Friday, June 20, 2008

Oh Ken, now you have become my leetel chocolate croissante. I though there never would be a replacement for Graham Allman.

Another true little story.

I had a meeting with a BDM to discuss signing off a refurbuishment of my pub being funded by the PubCo. The refurb was £165K. My rent was to increase from 32K to 65K on the back of this deal. I asked for the enth time to see the breakdown of the scheme and figures. Nothing had ever been left for me to look at after meetings and I reckoned now was about time I found out a bit more. He told me he couldn't let me have anything that until I had signed the agreement off - and he invited me to sign.

I asked: "Graham, how can you expect anyone to sign an agreement like this without them really knowing what they are signing for?".

He said this was all perfectly normal and the Company wasn't allowed to show the details in case they were accused of misrepresentation. He said no one else had ever asked him for any of the paperwork, they trusted him.

I asked how on earth showing me the paperwork could be misrepresentation? I can't remember his answer because by now my brain's disbelief firewall was cutting in and I was beginning to black out from the meeting and was beginning a discussion with myself: "Can this be true? Am I mad? What kind of people sign a deal at £165K at 22% interest a year without checking the drawings, specs and small print? Am I crazy? Is He crazy? Am I dreaming?"

a leetel beet more...

Unfortunately it wasn't even a nightmare. It was real, all unfolding in front of me. My PubCo 'partner' was getting into its stride: He said: "Look Mark, I'll read some of the specs out to reassure you. It's just a perfectly standard refurb spec." He began: "I'll start with the forecourt: 'lift existing paving, level, area approx 60sq metres, relay using existing slabs, make good and point. Part sum £4K' That's alright isn't it?"

I stopped him: "Graham, are you serious?" "Well of course I am". "Graham, you've been walking up the forecourt for a year and a half, it's tarmac man. I'm not signing anything".

He then accused me of welching out on the deal: "You can't do that" he said. "You've been wasting our time. We've done all this work in good faith" blah blah blah.

That was 1997 I think. The next true 'the PubCo almost shafted me over a refurbishment' story comes from 2001-2003. Will be better told elsewhere. It's even more shocking and was almost £half a million.

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