And so it is that more than a month ago a local jeweler rumored to be up you-know-what creek fled his nicely appointed Johnson County office in what is said to have been a late night move, for a space far less fashionable. And frankly, that’s accessing the new digs very generously.
Two weeks later I visited the jeweler’s former offices before checking out his new haunt. And since nobody was home, I took a peek through the mail slot in the front door where to my surprise I saw was a very small, very plain room, loaded to the gills with plastic and cardboard storage boxes filled with what appeared to be business records.
They were strewn and stacked about the room, filling the viewable space as if someone had brought them there in great haste and plopped them down willy-nilly.
Again, that was two weeks after the jeweler had moved from his former office space and was rumored to have been behind on the rent in.
His officemate – a fellow jeweler – remained in the former quarters, reportedly having worked out a deal to stay until she could find a new home. I spoke with two of her staff who declined to comment and she did not honor my request to return a call.
So last Friday I visited the jeweler in question’s new office and again nobody was there.
I peered through the mail slot again and saw the same scattered assemblage of unpacked boxes more than a month after the fact.
Do rumors about smuggling, missing jewelry and tough times have any basis in fact?
“I’m skeptical of the drugs and diamond smuggling rumor,” says a friend of the jeweler. “What I am not skeptical of is what financial pressures will do to someone. And I do know his financial condition and he’s one of those people who grew up with money – not huge money, but decent, upper middle class money.
“And then he got into the family business and started making pretty big money and traveling. And this is a $250,000 town. If you can bring in $250,000, the cost of living is so low that you can live a pretty nice lifestyle here. And if you can get up to $300,000 or $400,000, you’re on cruise control. But when you’re in the family business and you fall from grace, guess what doesn’t change? Your spending habits.
“So let’s say you go from$300,000 a year to $100,000 a year, you can get pretty far behind pretty fast. The point is he could very well be in the soup having nothing to do with these rumors at all. When I was friends with him, he was spending big money. he belonged to a country club, went on trips and gave money to charity.”
The friend’s take on the move to a downtrodden office and the month later, still unpacked boxes:
“It sounds pretty desperate. The whole thing is sad, man. Whatever happened in the family business, that’s sad right there and it’s a shame.”
Unfortunately falls from grace are very tangible things, the source says.
“Never underestimate what financial pressure can do to somebody. It makes people crazy. We live in a society where if you’re poor, you’re considered subhuman. Where social status is defined exclusively by wealth. No one is accepted in society at a certain level unless they have means. Or you’re extraordinarily talented like George Brett or Itzhak Perlman.
“The point is, in the end we don’t value human beings – just look at our culture – we value money, that’s it.”
The flip side of that assessment from a source with close ties to the situation at hand who thinks where there’s smoke there may be fire, in terms of the smuggling stories.
“I think there’s a reason why people think that,” the source muses. “And what that is, I don’t know, but people don’t come up with those kind of stories without a reason. I know at this stage of the game people embellish things, but they all start somewhere – every piece of gossip starts somewhere. And while they may not be 100 percent accurate, there is usually a grain of truth.”
“His ex (officemate) was getting ready to move also because she can’t afford the rent solo,” the source says. “They’re completely going their separate ways. And she’d been getting phone calls from all kinds of different people looking for him and the police were still asking questions.”