Top 10 searches this month on FranchiseFool

January 30, 2012

WordPress does not show me the names of the people searching this weblog. Same for those who choose to follow the weblog by email.

But what (or whom) is being searched for is valuable feedback to those of us in the keeping an eye on the franchise industry social media space.

  1. ingrid chen winnipeg
  2. coffee culture franchise
  3. mark bryers
  4. compass of shame
  5. the rape of the mind
  6. compass of shame nathanson
  7. fat tony
  8. franchise fool
  9. lcbo franchise
  10. one love one blood one life

Why is Mark Bryers, former franchisor & attorney smiling?

October 29, 2010

Because he knows white-collar laws are a farce.

Under Kiwi law, there is insufficient evidence for the Serious Fraud Office, SFO to press criminal charges although 3,000 New Zealanders have lost $80 million of their life savings via the Blue Chip franchise system.

  1. Blue Chip escapes SFO noose
  2. Shock as SFO decides not to lay Blue Chip charges
  3. SFO says insufficient evidence for a criminal prosecution of Blue Chip

Bryers was sentenced in May for over 1oo commercial offenses for which he pleaded guilty. The sentence?: 75 hours of community work and a $37,500 fine. (Blue Chip boss sentenced – but avoids jail)

Not too surprising when governments treat a law enforcement agency as a political sacrificial lamb.

Ray Borradale from Australia notes on yesterday’s FranchiseFool post:

… I do like New Zealand’s approach to franchising.

Nothing complicated – don’t even tell anyone its buyer beware and then keep the location of the mass grave a secret. Economic efficiency and the grace to not worry people before its time to send them to that other place. Bewdiful …

Unmarked economic mass graves.

Plague victims on Venice island

What Mark Bryers did was substantially the same as every franchise system does frequently/sometimes/selectively does. Bryers ambition was larger and his time frame was shorter. That’s the only difference.

I quote Ray because Bryers is now Australia’s responsibility.


Franchisor faces 100 criminal charges

February 23, 2009

bryers2Blue Chip was set up as a franchise by Mark Bryers.

Business format franchising is very useful in insulating owners from liability. One type of liability is when people, downstream, sue the corporation because of its alleged fraudulent dealings. Bryers set up +160 companies.

  • Not many kiwi real estate investors are smiling as much as  Bryers, a disbarred lawyer left, appears to be these days while biding his time in sunny Australia.

The New Zealand Herald and Jared Savage report on the latest attempts to bring Bryers to justice (Blue Chip founder faces 100 charges).

Criminal charges have been laid against Blue Chip co-founder Mark Bryers for his part in the property company’s $80 million collapse.

More than 100 charges have been laid against Bryers for alleged breaches of the Companies Act.

They follow a six-month inquiry ordered by the Registrar of Companies.

Bryers is living in Sydney, Australia running a similar type of real estate company. The Serious Fraud Office and Commerce Commission are also investigating.

To Recap:

More than 2,000 investors are out of pocket after 22 Blue Chip-related companies owing more than $80 million were put into liquidation last year.

Many investors are retired and face losing their homes.

About the only person working to try to recover any investor money is…

Paul Dale, an Auckland lawyer acting for many of the investors, said he was not surprised charges had been laid.

He welcomed the prosecution, but called on the Government to bail out those who stood to lose everything because of the Blue Chip collapse.

In a related story called Mark Bryers still gets rent cash, Rebecca Milne quotes a  67 year-old who as saying it’s too late for her and her 72 year-old husband:

“We’ve been to the doctor more in the last 12 months than we’ve ever been in our lives. We’re just so stressed about it all.

“We’ve already sold our home. We’re in a one-bedroom council flat. That’s all we’ve got.”

The New Zealand government has yet to explain how such a large-scale fraud could occur, let alone take steps to prevent it in the future.


No franchise law: New Zealand as a Tier 2 economy

February 2, 2009

greenacreslogo1Humans have evolved a large brain to help in our survival.

It does a very good job but sometimes  it get tricked up in seemingly simple differences.

One of these is the difference between the words rent and own.

  • You rent a franchise.
  • You own a non-franchised business.

Understand? You own no thing/nothing when you rent a logo. Don’t look for equity: It does not exist in franchising.

Modern franchise law defines two terms:

  1. A franchisee is the end consumer or licensee.
  2. A franchisor is the owner and any of his “associates” (sub-contractor, selling agent, etc.)

Franchise law defines what a franchisor is very widely and a franchisee very narrowly for a very good reason: franchisors will try to wiggle out of their responsibilities by pointing to someone else in the selling chain when it hits the fan.

They are as bi-polar as U.S. bankers: laissez-faire in good times, socialists in bad.

A recent New Zealand Herald article shows this:

Auckland, Feb 2 NZPA – An Auckland man charged with fraudulently obtaining $3.5 million from people he granted Green Acres sub-franchises to, has re-appeared in court.

Keith Lapham faced three fraud charges alleging he obtained money by deception from 172 people while he was a master franchisee for Green Acres from March to December 2007.

Lapham was remanded on bail to a pre-depositions hearing in April when he appeared in Auckland District Court today.

His lawyer Peter Davey said an extra two months was needed to examine more than 30,000 documents disclosed by the Serious Fraud Office.

Lapham was an independent contractor and the Green Acres company was not the subject of any investigation.

There are only two terms: franchisees and franchisors & their associates in any jurisdiction with a half-assed franchise-specific law. Can’t really fault the Herald:

New Zealand is a Tier 2 economy in refusing to pass a specific-franchise law.

This government inaction is called enabling consumer fraud.

Questions

  1. Is it any wonder that Mark Bryers, a lawyer, structured the Blue Chip fraud as a franchise?
  2. With lots of people like Mark Bryers, being attracted to franchising, what’s the probability that it’ll happen again?
  3. Is it reasonable for Kiwis to expect more backbone from their government than having Minister Dalziel making her announcements on franchise regulation from the franchisor-only trade shows?

In contrast to almost all of the G20 countries that have a franchise law, it must seem that it’s like shooting fish in a barrel in running a franchise scheme in New Zealand.


Mark Bryers: Blue Chip bird in an AUS Gilded Cage

December 8, 2008

gildedcageIt seems Mr. Bryers’ legal alternatives seem to be narrowing.

The New Zealand Herald reported this weekend:

Blue Chip co-founder Mark Bryers did not enter pleas when he appeared in the Auckland District Court yesterday on seven charges laid by the Companies Office.

He was bailed to an exclusive apartment in Sydney and is due to reappear in court in February.

Let’s hope that the bewildered mom-and-pop Blue Chip investors can take a moment and have something of a Merry Christmas. Wanna bet this bird remains unstuffed in  2009?

See Investors told to pay or lose homes and why all business journalists should be more curious.


Where’s Mark Bryers? With Waldo in AUS, of course.

September 4, 2008

The children’s game, “Where’s Waldo?” was a big hit with my kids a few years back. Here is a link to Waldo Wiki for some fun.

Otherwise, it appears from New Zealand’s One NEWS that the Blue Chip founder is somewhere in Australia (Blue Chip hope sparked by frozen funds).

Hundreds of Blue Chip investors across New Zealand have been given fresh hope that they might be able to recover millions of dollars worth of deposits for apartments they never wanted to buy.

The High Court has frozen funds in solicitors trust accounts until a full hearing takes place later this year…

We’ll wait and see if any cash actually surfaces from freezing the lawyer’s escrow accounts for the 2,000 seniors (mostly) who have lost over $84-million.

It does seem that Mr. Mark Bryers is keeping a pretty low profile these days. It appears that lawyers are having a hard time tracking him down in Australia to serve him with bankruptcy papers.

And what does one of the 2,000 investors [$1-million lost as a condition of re-locating to Britain] have to say about Bryers’s moving to Australia?.

“And now he’s off to Australia to do the same to people over there, I just – unbelievable,” says Blue Chip investor Michelle Hickman.

Altered loan documents, fraud and an agency relationship you say? Mrs. Hickman’s intrepid barrister Paul Dale:

“Certainly on the affidavit evidence we have filed to date, there has been fraud. We have produced examples of altered loan documents,” says Paul Dale the investors’ Barrister…

Dale says he has got powerful evidence of a profit sharing agreement between Greenstone and Blue Chip which would have seen money flow to Mark Bryers when apartment projects like this were completed.

Like I said before [Oz Alert: Shrewd businessmen immigrating], if you bump into Mr. Bryers or Bob Bangerter, let me know.


Blue Chip finger puppetry?

August 8, 2008

Team A: This is a picture of Jeff Meltzer of Meltzer Mason Heath, New Zealand.

A Mr. Aaron Heath says that after six months investigation, it is still too early to know what to write in their promised reports. Hmmm.

This is not a trivial little financial bubble involving a tiny franchise system tanking.

Blue Chip and its founder and Oz resident Mark Bryers have caused 2,000 Mom and Pop Kiwis to lose over $80 million as 20 related companies went buns up kneeling.

It appears the liquidator’s actions and sense of urgency have the full support of Commerce Minister Lianne Dalziel and the Clark government.

Team B: Anne Gibson from The New Zealand Herald reports this week in Blue Chip process frustrates lawyers that:

Two lawyers acting for more than 300 Blue Chip investors say they are aghast at the scale of the task and are angry about what they say is a distinct lack of Government aid for investors.

Specifically, how helpful have the liquidators been in assisting the the two lawyers (Paul Dale and Daniel Grove) in trying to defend the 2,000 citizens?

Grove says his firm has been greeted only with hostility from the liquidators so far. “We requested a document and were told we needed a court order.”

Illustratively, it is these two barristers that are:

Issuing proceedings against two Auckland lawyers – whom the barristers refused to identify – for professional negligence over advice to clients who became Blue Chip investors.

The two lawyers are doing this: not the liquidators or the Government.

  • You Decide: Is it Team A or Team B that appears to be putting on a cheesy puppet play?

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