How a man lost 8 million dollars for failing to be a decent human.
Alright, I have a story to tell from the finance industry. For those of you who don’t know what we do, it’s basically just being a realtor, but for companies instead of houses. This was a small investment banking firm, and we specialize in smaller players. We’re talking companies worth 20-50 million dollars. Our customers are typically salt of the earth; built their tire company from nothing but a shed and a truck over the last 30 years, and now they want to retire. But seeing as how many of them never learned accounting and whatnot, they need representation.
Now one company has two 50% owners, and they hate each other. Can’t have a civil conversation. Now, having two 50/50 owners is always a recipe for conflict, but this level of hatred was something I hadn’t seen before; it was pretty clear one of the two had done something pretty bad for it to devolve to this stage. So lets call one Tim and one Roger.
My first impression of Roger is that he’s a nice dude. Down to earth, chill, and generally interested in things. My first impression of Tim is that he’s a raging imbecile. We were at a restaurant I, and many other people in my city, hold in very high regard, and all he did, for an hour and half, was complain about the food. He talked down to and mocked a waiter who dared to ask him what he’d like to drink, and proceeded to order $1000 of wine [he knew we were paying]. My boss, having none of that, made it clear Tim is paying for that bottle, which I suppose put him in a bad mood. I am somewhat obsessed with food. I spend an unwise amount of money on food. I can sing you all the instrumental parts in the opening to Heston Blumenthal’s cooking show. We’re here on my recommendation. I love this damn restaurant, and I am on first name terms with that waiter. The man starts talking down to me about my tastes after I order, says kids these days have no palate, and that I shouldn’t be eating X. Oh and also, apparently, donating to vaccine charities is a waste of money, and I am some sort of idiot for doing so.
So to be short, I don’t like the guy. But not liking the guy isn’t really a reason to seek revenge. However, after talking to Roger, we find out why they hate each other. You see, Tim had been stealing money from his employees, and the company. It turns out, employees started getting random checks bounced, and the company’s lines of credit kept drying up. Because Tim had been making some rather extravagant purchases on the company dime. He had adjusted employee payroll downwards and increased his own. He had used capital expenditures to build himself a house. Apparently, his continued justification is that none of what he did was illegal [technically true], he had helped grow the company [I suppose], and that he deserved more [but not his business partner]. Roger ended up comping employees out of his own pocket, and Tim refused to pay back a dime.
So at this point, the deal talks are going no where. As in, Tim and Roger just cannot stand to communicate with each other at all. But my boss, he hatches an idea. Why don’t we just buy one of them out? We know how much the company is worth in the wider market. We’ll just see if either is willing to take some cash up front for their share of the equity.
I make models all day. I know how much this company is worth. It’s worth about 24 million dollars. Tim’s stake is therefore worth 12 million dollars (complex I know). Guess whose stake I suggest we buy? Tim’s of course. How much do I suggest we offer? 4 million.
Now, to be clear, this type of thing has a downside. But Tim’s reputation in his industry isn’t good. In fact, after some canvassing, it turns out that most people know this company through Roger, and don’t like to deal with Tim. Turns out being a thieving a**hole is something one simply cannot turn off.
Boss says ok, he’ll send an offer letter and NDA agreement, etc. Tim bites [for 6 mil]. We sold the company 6 weeks later for 28 million dollars total. F*ck you Tim.
Update: No, Tim was not happy when he found out. No, he could not do a damn thing about it.
2: I should mention that my boss and a few of his friends pooled the money to make the buy. They were not acting as part of the bank. Any offer they gave was part of private negotiations, as a counter party. Tim should have hired his own bankers. He didn’t.
The apartment complex I lived in was on a one-way street, with angled parking spots. One particular space was not technically a legal spot (it was a driveway that had been removed after the apts were built) at one point it had been painted in with slanted lines, but there was no sign or any other markings. Over the years the lines faded to the point where they were barely visible. People would routinely park in it for short periods and it was well known to the parking cops as a great revenue generator.
One Halloween I parked there, ended up getting day drunk; I didn’t feel like taking the risk of driving around the neighborhood to find a legit spot. instead I came up with this brilliant idea to put an old ticket under the windshield wiper. But that wasn’t enough for drunk me, so I wrote “go fuck yourself” inside the ticket in case they dared to check it. The next morning, I woke up to 3 new tickets on my car, all written for different violations, by different parking cops, and they even put a slightly different address for each ticket, to make it that much harder to contest. My favorite was that one had been wedged into the drivers side door instead of put under the wiper. They took my decoy ticket and I’m sure it’s still hanging in their break room in some kind of hall of fame.
(I got one dropped that was written for not having a night permit. i had a night permit.)