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SBA Chief- Karen Mills stepping down

Is Karen Mills stepping down to escape this large-scale SBA scandal? If so, it will be an opportunistic move. She wants to take the credit for the economy but does not want the burden to address fraudulent activities. Is there any progress being made to resolve these reported frauds or administration is trying to sweep it under the rug?

Dreaming

What scandal? Are you referring to a forum on the Internet where posters have it in their head that there is the potential for a federal scandal? Get real guys.

There is substance for SBA scandal by franchises

Is there no scandal? The presented material indicates otherwise. These franchises used their name to get the loan and customers but did not put their names on high risk loans guaranteed by SBA. They used many different business entities to hide the tracks. That is manipulation and may be RICO.

Biggest fraud

Will you please elaborate on the biggest SBA frauds? If this is second, what is the first? Is it also under consideration? Will appreciate if you give us the link to the frauds found to date.

Old Sword's picture

Re: SBA Biggest Frauds

There have been numerous scandals involving the SBA over the years.  The largest single fraud to date is the BLX scandal that David Einhorn uncovered and had to force the SBA to admit.  From what I gather it involved loans in the $70 million + region under one company committing the fraud.  As for SBA scandals, you can look into the HUBZone scandal - involving SBA loans to be used to redevelop businesses in poorer communities.  Also, the Wedtech Scandal involving the Reagan Administration and the Department of Defense.  Then there was Congressman Wilbur Mills was an expert at 'diverting' SBA money to his 'favored' constituents.  I have been told by people in Washington that Abscam also involved SBA money but I don't know enough about it.  Lastly, ever hear of 'Whitewater'? - yes, an SBA scandal.

The SBA earned the moniker 'Small Scandal Administration' due to its numerous travails.  In terms of providing links - you can do your own digging.

Good details on Franchise fraud

http://buy-best-veterans-franchises-business-opportunities-law.com/what-franchise-fraud-does-to-you-when-you-are-the-victim/

This website provides details on what is going on with bad franchise systems and there are many. I have worked hard, saved every penny, and then lost everything and can relate to the details provided here. The franchisor is a college drop out and perhaps was kicked out of college. Other bankrupt franchisees are silent and want to forget and continue with their lives. Perhaps that is typical American way and that is why these franchisors are still not in prison. Unlike other developed countries, an average American does not know much outside the country and many have not travelled beyond their own state. They do not protest bad things because basic amenities (drinking water, gas, phone, electricity) are available without hard work. Since there is no penalty in performing franchise fraud and is acceptable to the society, perhaps our kids should follow that path.

Above referenced website is awesome and describes exactly what happens. It is a must read for new franchisees and for corrupt franchisors.

register

Hi - Trying to register but the page returns a " you are not authorized" message"
Think it's a web design issue.

Let me know

N Boudet

Please recognize the SBA loan officer

SBA loan officers work hard to make your franchise successful. Please reward them if you have not already done so.

http://www.prbuzz.com/family-a-parenting/45022-discovery-point.html

Discovery Point Welcomes Jackie Hart

January 15, 2010 -- Discovery Point Franchising is pleased to announce that Jackie Hart has joined the company as Director of Finance, effective December 1, 2009. Jackie, a professional banker with 14 years of experience at top financial institutions across the southeast, has most recently served as Senior Vice President of Fidelity Bank and Senior Vice President of Park Avenue Bank. Jackie has been instrumental in assisting numerous Discovery Point franchisees in acquiring Small Business Administration (SBA) financing. Based in Discovery Point's Atlanta offices, Jackie will head Discovery Point’s financing activities and will develop strategic banking relationships in the market.

Commenting on Jackie’s joining the Discovery Point team, Diane Clark, Discovery Point’s co-founder and Vice President, said, “Jackie has done an excellent job of working with our franchisees over the past several years. She is extremely well suited to this role as she has the right combination of leadership skills and experience to help us realize our future growth plans.”

kick back

This is a clever way to payback the accomplish.

Dutta and Former Discovery Point #57, Coal Mountain, Cumming, GA

As you may recall, on Friday, September 30th, 2011 Discovery Point Franchising received a letter from an attorney representing Sandip Dutta, Urmi Dutta, and Dutta Enterprise, Inc. (the company then operating Discovery Point #57, collectively “Dutta”). The letter stated that Dutta intended to “rescind” (terminate) the franchise agreement between Dutta and Discovery Point Franchising.

DPFI responded that Dutta had breached the franchise agreement and owed all fees as stated in the franchise agreement. In accordance with the terms of the franchise agreement signed by Dutta, DPFI demanded that the matter be settled by binding arbitration. On August 13 and 14, 2012 an arbitration hearing was held in Atlanta before an arbitrator assigned by the American Arbitration Association. On September 28, 2012, the arbitrator issued his Award of Arbitrator wherein the arbitrator found in favor of DPFI on every count. Dutta had made numerous claims, all of which were rejected by the arbitrator. DPFI was awarded monetary damages including Services Fees, National Advertising Fees, interest on all past due fees, all attorneys’ fees, arbitration administrative fees, witness fees, and fees for the arbitrator. Dutta was ordered to pay all monetary damages to DPFI within 20 days (from September 28, 2012).

Over the past twenty years, Discovery Point has assembled a highly experienced and competent team of legal counsel. Discovery Point has seen challenges to our franchise agreement contract in the past. The franchise agreement has been upheld and Discovery Point has prevailed in every instance. We have been awarded our legal expenses and other related expenses. This latest matter simply reinforces the validity of the Discovery Point franchise agreement. Discovery Point will always defend its position and the franchise agreement very aggressively.

Cliff Clark
Discovery Point Atlanta

Beware - Salary Garnishment

The history of Discovery Point shows that they are not ashamed to ruin you financially. Moreover, they will come to garnish your salary if you are gainfully employed. Discovery Point will sell you an unproven not sustainable business so that they can get it back at a cheaper price to churn the franchise. Their greed will not stop there. Your salary from your or your spouse's regular job will also be attacked. Be careful about getting in this franchise.

Granville_Bean's picture

If they have a judgement against you....

If they have a judgement again you, they would be dumb NOT to go after ALL your assets and income. They're not running a charity. You got in bed with sharks and now you're surprised they want to eat all of you???

From Ripoff Report on Discovery Point at TN

Discovery Point Franchising took my franchisee fee, built the building but didn't check the TN regulations. The net result was I could only have 1/2 the number of students in 7 out of the 8 classrooms. They charged me Atlanta prices to buy the land and build the building in a rural area of Chattanooga. Then when I got my license from the state, they advised me that I could only have 120 students in 7 out of the 8 classfooms. Their other centers hold approximately 240.(This is maximum capacity, most centers have less than 100 full time equivalents)

I advised them of this and they completely ignored me. When I filed for arbitration (which was required under the franchise agreement), I found out why they ignored me. At the closing, I signed a document which transfered the franchise from me personally to my newly formed business. Burried in that document was a comprehensive release of all liability for anything (and everything) Discovery Point Franchising had done. This even got by my attorney.

To make a long story short, when I filed for arbitration, their attorney said "sorry, but you signed a release of all liability" and the arbitrator said "ok, your claims can't be considered, only the franchise claims".
The net, net was that even if I was at capacity from day one, there was no way I could make my bank payment. The bank repossesed the propert and sold it on the courthouse steps. Guess who bought it??? Discovery Point Franchising! So the propery I paid 1.8 million for, they bought from the bank for 1 million. (along with a running business, bus, and equipment)

I have lost everything I own. I had to file bankruptcy. They even tried to take my home since I probably have 15 to $20,000 in equity in my home.

How, in this country, can a company screw up, and then ruin the person that they screwed? Where is justice for the little guy that trusted these people only to have them ruin me?

Granville_Bean's picture

Aww heck...

Hurt Zee Guest says: "How, in this country, can a company screw up, and then ruin the person that they screwed? Where is justice for the little guy that trusted these people only to have them ruin me?"

You said you could have 120 students, and also that the average location has 100.  So seems like you were covered. If they were charging you big city prices for a rural location, why did you agree to pay those prices? Eh, some Franchisors are predatory, but then they couldn't so easily prey on newbie Franchisees if the franchisees wouldn't buy into an industry they knew nothing about.  Sheesh, $1.8 mill invested in something he didn't know much about?  A lamb to the slaughter!

Not enough to sustain bill payments

100 enrollment not enough to pay bills of new centers. the project price was increased by $700K (all profit to DP?) from 2005 to this 2007 center. This increase was not sustainable with 120 enrollments. SBA, are you reading this?

$10 shoplifting is crime but $1M fraud is legal

How many qualify for $2M SBA loan? These franchisees are professionals and they can manage money, otherwise they could not have paid the needed down payment. If a franchise spends 20 years to perfect its legal documents, frauds and cons become legal. New franchisees cannot figure out the complex business model and fall for it. The franchise disclosure does not show the problems or failures or corporate owned centers because they are owned personally by the corporate owners. There is no controller for FDD in GA, so one can write whatever they want.

For this particular franchise system, the business model was developed in the 80's and perhaps it was good then. But now all the forms and regulations are available on the internet and therefore the franchise has nothing special to deliver. The troubled franchisees try to get out of the franchise and praise the system because they are trying to sell. Discovery Point at Sanders Road and Laurel Springs were resales and they could not stay open for 2 years! The owners were educated professionals, They were given false numbers and made to sign (there were no guns on their heads but a con artist does not need that) the 20 years perfected forms. Discovery Point at TN was not an isolated event. There are more like that. There were two centers in Covington, GA. Both were sold about the same time and reacquired by DP about the same time. One of the failed owners Mr. Burgess went to prison after the bankruptcy (name/address match with arrest announcements). The other was an anonymous corporation from Florida named MMET, whose owners could not be found. What if this was associated with the franchiser? Since it was SBA guaranteed loan, this should be looked at. Perhaps the bank did, but when corporation owners hide, that may indicate problems.

About five more centers in GA either cannot make payments or filed for bankruptcy. About 7 centers in South Carolina disappeared. If you argue that all these were lambs but somehow could make the $200K down payments for each center, you will not sound smart either.

Shoplifting a Crime and Granville

Guest,

Don't worry about Granville. He and others on this site purposely belittle franchisees that have been defrauded in order to shut them up. The idea is to ridicule you enough so that you no longer are willing to speak out. The other problem is that most franchisees, including those that have gone belly up, are a-holes and are unwilling to speak up and defend you - but they are reading your posts, believe me.

Granville_Bean's picture

And what good does that do?

Guest notes: "The other problem is that most franchisees, including those that have gone belly up, are a-holes and are unwilling to speak up and defend you - but they are reading your posts, believe me. "

What good does it do if a lot of people whose businesses also failed, merely read his posts?

People should not sink millions of dolars into operating businesses that they have no experience or knowledge in. If they want to invest, buy shares in a mutual fund.But if they want to OPEN THEIR OWN BUSINESS that is something else entirely and the biggest bulldinky in franchising is that ALL you have to do is "follow the proven system".

Franchise Royalty

The royalty is the fee franchisees pay for the proven system. What it seems here is that there is no system for this franchise, proven or unproven. But they take the Royalty money anyway and come after the franchisees' personal assets if the franchised business does not have enough income. It is arguable but wonder how different is it from Mafia setups. Mafia flashes the compromised picture if not paid. Here the franchiser flashes the contract (compromised picture) and threaten to sue if not paid. It is not that franchisee taking home money instead of paying Royalty.

Proven systems

These discussions reveal the irregularities in proven systems. For example The center at Spout Springs has been bankrupt for some time but still presented as open http://www.spoutspringsroad.discoverypoint.com/. The agents and loan officers were paid well to keep these going. An executive at this franchise made $214K in 2007 by selling many centers at more than $700K than 2005 prices. Several of these failed to sustain. Knowingly repeated that in 2008 and made $174K. He made $26K in 2009 and then went bankrupt in 2010 with $500 in assets with no house and with no car. He was a salaried employee. The loan officer bought a half Million Dollar 4,332 sq ft. palace in Feb 2008. Whoa!

Granville_Bean's picture

Uhh your point being what?

That it's better to be a loan officer than a Zee? What IS your point anyway?

Granville, The Point Is:

Granville, if you saw all the information that Guest references, an intriguing picture of the bank is revealed (this is all just our opinion of course, we are still in the process of proving the allegations). We have reviewed the SBA OIG report issued against Banco Popular. The banks are required to perform specific functions when reviewing a loan application (discussed in 2nd paragraph below). What it looks like here is: the franchisor is providing (forwarding) to most franchisees a SBA loan application from one specific bank. That bank and the franchisor are providing revenue numbers for the proforma. The bank then approves the loan. The bank then takes over the franchise when the loan is defaulted upon. The bank then shifts this asset (the business) to another company that it (the bank) controls. The ( bank owned) company then sells it back to the franchisor (or a company that the franchisor corporate leaders control) at a significant discount. The franchisor then sells it to a new franchisee who, again, receives a SBA loan from that same bank (again, all of this is "allegedly")

Don't forget the proven requirements from the OIG Banco report: the bank is required to use historical data when approving a SBA loan. The bank is required to perform a reasonability analysis of the proforma. It is our opinion (and only our opinion at this point), the bank, given they are actively involved in taking over the failed franchises, is fully aware of the revenues being generated by this franchise system and that they don't meet SBA guidelines (hell, the bank is taking them over after the default so they know damn well the franchisees are not meeting the proforma numbers). Yet, the bank continues to underwrite SBA loans even though the historical data in their possession clearly shows the franchise system does not meet SBA minimum requirements.

Granville_Bean's picture

so you think that how much money you have = how smart you are?

Guest still doesn't get it when he says:

"If you argue that all these were lambs but somehow could make the $200K down payments for each center, you will not sound smart either."

Maybe he had so much money that he was used to people (who wanted some of it) telling him how smart he was.

He was so smart that he found all this out over the interwebs AFTER he lost his money. Too bad he sunk $2 million into opening a business he knew nothing about.  He was so smart that he thought that since he had a load of money from one thing, that therefore he must be smart about EVERY thing. Why didn't he just keep doing what got him all that money to start with?

How best to franchise our uniques business?

Letter to Franny at “Blue MauMau” http://www.bluemaumau.org
I have invented a water-proofing process for exterior wood. I launched our "beta-test" this summer using social media marketing and sales have been tremendous. We have more work than we can do. Our biz has the potential to do over 1 million bucks the first year...if we could iron out some technical problems with our business model in terms of how we are doing it locally. I just talked to "Harry" a sales rep for Francorp this afternoon. they want me to get on a webinar this Friday, then segue me into a face-to-face meeting in Chicago. Like most small entrepreneurs, we are strapped for cash. When i asked Harry to cut to the chase..."how much upfront do you want from me?" He batted the question away with a comment of "we are not investors, we are not your business partners". That made no sense to me until after i did a search for "Fancorp complaints" and found the 2003 lawsuit South Beach Franchising V. Francorp.

What do you think of Francorp? Do you have any suggestions for my wife and myself as we are just starting to research franchising. My first thought was NOT to franchise, Just offer the "business opportunity" as a "licensing agreement" for buyers to purchase our water-=proofing product on a continuing basis, along with equipment (pressure washers, etc.) and attending a live-in-person "boot camp" training here in Indianapolis next spring/summer. We were thinking to make our big money in upfront sales of an "affiliate-ship" not a franchise. I am aware of state laws governing "business opportunities" and potential trouble with the Feds if i don’t use proper legal disclosures, etc. Would an affiliate ship work in our case instead of a Franchising? Harry told me our first year "up-front" costs would be $100K to $150K to launch our franchise. Ha! Unless we win the lottery....THAT AIN'T HAPPENING!
Truly, Larry Strawbridge (317) 281-3731 smart phone voice & text. Lstraw@comcast.net www.masterfinish.biz

Granville_Bean's picture

Waterproofing: wanting to run before you can walk...

You claim you have the "potential" to do over $1 million. BUT YOU HAVE NOT DONE IT YET.  You admit you have some problems with your business model yet you want to franchise; what do you think you will be franchising? (It would be the problematic business model.) Until you have a stable business with a tested business model you should not be dreaming of where you will make your "big money".

Oh yeah, and you can't even come up with $150k yet you dream of "big money". (I am perfectly okay however with not wanting to pay $150k to francorp.)  If you want to sell a waterproofing product and training classes on how to use it, go ahead.  But that's neither franchising nor even a business opportunity, it is product sales and training classes. But if you try to tie this to "big money" from upfront sales of an "affiliate-ship", that is no longer product sales, it is franchising or a business opportunity.

You can't have it both ways. Get your own house in order first.  Get multiple locations going, each doing $1M plus in sales.  THEN sell your franchise or business opportunity.  Right now you don't have jack to sell.

OS&E treatment

As per USALI 10th Edition, operating equipment should be expensed within one year from the date of purchase. My question to the experts is

1. what is the process of accounting small operating equipment.
2. how is excess breakage or discards recorded. Incase, on a particular month breakage is more than the allocated expenses. how to treat the same.
3. Is there a mimimum standard for breakage/discard?

Thank you

Ganeshan.

active buyer for Franchisor's organization

what is the most effective track to finding small franchisors who want to sell their organization (business brokers are a waste of time and M&A want larger deals). Previous created and sold my ranchise organization and I'm not interested in doing a start up therefore I have the experience and maturity to take a viable opportunity to the next level. Prefer no ongoing litigation but would consider under the right circumstances depending on the suit. Areas of interest are service and under $125,000 for an inital investment by a qualified prospective franchisee. Thanks

Business Loan to Buy Franchise?

One of the many problems my readers at SoloSmallBusiness.com face is a lack of capital. Are there loans for buying a franchise?

What is the cheapest franchise you've seen for sale? Do you think it was worth the low cost?

Thank you,

Tomas Merrill

Nigerian Franchising Scams

Our company has been receiving a number of requests for franchise information by people claiming to be Nigerian living in Canada. They request written invitations to come to visit with us for visa purposes. They request wiring information for sending the franchise fee.

I can't help but think this is some kind of a scam. Have any other franchise companies been receiving leads from sources like this?

Best regards,

Trellen

Well written document on franchise fraud

http://buy-best-veterans-franchises-business-opportunities-law.com/agreement-for-franchise/
How the serial killers of entrepreneurs work in the franchise system.
If it is well known, how come nothing is being done?
We have seen the same with Discovery Point and Legacy Academy. Ask franchisees, especially transferred (terminated) franchisees before getting in.

How about Kim Burgess

Contact information requested for the former franchisee, Kim Burgess. Somehow franchisees vanish after bankruptcy and cannot be traced. Any idea how to locate them?

http://childcareresourceservices.com/search_step3.php?providerId=MTU1MjA=

Miller information

The underlying litigation arose from disputes involving Discovery Point Franchising, Inc. (“DPFI”), a corporate franchisor of child care centers, and a DPFI franchise owned by Douglas and Sharon Miller.
http://caselaw.findlaw.com/ga-court-of-appeals/1369830.html

Anyone knows where to find Douglas or Sharon Miller?

Open Fran

I have been informed by my visitors that our link to OpenFran is no longer working. After testing, it appears they are correct. Has OpenFran moved? Googling 'Open Fran' does not seem to help. Any help or guidance would be appreciated.

Mr. Blue MauMau's picture

Re: OpenFran no longer works

The founder of OpenFran, Dan Maizner, passed away in 2011. He was 43.

OpenFran was an online database in which Franchise Disclosure Documents could be searched by text string. So if you wanted to know Financial Performance Representation for franchise units and compare the results, a search would give you many points to compare.

My guess is that his widow discontinued the Website, OpenFran.

Dan was a former Alphagraphics franchise owner. He confidentially gave Blue MauMau many leads to news stories that affect franchisees. He is missed by our community.

Til We Meet Again Franchise

bluemaumau.org posted a story aobut this group a few months back and now this story come out. Looks like this franchise is growing fast, I would love to know what your thoughts are about a franchise like this, as i have never seen anything like it.

sorry the story is in the

sorry the story is in the Wichita Eagle in the Carrie Rengers blog. And sorry for the typo's

AGENCY OPERATOR

Dear Sir,

I am interested in your franchisee. please let me know the information/documents requir

with best regards,

Hakeem Qazi

Kona Ice

Has anyone heard of Kona Ice? Opinions?

Bob Frankman's picture

Kona Bonah

First of all, everyone knows that the best Hawaiian shaved ice comes from Oahu, not Kona. What is Kona Ice? Is that like premium coffee for kids? That has as much brand recognition as shavings of sea slug.

Second, taking advantage of school kids in this promo video gives me the heeby-jeebies.

Schools, don't sell your kids $2 sugared ice to buy a projector for teachers. I also don't think their parents will appreciate seeing their children in this business promo.

Third: It's a seasonal business in which there is a small window of opportunity to make a return on your investment. Fourth: There is no compelling business story on their site.

Here is their disclosure document. There are no franchises yet in this 2009 FDD. It's new and unproven. You are buying a dream. There is no financial performance representation for the average franchise, which is the first thing you'll want to know. In fact, there's not much of anything -- other than costs. You buy your $77,000 truck, equipment and food stuff from Kona. There is a $12,500 franchise fee for ten years. Most likely you'll need a new truck before then. Salvage value life of the truck -- I'd say seven years.

Here's the franchise agreement. According to it, Kona Ice does not own the trademark yet. If it doesn't possess a trademark, there's no sense paying royalties to rent something Kona doesn't own.

Kona is a real bonah. Stay away from this.

Kona

Trying again, Does anyone have any experience with Kona Ice? Too good to be true?

Granville_Bean's picture

why kona?

If you wanna sell shaved ice out of a truck, why do you need to pay a franchise feee to kona to do it?

Bob Frankman's picture

¡Ay caramba Kona Bonah!

I just found this sales pitch for buying a Kona Bonah (uhm, Kona Ice) franchise. "You'd be amazed how many people are looking up shaved ice online. It's unbelievable," says the pitch man on why this man-in-the-van franchise makes sense.

Unbelievable indeed.


My spidey sense is tingling. This feels bad. Real bad.

Thanks.

Thanks.

What are the franchise

What are the franchise agreements

Franchise Questions

Hello
My name is Melene Vasquez I am looking into opening a El Pollo Regio. I am looking for a small business loan. Do you know if El Pollo Regio is an proved small Business?

We can lend you.

Contact me we can lend you money

Sharkeys Cuts for Kids

What is going on with the Sharkeys franchises in Calif? I was interested and decided to call local owners instead of the HQ, where I figured I would get the real answers. They have either shut down and/or are not happy. It seems to be the state with the most closures and unhappy franchisees. I was told by a few that they definitely would not do it again and the franchisor is of no help.

Google Scott and Linda

Google Scott and Linda sharkey, CT. I was looking into that franchaise until I read about the lawsuit filed against them.

Sharkey's

Very interestesting...are you a franchisee. We own a location in British
Columbia, Canada.
Would love to chat with you if you're interested?
I see similarities...

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About Franny

Franny's picture

Public Profile

Franny is a columnist for Blue MauMau who answers questions about running and owning a franchised business establishment. Those who have questions can post them under the Ask Franny forum. Readers may comment on the questions there. If the post is answered by Franny, it will be featured on the frontpage of Blue MauMau under the "Ask Franny" column. Franny sometimes invites Subject Matter Experts to answer. Please do not mention your franchisor, vendor or your own firm's name in your question.