If John Sotos would talk to me, what would we talk about after all these years?

July 7, 2015

I took John and Susan Kezios’s picture on the first day of the public hearings that resulted in the Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure), 2000. EPSON scanner ImageWho knows…maybe one day our widows will will talk?



There was one glorious time when the truth about Big Franchising was revealed and recorded.

July 25, 2012

QueensParkFour days in 2000.

March 6, 7, 8 and 9.

Public hearings into the franchise relationship. Four days of traveling public hearings: Toronto, Sault Ste. Marie, Ottawa and London. Ontario, Canada. Traveling public hearing: extremely rare, if not unheard of, under the Mike Harris government.

Approved by the former Ontario  Minister Robert Runciman over a beer with Tony Martin at the Queen’s Park members’ bar. Two men who share a love of democracy as expressed in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

I had the tremendous honour of traveling throughout Ontario as before these life stories were twisted into the Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure), 2000. I seemed to have made an impression on the politicians.

Of the current MPPs (107), I know 29 of them. One Minister since I was 17 years old. 45 minutes from my house to their House.

It happened once.

It can happen again.

— The Legislative Assembly of Ontario, looking north to the main doors, University Avenue, Toronto Ontario


Hansard does not record standing ovations.

November 6, 2011

For what it’s worth…

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Jim Wilson): Pursuant to standing order 98, the honourable member has 12 minutes for her presentation.

HELENA JACZEK, MPP

Ms. Helena Jaczek: At the outset I would like to make sure that everyone knows that this bill, Bill 102, An Act to amend the Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure), 2000, is co-sponsored by my colleague from Parkdale–High Park and my colleague from Parry Sound–Muskoka. I think that this type of collaboration is something our constituents expect of us. We know that in our ridings many people did not actually vote for us or our party and it is our duty to represent them in this House wherever we can. It has been certainly an interesting and very satisfying experience to work with my two colleagues on this particular bill.

I’d also like to recognize in the west members’ gallery some supporters of the bill: Les Stewart, the founder of the Canadian Alliance of Franchise Operators, and Detective Fred Kerr, the corporate fraud manager for York Regional Police’s major fraud unit.

The Legislative Assembly of Ontario
Toronto, Canada
September 23, 2010


Tupperware, Les Stewart, CAFO and freedoms, 1

January 6, 2011

Franchise freedom of speech and association in Canada, circa 2004.

Two pages of a Record of Motion filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice by Michael Shell and Drazen Bulat on behalf of their client, Tupperware Canada Inc. on September 23, 2004.

– and-I voluntarily closed down the “TupperWars” section of CAFO‘s website in response to this challenge (see context). This happened days after we (for the first time) sent out a series of emails to U.S. franchisees/distributors.

We received zero requests to stop the emails from franchise investors.


Gag orders distort & defeat rational investment decision making

September 30, 2010

Franchising is as healthy as its secrets.

mike right-web

Confidentiality agreements are used promiscuously:

  1. pre-sale (when looking),
  2. at any cash payment for “wrongs” during the relationship,
  3. at renewal,
  4. at listing of business for sale,
  5. when you exit, and
  6. at any lawsuit end.

In my 15 minutes of fame, I was asked a question:

[John O’Toole] Can you suggest one thing within the framework we’ve defined that would improve – not totally correct; we’ve passed that, we’re not astronauts – but one thing we could do that would make a real impact on these 40,000 victims, self-imposed victims in some cases? What could we do?

Mr Stewart: Outlaw gag orders. Outlaw gag orders.

Confidentiality agreements encourage opportunistic franchisor behavior because they conceal bad behavior to unsuspecting current and future financial market investors. They are a very large source of imperfect investment information.

Silence puts gold in only the pockets of those proposing these “agreements” that are tethered to the franchisee’s life savings.

More corrosively, they operate internally the same way a false prisoner confession works.

Psychologically they create an internal silencing mechanism, part of which is explained by the concepts of cognitive dissonance, learned helplessness, and obedience (Milgram, Stanford prison, Abu Ghraib). The experience of franchising can be engineered to provide a subtle and not so subtle method of mind control as was seen in the ’70s case of est.

The victim becomes convinced that they were the cause of their own suffering.


Franchise lenders are swill

June 17, 2010

Some systems hardly have any franchisee debt.

This is particularly true of ones that converted employees to franchisees.

That changes once franchisors listen to their bankers explain how much they both can make (ie. interest kickbacks) if they leverage as many franchisees to the teats.

The primary control method of newer (maybe more formally educated?) franchisees is debt. Hundreds of thousands of supportable debt, if the franchisor who controls their gross margins, lets them service their debt.

It’s ugly:

  1. prime plus 5% (“love to give a better rate but it’s unsecured, don’t you know“),
  2. immediately callable (demand loan = short leash),
  3. plus personal guarantees up the wazzo (“just need the missus to okay the paperwork…“), but
  4. secured by NOTHING but the franchisor”s “good faith” (ok as long as the present management stays put but all deals are off if…).

If you want to unlock the chains, start asking your “preferred” lender some questions (on a public blog, btw) about their lending duty under the Bank Act.

Franchise bankers: a breed apart.

A little more sensitive than you run-of-the-mill doofus franchisor: don’t like being fingered for loan pushing, collusion or predatory franchise lending.


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