In this blog post, shortly before he died, Mrs. Schilling's lawyer Ron Taht explains how they put the theaters up for sale, but didn't advertise them so outside bidders could have a chance to buy them. Instead they took bids from unknown bidders, but suspected they were from the Franks, who used straw bidders and didn't show up personally at the closing. In addition the real estate agents and title company were sworn to secrecy so that the Franks could clandestinely buy the boardwalk theaters that Mrs. Schilling swore she would never sell to them. In the end, Ron Taht says that Mrs. Schilling wasn't fooled and took the money anyway.
They should have advertised the sale of the buildings and sold them overtly to someone who would have maintained them as theaters, as Mrs. Schilling wanted.
Nearly all the other theaters in the southern
Ultimately she rented the theaters for a fraction of the rent that she could have received had she converted the theaters to other uses. Sadly, running those theaters only during the summer gave the new tenant no clout with the distributors and he was relegated to second run and B movies. He struggled for several years but was finally forced to pack it in. He couldn't even pay his last years rent.
Everyone involved in the deal had been sworn to secrecy. Neither the realtor, Mike Monahan nor Title Company of
When I delivered the check to Mrs. Schilling she covered her mouth, laughed, and said “oh my, look at all those zeros. The Franks hadn’t won. Mrs. Schilling, the little old lady in the tennis shoes, had.
Afterwards we learned that a great many of the ever escalating offers were from the Franks! They apparently were bidding through straw parties against themselves.
A highlight of my professional career!
Some time later, Mrs. Shilling died.
She had given me directions to follow as I settled her estate. While she had no love for the City she did love her Boardwalk. Both she and Charley believed that their parking lots provided its life’s blood. Many Boardwalk owners had used the parking adjacent to their boardwalk properties to expand the Boardwalk use or to establish a new one. She
didn’t want either to happen to her parking lots.
After her death I asked the city to subdivide her properties separating the boardwalk stores from the parking lots. There was great concern by members of the Planning Board - I remember Mayor Gillian saying that if the parking lots were sold with the stores it wouldn’t be long before they become the sites of new condominiums. He said he would rather trust the Schilling estate to preserve them. That carried the day and the parking lots became separate properties.
I offered them to the City at their appraised value and although another bidder attempted to outbid the city, the city ultimately prevailed. The city not only saved the boardwalk but made a good investment at the same time. I give credit to former mayor Knight and solicitor Gerry Corcoran for this accomplishment.
Mrs. Shilling's second concern was her tenants. Almost all of them had rented her stores for many years and were more like family than business associates. They paid more attention to her than her family, being there for her birthdays and Christmas. By converting the store sites to be legally 'condominiums' I was able to offer the stores at their appraised value to everyone who had been operating businesses in them.
All but one purchased their store and I hope continue to enjoy success.
The last of Mrs. Shillings property at
Ronald was born
Ronald went to college at
He loved to fish, and golf, and was a marvelous chef. He loved fine wine and a good debate. After his health began to fail he started writing down his experiences, and had his opinions published both here on his blog and in the Cape Coral News-Press. We will have two celebrations of his life in the coming months, the first will be in