NEWS OF MY DEATH . . .WAS GREATLY EXAGGERATED: How I Survived the Texas Crash and My Financial Strategies for the '90s' by Craig Hall

NEWS OF MY DEATH . . .WAS GREATLY EXAGGERATED: How I Survived the Texas Crash and My Financial Strategies for the '90s'

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A grippingly detailed, often inspiring story of how a consequential enterprise endured and recovered from hard times. Hall achieved billionaire status in the real-estate game before he was 40. During the mid-1980's, however, his Dallas-based empire was hit by a triple whammy: an overnight slump in energy prices that depressed Sunbelt property values; a convulsive shakeout in the S&L industry (an important, even vital, source of funds); and changes in federal tax law, which all but eliminated the economic advantages of leveraged investments in real estate. In relatively short order, the author's principal corporate vehicle (Hall Financial Group) was confronting a potentially ruinous liquidity crisis. While Hall had anticipated the onset of cash-flow problems, he ruefully concedes to having gravely miscalculated their duration and extent. By his persuasive account, he was concerned mainly with protecting the interests of the individuals who participated in limited partnerships that provided HFG's investment capital. In the event, Hall managed to keep himself as well his backers out of bankruptcy court and in a position to prosper again, in large measure by battling heavy-handed government agencies to a standstill and renegotiating a wealth of syndicated loans with anxious lenders who were also under regulatory pressure. In recounting how he staved off disaster with the help of loyal, hard-working associates, Hall settles scores with careerist bureaucrats, panicky creditors, arbitrary judges, grasping attorneys, and other recalcitrants who failed to view HFG as a viable, much less going, concern. Nor does the author soft-pedal the role he played in his company's brash with catastrophe. In 1982, the sometime Wunderkind published a guide (Craig Hall's Book of Real Estate Investing) that candidly reviewed the pros and cons of property commitments. Here, he offers an equally forthright appraisal of what it takes to cope with the field's risks. Instructive fare for would-be Donald Trumps who need reminding that markets are not topless affairs.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1990
Publisher: St. Martin's