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Firm Marketing 'Get-Rich' Books Folds Under Debt

October 30, 1985|JAMES BATES | Times Staff Writer

A Westlake Village firm that promoted author Albert J. Lowry's books, seminars and television programs on how to get rich by investing in real estate has closed under pressure from creditors, the company's chairman disclosed Tuesday.

Success Development Institute closed in the face of $2.5 million in debts and has dismissed all of its 30 employees, Chairman David Hart said.

It was unclear whether Lowry, 58, who founded the business in 1973, was still involved in running the company.

Hart said that Lowry, who could not be reached for comment, sold it two years ago and has not been an officer of the company since then. Hart said that Lowry's only continuing role with the company was selling products such as cassette tapes that were produced by Success Development.

But a document filed by the company March 18 with the California secretary of state lists Lowry as the company's chief executive, chief financial officer and its only director.

Hart is listed in the records as the company's secretary and as "agent for service of process," or the person to whom legal documents are served. Records also show that the company was called Lowry Group Inc. until June 11, when it changed its name to Success Development Institute. On July 1, the company sent a letter to creditors disclosing that it was on the verge of bankruptcy, with debts of $2.5 million offset by cash and property worth only $45,500.

Lowry is one of a group of authors and lecturers who advocate seeking financial independence through real estate investing, often with no down payment. He is the author of such books as "Hidden Fortunes in Real Estate" and "How You Can Become Financially Independent by Investing in Real Estate."

Hart said the company's largest creditor is American Express, which is owed about $550,000 in credit card charges for the costs of putting on seminars. He said American Express officials told him two weeks ago that, because of the debts, they would not release about $115,000 that Success Development customers had charged to their American Express cards. In addition, he said, Wells Fargo Bank froze a Success Development account after running a credit check.

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