History is ripe with financial mistakes that have not only left people broke, but have also altered the world. What would become New York City, was originally sold for about a thousand bucks today . Ford’s Edsel was a no go. Mars wouldn’t let E.T. eat M&Ms. There were the big mistakes that lead to things like the Great Depression and the current economic crisis.
Most of these shortcomings were do to momentary lapses of judgment, and scumbags lining their pockets.
Then, we have celebrities.
Whether it’s from a divorce (Paul McCartney), not paying taxes (Wesley Snipes), getting scammed (Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick), or just being a complete moron (MC Hammer, Nic Cage), they know how to blow their money.
Of course, there are the celebrities who take the mantra “it takes money to make money” to heart, like Jay Z. But many of these business ventures end up being a financial blunder.
6. Griffin Corp.
Archie Griffin has the distinct honor of winning two Heisman trophy’s while at Ohio State. He also enjoyed a NFL career with the Cincinnati Bengals.
But, he unfortunately miscalculated fans interest in his chain of sporting goods stores in central Ohio, which were forced to close in 1981.
Since Archie is a nice guy and all, he’s been able to bounce back and is currently on the board of directors for Motorists Insurance in Columbus, Ohio.
5. The XFL
In theory, the concept was solid.
A rougher football league that should have attracted football and wrestling fans. The league even had an agreement with NBC to air the games. After a decent opening week, viewers tuned out, and the league only lasted through it’s 2001 season. If Vince had done some research, it would have realized that no one has been able to tackle the NFL.
McMahon had previously failed in keeping his ACHL team, the Cape Cod Buccaneers, on the ice during the early 80′s. So, who knows if his proposed cable network will pan out.
4. Anything by Lenny Dykstra
Dykstra made a name for himself in the 80′s and 90′s as a member of the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies. Personally, he was on one of my favorite squads ever, the 1993 Phillies.
But, like so many other athletes, he lost it all. What makes “Nails” an exception, is that there was a time when he was being hailed as a financial guru. He was even praised by financial experts like Jim Cramer.
He owned a number of car washes, a high end jet-charter service, a magazine called Player’s Club (ironically, giving athletes financial advice), and was admired for his choosing of stocks, which he boasted on his site “Nails Investments”.
Turns out Lenny wasn’t a financial guru, just a fraud like banks, like Goldman Sachs. He was also hit by numerous lawsuits. Eventually forcing him into bankruptcy.
3. Planet Hollywood
When the former president and CEO of the established, global chain, Hard Rock Cafe has a business idea, it’s probably a good one. Robert Earl thought taking the Hard Rock model and fusing it with celebrities was money in the bank.
He quickly got financial backing by Hollywood Heavyweights Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, and Bruce Willis.
When Planet Hollywood went public in 1996, shares went for $32. Three years later, shares dropped to under a buck. From there, things went from bad to worse. Planet Hollywood went bankrupt. Then it made the sequel, Planet Hollywood: Bankrupt 2.
Arnie had enough sense to pull out of the project in 2000, so he could set his sights on ruining a state instead. Even though the chain is still around, it closed around 100 stores, leaving only 20 left in the world.
In retrospect, the three stars probably should have made a Rocky, John McClane and Terminator movie. Maybe the three heroes must protect John Connor from a disgruntled Ivan Drago, who has become a mercenary after his loss in Rocky IV.
2. Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Broke”
Samuel Clemens, known to us as Mark Twain, is perhaps the greatest literary mind we’ve had here in the States. Not only could he write, but, he also managed to make a pretty decent living at it.
Despite being a critic of the gluttony of the Gilded Age, a term he coined, Twain couldn’t help but get sucked into himself. Famous does sound better with rich in front of it.
Besides wanting to make some extra dough, Twain also had a love of technology, which most likely distorted his thought process for business investments.
He backed an invention known as the Paige Compositor, which was an automatic-typesetting machine. While fast, it was prune to malfunctions. Twain dumped so much money into the machine that he almost went bankrupt. He even blew his wife’s inheritance on the damn thing.
Twain also miscalculated with inventions, like a clamp attached to infants feet so that they wouldn’t kick off their sheets. He even started a publishing company, which had success in the biography of famed alcoholic Ulysses S. Grant, but flopped after a bio on Pope Leo XIII.
1. Apple Corps
In the late 60′s The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein gave the band a decision, create some sort of tax shelter or pay the British government ridiculous amounts of taxes.
The band went with the tax shelter plan., which would become Apple Corps.
The company showed promise, until Epstein’s death in 1967. After that, the four members of the band decided to run things themselves.
The result was described as “Western communism,” which sounded good on paper, but like all forms of communism, is just as effective as a British dentist.
Struggling artists, freeloaders, and hippies took advantage of the system. Artists begged for money, which they received. Employees went out to expensive meals, bought drugs, or just hung around and got a paycheck.
The band realized that if the status quo remained, they would lose everything they’ve made. So, Allen Klein was brought in to clean shop. After years of litigation, Apple Corps was salvaged, but at the expense of a Utopian dream. More disillusioning that the company was one of the factors to The Beatles disbandment.
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