Money For Nothin’

I have been doing a lot of heavy breathing since the wee small hours of this morning. And no, I am not running a sex line on the side specialising in all types of panting; unfortunately, I had a full scale panic attack that hit me at 2.30AM.

I am alright now but I feel drained.

I know why it happened. A friend of the family is going through something and it triggered memories of a similar thing that happened to us and WHOOSH – there was all the anxiety and fear and frustration surrounding that event lodged in the forefront of my mind as if it hadn’t happened over 8 years ago, but was happening now.

Our family friend runs a very successful IT company. He has worked extremely hard and is very well-respected in the industry. One of the things I love to see in life is people who start out with nothing and through sheer talent and hard work end up with something good. It makes me happy.

One of the things I hate to see in life is when the rug is pulled from under those people by two of the most odious words in the dictionary – SILENT PARTNERS.

Don’t get me wrong, silent partners or investors or opportunists – whatever you want to call them is fine with me- can play a very positive role in the fledgling life of a small business. They put in the capital that allows the business to begin. In that way their role is a valuable one. However, most of the silent partners I have come across ended up being thorns in the sides of their fellow partners.

Our friend works – actually works – in the business. Long, long days, sometimes seven days a week. He has done so for the past seven years. He is the one that has turned the business into the success it is today. His silent partner does not work in the business but collects a dividend every three months and earns a good living from that. His initial start up investment has been repaid in full but he still holds the controlling share in the company.

It came to light a few weeks back that the silent partner has been dipping his finger in the till so to speak. Taking money from the business account without permission and without ensuring the business can afford it. We are not talking small amounts, either. One withdrawal was for $20,000.

Anyway, to get to the point, this helping himself to company funds was discovered by our friend who immediately sought a dissolution of the partnership and offered to buy the silent partner out.

Now this silent partner is a nasty man. Unscrupulous is putting it mildly. It is more than likely he went to the Goldman Sachs school of business management. He is the only man I have ever met whom I would have no qualms about labelling as a crack whore. He has a significant cocaine habit and is living completely beyond his means. Yet he doesn’t have a day job – he is an investor in several companies. I believe that his money for nothin’ lifestyle has made him arrogant and discourteous.

The silent partner didn’t want to let go of his cash cow and marched round to our friend’s house, smashing up furniture and threatening his son. Now he has slapped a lawsuit on our friend which has for the moment effectively removed him from the company. He is able to do this even though he doesn’t work in the company and has no idea how to run it because he holds the controlling share.

Now our friend is faced with the possibility of everything he has worked for being taken away, including his home.

Company law is incredibly complex. I hate to say it but it usually comes down on the side of the guy who behaves like the biggest arsehole.

When we were forced to sell our house by my husband’s former silent partner I was sure until the eleventh hour that the courts would come down on our side, that they wouldn’t throw a family out of their home. It wasn’t as if we couldn’t pay the mortgage. I was sure they would allow us to organise some kind of payment plan. But that particular silent partner wanted his cash back in a lump sum within a month and that was that.

I still remember the intensity of the helplessness that swept over me. Talk about the ultimate reality check. I was numb without novocaine.

That experience taught me that it is possible to move forward even when you think you can’t. It has also made me a passionate advocate for preventing it happening to anyone else in my immediate sphere.

That often happens, doesn’t it?

You see someone go through a traumatic event and then they spend the rest of their life on a crusade to stop it ever happening again to anyone else. It is as if a hero rises from the vestiges of the trauma.

Not that I am a hero, but I will do anything in my power to make sure this silent partner gets his comeuppance. Come on, Gods of Karma, work with me on this one.

Until then, I will concentrate on my heavy breathing becoming an evenly regulated murmur.

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25 thoughts on “Money For Nothin’

  1. Thieving bastards. Karma will get them.

    I have panic attacks all the time. I find it amazing that even when I know what triggered it, and I know it’s a panic attack, I still feel like I am going to die.

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  2. Hi LIBBY:
    I know exactly what you mean. I am not new to the panic attack scenario, either and yes, it does enter my mind each time that maybe this one’ll mean curtains for me. I am sorry you experience them too.

    And yes, Karma will get them. Sooner rather than later, I hope!

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  3. I can’t believe how many heartless bodies are out there, walking amongst us and pretending to be human beings… Reading your post made my eyes tear Selma, injustice and jerks like that silent partner was one of the main reasons that I studied law in the first place…
    I can only imagine what you have been through in the past. And I just wanted to say that I have a deep respect fro you for coming alive and even stronger from the other side and I hope this time around it will be the silent partner who gets to pay. I’ll pray for your friend and please keep us posted…

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  4. Sorryto hear this happened to a friend of yours. Even sorrier to hear it had happened to you & yours.
    What injustice!
    I hope those of us who believe in “eternal” justice, will see peace for all of us….
    And for those who live to hurt others, weeeelllll, I won’t wish pain on them, but I hope they heal and learn to treat others better, or, well…I’ll leave that up to the Universe, and Her/His judgement! 🙂

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  5. I do believe in eternal justice in the sense that evil doers sooner or later get the retribution they deserve. However, what good people have suffered already cannot be “unsuffered”. This is where there is no justice.
    A friend of mine told me that there was a disgusting bully who tormented him daily while he was doing compulsory service in the army. Years later the bully got married and had a deformed child. My friend was certain that it was a punishment for all who had been subjected to violence and humiliation by that man. Perhaps it was, but how does this help them? It won’t erase the bitter memories with a magic wand, it won’t heal the trauma, will it?

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  6. That sux big time and so does what happened to you.

    I have a tip for panic attacks. There’s always the brown paper bag to blow in but now they reckon – hold your breath for 10 seconds (it’s all about too much carbon dioxide – shallow breathing). And ride out the wave of fear. I know, easier said than done.

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  7. Gosh, injustice really gets to me. Its a wonder anyone even gets into small business anymore. Holding out on the side of karma – I always do.

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  8. Selma I really feel for you and your friends. I was in business for 10 years and I realised I just could not deal with the disloyalty and greed. It’s all over. I helped so many people, busted my ass for them and in a moment they dropped me. I loaned start-ups money or gave them lines of credit, once they got up their feet they ran with my money. it was just too much. It nearly killed me. I will never own a business again. NEVER.

    I hope that a-hole gets EXACTLY what he deserves.

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  9. Whether we like it or not, a secure stash of cash is always a cushion, in the world in which we live. To have the rug pulled out from under you is so devastating. Been there, done that. I still value goodness in people more than I do money but I’ve also learned (the hard way) that money is very important for our survival and health. being put in the position of being bullied, simply because other people are allowed to “pull our strings” is never right. And usually people with no compassion or decency. I feel for your friend, I really do. And as I’ve said before, I am so sorry for all the trials you’ve been through Sel. You are such a good person. I guess these events make us stronger but as for “learning lessons’ thanks, but I’ve had enough training for a long, long time. It’s taken it’s toil. I had many a panic attack in the past. I thought I was dying, most times. Take care of yourself Sel. Get out and enjoy the fresh air and the park as soon as you can. And breath my friend, breath!!!

    Many hugs, G

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  10. So he came around and laid waste to the house? Now I know why some people just shoot bastards like that! However, we aren’t allowed to do that anymore and as what goes ’round doesn’t necesarily come ’round , your friend may just have to pull the plug and walk away with the expertise and maybe his customer base to start again. Anyway, whichever path he chooses, action does cure panic attacks and madam, you may just have to have a pillow fight with your partner.

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  11. That is so awful! I’m hoping for karma too.

    In my dad’s case it wasn’t a silent partner but an active partner who talked my naive dad into standing guarantor for the business. Then he declared bankruptcy leaving my dad with all the debt for a failed business. That was when I learnt how valuable it can be to have an antenuptial contract; not for divorce, but to protect the family home. Our home was in my mum’s name; the creditors couldn’t touch it.

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  12. Something similar happened to my family – my dad had a successful business and he had taken in a junior partner, who didn’t have to invest any money, but got a good job with good pay. This partner was my mom’s younger cousin and he was a greedy bastard. He played around and the company lost a lot of money and he was also jumped ship to a rival and pulled a lot of business contacts with him as he was planning it for a very long time. After all my dad had done for him. Then he went to business for himself with his brother – and guess what? His brother screwed him up even worse.
    Karma will come and bite you in the ass!

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  13. Wow, Selma, I can’t imagine how stressful losing your house and business must have been. I”m so sorry to hear that happened to you and am not surprised the situation with your friend is triggering panic attacks. I sincerely hope the police bang the guy up for assault and criminal damage.

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  14. Hi LUA:
    You are very kind and thoughtful to say that. I wish I had studied law now because I would have enjoyed sorting those types of people out. Some people just act with a total lack of consideration for others. Drives me crazy.

    Hi LISA:
    Oh, I wish pain on them. And the fleas of a thousand camels in their armpits. And an even faster spinning of the Karmic wheel!

    Hi SHIONA:
    It’s true and I guess that’s why many people have trouble with the concept of Karma. Someone else’s suffering doesn’t necessarily alleviate what we have gone through. I have found that a support network and maintaining a strong sense of self does help, however!

    Hi GABRIELLE:
    I do that and it does work. The paper bag technique can be tricky to master. One thing that does help me – and this will probably sound odd – is to read poetry aloud. I read the love of my life – Shelley – the other night. A little passage from Prometheus Unbound –
    “Ah sister! Desolation is a delicate thing
    It walks not on the earth, it floats not on the air
    But treads with lulling footstep and fans with silent wing
    The tender hopes which in their hearts the best and gentlest bear…”
    It is so brilliant I ended up forgetting my worries!

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  15. Hi JENNIFER:
    Small business is so tough. There are casualties everywhere. So many people dream of working for themselves, but really, it can be a nightmare. Bring on the karma, baby.

    Hi LAURI:
    I can relate to everything you have said. It is an insight into the baser elements of human nature when you run a small business. My advice to anyone doing it is :’Watch your back.’

    Hi GERALDINE:
    I know you’ve been through it too, G, and I feel sad that you have. You’re right – we do need a little buffer of cash to keep us secure – otherwise it’s like walking through the day completely naked 😕

    Breathing really does help!

    Hi TOBEME:
    You just never know. Money can really change some people. Thanks for the kind thoughts.

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  16. Hi STAFFORD:
    It’s shocking, isn’t it? it looks like my friend will be able to walk away with the customer base and so on intact, but the lawyers are still haggling. At least now there is hope. Thank you so much for stopping by. I really appreciate it.

    Hi DAOINE:
    Oh yeah. You’ve got to protect the family home if you can. We were very naive in that respect. I guess we didn’t expect a business partner to be so malicious. We live and learn, don’t we? Sorry to hear your Dad went through that.

    Hi ROSHAN:
    That’s awful. He sounds like someone to be avoided. Karma will indeed bite you where it hurts!

    Hi KATE:
    The police have filed a report but at the moment charges haven’t been filed. I’d be throwing the book at the guy. I am praying he doesn’t get away with this!

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  17. I’ve seen similar things happen to people I know, and it is a most helpless feeling to just have to stand around and watch. Like everyone else, I do hope your friend gets justice and finds peace.

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  18. This is how my friend’s hitherto successful coach tour company went bust. They specialised in tours to unusual and offbeat places, and he had a very good silent partner, whose cash inject enabled him to buy some really modern, up to date coaches … and was content to remain a silent partner, and collect his dividend.

    Then, he died … and his widow insisted on her input; that they should concentrate on ‘tried and tested’ destinations … and became, in effect, just another coach company. However, there was a silver lining. Dave tried to buy her out, but failed. However, he did manage to sell her his interest in the company, on condition that they ceased using his name.

    She went broke shortly afterwards; Dave was, however, able to buy some of the coaches back, and take on some of the staff, and recommence operations, although on a greatly reduced scale.

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  19. I’ve often wondered how the silent partner works for any business, Selma. There’s a lot to be said for what is in the contract, how a contract works, how the law views each party to a contract and then all the loopholes that can render a contract as good as useless. Why some people are ruthless and have no sense of equity towards others is beyond me.

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  20. I do believe Karma will get them, and hopefully sooner than later. And, I hope you get to witness justice! I really feel for you [and your friends] and I REALLY hope those asshole suffer. Excuse my language. I am just really steamed!!!!!!!!!!

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  21. Hi TRAVELRAT:
    I’m sorry to hear about your friend. That is a real shame. Sometimes the silent partners (or their relatives) can ruin a business.

    Hi ROWE:
    Some people do seem to not care about others when it comes to business. It is beyond me too.

    Hi MELEAH:
    I want to see the KARMA in action so much. Thank you for your passion. I love it !!

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  22. Selma,

    I’m sorry about the unfortunate situation that your friend currently finds himself in, and I’m even sorrier about what happened to you. Unfortunately, it is very rare when business and friendship actually mix, and more often than not, the law finds in favour of those who are the most unscrupulous.
    All I can offer in consolation is this. Despite the vastness of the universe, it is a finite place. What you put into it, will come back – good or bad. These people will end up suffering for what they did – not necessarily in a financial way (which would be best), but in many other ways that will affect them just the same.
    Gods of Karma – Selma has my vote – go give him hell!
    PS. I liked your heavy breathing references – not because of the subject itself! More because of what it represented – a note of humour, even in the darkest of discussions. Good for you, Selma!

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