When Friends Become Enemies

I am sorry to disappoint you for not posting any pictures of Norway (again). I have been busy the last few weeks doing some leg work.

As some of you know, I went into business with a very good friend last year. He was one of our dearest family friends. I even socialize with his whole family. I met him 5 years ago when he bought a whole set of kitchen from us. After that, we became very good friends in and out of business.

We put up a company doing renovation work for private homes based in England. The plan was I was to be in charge of designing and sales and he would be in charge of the carpentry work. It was a perfect plan. My husband and I started noticing little things that were disturbing. When we registered the company in Norway, I called his attention to why I do not have any signature rights at the company registration in Norway. I do not know how he talked us out of it but he was convincing. This thing though, has been in my mind all the time.

We went to the bank and opened a company account. The bank noticed that he doesn’t have a registered permanent address. (Again, this kept me thinking) We both applied for company visa cards. I got mine after a week and he told me that he has not received his. Since my husband and I have our own bank adviser, I called our adviser and asked why my business partner’s card has not been issued. Her answer was very polite and discreet. She said that my business partner should call the bank. I asked him to call and he said that if the bank does not want him as a customer, he does not want to make business with them. Again, this made me think.

Although, I had my doubts, I waited. The first transaction went well. He used the company account. I started asking him that I would take over the financial part of the company. My excuse is that I was still waiting for the contract from the factory when in fact, I stopped selling to see what was going on. He said that it was easier for him to make the bills and also contracts, etc. I waited. He used his personal account on the next bill, and the next and the next. We asked him about this and he said that it was easier for him to use his own account.

He paid our carpenters’ salary in cash. (who pays salary in cash these days??) Deducted 35% tax. I asked him to use the bank account of the carpenters and he said that he didn’t have them. I told him that I have them.

I received bills from collection agencies that the company has not paid some bills. I started confronting him about the things that I am doubtful about. I asked him about the accounting. He promised and promised and nothing was happening. We knew that we would never get the accounting papers from him.

The last few weeks that I have been busy doing some legwork, we discovered that the taxes for the carpenters were not paid. We were informed that he still doesn’t have a recorded residence in Norway and that he and his wife are separated on government files. We know that they are living together and they are always together. We also found out that the Value Added Tax were not paid. The Employer Tax was not paid. Our carpenters were not registered as employees in our company. This I found out by going to the tax offices. The tax office staff were really helpful. They told me what steps to take and they would help me with the rest.

We have recently learned that this is not the first time he has done this. It is so unfortunate because we treated him and his whole family as friends. It is really sad to find out that swindlers can be dressed as friends.

I learned my lessons. I am opening a new company in the first week of April and I have a new business partner, my husband.

PS. I have forgiven what he has done and I am not after any compensation but I could not just let this go since our employees are involved. I had to report the situation to the necessary government agencies so that the employees would not pay unnecessary taxes this year.

16 Replies to “When Friends Become Enemies”

  1. Hey Al, really sorry to hear about this… I’m sure this would’ve been tough for someone in your position! You did the right thing in reporting the whole thing…

    Good luck with your new venture!

  2. hi. i guess money knows no boundaries — partnerships always get destroyed when money talks. Good luck on your new endeavour!

  3. hi..am a stranger..came aross this blog and i could relate to it well. am a student, recently showed my friend my resume and portfolio, and she copied the entire format and some of its contents and styling. 🙂 haven’t been more disgusted in recent times:)well sadly have had to drift from her, cant help it! so felt tempted to respond to this post.

  4. too bad to hear that some people are really not deserving a trust,but its your blessing in disguise,I think.

    goodluck to your new business!arent you cool? 🙂

  5. The same story. It seems to be endless. Some people just got greedy and liers when dealing with money – it may be “small” or “big” money- And what really surprises me. those small scale swindlers – they do think they can get away with it, and continue endlessly.

    Wish you both the very best with the new company.

  6. Shoshana – I have a simple norwegian soup recipe. I will try to post it this week 🙂

    Ana – Kaku bungat labay a gulo 🙂 It is very sad and I was so surprised when a friend would do this to us.

  7. kabaitan mo namaut.. i guess it’s hard to keep friendship when money is onvolved.

  8. Al, do you have any soup recipe? Maybe you can post one and join Recipe Rally!. It usually post on Tuesday, but you can post anytime and link your post to the site.

  9. Sidney – Unfortunately, I lost some money. Investment money and all the profit. I am not expecting them to turn up again though.

  10. Partners are always dangerous… you never know.
    Good you didn’t lost any money!
    Wish you all the best with your new company!

  11. Nino and shoshana – we got lucky that we found out all about it right away.

    Raquel – At least I trust my partner with money LOL. Question is does he trust me hehhehehe.

    Charles – Things has been really doing very well. We have a continuing contract with a government entity 🙂

    Expat – I thought that things like this only happen to other people. well, well…

  12. Wow – what as story! Cool you will have a new company. Hope things go well for you…

    A snap some pics. 😉

  13. Reminds me of my grandfather who got swindled on his hardware business. Anyway, at least you manage to discover it before things gotten out of hand. I hope the new business venture will grow and blossom! Take care always!

  14. Good thing you found out early before he will do something else. Swindlers are everywhere, kaya konteng ingat especially when money involve.

    Good luck with your new partner and your business, I know he is the best of all.

  15. Al, the bright side is you found out before he swindled you.

    I hope everything works out the way you want it.


  16. Wow! Just wow! Very Selena-esque, sans the gunshots and the killing, of course. Glad to know you’ve sorted things out. 🙂

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