way less burden on the taxpayer. I mean the shit we do is just unreal. Government can't the people's caretaker, or their damn parents.

We are training an entire generation (again) to be lazy. Government will do it for you. Don't spank your kids, we'll teach em the right things when we get em in school. We'll teach them how to identify the opposite sex's body parts. You needen't worry! We'll teach them to be sensative, fear the enviornment, forget about God, get the pill, hell....we'll even arrange an abortion for you Miss 14 year old and we WON't tell your mom. This kind of Government dependancy creates a theater that shows a horror movie for sure.

Education beats Legislation every time! Build back the family, you lose the need for laws.

How do you think President Obama and his administration have performed coming up to his first 100 days? Do you think the country is heading in the right direction? Why or why not?

They've done about what the majority that elected them wants. i think some Democrats are disenchanted with the spending but overall...we live in seemingly Leftist country at this point. I know you guys hate hearing it over and over but if 10 of the 50 something million that voted for McCain, had voted Libertarian (it doesn't matter who the candidate is at this point), we'd be looking at a different situation. Those Democrats and Republicans up in Washington would still be sitting around with mouths open trying to figure out how in the hell it happened. Soon afterward, the think tanks would be busy trying to figure out how to court the Libertarians. Hence, the agenda would get more attention than even if McCain had won. Even if he did win, hell...he's a damn Liberal. My friends, there could have easily been 90 million relatively or at least somewhat Liberal voters just now. That is scary as hell.

Predictions for the mid-term elections? Change in house? Senate? Will the state houses become more pro-Obama or anti?

In 2006, several of the democrats who unseated Republicans..sounded somewhat like Republicans. This was pitch ploy no doubt but the House isn't exactly enjoying record setting approval numbers. Pelosi is a joke. Even Democrats know that. She tried a little bit of testing Obama and realized her base wasn't base baby. He ate her lunch.

With some luck, maybe we'll get back some of the seats that will send a message to Obama that he's out there in left field. Do I believe this? Hell...I don't know. We could hope. But hope my friends...is not a course of action!

Looking way ahead to 2012, what do you think will determine if President Obama is re-elected or not? Chances?

The mid terms will play somewhat. Obama is a popular guy. Iran perhaps. Maybe when he is tested with a real problem that Democrats can't lay on the steps of George Bush we might begin to see some sense come from these people. I also see the sharpest increase of black turncoating coming when some realize he can't make their house payments and car payments. Then the key is the health care issue.

What do I think will happen? He'll be re-elected in a much closer race over the Republican who will win in 2016. Won't be Sarah Palin. She'll be a US Senator by then. I sort of think Newt will make a go in 2012 for the nomination but will end up the VP candidate.

One more 'change of venue.' You've recently become a moderator, welcomed by all on staff. Where would you like to see this board a year from now and how do you see us 'getting there'?

More members...more dialogue. Less bickering. More input by some of the old members who haven't been coming around.

Goal / 2000 members by Dec 31, 500 active on a regular basis. 200 of them claiming to be Libertarians.......lol!

Ok, one trivia question you are to answer. Your motorcyle is customized differently than most. Tell the story!

I have several Harley Davidson motorcycles but my 1994 FLHTCU (Ultra Classic) is completely covered with cartoon characters. They were oil painted on the original painted surfaces by Lisa Neal from Meridian, Mississippi. Truck Drivers on here might want to check out her beautiful painting of the Magnolia Plantation thathangs in the resturant at the Queen City truck Terminal in Meridian.

I came up with the idea because I love cartoons. I also love to watch cartoons with my grandchildren. I wanted to personalize my motorcycle in a way that would not leave me having to explain to them what I had done or make them ashamed. I do not display the St Andrews cross on any of my apparell or any of my motorcycles as it is offensive to African Americans (my choice). I do not debate the issue of whether it should be. Frankly I don't care. I've seen all the skull heads, naked women, feathers, wolves, indian thems and offensive pictures I could think of at bike rallies, I wanted to come up with something that would be different.

In his earlier years, (Harley), as "he" is affectionately named (my bike is not a she), competed in many a bike show. Instead of the typical "Hands off" and "Don't touch" and all that I would place an index card on the tank which read, "Please feel free to sit on and place children, take as many pictures as you like." This had led to it's being one of the most photographed motorcycles in the world over the last fifteen years. While I was on the way to California last year a woman came up to me in a rest area in Arizona and showed me a picture of it she had taken many years earlier. I was 1675 miles from home.

I am a frequent visitor to a nursing Home in Gainesville, Georgia where Harley always draws a large crowd when I go to visit my friends there. On many occasions I have taken some of the folks there for rides....for many, it has been their first ride on a motorcycle. In 1998, I had the privledge of riding a 100 year old woman with me who had begged her family to please let her ride that beautiful cartoon bike that comes here ridden by that sort of ugly long haired fellow. We went to Dairy Queen, had a milk shake and then to an antique store to browse. It was one of the best dates I have ever been on.

Sorry so long but y'all know me!