• August 26, 2013

The Twin Cities restaurant, True Thai, has been up and running for over ten years, which is extremely impressive in the restaurant business.  There are many more restaurants that go out of business in their first five years than restaurants that last twice that time.  And the business (and its blog) seem to be thriving.  Congratulations!

But no successful business survives in this world without a few scars, bumps, or bruises along the way and it seems that maybe True Thai has now learned that some offers are too good to be true.

When a buddy proposes that he get involved in your business and help out with marketing and promotional services at no cost, maybe there should be something of a red flag.

Corey “Korey” Whitchurch appears to have been one of these evil Samaritans who posed as a good one.  According to allegations in a state court complaint against Mr. Whitchurch, he burrowed into the inner workings of True Thai and then, having gained the trust of the restaurant’s owners, cleaned out the restaurant in a way that True Thai had not meant him to clean.  (Whitchurch had first come across True Thai through his cleaning service, DK Cleaning.)

Who knows? (I don’t.)  Maybe this is all a misunderstanding.

But small businesses and entrepreneurs can be vulnerable.  They tend to be single-mindedly focused on their core business.  They can be relatively unsophisticated about finances, accounting, fraud and so-called white collar crime.  Their work ethic, focused drive, and dedication may be so strong that they can be too trusting of others in the mistaken belief that everyone else is playing by the same rules.

If you are a Minnesota lawyer for small businesses, perhaps wise counsel to your clients (or to your own small business?) is to be wary of extreme generosity or people who appear to be eager for the opportunity to work for you “for nothing.”

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