Very wealthy women, particularly when they have been widowed, divorced or just alone, often like to team up with an interior decorator and buy a house. They pay too much for the house (it is never just a common middle-class house), and they spend too much on the remodel and decorating.
I have had numerous clients that followed this pattern. It’s a hobby. It’s great fun, and of course, the interior decorator makes a delightful companion when dreaming up how this house should look and what furnishings and accessories should be bought for it. In all my forty years of practice, I never saw a profit made on these ventures. Perhaps, that was not the goal.
In my early years of representing Ron Morgan, we would, by coincidence, have mutual clients refurbishing, redesigning or reselling houses and condos in such varied places as New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Dallas, Manzanilla or Puerto Vallarta.
I began to observe in these days Ron’s dual personality. Perhaps it was dual. Perhaps it was more than that. The ladies loved to go to “Market” with Ron in Dallas. They would naturally get quite excited as they dreamed up designs and would move leisurely with Ron from one Market outlet to another.
Interestingly, a common trait of these customers was that, though they spent a lot of money, they were always money conscious. They liked going to Market with Ron in Dallas because of the glitz, but Ron also had them believing that, because he had a license to get into the Market, he could make purchases “at cost,” and he would give them their purchases “at cost-plus ten-percent,” or they could just pay him for his interior design work.
I didn’t know it at the time, but it was quite a scam. It probably still goes on.
I write of Ron’s scam and how he came to get caught at it in my book: Observer: The Ronnie Lee and Jackie Bancroft Spencer Morgan Story, a tale of people, greed, envy, manipulation — even crime.