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'Whiz Kid' Is No Phony

July 26, 1987

I have one comment to make about James Flanigan's July 12th column, "Once Admired, Entrepreneurs Face Skeptics"--We sure do jump to conclusions quickly, don't we?

Although I can see where entrepreneurs such as Barry Minkow, founder of ZZZZ Best, will now have to face "skeptics" (for good reason), Flanigan's closing remarks were truly disappointing. The closing of the column said that "phonies like Minkow" shouldn't make us lose sight of the pioneer spirit that America has over and above any other country.

Having known Minkow for nearly three years, I would like to reassure the public that Barry Minkow was not exactly a "phony." He was a walking billboard for the free enterprise system. He constantly encouraged people of all ages that there is no secret to success, just hard work. Barry was indeed a hard worker and could remove practically any stain from any carpet. Unfortunately, where there is "good" there is also "bad," and in this case the "whiz kid's" youth and naivete in the world of business worked against him.

KARI A. MAXWELL

Van Nuys

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