In January 2010, a recruiter I've known since the mid-1990s asked me to help him with a search. He said the client was a big American company and would pay in 30 days. We made the placement but they didn't pay, or so he said. Finally, at the 90 day mark, he said he received the cheque but, as the days went by, I didn't receive one from him. He said he didn't know what happened; his mother had mailed it (yuk, yuk).
I asked him to cancel it and send a new one by FedEx. He didn't. In fact, I didn't hear from him for a week. Then he said he'd been rushed to the hospital and had stents put into his arteries to protect his heart. He eventually did get around to writing a new cheque and then he had his neighbour mail it. So, I got paid 4 months after the candidate started.
In February 2010, soon after the first placement was made, this same guy asked me to work on another search. It turned out to be very difficult but at long last it was filled. The candidate started on June 1, 2010. My split partner said that the client was a long-time business buddy and we would get paid right away. We didn't. Then, in August 2010, I lost contact with my split partner. He didn't call me and he didn't reply to my attempts to reach him.
He had recently told me that he had just been diagnosed with diabetes and, as I said, he'd been rushed into surgery to keep him from having a heart attack. I thought that he might be very sick or even dead. So I just let it go. I didn't pursue it. I sent the odd email - which didn't bounce - but nothing more. Then, on Friday February 11, 2011, out of the blue, he called me. He wanted me to work another search. Can you believe it?
I said, "How about paying me for the last one?".
He said, "Oh, Animal, I never got paid!"
"Why not?" I asked.
"The candidate didn't work out," he said.
"He didn't work out?"
"That's right," he answered.
"He's not there?"
"Yeah," he said, "he's not there.".
"Couldn't you have called me?" I said.
"Oh, I've been very sick," he moaned.
"Well, I don't think I'm interested in another search," I said.
"Oh, please take a look at it," he begged. "I'll send you the job description and you can call me back Monday."
I said okay but as soon as I got off the phone I did a search on the name of the candidate we had placed in June. The client had a big picture of him on its website along with a bio. They also made mention of him on their Twitter page and his Linkedin profile said he was there. I called him up at work.
"Oh," he said, "Your split partner just called me yesterday.
"Is that so," I replied.
"Yeah," he said. "He was looking for referrals."
Well, whaddaya know," I said. "I haven't spoken to him for awhile."
I immediately emailed my split partner the relevant links to Twitter, Linkedin and the client's site and on Monday morning I sent him an invoice.
I didn't tell him I knew he'd been lying to me even though it was quite obvious. At first I said, "We've got to get that guy to pay us," and I offered to call the client myself. My split partner asked me to leave it to him so I said, "Okay, but if you won't get the money from the client, you're going to have to pay me yourself." We've been corresponding regularly since then.
February 16, 2011 1:23 PM
Animal, sorry in getting back to you so late, i will have this issue done by Thursday Feb 17th. I will back to you tommorow. Regards
February 17, 2011 4:38 PM
Animal, i have everything taken care of, funds will paid & recieved next week. then we can move on. Regards
February 22, 2011 11:47 AM
Animal, i will have a date for you later this afthernoon or Wed. morning. Regards
February 23, 2011 2:49 PM
Animal, we are receiving the cheque on March 1, then we can move on. Sorry for all the problems. Regards
March 02, 2011 11:09 AM
Animal, sorry i have been hard to reach the last couple days. I had to deal with a health issue. This issue will be resovled by Friday at the latest & will get the funds to you. I will send you an email to you on Thursday. Thanks for your patience. Regards
Does he have the money? I don't think so. But, still, why would he take my fee? I was making money for him. It's totally crazy. And why would he call me back after I had left him alone? That, I think I know. He was probably drunk. He often called me - sometimes late at night - with slurred speech. He was slurring when called me 3 weeks ago and he even addressed the issue. When he was moaning about his poor health he pointed out that a girl had asked him that very day if he had been drinking and he had to tell her no, he was just not feeling very well.
Sounds bad, doesn't it? But, listen, this guy had often told me about how successful he'd been. He said he'd made tons of money as a recruiter and often bragged about how loyal his clients were. So, it's possible that he does have some cash or, at least, investments. He told me that he owned a townhouse. His ex-wife is living in it. That must be worth 150 or 200,000. And he's living with his mother and working out of his home office and that house was purchased in the 1960s.
So, he has no overhead and it looks like he's got some assets. And remember that he tried to pull this on me before. He witheld the fee on the first order but eventually came up with the money from somewhere so shouldn't he be able to do that again?
I sent him a harsh email on Saturday. Here is the reply:
March 05, 2011
Animal, sorry to get back to you so late. On Wed i went to see one of my specialist & they sent me directly to the hospital for a bladder problem. so i'am responding to my emails now. The past year has been a roller coaster. I'am sorry that have put you under distress. I will make all the arrangements on Monday & just move on Regards
"What does that mean?" I replied. "When will I receive a cheque in my hands? I'm getting frustrated with your nonsense letters so please be very very clear.
Animal, you will have the funds on Tuesday. It will be express post. also certified. Regards
Well, Tuesday came and went but the money didn't. I sent the Split Partner this note on March 9, 2011:
March 9, 2011
Dear Split Partner,
If you have a personal life problem -- and I believe you do -- I am willing to work with you on the terms of payment to accommodate your problem. But it is not fair to let me work on that search for 3 months and then take all the money yourself. I believe that you know this.
You tried to do it with the first search as well but you eventually came up with the money. Can't you do the same thing with this fee? You appear to own property as does your mother. Can't you translate some of that into cash and then pay back the bank over time. You've already had my money for 9 months without interest. Regards from me
I didn't receive a reply so I sent many more emails explaining that I did not want to hurt him. If he told me, I said, that he was having a personal problem that had brought him to the verge of bankruptcy we could find a way for him to pay me over time. At 11:06 AM on Friday March 11, I received this reply.
Friday March 11, 11:06 AM
Animal, i have not open my emails all week since i have been in the hospital since Sunday. That is my problen. Let me get back to you later today & get this all behind us. No need to send another emails to me. regarding, this matter. Let me just get organized today & i will get back you. later in the day today. Regards
I called the hospital he went to for the stents and asked to speak to him. The operator had no record of him having been there for the last 24 hours. At 4:50 PM I sent him a reminder and I received another reply:
Friday March 11, 4:50 PM
Animal, i will the make arrangements on Monday to have this cleared up, as promised i told you i would be back to you later today. No need to send me an email to me. I will be in communcation with you on Monday. Regards
I didn't hear from him on Monday until about 4:30pm:
Monday, March 14, 2011 4:27 PM
Animal, i was dealing with personel matter most of the day, i'am going out now
to make the arrangements & get it this issue done now. I will email you
later on. Thanks for your patenice.
Well, enough is enough. Today I wrote the client:
Hi Client, I hope you're well. And, now, down to business. I haven't been paid yet for the search I did for you last year. My split partner says it's because you didn't pay him. Was there a problem?
I know you were looking for a senior rep and you ended up hiring a junior guy. But I think you got a good person and, honestly, I think I spoke to every senior person in your line of business before I started looking at the junior people. Can you let me know what's up. Regards,
The dude got back to me:
March 15, 2001, 2:30PM
Animal, your split partner was paid for this job, as per our agreement and on time. I don't know what's going on between you and him, but it doesn't involve me.
Thanks for your sensitivity, Mr Client. I'll get back to you when I go to court and need confirmation of the fee.
I called up the split partner. He told me why he can't write a cheque today. He discovered that his accountant has taken all of the money out of his bank account and he doesn't know why. That's why he doesn't have the money to pay me. But he is going to go to the bank on Friday at 4pm to ask the bank manager for a loan.
"But you went out on Monday at 5pm to take care of the problem, didn't you," I said.
"Yes, but the manager wasn't there," he replied.
And, here's why he didn't pay me last year. The new story is that the accountant pays his invoices so he didn't know that I had not been paid.
It's true that I didn't bug him for the money but I did send him the odd email asking about it and I received no reply. And isn't it funny that he suddenly stopped calling me last August when I was starting to ask regularly about getting paid. Don't forget, the candidate started on June 1, 2010.
But now his story is that for some reason the accountant never paid me and my money disappeared when she emptied his bank account?
It's unreal but he was his usual cheerful self though he did bridle at my stronger statements. He said that this is very common in business so there was no reason to be surprised. And he sneered when I told him that this has never happened to me before.
Talking to this guy is like going through the looking glass. Is he crazy or someone who does this regularly and knows how to worm his way around these situations.
A quick update:
Animal, met with the bank Friday afternooon & it will be aproved sometime today. they wil call me at some point today. It is not a bluff. Regards
Animal, meeting with the bank this afternoon to sign papers. Regards
Animal, i,am seeing my bank manager this afternoon to finalize things, i was out of commission since Wed. I will get back to you later today. Regards
Animal, the funds are being transfered to my account today or Tues. I'am out of commision till late this afthernoon. I have to go & see my Kidney spiciaelist. Been a bad weekend. I email you later on today. Finally there is closure coming. Regards
August 19, 2011
Animal, the reason i have not back to you, i had very seriuos health issues, I will be able to get back you until Septemer 30th. i have not work since May. I have hardly work since i last spoke to you. i going thur a serious of test next week & i don't know what is going to happen. This not a lie. Regards, Alan
Today is Jan 3, 2012. I still haven't been paid.