Heavyweight freelance reporter Matthew Teague reports for Bloomberg BusinessWeek this week on a business charged with taking back luxury goods from formerly high-net-worth people in bankruptcy. Teague calls the business’s management “the world’s most sophisticated repo men.”
On behalf of banks [Owner Ken] Cage nabs high-dollar toys from self-styled magnates who find themselves overleveraged. Many of the deadbeat owners made a killing in finance and real estate during the economic bubble—expanding it, even—and were caught out of position when it burst. So now men like Cage steal $20 million jets like they were jalopies. And fast boats. Even, on one occasion, a racehorse.
Cage comes by his trade honestly, having worked in a repo division of Chrysler for part of the last decade, only to quit after going after too many genuinely hard-up people.
So he decided to found his own company that would exclusively go after ex-one-percenters.
“The guys would go out to repo a car and call me up,” Cage says. “They’d say, ‘This minivan has a baby seat in the back. What do you want us to do?’ I felt this conflict all the time.”
The game seems pretty intense — Cage and his crew frequently must track down “toys” that have often times have been stashed away in remote locations.