It began New Years Eve, 1973. Cliff Weaver, Peter Hodgkinson, Art Hamel and I met at a restaurant/ bar for lunch and to fill out my SEC application. We didn’t begin right away with lunch. Many rounds of drinks were consumed before anything solid passed our lips. Once the application paperwork was completed, deal making started, and as more alcohol was consumed, more and better exchanges were created. . It was nearly 7 PM when we staggered in to Cliff’s house to have Donna Weaver type up our exchange proposals. We were even less welcome there, than I was at home, later that evening.

I was not new to exchanging. SEC members Jack Dale, Pete Scott and I had just won the Snyder Trophy for Best Exchange in the USA. Cliff and I had been friends for several years, done deals together, and I was teaching my Developing, Syndicating, and Big Money Brokerage Seminar for the Reno Educational Foundation. Cliff was the newly elected President of the Society, to be inaugurated at the next month’s January meeting.

My first SEC Meeting was the January 1974 Meeting, where Hunter Quistgard was the Chief Moderator, and Cliff was installed as the SEC’s second president, following Richard Reno’s longtime hold on that office. I knew many of the members. Over the years Cliff had introduced me to Bob Steele, Jim Farley, Jim Keller, Bill Broadbent, Mike Stewart and others, and I had met many other members at exchange meetings throughout California.

Unlike today, California’s local and regional exchange meetings were huge. Hundreds would attend Orange Coast Exchangors. Madge Davis’ SCORE meeting invitations, with Chuck Chatham and George Hoover presiding, were at a premium. The California Association of Realtor’s Investment Division, run by SEC Marv Cohen, sponsored two Stimulus Conferences, and two Exchange Meetings annually, one each in Northern and in Southern California Attendance at each exceeded 200, and the speakers and moderators were mostly S.E.C.’s.

Cliff Weaver shaped the personality of the Society. He was extremely creative, outlandishly fun, and a man that got things done. Together with Bob Steele and Richard Reno, he started the Real Estate New Observer (now Creative Real Estate magazine), the Reno Educational Foundation, and the Real Estate Expo in Las Vegas that at its nadir had two thousand attendees. He was responsible for Art Hamel, Hunter Quistgard, Colby Sandlian, Bob Steele, Madge Davis, myself and others taking meaningful education to the real estate community, and beyond.
Tragically, Cliff died in Tahiti, where he and Marv Starr were conducting a seminar. Cliff left a huge void. Eventually the Expo, magazine, and seminar business sold. But Cliff left a legacy, and that legacy is the form of the Society.

Much about the Society has changed in the past 29 years. When I first became a member, it was really more of a creative deal-making group, with a few members noted for “pillaging and plundering.” It was the antithesis of the CCIM Community. Most of the deals were small, many properties “trading properties” only, presented with no relationship to what we now perceive as “real value”. Deals were being made, sometimes just for the fun of it, or to see if they could really be made. My feeling then was that the Society was million dollar talents doing thousand dollar deals.

But some things remain the same, and this sameness, this continuity, is the strength of the Society. The Society is still the premier creative real estate group in the country. The best minds and most creative talents tend to congregate here. But he Society is not a solemn group. While toned down from the Jim Farley “Wanted Poster” days, Cliff sense of the outrageous is intact.

But even more important is the sense that the Society is a family. I know of nowhere else where it is automatically assumed that the Counselor member you are doing a transaction with, is dealing from the top of the deck. That is the reason so many partnerships and joint ventures are between SEC members. Part of this is due to the rigorous screening process for membership. But much of it comes from the Cliff Weaver legacy. And that legacy is that we are a family. Most of us have had successes together, and many of us have had failures together. And, with a few exceptions, most of us wouldn’t trade our experiences, and the resultant bonds, that working together brings us.

Twenty-nine years of interacting with the world’s most creative, independent, fun-loving, adventuresome group of real estate entrepreneurs has blessed my life with unforeseen highs, and irreplaceable friendships.

Thanks, Cliff, Art and Peter for bringing me in.


  1. Chet, I just read your article will great interest. Now in April 2013 the old friendships remain vivid in my memories. Thank you for writing it. I miss seeing you and the whole group of SECs.


  2. Chet, Great to read about old friends. I met you, Cliff and Colby and Warren Harding in 1973 along with my to-be teaching partner Jack Miller. The fun we had and the deals we made were hard for others to believe. I still have some of the old contracts written on the back of envelopes. All the best John Schaub