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The return of due diligence

I’m certainly no entrepreneur. No financial magician, either.

But I’m the kind of anal-retentive guy who will spend a year voraciously reading automotive reviews before I even think about approaching a dealer to trade cars. That’s no excuse for buying a Chevrolet Blazer, but I never said I was perfect.

So maybe that’s why I’ve struggled to get this term out of my head this week: Due diligence.

It cropped up twice this week, early as I sat in court listening to the mind-boggling tales of investor after investor who happily plowed thousands into Thomas Etheredge’s Wild West World, largely without so much as a Google of “Thomas Etheredge,” let alone any sticky details like a proforma or a business plan.

I’ve certainly underestimated the spell of a jailhouse conversion, let alone three of them.

And that says nothing of the bankers who handed over bags of money to him, apparently with little more than a hearty “Look me in the eye and hear me well.”

And then due diligence cropped up again as I researched a story on the relative lack of development around Intrust Bank Arena. It seems that business developers have this crazy notion that they’d like to gauge the demographic and traffic around the arena before they buy in and start building restaurants, entertainment venues and shops. It happens that way all across this great country of ours. Go figure.

So if there’s a moral to my week, it’s a growing appreciation of the folks who will follow the arena downtown to do business.

After they do their homework.