Fool's Gold

Desperate clients hand over thousands of dollars for a chance at a job

Through a serious of cannibalistic, incestuous maneuvers, Weinger and his wife, and Nadel and his wife, created a series of privately managed subsidiaries and management companies under the Bernard Haldane umbrella, passing around shares to one another like M&M's. One of these side ventures granted the Weingers and Nadels (and a few of their partners) the controlling shares of Bernard Haldane Associates.

They informed investors in January 1999 that their privately controlled side venture was going to buy out Bernard Haldane Associates, and -- because this new venture controlled the most shares -- investors had no choice but to sell out or sue.

Things went as the Weingers and Nadels had planned -- sort of. They acquired Bernard Haldane, but the firm's shares dropped so low that it was delisted from NASDAQ.

Al Cameron
Al Cameron

The variety of names these offices used, as well as the names of their parent companies and their parent companies' subsidiaries, makes it difficult to tell what's what.

Weinger's Manhattan office number has voice mail (no one's ever there) for the corporate headquarters of Career Services Management, which is the Bernard Haldane Associates subsidiary that owns yet another subsidiary that licenses the Bernard Haldane brand. But if you press the extension for the Career Services Management's vice president, her voice mail (she's never there either) says she's with BH Careers.

Curious still is a section in the January 1999 SEC filing stating that Bernard Haldane Associates "does not operate any Haldane offices. However, several licensed offices are owned by entities in which Jerold P. Weinger…serves as either an officer or director or is a shareholder."

Those included offices in Dallas and Houston, known as Texas Career Management, a.k.a. Bernard Haldane Associates, a.k.a. BH Careers, a.k.a. TCM International.

Our applicant met with TCM International's Stephen Daugherty twice in August.

As with every other salesperson in the Haldane family, Daugherty's title is "vice president."

Daugherty told our applicant that the seven-year-old TCM International has been around since 1947, which is precisely when the first Haldane office opened. He also told her that the company had an exclusive job database that cost $28,000 a week to "maintain."

She was told that for $4,900 up front, she could access the company's database, which was full of hidden, exclusive jobs, such as IT spots at JP Morgan. If she found a job with a salary of at least $60,000, she would have to pay an extra $2,000 after her first year of employment. (A quick, free job search on JP Morgan's Web site showed 461 available technology-related jobs as of August 10. Plus, you can apply online and create a profile so the company will e-mail you any job matches.)

Her fee also would allow her to hear a "confidential speech" she could give to potential employers. Daugherty would not utter even a tidbit of this enigmatic speech, which appears to be as well-guarded as the Skull and Bones handshake.

Daugherty also couldn't reveal examples of top-notch companies where TCM International has placed clients, or what kind of contacts the company has, until she paid the fee. Daugherty was surprised by our applicant's questions; he told her that no one had ever asked those things before. He also said the company had never received any complaints, which is probably true, since the company keeps changing its name and has been known as TCM International for only a few months.

But our applicant needed to be assured that she was getting something for all that cash, so Daugherty later left her a voice mail with the names of two people he said had found jobs through TCM International. He explained in his message that he didn't know who the people were, when they were clients or where they were placed.

The Press was able to reach one man. We told him we were doing a story on TCM International, but this is where it gets confusing. He said he was a client in January. But in January, the company was called Bernard Haldane Associates. We explained that TCM International has been through several name changes and asked him what the company was called when he went there. He said he didn't remember.

Adding to the confusion, he did credit the company with finding him a job in the oil and gas industry, but then moments later said he got the job through his own contacts. He said the company's database gave him access to corporate listings on D&B and Hoover's, which are available in public libraries. But before we could ascertain exactly how TCM International had found him a job, he hung up.

Daugherty also asked our applicant to fill out a "Background Information Questionnaire," an unprofessional grab bag of photocopied pages that appears to have been assembled by a stoned high-schooler the night before the big assignment was due.

After processing our applicant's answers, Daugherty gave her a personality profile overflowing with insightful statements like "because you are so logical and analytical, you are usually good at anything that requires reasoning and intelligence."

Daugherty did not return phone calls seeking his accounts of the meetings.

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