Betrayal sucks …from a friend or a colleague.

Recently, I had to address the following and curious what you would do if a company you are doing business with (or planning to) is:

  • not paying their employees
  • not paying their consultants/contractors
  • ignoring, avoiding even failing to respond to legal correspondence
  • and you can assume they are not disclosing it to their investors, advisors, etc.?

Would you tell others involved with company, take legal action, etc.? If you were a client, vendor, investor, advisor – would you want to be told? What would you do?

I truly cared and trusted the husband/wife team of the small Rhode Island company. They are related to someone I care a great deal for; which is even harder to comprehend how they could betray someone, anyone, the way they have. And it is sad, because I was excited about the company, the opportunity and bringing on long time colleagues to partner with me and the team to establish the up and coming business.

More than two years later, after giving them everything; including financial skin in the game, they f’ me over with a phone call that simply stated they wouldn’t be paying me (or the 2 employees I brought on) for the work I have already done for them over the prior 6 months or so. I should note – out of the goodness of who I am; I deferred some of my pay to help their cashflow, and they crap all over me. Unbelievable…. but I do take responsibility as well for allowing it to happen.

It only got worse and my disbelief grew, when after winning not only a lawsuit against them, but a post judgement and a default judgement, they failed to respond. When they finally do, they begin to make demands to me. I couldn’t help but laugh, because if I didn’t, I was going to cry and I’d be damned if I cried over them.

As a business owner, who exists as a result of partnerships with other businesses, it initally destroyed my trust in the integrity, loyalty and trust of other business leaders. Then, I realized that was not fair to those credible and honorable leaders. Just because there are two bad eggs in the bunch, it doesn’t mean I will throw away the whole carton.

LESSONS LEARNED that you can use as well:

  • Have signed contracts for all business arrangements whether friend, introduction, prospect or a current client.
  • When making financial investments of any kind, ask and require full disclosure of financial state at the time and ongoing (to ensure payment or the ROI expected).
  • When you sense something is not right, or it just seems to good to be true, dig even deeper to address your intuition and insight.
  • Hold anyone accountable who betrays you in any way.

UPDATE – Thank you to those who have reached out via email to inquire on the (LinkedIn) post I posted last week. Anyone wanting details regarding the company involved, simply email or call me. Also, this is not a current client but someone I stopped working with March 2016.

Lastly… I was asked if I was concerned about the risk of companies not favoring someone who is willing to sue a client. Note – it was not my desire or expectation to have to, in order to be paid the money I worked for. As well, I believe any company betraying trust, loyalty, let alone their financial responsibility, needs to be held accountable. If that puts me at risk, then yes, I am willing to do that.   PS – was also looking for insights on what others would do.

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