Shipwrecked on Mackinac Island


Due to the rainy weather in the Bay Area and technical issues with surveillance feeds, the exposés on Walter Ng and Bruce Horwitz have been temporarily delayed. So, today we will focus our attention on Jim Weissenborn and the crew at Mackinac Partners.

Click on the graphic above to take a closer look. Money. BIG MONEY, you guessed it. That’s why these guys are smiling.

When Jim call’s a meeting with these experts to discuss an issue with a property in the RE Loans portfolio, it costs a mere $3,275/hour according to Addendum B, submitted to U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Dallas, Texas. In just 3.5 months (9/15/2011- 12/31/2011) Mackinac Partners has billed $1,250,000 in fees and expenses. James Weissenborn (co-founder, age 55, $560/hour): Many of you know Jim from his warm and fuzzy “state of the portfolio” and “bucket list” letters to investors. A few of you got to see the “real” Jim with his red faced performance at a meeting with RE Reno investors in Walnut Creek. Mackinac Partners is Jim’s company and the staff will likely tell you, he rules with an iron fist.

The company name of “Mackinac” comes from the exclusive Mackinac Island in Michigan, known primarily for the gigantic leeches found on it’s shores. In a rel estate industry where most companies have tightened their belts in recent years due to struggling markets, Mackinac Partners has gone big. Since taking over the helm of RE Loans, they have expanded their staff over 20% and opened a new contemporary office (Brier Mackinac Realty Partners, October 2010) in Dallas, Texas. Farley Dakan (managing director, age 37, $440/hour, ): Farley swings a wild rodeo rope and makes a mean crawfish boil from his Phi Delta Theta fraternity days. He has worked with several real estate companies since graduating from Baylor University 14 years ago. Farley has bounced around and never seemed to last more than two-three years at any one place, until Jim picked him up almost five years ago. Farley signs all important documents and checks at the office in Austin, Texas. If you check his billing times in bankruptcy court documents, he milks things like a real Texas dairy farmer. Farley’s signature must be slower than a first grader learning to write cursive.

Ronald Rakunas (managing director, age 49, $430/hour): Ron has worked for Mackinac Partners for almost 3 years. What does Ron know about securing potential buyers for a portfolio of heavily leveraged, foreclosed commercial properties and projects, like the winners picked by Kelly and Barney? Not much. Don’t get us wrong, Ron has experience, as exemplified by his prior gig with Pulte Homes, a builder of luxury homes in Southern California and Las Vegas. Ron has lived his entire life in Southern California attending South Pasadena High School and living in Laguna Niguel, Newport Beach, Dana Point and Alhambra. It’s just Ron’s background is a bad fit and the properties in the RE Loans portfolio, smell like bad fish to his high end contacts. This is evidenced by loans L0336 and O0037, stinkers in his neighboring San Diego are still part of the RE Loans portfolio last time we looked at it.

Richard Dishnica (managing director, age 65, $410/hour): Rick is Kelly’s really close friend. Rick calls Berkeley, California his home and has strong ties to the Bay Area. We can only wonder if Rick was in the preferred payout plan for Ng/Horwitz family and friends. That would be terrible. . .right? He got his money out and is getting paid with your money. We are not sure how Rick hooked up with Mackinac Partners. Perhaps, Kelly probably ran out of checks and worked out a deal for Rick to sign on with Jim’s team.

Michael K. Brennan (director, age 48, $335/hour): Mike is relatively new to Mackinac Partners, probably hired about a year or so ago. His specialties are business marketing and development. Compared to the others, Mike probably underpaid for his accomplishments. Unfortunately, like others in the office, Mike may not bring much to the table in helping sell off the properties from the RE Loans portfolio. Now, the following staff members of Mackinac Partners will overwhelm you with their extensive experience. Seriously, if any of your kids were pulling down this kind of cash ($520,000-650,000/year) just 3-6 years out of college, you would be proud of them. The fact that Jim is willing to pay them this much money, kind of makes you wonder.

George Henderson (Associate, age 31, $300/hour): George came to Mackinac in July 2011, after getting his MBA in Finance in 2010. He struggled finding employment after getting a degree in Economics in 2003.

Joshua Holley (Analyst, age 25, $275/hour): Josh has been with Mackinac a little over two years after a 6 month stint with Bank of America.

Kyle Koger (Associate, age 25, $250/hour): Kyle was welcomed to the Mackinac four months ago. Matthew Matthews (age ~24 to 26, $275/hour): Matt is the most elusive Mackinac employee. Here’s our guess: Matt’s older brother or cousin Dan was let go by Jim in 2010. Matt is 26 years of age and was hired by Jim about a year ago. These are all people from Mackinac Partners that have billed time and expenses to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. There may be others and we apologize to those we have missed. It does not take a rocket scientist to see where the money is going. With ramped up FBI, SEC and Dept. of Labor investigations, 2012 cost of living increases, bonuses and overtime hours at the paper shredder, you can expect Mackinac Partners burn rate to be going up even faster. Keep in mind, they have been running things for RE Loans for almost 3 years. In fact, Jim is so proud of the job they have been doing with their management of RE Loans, they gave it top billing just two months ago in a personal letter to their clients and colleagues. “RE Loans, LLC…responsibility for a $700 million real estate portfolio”. Click the following link to read for yourself.

Last we checked, RE Loans was in bankruptcy and it is not (and never really was) a $700M portfolio.



3 thoughts on “Shipwrecked on Mackinac Island

  1. Now that the weather is clearing, perhaps we’ll see those other reports. I was quite surprised to find that the first return when googling Dr. Bruce Horwitz is his 5-star yelp rating! Perhaps his office staff is reviewing, because it’s hard to imagine one so skilled at extracting money from friends and colleagues could still be so trusty and helpful with small children.

  2. Sometime back in ’07 I thought the commercial real estate market is headed down and I need to get
    out. Then I received the notice that funds were not available from Bar K and ’08. Two of my closest
    friends said : “Don’t worry Bruce, the Eg’s are good people and it will be OK”. Well, they were more
    invested so I trusted their judgment. I do not blame them, they trusted the Eg’s as well. I saw the
    handwriting on the wall and didn’t act fast enough. It’s all hindsight now, my wife and I lost about
    $300K and were fooled into thinking the comittie was there for us. One of my friends said: “Forget
    it Bruce and move on. By the time the attorneys and Wells Fargo are done there won’t be Dime One
    left for us investors”.

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