The Preachers of Easy Pickings

Real estate pitchmen draw disciples with a no-money-down creed

At the airport Hyatt Hotel in Oakland, the crowd's mood is akin to that of an audience waiting for the big fight scene in a Rocky movie. More than 400 people are squirming excitedly on their folding chairs as adrenaline-pumping music blares from four giant speakers. Suddenly the room breaks into applause as a handsome man in a well-tailored suit jogs down the center aisle. The star of this show, however, is not Sylvester Stallone but an Italian Stallion of another breed: Dave Del Dotto, 35, a self-made real estate millionaire. "How many people want to get rich?" he shouts to...

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