Solomon on flavours of Organized Crime

October 19, 2009

RichardSolomonRichard Solomon is a dangerous man.

In a Blue MauMau October 13th comment called There is more than one Mafia, Solomon poses these questions:

  1. Do you people really believe you are not dealing with organized crime?
  2. Do you really believe every organized gangster dresses outlandishly and eats spaghetti all day?
  3. Do you think that organized crime needs goons with guns to come around and shoot your children?
  4. Is it possible that you are all that stupid?

The same questions crossed my mind as I lifted the rock on 3 for1 Pizza and Wings to discover they collected royalty fees — in person — each week — in cash.

Solomon goes on to describe a much more sophisticated predatory life form:

The other Mafia is Anglo Saxon Protestant or worse; wears very conservative tailor made suits; went to all the best schools; has a daddy who set him up so well that he could hire lower orders to do his dirty work; lawyers and contracts instead of guns; and professional managers instead of button men.

Judging by methods and results, can you honestly distinguish between Tony Soprano and  Rick Schaden or Mitt Romney (Bain Capital)? Are you experiencing a more pleasant life under Mitt the Shit than you would under Tony Soprano?

Solomon “Get real, people!”

Pure Solomon.

Pure wisdom.

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Reza Solhi and 3 for 1 Pizza & Wings

December 22, 2008

3for1pizza11

Sean over at FranchisePick asked me if I knew of Mr. Solhi’s work.

Please note the first 6 articles that the Information Sharing Project would return if it were alive on the internet (searched for tradename). Download the entire article if you like.

  1. Frustrated franchisees call for legislation, The Globe and Mail, December 3, 1998 Excerpt from article: Jesu Dasan figures he lost $180,000 in the 20 months he operated a fast-food franchise in Scarborough, He alleges the franchisor changed the terms of the contract, which drastically reduced the number of homes his business was allowed to service. [download pdf]
  2. Ontario introduces bill to protect franchisees, The Toronto Star, December 4, 1998 Excerpt from article: “Everything goes to (the chain) … These people cheat us and we’ve lost everything.”…Vahdati said she and her husband spent $100,000 on legal costs in a fruitless court fight against the pizza-chain owner. [download pdf]
  3. New franchising  law called sales job: Ignores ongoing illicit practices, operator rep say, The Toronto Star, December 5, 1998 Excerpt from article: “This is the wooliest thing I’ve ever seen,”…Commercial Relations Minister Dave Tsubouchi “is just like one of the franchise hustlers,” said Stewart. “He’s selling an idea and there’s nothing in it.” [download pdf]
  4. Franchise laws welcome, The Toronto Sun, December 8, 1998 Excerpt from article: “What a disappointment.”…“This law is worse than what exists now, which is nothing,” snapped Les Stewart, founder of the Canadian Alliance of Franchise Operators. “It will only lull potential entrepreneurs into a false sense of security.” [download pdf]
  5. A declaration of war: breaking into the business, The desperation tactic of gaining entry to a locked business, known as ‘self-help’, is seen as an occasionally useful skill when relations hit a sour note., The Globe and Mail, January 13, 1999 Excerpt from article: Gaining entry to a locked business under cover of darkness isn’t taught in franchise manuals, but it’s a skill that both franchisees and franchisors occasionally find useful. [download pdf]
  6. The great franchise trap, The Indo-Canadian Voice, January 15-27, 1999 Excerpt from article: The family lost $150,000 and sadly, the man who put his life’s savings on this scheme, is today on welfare…“These people need to be protected. It is mostly the new immigrants who fall victims to such schemes. And in Ontario, there is very little by way of laws that can protect them in times of dispute.” [download pdf]

Anyone know what happened to these franchisees who were mentioned in the articles?

  • Wasim Ansari,
  • Tarek Fatah,
  • Rayappu Jesudasan [Jesu Dasan],
  • Ali Mahmoudzadeh,
  • Nhan Van Nguyen,
  • Fereshteh Vahdati, or
  • Ali Mehmood Zadeh

Or the other  people?

Richard Cunningham, John Deverell, Peter Macrae Dillon, Howard Hampton, Mike Harris, Murray Katzman, Linda Leatherdale, Ned Levitt, Tony Martin, Reza Solhi, John Southerst, David Sterns, David Tsubouchi, Dawn Walton

And these organizations?

Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations, Canadian Alliance of Franchise Operators, Canadian Franchise Association, 3 For 1 Pizza and Wings, McDonald’s, Tim Hortons, Golden Griddle,  Siskinds, Cromarty, Ivey & Dowler, Canadian Tire, 3 for 3 Pizza Ltd., Canada Post, Ontario New Democratic Party

The sympathetic Toronto lawyers are there to manage your anger. That’s their job for the industry: a soft landing, breeding passivity.

A franchisee white knight (the appearance of franchisee advocacy while acting to weaken franchisees’ rights; a traitor) lawyer:

  • to ensure that learned helplessness infects the immigrant leaders by raising then dashing your hopes for justice.

No Canadian lawyer can survive financially by representing only franchisees. It is impossible. They HAVE to have to behave in an acceptable manner (don’t rock the boat) or the industry elite will not allow them to exist.

  1. The appearance of an opposing position provides the pretense of industry balance to outsiders.
  2. You are NOT protected by a lawyer’s theoretical fiduciary duty to a client when you talk to them initially. That protection is ONLY when you are in a solicitor:client relationship (a contract: agreement, money exchanged, etc.). Do NOT rely on his advice at this stage: He maybe protecting the industry’s interests (not yours).
  3. Because law services are a credence good, you never know exactly how or when your interests were sold down the river.

The antidote to compromised legal representation is a knowledgeable second opinion (ie. a consultant who does not make his living from the industry). They’re rare but if you know where to look for them, they’re out there.

But I’m the most special of all:

I seldom charge anything for my advice to franchisees.

It’s my way of giving back to an industry that has given so much to me and my family over the last 10 years. Call today 1-705-737-4635 and let’s discuss if the lawyers or I was more accurate in predicting Ontario’s franchise industry’s degeneration from 1998 to 2008.


A Rare and useful Gripe Site model

September 2, 2008

Anthony’s Franchise Information is a very instructive website for several reasons.

1. It shows how frequently a franchisor will start with one system (3 for 1 Pizza and Wings) and then branch out to other ones (Pizza One, Anthony’s Pizza Uno and Anthony’s Kitchen) once things become a little too “complicated”.

Changing countries and having your mother own the new corporate entities is a nifty way to dodge franchise law obligations. While it may no be legal, it is up to the usually broke future franchisees to prove a wrongdoing has happened. Chance of that happening: slim to none.

2. Just look at the string of Court decisions and unfulfilled awards against Mr. Reza (above, aka Anthony)  Solhi.

There is a lesson to be had here: Go ahead and sue and then try to collect your award. You frequently can’t. Often the assets have left the building way before the always-appealed trial decision is handed down.

3. Notice how there has been national television and newspaper coverage, even with a two part investigative coverage from the award-winning CTV W5 program (Taking your Dough)?

  • Think that a lot of publicity will make the bottom-feeders pay? Think again.
  • Think the “blue chip” systems will give up the slimiest? Think again: They both share the same group of invisible friends.
  • Think if they only knew they’d do something? Think again.

4. Read the Petition Narratives. These all represent new Canadian families that thought Canada was an advanced western democracy that protected its citizens. I hope they realize that all franchises have this potential. These guys were just impatient.

5. This is a very clear, concise and well-documented picture of 1 of the 1,200 franchise systems in Canada. It is only still up on the internet because the franchisor has not funded an aggressive litigation attack on the people that wrote it.

A more reputable or blue chip system would have served papers within 2 days and driven them all into bankruptcy to teach them a lesson. Standard operating procedure when the Franchise Bar runs the industry’s protection racket.

6. I like the inclusion of Known Associates. That name Nigel Mayne rings a bell but I can’t for the life of me remember why. Anybody in cyperspace help me out here?

7. How unwilling the Ontario government is willing to even look at revising the toothless Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure), 2000 law. I know of and have met Minister Phillips and he is personally a man of extremely high character. As a cabinet member, however, he must toe the government’s policy.

  • If the Ontario and Canadian government will so blatantly block for the sleaziest of the franchise industry, what makes you think any other country is to do anything other than pay lip service to franchise investors?
  • Political stripe and jurisdiction are immaterial. As individuals, I know politicians and civil servants find defending a turd to be distasteful but they have no choice: It’s about Big Franchising‘s influence.

Franchisees would have to MATCH the combined political clout (investment, jobs) of all the automotive manufacturers, the national grocery chains, petroleum companies, product franchisors, largest law firms, financial institutions, etc. to have a fair fight at a real franchise law.

  • Yes, the truth has some weight. But often power defines what is true in a real politics.
  • The trick is not to give up but to resist in a more effective way.

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