USOBA Says It’s Better Than TASC. What’s Up With Prism Venture Partners and New Beginnings Debt Settlement?

It seems like the ties between USOBA and TASC keep getting closer and closer. The other day we had the recent press release from the two of them, here, and now USOBA announces a conference sponsored by the law firm that the TASC President Robby Birnbaum is a partner of. – Source. Seems like Greenspoon Marder want to take over the debt settlement world.

My favorite quote of the press release from USOBA is this one:

As the industry’s leading trade organization, USOBA will educate attendees on the value of accreditation, including ethics standards, self-regulation and other best practices. – Source

And now we know who thinks the are “all that.”

So if USOBA proclaims to be THE leader who would be the followers? Would that be TASC and all the others?

What seems just so silly is the last USOBA conference was held at the Four Seasons in Florida and they got bad press from the New York Times for holding it at a swanky place.

For the companies that promise relief to Americans confronting swelling credit card balances, these are days of lucrative opportunity.

So lucrative, that an industry trade association, the United States Organizations for Bankruptcy Alternatives, recently convened here, in the oceanfront confines of the Four Seasons Resort, to forge deals and plot strategy.

At a well-lubricated evening reception, a steel drum band played Bob Marley songs as hostesses in skimpy dresses draped leis around the necks of arriving entrepreneurs, some with deep tans.

The debt settlement industry can afford some extravagance. The long recession has delivered an abundance of customers — debt-saturated Americans, suffering lost jobs and income, sliding toward bankruptcy. The settlement companies typically harvest fees reaching 15 to 20 percent of the credit card balances carried by their customers, and they tend to collect upfront, regardless of whether a customer’s debt is actually reduced. – Source

So where is USOBA going for their next conference, Las Vegas. And not just any spot in Las Vegas, but at the “majestic Wynn Las Vegas resort is a AAA Five Diamond winner.”

What’s wrong with Peoria or how about helping out some Gulf of Mexico hotel to recuperate from lost revenue after the oil spill?

I realize that USOBA isn’t putting on this conference, just attending but certainly someone there must have thought this wasn’t a brilliant idea. Maybe it was the same person that authorized the press release saying USOBA was better than TASC as the leading trade organization? Question, why doesn’t the debt settlement “leading trade organization” publish who it’s members are?

Here is Where it Gets Odd

I was also curious, the domain name for the conference, debtsettlementleadership.org, is owned by Prism Venture Partners. They describe themselves as:

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Prism Venture Partners, LLC is a real estate advisory and investment firm active in four main disciplines: (i) loan advisory and restructuring for financial institutions, (ii) litigation management and consulting, (iii) asset underwriting and advisory services and (iv) principal investing. – Source

Why would they be putting on a debt settlement conference or own the domain name for it?

And then I figured it out, Prism Venture’s Ward Welke is the President and CFO of the debt settlement company New Beginnings Debt Settlement. – Source

What was interesting is that J. Peter Paganelli, another partner with Prism Venture Partners is the one that was originally listed as a managing member of New Beginnings Debt Settlement when they original registered in Florida. – Source. It wasn’t until 2009 when Paganelli stepped aside and Ward Welke took over as the managing member. – Source

Here is where it gets weird. The third partner of Prism Venture Partners, Richard J. Sabella (source) is the managing member of a company called DS Support Services Unlimited, LLC at the same address as New Beginning Debt Settlement. – Source. I’m left wondering why all the partners of a “a real estate advisory and investment firm” are so active in a debt settlement company?

Bonus question, guess who owns the domain name for New Beginnings Debt Settlement company? If you guessed Ward Welke at Prism Venture Partners, you win.

USOBA, You Still Reading?

And if someone from USOBA is reading this right now can you please go back and answer my responses to your comments on this story?

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