LOS ANGELES -- Albert J. Lowry, the best-selling author who made a fortune writing and lecturing on how to get rich investing in real estate, has filed for liquidation of his assets under Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
The May 13 filing here came as creditors stepped up their efforts to collect from Lowry, and marks a dizzying collapse for a man who just a few years ago packed hotel ballrooms nationwide for his lectures and whose net worth was once estimated by a national financial magazine at nearly $30 million.
In a Chapter 7 filing, a person voluntarily files a bankruptcy petition. The person's assets are turned over to a trustee for liquidation, and proceeds are then turned over to creditors.
The filing also marks the further collapse of the nation's get-rich-quick business, which promotes through television programs and seminars such theories as how to buy real estate with no money down.
Two of the largest get-rich-quick companies, National Superstar in Westlake Village, Calif., and Beckley Group in Fairfield, Iowa, are currently operating under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Chapter 11 allows a company protection from its creditors while it seeks to reorganize its finances.
Lowry could not be reached for comment. In an interview earlier this year, he downplayed his financial problems but acknowledged he lost millions of dollars on real estate in the Lake Tahoe resort area of California and Nevada, blaming strict development laws there. Lowry's attorney, Stephen J. Snipper, would not comment on the filing.
A former butcher from Thunder Bay in Canada's Ontario province, Lowry, 60, is considered one of the fathers of the get-rich-quick, no-money-down real estate business that flourished during the inflation-fueled real estate boom of the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Lowry advocated such things as buying property from desperate sellers with no money down and buying run-down properties that could be fixed up.
Lowry rose to nationwide prominence with the publication of his book, "How You Can Become Financially Independent by Investing in Real Estate," which made the New York Times best-seller list in 1980. In a May 1981 cover story, Money magazine, which estimated his net worth at $30 million, called Lowry a "real estate wizard."
Lowry's fortunes have since faded. In October 1985, Success Development Institute, a company that promoted his theories, collapsed under $2.5 million of debt. In January, California First Bank obtained a court order requiring Lowry and his partners in a California health club to pay more than $400,000 for defaulting on a 1985 loan. Lowry was ordered to pay an additional $173,000 himself.