Miracles are rare, but if you apply your best skills, you can achieve your own million dollar miracle. With some help from an expert and author of the Million Dollar Miracle, you can rid yourself of all the loans, live a comfortable lifestyle, and bring all your passion projects to life. Michael E. Bash shares his wisdom, insights from his book, and life experiences.
Hi Michael, could you tell us how you made your first million?
Living in New York, I heard that IBM was coming to Poughkeepsie. I knew they would bring in lots of work and would need employees. I looked for an area close to Main Street that would be convenient for workers to get to work, shopping, etc.
I drove from Main Street to Innis Ave and found 20 acres of land across the street from an incinerator. Because of this incinerator, they couldn’t sell the land to anyone, as they would not want to be near the incinerator.
I knew how to cure the situation, and they agreed to sell the property to me for $80,000 with a $1,500.00 deposit and 90-day closing.
I had lots of objections to the rezoning, and through the rezoning sessions, 500 people, mostly women, objected to it, but I was able to convince 3 of the 5 councilmen to approve it. I was able to get 320 units. I built a wall around the units so no one could see the incinerator from any of their apartments. I planted bushes and flowers and called the project Town Gardens. It looked beautiful.
I went to N.Y. to meet through a friend of my father, Joseph Kushner, the grandfather of Jared Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter, Ivanka. Together with the Rausman Bros., who were developers in N.J. They paid me $750K for ½ interest in this project which meant together, and I made $1.5 M profit, of which is 100,000 %.
How did you become the adviser to former President Jimmy Carter?
My cousin, Lee Seeman in Great Neck, N.Y., was an important member of the Democratic party. She introduced me, and I became an advisor. I went to the White House once a month for a few days and met with President Carter.
The get-rich-quick strategies seem too good to be true. What do you say to that?
In my book, I describe all the difficulties of getting approval from 3 of the councilmen. It is not as easy as it seems. It takes patience and perseverance. I did a project on Malonie Rd. in Poughkeepsie, where there was no water or sewer. I dug 7 wells, 400 ft. deep each, to get water for the 500 apartments. I also built the sewer system to dump clean water from the apartments into the nearby river.
Why did you decide to write the Million Dollar Miracle?
I rezoned properties in Albany, Troy, Syracuse, Schenectady, and Buffalo. One particular rezone project was a land swap transaction in Kingston. A dentist had inherited a 20-acre piece of land from his father, which he was selling for $200K. After researching the property, which was zoned R-1, allowing 1 home allowed per acre. My aim was to rezone it to R-3, allowing 24 apartments per acre. I met with the dentist, signed a purchase agreement with a 120-day escrow. In the interim, I had the property rezoned. It appraised for $1.2M. I had a mortgage with the trade union in the Borough of Queens for $1.2M for another property in Wappingers Falls. I convinced the trade union to swap the $1.2M land to pay off the loan they were holding, which was done, giving me a $1M profit for the day.
I always liked to help people succeed, but in this case, I did not want the competition.
Now that I am retired, I don’t mind sharing my knowledge.
For our aspiring readers, when and how can someone finance their first real estate deal?
When you have an attractive project, you can always contact a good real estate broker after you have the property appraised and sell it for a little under the appraised value. Your broker will bring in investors or get a partner like I did to put in the funding.
What’s one thing in your book, Million Dollar Miracle, that you think applies to everyone?
Rezoning doesn’t take a special talent. Anyone can do it!
Where should people be buying real estate now?
Check the growth in different areas to see or find out where huge companies will be establishing their projects.
Could you share your experience in helping fund Danny Thomas’s annual telethon for St Jude’s Hospital?
I met actor Danny Aiello, who was a cab driver when we met, struggling to support his wife and children. Shortly after our meeting, he started working in production shows on Broadway. He introduced me to Danny Thomas. I agreed to help Danny raise money for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. I purchased the air time on TV Channel 9 in New York City for the yearly telethon. We raised 10-20 million dollars annually for the hospital.
Tell us about some of your other philanthropic work and what inspired you to get involved.
- I built the Great Synagogue in Israel with the Prime Minister of Israel, who goes to pray every week and holidays. I built it next door to the Center of Judaism in Jerusalem on King George St.
- I built the Laniado Hospital in Netanya, Israel, north of Tel Aviv.
- I gave $1M to Ben Gurian University to open a branch in the southern part of Israel.
- One of my family members was hit a $3M judgment, and I took over the judgment to clear them.
How many major planning and zoning projects have you invested in so far? What’s next for you?
I invested in more than 12 major projects, mostly in N.Y. and Las Vegas, NV.I retired 3 years ago. Now I decided to work on rezoning again because I really feel this is the best and easiest way to make large amounts of money.