Boca Sports Bus aims to give mom's taxi service a break

November 30, 2007

news1Parents with children who participate in sports and other after school activities have a lot in common with taxi drivers for all the shuttling they do. Tired of all the disruptions to her workday, a Boca Raton mother decided to do something about it by forming her own busing company.

Judy Schaum’s Boca Sports Bus will begin service on Dec. 1 with six buses on routes after school hours and on weekends in western Boca Raton. The routes will be designed to fit kids’ schedules so they can be transported between home, parks and religious institutions.

The company charges $150 for a monthly all-access pass. It also will offer a charter service.

Schaum, 47, who was a manager in a retail store, has been working on her business for a year. Her children, ages 10 and 12, play youth league baseball and soccer.

“Retail is very difficult because if a customer walks in at 4 and your kid has to be somewhere at 4:15, you can’t leave the customer,” she said. “This service was created to try to help busy families have a little more leeway to do what they want.”

Like most parents, Schaum spends plenty of time worrying about her kids. So, she instituted magnetic swipe photo ID cards for the kids, Internet tracking of the bus for parents and video cameras on the buses.

Using her family’s money, Schaum bought five 25-passenger buses and one 33-passenger bus. She hired two route supervisors who used to work for the Palm Beach County School District and 20 part-time drivers, who passed background checks.

“It was expensive, but I did it,” Schaum said. “I’m passionate about the concept and the fact we will be able to make the lives of most families in South Florida easier.”

– Brian Bandell
A new kind of sales pitch

In a twist on the housing bubble of recent years, four South Florida attorneys are offering a different kind of sales pitch, complete with a catchy name, convenient locations and a dedicated Web site.

Attorneys Aaron Resnick, Jonathan Davidoff, Piercy Stakelum, and Derek Schwartz launched www.recovermydeposit.com to assist purchasers through the grueling process of canceling or renegotiating preconstruction contracts and recovering real estate deposits.

The site refers to the unpredictable and volatile real estate market, and begs customers not to walk away from their deposits. So far, few lawsuits in general have succeeded in overturning contracts with developers based on complaints about rising costs or falling values, but buyers continue filing such suits in state and federal courts.

“We are the first of a few firms dedicating an entire practice group to this growing issue in Florida,” Resnick said in a press release.

The firm says it can help when closing on a property does not occur within two years of sale, if there are material changes to the property purchased, when a purchaser provides false or misleading promotional materials, or if a purchaser was not provided with every document required by Florida law.

– Paul Brinkmann
Home heartburn for bankers

A report by Stanford Group Co. casts new light on how some Florida banks, including Boca Raton-based Sun American Bank, are feeling the impacts of the home building crisis.

The Nov. 26 report indicates that nationwide non-current loans to home builders have grown at a severe rate this year. Non-current loans, the official designation for problem loans, are 90 days or more delinquent or are no longer accruing interest.

Jaret Seiberg, an analyst in Stanford’s Washington, D.C., office, focused on 544 banks whose parents are publicly held and where at least 5 percent of loans were for one- to four-family residential construction. Sun American was among 33 with more than 10 percent of those loans non-current as of Sept. 30. The bank’s 11.72 percent ratio put it at No. 28.

“That was one loan, for $3.1 million, and we sold it without a loss early in the fourth quarter,” said Michael Golden, Sun American president and CEO. The borrower was behind in payments on a completed townhome project in Palm Beach County, Golden said. He declined to identify the borrower or loan buyer.

Stanford’s report “shows that a lot of banks are having problems,” said Golden, CEO of parent Sun American Bancorp (NASDAQ: SAMB). “We would be sticking our heads in the sand if we said we did not have some problems. But they just took raw data and covered a small part of our lending.”

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