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.