Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Competitive Thievery - One-Upping My Landlord?

There's a local hardware chain here on Boston's South Shore that was recently shuttered by creditors.

Joseph's Hardware had a handful of locations - one of which in Hingham, pictured above, closed sometime last year. I remember reading the sign on the door and scoffing; it said the closing was purely for *medical reasons*. Yeah, right.

But there was more going on here than the usual, cruel boom-and-bust cycles of the business world.

Apparently the guy was a bit of scam artist - stiffing banks and government tax collectors to the tune of millions.

Last week, sheriff’s deputies and moving trucks pulled up in front of Joseph’s hardware stores in Norwell, Cohasset, Marshfield and Plymouth and seized inventory after the company defaulted on a $500,000 bank loan. The Patriot Ledger later reported that Joseph had amassed nearly $6 million in taxes owed to the state, including state income taxes, which he withheld from employee paychecks but never forwarded to the Department of Revenue.

Someone in the comment section of that article pointed out that *Joseph* suns himself in a $750,000 boat, that is docked locally.

My neighbor told me a story of this crumb yesterday.

He said that a while back, he and his wife went to Joseph's Hardware and ordered a $1,500 patio set. After sleeping on the transaction, they decided to cancel the order. Joe said, "No problem. I'll take it off your card."

But two weeks went by and the charge was still there. My neighbor called several times and Joe insisted he'd *take care of it*, but nothing happened. Now it's been a month and the credit card bill was due. My neighbor went down there and Joe started whining about his *wife being sick* (the *medical* excuse from above) - but what the heck does that have to do with anything?

The moment that guy said he'd take the $1,500 charge off, AND DIDN'T, this was a case of blatant thievery.

Eventually, after two hours of huffing and puffing, and refusing to leave the store, Joe took out a checkbook and made my neighbor whole. (I'd have probably punched him in the mouth!)

Joe's wife is in fact very sick. And he's doing his best to milk that defense.

Joseph, 47, the Scituate entrepreneur who opened his first hardware store in 1982 and expanded the chain to half a dozen locations on the South Shore, said in an interview on Monday that more than 40 workers lost their jobs when the stores closed. He insisted the company belonged to his wife, Jenny Madden, who is listed as president and borrowed the money from Holbrook Cooperative Bank.

So while his wife is battling - PLS (Primary Lateral Sclerosis), a rare and progressive neuromuscular disease - this scumbag is also going to lay the fraud and tax evasion all on his wife!!!

I wonder if he's going to BLAME HER for that attempted theft of my neighbor's $1,500?

So far three people this week have drawn the analogy of Joseph to my scumbag, thievin' landlord.

I still say *my guy* is worse - while his theft total stands at $5 million to Joe's $6 million, guy arguably killed someone!

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