My mother always used to say…
“There is no ill wind that doesn’t blow in some good.”
I checked on the original wording of that sentiment and it’s actually different wording with a different meaning. But I far prefer Mom’s version.
Over the years, this expression has taken on more and more meaning as I have noticed that whenever some sucktastic thing happens– eventually something great comes from it.
And without the yucky thing happening first, the really great thing wouldn’t have happened either.
As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t be writing you right now, if some of my life circumstances had been different. Absolutely true!
It’s given me a lot of comfort in recent years to know that whatever river of shite I’ve been forced to swim through; it only means that there’s probably a little paradise waiting for me, just out of view.
OR, it might be 10,000 miles away. But one day, it will make sense why things have to be the way they are.
I’ve seen this “ill wind blowing good” phenomenon happen for others, too. How about you? Is it true for you too?
After all of the hoopla of Black Friday and Cyber Monday*, today is “Giving Tuesday.” And it ties in beautifully to the subject at hand, A Brilliant Decorator OR a Dangerous Con Artist?
Yeah, Laurel, we were wondering when you are going to get to the dirt. hehe. Common’ spill!
Well I am, but it is not an easy post to write because I far prefer to write about happy, good things, not the sick, depraved, unseemly side of humanity.
Alas it exists. And if we just pretend it doesn’t exist, and sweep it all under the Persian Heriz, then nothing is going to change and people will continue to get hurt.
And yes, it’s risky to call it out because it puts one in a negative light, but in this case, I am willing to take that risk. This is too important.
It’s all well and good to be “nice,” but nice is not the same as “good.” Sometimes a person needs to stop being so damned nice in order to be good.
What is very difficult to comprehend is that con artists more often than not appear to be very normal, very nice, very charming people.
One of the “tells” I’ve noticed with con artists who by definition are also compulsive liars is to pay attention to what they do; not what they say. They have the art of bullshit down. They know how to play to our emotions and make us begin to doubt what we already know. Don’t fall for it.
Anyone out there who’s been the victim of a sociopath/narcissist will know exactly what I’m talking about.
Here’s the story.
About a month ago through some brilliant investigative reporting, in Boston, it came to light that a highly respected brilliant “interior designer,” podcaster and author had done the unthinkable.
Please take a listen to this thorough report and you can decide for yourself if this is a brilliant decorator or a dangerous con artist?
(While you’re listening to that, I’m going to wipe out the rest of the pecan pie.)
Pretty shocking, eh?
Succinctly, this decorator took $13,500 to purchase lights for a non-profit serving impoverished children in Dorchester, MA. But, no lights were ever produced.
In addition, there is a long history of such behavior which the reporters found several judgments totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars awarded to the plaintiffs.
A lovely colleague, Linda Merrill and fellow design hound created this very well-written post about what happened in Dorchester, MA. And she has embedded a follow-up video.
Look, I can understand how a person can get into financial straits. I can understand the difficulty sometimes in just getting through each day and of going into deep debt.
But I cannot begin to fathom STEALING from children who have absolutely nothing.
These are children who the director of their after school program is making them peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that she paid for out of her own pocket, just so that they will go to bed that night with food in their bellies.
They sorely need that $13,500 and a lot more!
Chilling words from the director of the All Dorchester Sports League, Candice Gartley
“He’s absolutely charming. He’s very articulate and puts you at ease,” Gartley recalled.”
Yes, ick is right.
Boys ages 7-10 getting some positive reinforcement through sports.
And to be clear. I keep seeing/hearing the word, “allegations.”
THESE ARE NOT ALLEGATIONS!
They were at one time, but now after their court cases, they are judgments awarded to the plaintiffs, every single time, but alas, in most cases, no money was recovered.
According to his website: James-SwineDotCoN
There are other obligations, (instead of purchasing furniture he was given massive checks to pay for)– like the need for cashmere sweaters, expensive cars, trips to trade shows, Paris and just now, according to his instagram, a gorgeous trip to Wales. Oh, and he can afford to fly first class, apparently.
But he can’t afford to pay back the money he took???
EVERYONE in this industry went through financial hardships during the recession. I am an interior designer who (barely) made it through the horrific years of ’08-’09. I’ve survived being robbed by a vendor for $30,000 (and still had to buy my client her carpeting out of my own pocket!) and much more. It’s a tough business.
Not to say poor me. But the last thought on my mind was taking my clients’ money and using it to pay for my own expenses. NO, what happened is that we went into enormous credit card debit.
How do you STEAL hundreds of thousands of dollars from innocent clients AND declare bankruptcy?
And why are these only civil charges? Any lawyers out there who can explain this to us, because I do not understand why he can do this over and over and over. I have heard from a reliable source that there have been substantial judgments awarded since the bankruptcy.
But I do not want to waste one more second of my time (or yours) on this [insert your own word here], except to inform people about the grizzly truth. Up to you, what you do with the information.
Aside from what’s been stolen in tangible terms, what has happened is these incidents serve to perpetuate the grotesque myth that us decorators are a bunch of unscrupulous rip off artists who are taking advantage of our clients every which way possible.
And believe me, nothing could be further from the truth. But yes, like in every profession, there are some bad apples on occasion.
But, I am so proud of dozens of my colleagues who’ve rallied together to right a wrong; not to give Mr. Swine, a way out.
Through the fabulous leader of the interior design community on facebook,(a private group for those in the interior design and home furnshings industry) Laurie Laizure, we decided to create a gofundme page to help the kids out.
And this is what I’m asking of you this Giving Tuesday.
What I would love more than anything is for people to give to this worthwhile organization in Dorchester, MA.
It’s programs like these that help impoverished kids who are beginning life at a disadvantage to thrive, build self-esteem and keep them off the streets.
Maybe if enough people give, more kids could be helped. There might even be scholarships if there’s enough money; who knows? Maybe because of our help one of them will discover the cure for cancer.
OR, without our help, they might end up somewhere unmentionable.
I heard that Ms. Gartley broke down when she saw what us designers did. All of us were crying that first day.
Please remember that they still HAD to have the lights. So, they had to take money needed to create new programs to pay for the lights. The safety of the kids is at stake. What good is an after school program if it’s not safe?
Some of the Volunteers at the All Dorchester Sports League
They operate on the slimmest of budgets. In fact, most of the adults helping out are volunteers.
In addition, Ms. Gartley had to answer to her board of directors. She damned well nearly lost her job over this!
To say that this situation makes me sick is an understatement.
But you know… let’s thank Mr. Swine, for this much. For without his misdeeds, the children would still not be adequately served.
And on another note. The coincidence of my being in Dorchester, England only a few weeks before this story breaking gives me chills.
But the giving isn’t over!
Below are the 144 colors Benjamin Moore colors.
One designer told me that she ONLY uses these colors when specking colors for her clients. It makes the decision making so much easier!
For this month’s post, I decided to do a wall using one of the pretty shades of pink.
The inspiration is many-fold.
His sofa, wall color…
The color is lighter than the original Parsonage Pink, but it is very close to the lighter shade of Parsonage pink.
And the next is a wonderful designer who makes and sells Ben’s fabulous sofa, Max Rollitt. His website is a must-visit.
Above and below. Two vignettes via Max Rollitt.
Oh, man. Love the yellow with this Chinese Art Deco rug. These have become rather popular in recent years.
And, if you can’t afford a Max Rollitt, there’s the delightful very-similar Harper sofa from Anthropologie.
And here is my gift to y’all for Giving Tuesday, the 11th bonus board!
It is funny, but I’ve always thought that yellow and pink is kind of icky-poo until Ben’s living room. I think that it needs to be a warm pink. However, I love the colors in this mock-up.
And a little inspirational widget with some of the items and others that could go in this room. You can click on each image for more info.
I took the liberty of adding another coat of white wash to the coffee table. I do stuff like that– even to new furniture.
There is a paint palette of 12 colors coming tomorrow, but it is only for those who own the Laurel Home Paint Color/Palette Collection. If you click the link, it will lead to you to all of the information pages, for those who are interested in learning more about it.
And again, please consider giving a monetary gift that will help these adorable children of Dorchester on this GivingTuesday!
Again, in case you missed it, this is the link to the GoFundMe page to give to the All Dorchester Sports League.
I’ve already donated $250 and I am going to donate another $250. I’m thrilled to be in a position to help out!
Thank you so much in advance. Oh, it would be so wonderful if we could reach our initial goal of $25,000 within the next day or two!
As for Mr. Swine. I have disconnected myself as much as possible. If you happen to find the URL to my podcast, I’ve done a 301 redirect that takes the reader to my blog page. If anyone finds any other connection to him on the site, please let me know and I will take care of it.
PS: *For cyber Monday, I finally broke down and got a new fridge (Haier, fits exactly in my space), dishwasher (kitchenaid), range (kitchenaid) and nuker/convection (Maytag). Everything’s white except for the fridge. I have some ideas for that, too. So excited. No, they aren’t the top of the line, but they are all super nice appliances– a huge upgrade from what I currently have. And I got a great deal at Home Depot!
I believe that they still have their sales going on.