By now perhaps you’ve read Kurt’s story in our January issue. It’s good stuff. But it’s not the whole story. Just as we were going to press, Kurt called with a detail we couldn’t squeeze into the print version. Jump for the tale:
The flimflam man in our story goes by the name of Jim Flaven. After he conned Henry S. Miller into putting together a $100 million real estate deal that he could never have financed — and which, consequently, blew up — Flaven vanished. But Kurt, even after he filed his story, kept trying to track the guy down, ask Flaven his side. Kurt left messages at every known number for Flaven, mostly on the East Coast.
Then, just as we were sending our story to the printer, Jim Flaven’s cell number showed up on Kurt’s caller ID. Here’s the gist of conversation, as Kurt reported it:
CALLER: “Hi, I’m Jim Flaven’s brother. I’ve got his phone and see that you’ve called and left messages for him. Jim has had a breakdown and has been institutionalized, with no access to a phone. So I was calling to see what you wanted.”
KURT: “My name’s Kurt Eichenwald, and I’m working on a story for D Magazine about your brother and a bogus real estate deal he was involved with in Dallas.”
KURT: “Listen, this is a bad time for me. Can I call you back? What did you say your name was?”
CALLER: “Brian Flaven.”
So Kurt hangs up and tracks down Brian Flaven’s unlisted home number. He gets Brian on the phone.
KURT: “Brian, this is Kurt Eichenwald. I’m a writer in Dallas. Have I ever talked to you before?”
BRIAN: “Um, no. Why do you ask?”
KURT: “Because someone claiming to be you called me from your brother Jim’s cellphone.”
BRIAN: [after a pause] “We disowned him a long time ago.”
Anyway, as I say, it’s a great story. Check out the full version, if you haven’t already.