78-year-old Brent Sampson Wants What “Samuel Hartzog Stole From” Him
By Edward Snook
Pensacola, Florida – Now living in Thailand, with his American Dream shattered, 78-year-old Brent Sampson, has found happiness again, despite the fact that a former Florida Realtor took nearly everything from him. The US~Observer has conducted a thorough investigation and having validated Brent’s allegations, we have decided to publish the following story, partly in his own words.
As you read on, keep in mind that Brent worked very hard throughout his life, saving money to make property purchases. He had a close friend who had acquired a good retirement by investing in Pensacola property, so, at age 56 he decided to do the same. Brent located a Florida realtor to assist him, and the realtor had Brent sign a Power of Attorney so the realtor could make buy and sell for him. This ultimately resulted in the loss of his properties at age 63. At age 66 he moved to Thailand.
What a Former Pensacola Broker/Realtor Did to Me
Brent Sampson’s narrative:
While working at Kadena Air Base, Japan, I gave Florida Broker/Realtor Samuel Hartzog (Sam) my Power of Attorney (POA) to buy property and he got me two excellent homes at 2149 & 2133 Antillies St. in Pensacola. I was very happy with them. He knew I had my Utah home for sale (5980 S. 3100 W. Roy Ut). He wanted a quick sell of this home to acquire another great Florida property (2774 Chickering Road, in Pensacola) so he discounted my house by $20,000. He said it had to be done immediately to make the trade, therefore the need to discount it. For five years he told me and my accountant that the Chickering property was mine to list on my taxes. Later he said property in Florida was going down in price, so to stop my loss, he was going to transfer Chickering back into his name. I had never heard of anything like that plus it was bringing in a good income so I paid a lawyer for papers to stop Sam’s use of my POA so he couldn’t transfer it back – Sam said okay, he did not need the POA anymore. I’m sure Sam had a big laugh when I later found that it was never in my name in the first place and he had got away with stealing my Utah home money. I was told that Sam used my name to take loans against the Chickering house from Chase Bank. Chase sent me a notice saying they were taking it back because of nonpayment and had my name as being ‘In possession of the property’. The house was never in my name so Sam lied to me, my accountant, the IRS and to Chase Bank.
Right after stealing my Utah home money, Sam discounted my two excellent new Florida rental homes (2149 & 2133 Antillies St. Pensacola) so his friend/partner could re-sell them for a quick $85,000 profit. Both were new, had an excellent income and needed no maintenance.
2149 Antillies was bought for me on 4/25/2003 for $100,900. Sold to Gates on 12/10/2004 for $112,500. Gates then sold on 10/8/2005 for$160,000 – a $47,500 profit.
2133 Antillies was bought for me on 4/30/2003 for $104,900. Sold to Gates on 12/10 2004 for $130,000. Gates then sold on 10/8/2005 for$167,000 – a $37,000 profit.
But that wasn’t enough. Sam then did everything possible to lose every asset I had. He had to know that he could get away with anything to go to the extremes he did. He got me two 66-year-old run down replacement properties but without a 1031 exchange and without my permission. All my trading was done only with an exchange, so Sam wasted $12,000 in closing costs. I was forced to have the bank take one property back (9732 Sidney Rd, Pensacola) because of the giant negative income. It was commercial with a church and house. The church was vacant the first year. I later found that Sam did not care about it being vacant because he used this property for storage for his house-turning side business. He used the big Sunday school classroom plus he had a big storage shed placed in the yard for his own personal use and kept using the storage even after it got rented. All of the years he managed it, he should have been paying rent to me for using it. The bankruptcy lawyer I contacted said I should file criminal charges against Sam.
The second 66-year-old property (617 N. X ST. Pensacola) was in a ghetto and 100% unrentable. No one would ever want it. I had to have it demolished because of drugs and crime making it a liability only. The price for the vacant yard was reduced to just $5,000 but still no one wanted it. I’m 78 years old but have nothing to show for my 45 years of working, buying, repairing, and managing rentals. This is all because of Samuel Hartzog. But I’m told that a realtor has a fiduciary duty to represent his client. But now my loss is also because of my attorney Tony Washnock for allowing him to get away with it.
To find out about what the realtor Mr. Hartzog had done, I hired Attorney Oscar Locklin. He was prompt, professional and excellent. He gave me the following information: For Chickering, the property was never transferred into your name, and has been owned by Hartzog since 1993. This appears to be a fraud and should be pursued immediately. It appears that Hartzog stole your money. There is also potentially criminal and licensing penalties for Mr. Hartzog. Our firm handles many real estate transactions every month, and that is a large part of our practice. Therefore, the partners have instructed me that we have a policy of not suing realtors, even if wrongdoing is clear. Because they could not take the case, I hired Attorney D Anthony ‘Tony’ Washnock.
There were ten things Washnock said he was going to do. This is what I needed done and why I paid him, but he did not do one of them. He wasted my time and money.
1) I will try to get admissibility in court of the realtor Sam Hartzog’s arrest for aggravated assault.
2) I have every expectation of taking his license and his Chickering property (which he said was mine)
3) I will force him to pay a Florida law penalty of three times the theft of $35,316.26 plus interest, attorney fees and costs.
4) I’m sending subpoenas regarding the discovery from the Title Companies to track the money trails.
5) I will ask Sam for a full accounting of all transactions.
6) I will track every property and money trail.
7) As far as the $250,000, I may need to amend pleadings to increase the claim.
8) I will get a Court Judgment. I was told a court judgment would allow me to get a $50,000 claim against Sam Hartzog and/or a Florida victim’s fund.
9) When I am in a position to send the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation the complicated theft evidence, I will do so.
10) We are going to show the court that Sam should have to give you chickering property.
Samuel Hartzog’s Admission of Guilt
In hindsight, Brent Sampson believes that Attorney Tony Washnock could have been helping Realtor Samuel Hartzog avoid facing criminal charges and severe civil liability. We do not have any proof of this, but it sure makes sense. Regardless, Hartzog sent the following email to Brent on October 31, 2011.
Mon, Oct 31, 2011, 9:20 PM
I am so very sorry. I know you don’t check your email every day so I don’t know when you will get this email or if we will be in the middle of a court case when you do, but no matter when you get this, and no matter what happens, I wanted you to know from the bottom of my heart that I am sorry. I never could have dreamed things would go down this path and I would give anything to go back and take away any pain this has caused you. I remember getting your emails for years telling me about how you were having to endure the torture of going through your divorce and how terrible your ex-wife’s lawyer was being and all I wanted and prayed for was for you was to have it end so you could get on with your life and begin to enjoy it, as it is meant to be. You once said that all the stress that the divorce fighting caused you was so negative for your health and I know it is true. The last thing I want to do is add any more stress to your life.
In this last month, since I received the notice from your attorney that you were going to sue me for over $100,000. I have been living in the same hell you endured with your divorce. I don’t sleep at night except for 20 or 30 minutes at a time. I wake up at 2:00 a.m. or 3:00 a.m. and know I will not be able to get back to sleep but will just lie in bed and run through all the things I could have done differently. My mind races back and forth trying to figure this all out. I can barely concentrate on anything else in my life. I try every day to figure out where things took such a terrible turn that you could think I would ever intend to keep money from you. I read through stack after stack of email between us and try to piece together this terrible thing that has affected us both. And before I go any further I want you to know that I am not writing this to try avoid paying you the full amount of money you are asking from me. I have accepted that because of my failure to regularly and efficiently communicate with you, I have left myself open to your thinking that I have tried to keep you from what is rightly yours. This is not the case Brent. I fully intend to pay you the amount you have requested. As much as anything else, I am asking for your forgiveness for my failure to communicate better with you and to believe me when I say I meant you no harm. This letter is not just about money, it is about how I lost your trust and in the process lost a friend who depended on me to help him. It’s about how poor communications, for which I take full responsibility, caused you to believe me to be depriving you of what is rightfully yours. If you take nothing else from this letter I hope you will someday come to accept the fact that while I was terrible in keeping you up to date on all my plans for the properties and while I failed to describe in detail how I was going to make these properties profitable for you, I never intended for you to feel cheated. Since your attorney writes that you are intending to initiate legal proceedings against me I understand how terribly my lack of communication has made you feel to get you to this point. Again, for that, I am so incredibly sorry.
Obviously, since this letter to you is being written just days before you and your attorney probably intend to bring a suit against me it may too late to even ask this but would you even consider letting us settle this out of court? I was just hoping that since what you would be asking for in court is something I am already willing to pay to you as punishment for not doing a better job of communicating with you, that we could eliminate the necessity of dragging this through the court system if we can come to an agreement on how this money can be repaid?
While I was not able to pay you back the $101,586 within the 30 days I was given to do so by your attorney I am not objecting to the amount. And while I know that the reason the law allows treble damages is to punish someone for wrongly depriving someone of their property, I am willing to pay that same punishment for failing to do a better job of communicating with you. I am not contesting the fact that it is three times the amount owed in question I am just of the belief that we would waste time and energy and cause so much more stress in our lives that could be eliminated if we could just agree to a plan to get the money you are requesting to you in a timely manner without having the burden of interrogatories, depositions, motions and all the time leading up to the trial to further let stress age ourselves into an earlier grave.
Brent, the only two things I want are: 1) to be able to have you understand what I have known all along and what I can substantiate through the series of emails I have dug up from as far back as six years ago, is that I never intended to deprive you of one penny of your funds (while it might be hard to remember now, we (you, me, and the accountants) were in complete agreement on how we would handle things to best benefit your situation with the divorce you were going through, and 2) to be able to make you feel financially whole by paying you the money you are asking for no matter what that means I must do or sell.
If it is still possible, I would like to request that we at least attempt to work out an agreement on how to get your attorney paid, and you paid in a way that is acceptable to both of you and financially possible for me. Please see if you can find it in your heart to let us settle this matter in this way.
If you are still wondering why I would be willing to pay you three times the amount that is owed when I know my mistake was poor communication and not theft, you have to look at a few things that caused me to come to this decision. It is my hope that you will continue to read this so you can understand better because I believe it may also take some stress off of you.
As I wrote you earlier this year, at the age of 52 I have become a father again to a baby girl. While this is my second daughter, because of military deployments with the Marine Corps, the fact that we lived in different parts of the country and the poor relationship I had with her mother, I never got the opportunity to watch my first daughter grow up or share in all those beautiful moments parenthood provides. I feel God has now given me a second chance with my newborn daughter Sophia. She was born pre-mature and almost didn’t make it out of Sacred Heart hospital’s intensive care unit for newborns. To me it is a miracle that she is alive and in my life. Over the past months as I have gotten to watch her grow I have felt such a need to provide for her and look out for her in every way I can. She is truly a blessing to me and all I want to do is get this situation between us behind us so I can concentrate on being the best father to her that is possible. I am just trying to start a new life with her and her mother and would pray that you at least consider letting us work this out between us.
Brent, I hope this letter finds you well and that you will consider what I am proposing. By allowing me to sell assets here I will be able to get you ALL the money you are requesting. I could market my real estate at a price that would attract buyers and could get it sold in a timely manner allowing me to pay you back in a very reasonable time. If I knew of a better way to get this money to you any quicker I would do it but I do not. It is even possible that allowing me to sell the property myself will get the money to you FASTER than if we had to go through the courts. I will also attempt to borrow any money I can from any source I can, in an attempt to get you and your attorney paid even sooner. All I am asking for is a brief window in order to liquidate what I have to in order to get you paid. If you would consider this could you write me back and let me know that you are willing to at least try to work something out. If what I am able to offer you at that time is not acceptable you can always proceed with your suit against me but can we at least try to work it out first?
I appreciate all the time you took to read this and will wait for your answer in hopes that we can put this all behind us quickly and be able to focus again on the things God put us here to do.
The Bottom Line
Time has proven that Samuel Hartzog’s letter is nothing more or less than a scam intended to enable this crooked ex-realtor to avoid criminal charges and his having to pay back all of Brent’s retirement – his life savings – that he took. His letter is nothing more or less than a despicable, cunning attempt to avoid liability.
Editor’s Note: We are informed that Hartzog lost his Realtor’s License but is continuing to offer the public a “professional consulting” service. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Samuel Hartzog or his current activities are urged to contact the US~Observer at 541-474-7885 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.