April 10, 2012
By Lisa Rein
“As we use the KTRN crystal ball to look into the future, we see you losing more and more of your money to the government.” –KTRN
At the start of his mind-reading act, Bob Garner asked a federal employee for the name of his dead dog. He asked someone else to recall a person close to them who had passed away. Then he shared some of the messages the deceased sent from the other side.
Garner also tied a black blindfold around his eyes and asked the audience to pull out four items from their purses and pockets.
Each time, the self-described mentalist and “motivational speaker with a ‘WOW’ factor” was able to divine the truth. What he couldn’t predict was the outrage his $3,200, expenses-paid poolside gig would cause in Washington after his bill showed up on the General Services Administration’s $823,000 tab from a Las Vegas spending spree.
Garner, 51, has a shock of white hair, a fondness for business suits and pocket squares, and an intuition for what his magic act can bring to corporate America. He’s built a successful business on the meeting and trade-show circuit, where he makes employees feel they’re valued in a bad economy.