Early readers of "I Am Facing Foreclosure" will recall that "Rich Dad" and "Rich Dad's Son" came into the picture in late October of 2006. The premise was that a high school friend's father was a successful real estate investor and had offered Casey Serin the opportunity to work alongside successful entrepreneurs and hopefully learn the fundamentals of business from them.
Casey Serin was to provide some technical support to the business and in return was given free office space. Casey took to calling the would-be mentor his "Rich Dad," after the Robert Kiyosaki book. His high school friend became, by extension, "Rich Dad's Son."
Around the beginning of June, I got an email from Dustin Haywood.
Hi, I'm the character known on Serin's blog as Rich Dad's son.
I like your take on the whole deal and I was wondering if your readers were interested in hearing from me?
Maybe I could help flush the story out for historical posterity as I have had a small yet influential role in all of this.
I haven't had the time to keep up with his blog as much as you and most of the regular readers/posters have, so there will be many things I can not comment on. I also have only seen or spoken to Casey a handful of times since he moved out of my office early this year. I can speak to how Casey and I met and became friends, what Casey was like in school, what renting a room out to Casey was like, how and why we grew apart, exactly how and why I helped him.
Don't expect a lot of venom from me, I still consider Casey a friend and I hope things work out for him.
Just so you know, you are the first and only blogger I have attempted to contact about this. If there is any interest, please let me know.
Me being me, I was naturally cynical and decided to ask a few questions. After all, I've never sugar-coated my belief that Casey Serin is a criminal and should be incarcerated for his crimes. As a friend of the fraudster's, particularly one whose father had played a guru role to Casey (according to Casey Serin, that is) why would he want to make nice with me?
Here's how the conversation with Dustin Haywood started out:
Aspeth: Thanks for the note. To answer your question, yes, I'm sure people would like to hear from you. My question for you is, why do you want to fill in your side of it? Why now?
Dustin Haywood: I noticed just the other day that my identity, along with my fathers had been revealed on Caseypedia and I'm sure elsewhere now as well. Now that we are "out of the closet" sort of speak, I'd like the opportunity to tell our side of the story now that our name is attached to it. I also understand a great deal of people find entertainment value in Casey's saga (I know I have), and I would like to reciprocate some of the enjoyment I've received from the community. I'm also a real estate insider, having bought and sold over 45 homes in the Sacramento area since I got started in this business 6 years ago, not to mention having the opportunity to closely observe my father grow his business during the last bear real estate market of the '90s. In that regard, I might be able to answer real estate related questions as well.
Aspeth: I'm glad you like my blog, but I'm sure that you've read some of my more unkind posts about Casey. So, while I would never expect you to adopt a similar tone, I'm curious why you would want to go through me.
Dustin Haywood: Whatever you have said about Casey, I've said far worse to Casey's face. Casey knows how I feel about his actions, but I see this period of his life as a dark time that many people face at some point in their life but eventually passes. The only difference is that Casey is allowing people to watch and participate on a grand level. I'm sure if he ends up going to prison, living in exile, or somehow pulling through, he'll be a better person because of it. The pressure he's been under the last 6-12 months is an unimaginable burden that has led him to make a lot of bad decisions and hurt of a lot of people around him. I know Casey, he's a well meaning person and a good friend, if anything he's a dupe and a patsy, not a criminal mastermind. Hard to hate someone you pity.
I wanted to go through you because of your intellectual appeal. I share many of your interests and appreciate your sense of humor. As far as your tone, I wouldn't be writing you if I thought it was over the top, you have every right for moral condemnation, as do all the so called "Haterz", but you go a step farther and try to determine what makes Casey tick. That's why I've come to you! I think once people understand what drives Casey, they will be better able to understand his behavior, and perhaps in a way their own. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I can think of no better blog then yours to help further that discussion in a meaningful way.
Aspeth: If you've followed the goings-on with other former associates that have come out to tell their version of events, the response from the so-called "haterz" has been overwhelmingly positive.
Dustin Haywood: I have pretty thick skin, but the haterz really don't have a legitimate reason to hate me. I did what any decent person would do by extending some help to a friend in need. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't being completely altruistic as I was also betting my time and money that Casey would bring value to our business sometime down the road. Casey didn't rise to the challenge to put forth the effort necessary to make money for our business, thus he received nothing besides a free office for a couple months, as well as advice and direction, similar to the kind the "haterz" have been espousing and Casey has been rejecting.
Aspeth: There are probably details and minutiae that people will want to know more about. You might not be comfortable with some of those questions, particularly if they relate back to your father’s business.
Dustin Haywood: I'll be happy to answer intelligent well meaning questions about myself and my part in this story. My father is the most ethical, well meaning, squeaky clean person I've ever met, so he has little if anything to hide. If there’s any question about his privacy, I’ll run it past him first.
And since my name is now public, we can use my name. I always thought the Rich Dad moniker was kind of cheesy anyway.
I’ve been corresponding with Dustin for the better part of the past month. My impression of him is that he’s intelligent, well-spoken, and incredibly level-headed. He has responded to every question I’ve asked him in a deliberate and thoughtful manner, sometimes incorporating topics that I wouldn’t necessarily have considered germane.
But in Dustin’s telling, we see a more rounded view of Casey Serin. I don’t know that anyone’s opinion will change from reading Dustin’s take, but it’s a chance to see Casey through the eyes of a close friend—one who obviously still cares a great deal about him, and wants him to succeed.
I do think the ‘haterz’ will have a newfound appreciation for the nebulous character known as “Rich Dad’s Son.” He’s not a character, not a scammer, not part of some wannabe guru family. He is, in my opinion, a hard working, bright person who provides a sharp contrast to the ideals and implementation of Casey Serin.