Suze Orman v. Forbes Magazine

Text Box:      PUBLICATION: The San Francisco Chronicle
    DATE: Wednesday, January 6, 1999
    SECTION: Business
    PAGE: B1
    POSITION ON PAGE: All columns across the bottom of the section front
    MAIN HEADLINE:  Why Suze? Why All the Hype? Orman's Publicist Goes on the Defense 
    SECONDARY HEADLINE: But best-selling author drags her feet on clearing up the mess 
    AUTHOR: Mark Veverka, writer of three-times-weekly ``Street Smarts’’ column 

    SUMMARY: Columnist examines recent Forbes Magazine article by William P. Barrett concerning Suze Orman of nearby Emeryville CA, financial guru and author of the best-selling ``The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom,’’ in light of complaints by readers defending Orman. He finds the factual statements in the article to be correct and concludes, ``Chalk up one for Barrett and the magazine’s fact-checkers.’’   
     Veverka specifically declares that Forbes was accurate when it wrote the following:
      —Orman’s firm, Suze Orman Financial Group, no longer does any financial planning, despite claims in Orman’s literature that it still does. 
      —When Orman’s literature referred to ``nearly 1,000 new clients’’ each year, she meant readers who send her unsolicited communications, to which she responds.  Writes Veverka, ``OK. Let me get this straight. She writes letters and e-mails to readers and calls them clients. She doesn’t charge them, but it’s still supposed to be called a business. And you really want to seek financial advice from this person?’’
      —Aside from her books, royalties and investments, Orman’s derives most of her income from the sale of insurance rather than from financial planning services.
     —Orman was employed by Wall Street institutions for only 7 years, rather than the 18 years claimed on her video jacket.
      —Orman’s license to be a Commodity Trading Advisor lapsed  in 1990 and is not current, as stated on a book-jacket biography. Veverka reports that Orman’s public relations person, Sandi Mendelson, said that Orman’s publisher put the incorrect information on the bookflap without Orman’s knowledge. Veverka’s comment: ``Hey, that’s the kind of attention to detail I look for in a financial adviser—even a free one.’’  
     Veverka also recounts numerous unsuccessful efforts over a three-week period to get on-the-record comment from Orman or her representatives.

     CLICK HERE for the full text of Veverka’s column.

     CLICK HERE to read what Suze Orman and the publication Bay Area BusinessWomen think about both William P. Barrett and Mark Veverka.

     CLICK HERE to read what Salon Magazine’s media columnist James Poniewozik thinks about Suze Orman and the journalism of William P. Barrett.