All I’ve got, I had to steal

The wine industry has no idea what they’re in for.  I know.  I’ve been preaching the gospel to deaf ears.  I will find no solace in a “I told you so”.  Wine will be changed forever and not in a good way.

Wine Enthusiast just awarded Bill Foley Man of the Year.  My personal disappointment in this decision runs so deep it’s palpable. OK the fact that Wine Enthusiast thought that calling him “humble as he is an established leader” makes me want to vomit.

Foley is raiding the wine industry just like he raided Carl’s Jr. way back when and the title industry in the mid 80’s.  Consider this, in the mid 80’s the real estate industry was in the crapper and Foley bought Western Title, the benchmark for title insurance in California at the time.  Then he continued his raiding ways and built Fidelity National Title.  How many thousands of qualified title and escrow professionals are out of work because of his management style?  How many thousands were laid off, stripped of their benefits and then brought back at a third of the salary with no benefits to their old job?  You are all out there.  I know that.  How many times do I have to tell the same goddamn story to the wine industry?  By the time y’all hear me it will be too late.  It makes me sad for California wine.

Three days later Fidelity National Financial announced their earnings.

2010 was a successful year for FNF on a number of fronts. The Title business experienced strong refinance volumes due to the low mortgage interest rate environment, and we continue to closely manage our expense levels, producing our strongest title earnings and pretax margin in a number of years. The fourth quarter was particularly strong, with a 13.8% pretax margin. The strength of our 2010 earnings allowed us to set our annual 2011 common stock dividend at $0.48 or $0.12 per share per quarter based upon a 2011 dividend payout ratio of 30% of 2010 earnings. We remain the largest and most profitable title company in the country and despite a potentially more challenging environment, we are focused on producing strong title insurance earnings in 2011. ~Bill Foley

I bet it doesn’t feel that way for the poor schmucks that are grinding out a living working for that guy.  Not counting the 300 people who are going to lose their jobs, probably right about now.  We all remember that Foley’s compensation went up 171% in 2009.  Wonder what his increase was last year.

Dear Wine Industry, WAKE THE HELL UP!

2 comments for “All I’ve got, I had to steal

  1. titleslug
    February 6, 2011 at 12:44 am

    . OK the fact that Wine Enthusiast thought that calling him “humble as he is an established leader” makes me want to vomit

    It’s not ok to use as when you mean because. If they’d use because, it’d be nonsense all the same!

    Foley chills the ground with every step. You’re right, they have no idea.

  2. MinnItMan
    May 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Mr. Foley repulses me, too. But, in a way, he was an antidote (ultimately poisonous one) to a bloated and corrupt industry that lacked transparency. He turned it into to burger-flipping, and increased the corruption, reduced some bloat, and made it the muddiest of muddied lakes. But it’s different now.

    I’m not a wine guy, but I could be. I like it. I think I get art. Wine, in particular, is ammenable to mass-production about as poorly as anything could be – sorta like title – that’s my out the rear assessment.

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