Fort Worth real estate magnate John Goff remembers the time in 1990 when his then-mentor and boss, Richard Rainwater, told him to put in a bid for the Resolution Trust Corp.
Not a bid for a few empty office buildings or distressed parcels of property. Rainwater wanted the whole kit and caboodle.
“I said, ‘The entire RTC? It’s a government institution,’” recalls Goff, chief executive of Crescent Real Estate Holdings LLC. “He said, ‘Yeah, I know. Just make an offer to buy the entire RTC.’ So I sat at my desk and began drafting a letter to Bill Seidman offering to buy the RTC. ‘Dear Mr. Seidman …’ It was all I could do to keep a straight face.”
But it didn’t end there. Goff mailed the letter and followed it to Washington, where he met with the RTC chairman.
How much did Rainwater offer?
It didn’t get that far, Goff laughs. “He thought we were crazy.”
Like a fox.
I heard a few years ago from friends in Ft Worth that Richard was having health issues. Sadly, he’s not gotten better. I met him at a Bass party, early on, and cornered him about my families Texas manufacturing company for twenty minutes. He said stop by Ft Worth and let’s talk about it. I stopped by — Richard was the sharpest and most congenial guy I’d met in my early years of finance. He made a huge impression on me. I ran into him again when I worked for Folsom Investments. Folsom was looking for an equity partner and Rainwater was actively looking at real estate. A year passed and I called Richard to see if he could somehow get involved with my families company. He said — let me make a call to them. That call sufficiently scared management enough that the company was eventually taken public. A year later I stopped by Rainwater, Inc to see a friend, Tad Kelly. When we were walking out — you could see a glass conference room with an animated Richard at his desk and five other guys seated around it on speakerphone. Tad said, if you don’t say hi he’ll be pissed. I was sheepish about walking in. We walked in mid call and with the speakerphone going — said hello and chatted. Richard never missing a beat — the speakerphone never going silent… They’re not making guys like Richard anymore.