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Business Partner OR Employee

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  • Business Partner OR Employee

    I own a direct mail company in Texas and moved in with a printer in 2003. We operated as seperate entities until 12/04 at which time I invested $85,000 and my equipment worth $40,000 with the understanding that we were merging and I was to be the minority (49%) partner. My "partner" drug his feet on the partnership agreement so I have nothing in writing, except a general ledger report stating the money I invested and the bills of sale for my equipment. Withholding taxes have not been paid for the year of 2004, so since I do not have a partnership agreement I can not be held liable.

    He hired his mother to do accounting in February of 2004. When I discovered discripencies in the financials, they proceeded to withhold all financial information, took me off as signer on bank accounts and did not allow me to speak with clients, vendors etc. I submitted my two weeks notice and began discussions of payment on monies invested. He then changed the locks on the building and has subsuquently called the police whenever I attempt to go to the office, reporting a trespassing, disgruntled former employee. I agreed to a $200 a week paycheck to keep as much cashflow in the company as possible. As of 12/31/04, I have been compensated $7600. My questions are as follows:

    1) Is he obligated to pay me the total of $9200 ($200 X 46 weeks) the time I worked in 2004?
    2) Is he obligated to pay me additional money as $200 weekly does not even total minimum wage?
    3) Do I have any basis for a sexual discrimination suit as the other managers of the company are men, with the same or less experience than I have and they and my partner/employeer all are paid $50,000+ annually?

    I apologize for the lenght of this corrospondence but I have invested all of my money in this company, find myself unemployeed, unable to make a living due to the fact that he still has all of my equipment and cannot retain an attorney at this time. Please Help!
    Last edited by mailgirl; 01-15-2005, 05:00 PM.

  • #2

    This is a much more complicated issue than an employment issue. You really do need to consult with an attorney. Check in your community for free or low cost legal services such as legal aid. My worry is that if you accept the employment status, you may lose your claim as an owner.
    Lillian Connell

    Forum Moderator


    • #3
      At this point, I think I'd rather not have ownership, due to the fact that the employee taxes have not been paid (I'm estimating at least $150,000 with P&I) and he/the company are getting sued on a regular basis for not paying vendors; I don't want any of those liabilities. I'm filing suit on him in small claims court weekly for various things that I can document under $5000. To get my equipment back, I'm filing a Writ of Sequestration and have discovered a loop hole that will force him to have to prove ownership of those assests which he can't, and when I can, the Sheriff's Department will award the equipment to me.

      I'm counting on him not acknowledging the partnership because he'd have to open the accounting records in discovery, which he doesn't want to do. Deductions for taxes have been taken from the employees and the 941 tax reports have not been filed. Exception being his mother, the accounting person, who doesn't have any deductions taken from her checks which are made payable to someone else who is NOT employeed by the company, I'm guessing so that she can still receive her social security benefis. Whatever it is, I believe there is some sort of fraud going on and I don't want to be affiliated with it in any way. So technically if I'm not a partner, I'm an employee, right? I'm going to the EEOC tomorrow as well as calling the Texas Workforce Commission. I understand that EEOC has staff investigators / lawyers who look into discrimination charges. After I've exhausted everything I can do on my own, I'll file a lawsuit for the initial investment.

      My lawyer has given him a promissory note, security agreement and guarantor agreement, but he refuses to sign them because they are so air tight, he will be held personally liable if he defaults on the loan or the company goes bankrupt. That's why I'm at a stand still and will need funds to legally proceed.

      Any other suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks for your help.
      Last edited by mailgirl; 01-16-2005, 03:00 PM.


      • #4

        I don't have any other. It sounds like you have thought of everything. To assist you, I am providing the link tto the Texas wage claim process:
        Lillian Connell

        Forum Moderator


        • #5
          Thank you so much for your feed back.