If it’s necessary, pay for the information that you need. You’d pay an auto mechanic to check out a used car before you purchase it. The same applies to business deals. Never be afraid to consult with your attorney or CPA before entering a deal. They are your mechanics. They have your best interests at heart because you pay them. This is money well spent.
The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.
As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Stuart Sobel.
Stuart Sobel is a longtime journalist and ghost writer of multiple martial art books. His love of writing harkens back to his days in college, when he also worked for an advertising agency.
This first-time author of a ‘True Crime’ genre book, Sobel was given a rare opportunity for an inside scoop of as yet, a still unsolved gangland killing, that of the notorious mobster “Bugsy” Siegel. That opportunity was offered from a boyhood friend, Robbie Sedway. Sobel was to chronicle Sedway’s parents’ full story. Bee Sedway, Robbie’s mother, married to Mobster “Little” Moe Sedway, revealed the killing of their best friend, Siegel. Sobel interviewed Bee Sedway for almost eight years before she passed away. Sobel and his wife currently live in Los Angeles, California.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
Growing up in Beverly Hills in the 1950s, I was very far from being sage. At that time, I like to refer to it as: ‘Happy Days’ meets ‘Rebel Without A Cause,’ we thought we were grown up and had it rough, but it was only ‘teenage angst’ in disguise.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
One life lesson quote that has continually helped me in business as well as all aspects of my life is “NEVER ASSUME THE OBVIOUS.”
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
There is one film that stands out in my mind and has shaped my business ethos from the beginning. That movie is ‘The Godfather.’ In one particular scene, one gangster asks another why an old mobster, Meyer Lansky, was able to live to such a ripe old age and not be killed on the street like so many of the others. His answer has always stuck with me. The reason was that “He always made money for his partners.” I have always strived to do the same. It just seemed fair. That said, I rarely take in partners. I always do better when I’m working on a project alone.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?
I’ve always had projects as well as my main business, which is my storage company of the past 45 years; Thriftee Storage in Los Angeles. There also was my publishing company, Pro-Action Publishing, ‘The Greatest in Martial Arts.’ When I sold the company, we had 12 titles and not one was a vanity press. From 1980 to 1990, I managed the top kick-boxer in the world, Benny “The Jet” Urquidez (58–0–49 Kos), via my athlete management arm of the company, ‘Pro-Action Sports.’
There was also my experience as a journalist. I was freelance writing for the three major martial arts magazines in the US as well as an American column in an Italian fight magazine, ‘Il Pugilato.’
Switching sports, I wrote an ongoing column in a bodybuilding magazine for two-X Mr. Olympiad, Franco Columbu, titled ‘Coming on Strong.’
Now, in the present day, I have jumped from the ‘Martial Arts’ genre to ‘True Crime’ with ‘QUEEN BEE AND THE KILLING OF “BUGSY” SIEGEL.’
What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic? Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?
Certainly. Almost 30 years ago, a childhood friend asked me if I would like to hear a real old Las Vegas story. He told me he knew who killed “Bugsy” Siegel and that I also knew the killer. When he told me I was hooked and began to work on the story. His name was Robbie Sedway and his father was the Chief Lieutenant of Meyer Lansky, who was also Robbie’s Godfather. His father was “Little” Moe Sedway. The one and only ‘caveat’ that he gave me was that nothing we spoke of could be shared with the public until after his mother, Bee Sedway, had passed away, only because she could have been prosecuted as an Accessory and a Co-Conspirator for the murder. Bee was entirely on board with me as the historian for the family. The majority of my subsequent research and analysis took place during the ‘pandemic.’
How are things going with this new initiative?
The manuscript for my book is completed and I expect to have an agent by the time this is published.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I would be glad to. My Dad is and always will be my hero. When I wanted to purchase Thriftee Storage, a company with only an 18-month history in operation, he not only helped me get the loan I needed, he helped me run the company while I went off on other ventures. I couldn’t have done any of this without his encouragement and help.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
I don’t think being told something really helps a person to grow, learn and understand. I believe a person actually has to immerse themselves in the critical thinking process to understand a logical outcome. I’m not talking about filling out business forms. I’m referring to business tactics and techniques.
Nothing is ever wasted. Everything I’ve ever learned in my other business and career ventures I’m using now. A person may not know how they will ever use a non sequitur skill, but ‘knowledge is power.’ The more you know… the more you’ll know.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each:
- President Regan said it best, “Trust, but verify.” Do your own research. Listen to a close friend’s opinion. But don’t get lazy…do your own research. One benefit that will manifest itself is that you’ll understand your deal better and see nuances you would not ordinarily have been aware of. It makes you savvy in the deal.
- Unless your own Father tells you something, never take anyone’s advice at face value. Of course, if you are richer than your Dad, thank him for his sagely advice and then verify what he’s told you.
- If it’s necessary, pay for the information that you need. You’d pay an auto mechanic to check out a used car before you purchase it. The same applies to business deals. Never be afraid to consult with your attorney or CPA before entering a deal. They are your mechanics. They have your best interests at heart because you pay them. This is money well spent.
- Never do a Hail Mary! ‘The biggest lie we ever tell is the lie we tell ourselves.’ A friend of mine once said, going into a bad deal, “When is it going to be my turn? Why is everyone but me getting rich?” I told him not to do this particular transaction and gave him the reasons why. Sadly, he was so anxious to get into something, anything, he did the deal and gave up a lot of equity in his house in the process. The deal fell through almost immediately.
- Never be shy about trying something you’ve never done before if that something is of interest to you. It’s a vast, wonderful world we live in. Opportunities always present themselves. You just have to be cognizant when that opportunity knocks on your door. When we’re young, opportunity continually knocks. As we age, the knocking becomes less and less thunderous until it knocks no more.
So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?
I stay in touch with the hundreds of tenants I have. I understand that they, like almost everyone else, are having a rough go ‘at it’ right now. We, my crew and I, listen more intently than ever when a tenant speaks. We try most consciously in having a tenant keep their belongings.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I would say to care more about yourself, and how you are conducting yourself with respect to your own life, and allow others to do the same.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
Warren Beatty is my top choice. When he played Bugsy (Siegel) in the film of the same name, Bee Sedway coached him on how to best portray her best friend, Bugsy. I am excited to hear his reaction to that input…and what he thought and learned from this role. He did a great job!
How can our readers follow you online?
I would appreciate their interest in my upcoming book ‘Queen Bee and THE KILLING OF ‘BUGSY’ SIEGEL,’ A Real Story, A Crime Story, A LOVE STORY! A Saga of Organized Crime in America!
Please direct them to my website, QueenBeeAndBugsy.com
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!