Colebrook Employee Faces Grave Danger to Close Loan

By Rachel Belardo - July 2, 2024


Colebrook Financial Company just closed a line of credit with one of its banks despite the strange and possibly dangerous appearance of an unlikely creature in the office of Colebrook member and attorney, Harry Heller. It was early in the morning, and one of Colebrook’s own employees, Rachel Belardo, who is also a paralegal at Heller, Heller & McCoy was dutifully meeting with Colebrook member Linda Heller to execute loan documents. Below is the sequence of events leading up to the closing. Rachel’s eyewitness account is set forth below:

“The morning started as any other, and nothing appeared to be amiss. When alerted that Linda had arrived, I grabbed the file, my notary stamp and seal and a pen and began the journey from my office upstairs to the conference room downstairs. The stairway is narrow and curves in the middle. It was at this curve that I was stopped dead in my tracks, astonished at what I saw before me. It should be noted that it takes a lot to surprise me, as I’ve spent 21 years working in the barn that houses the law offices of Heller, Heller & McCoy and things that may seem out of place or downright insane in other offices are just part of the charm of working in an old building to me.

Resting a couple of steps below me, with part of its body dangling down to the next step and the other part dangling over the side of the stairway itself, was a fairly large snake. I was unable to ascertain its exact size, since I couldn’t see the whole body, but what I saw was enough to know it was no tiny snake and it certainly didn’t belong inside the office. I quickly whipped out my cell phone and captured the below picture. I tried to sneak down the stairs, with episodes of The Crocodile Hunter, featuring the late, great Steve Irwin whirring through my mind. I watched that show faithfully for years, and I was certain I could catch it with little fanfare. The idea was to catch the snake, get a cool picture of me holding it, earn lots of bragging rights and then let it go outdoors, free to roam the woods behind the office.

Unfortunately, a stealthy approach was impossible, since the stairs are quite old and creaky, and the snake quickly became aware of my presence. It turned around and began slithering up the steps towards me. Now that I could see its face, I tried to snap another picture, my phone a mere 5 inches from the snake. Suddenly, it lunged towards me, its mouth wide open, ready to bite. I staggered backwards, the loan documents precariously held in one hand, my phone in the other, the snake’s jaws just barely missing its intended target. It took advantage of my momentary distraction and slithered down the stairs and behind an old table that leans against the wall in the hallway. Still determined to catch it, I quickly ran to the office lobby, set the file down safely and ran back to the hallway to retrieve the interloper. But alas, he was not there, and despite looking diligently, I was unable to find him again.

I gathered myself, attended to the execution of the loan documents and then texted Attorney Heller the picture and advised him to be aware when he came in, as a potentially deadly snake was present in the office. He called me immediately, exclaiming 'A client accidentally brought that snake into our office 26 years ago and we were never able to find it!!!'

Is it the same snake that wandered boldly through the front door of Heller, Heller & McCoy 26 years ago? The world may never know. But the snake was positively identified by both my husband, Chris, who is an avid snake lover, and Attorney Heller, as an Eastern Milk Snake. A harmless, albeit bad-tempered snake, as evidenced by the attempted bite. The life span of an Eastern Milk Snake is 10-20 years in the wild, with some known to live longer than 20 years in captivity. Anything is possible at Heller, Heller & McCoy."

Both a Borrower and Lender Be

By Bill Ryczek - June 9, 2024


Shakespeare’s Prince Hamlet was a confused young man, asking the existential question, “To be or not to be?” Polonius, later killed by Hamlet, approached the matter of existence from the negative, advising his son Laertes, “Neither a borrower nor lender be.” We’re half a millennium removed from Shakespeare’s time and acquired wisdom has taught us that being a borrower or lender is actually a good thing, but even better is to be both borrower and lender.

Colebrook Financial is one of the leading lenders to the timeshare industry and raises the vast majority of its funds by borrowing from and selling participation interests to banks. We understand what our development clients experience because we borrow money, and we can empathize with our bankers because we lend money.

The loan documents we ask our customers to sign are almost identical to the documents we sign when we borrow money. When someone asks us, “Would you sign that document?” we can answer, “Yes, in fact we signed several just like it.” And we know that when a business needs money today, that means now, not when it’s convenient for us to send it. We expect our borrowers to promptly provide us with financial information and we do the same for our bankers. We communicate frequently, just as we want our customers to communicate with us. Having worked in the regulated bank environment, we understand the constraints our bankers face.

In Troilus and Cressida, Shakespeare wrote, “Friend, we understand not one another.” One of the most useful ways to maintain effective relationships is to understand the other party’s situation and needs. That’s a lot easier when you have common ground. Our solution: We didn’t listen to Polonius.