Karma is a Bitch!
A week ago today I found out that the guy who ripped off my sports bar business plan for the lease-option building deal I was negotiating on just closed the doors of his joke of a bar last Monday.
All I can say is..."Karma is one big fat-ass beeeaaatttccchhhh!"
And add a few more derogatory words to that!
Many of you who have been following me for the past couple of years know all about the sports bar debacle but I'm not sure if I ever mentioned anything about the guy who outright stole my business plan and opened a sports bar in the exact location that I intended on putting a sports bar after seeing what a kick-ass idea I had for his vacant property.
We were negotiating on a lease-option for the building since, back then, banks were still leery of ponying up a mortgage for a vacant commercial location. So, the strategy on any non- or under-performing property (which is still a solid strategy to use today) is to lease-option a property, stabilize it with a tenant or multiple tenants, and then get a loan for the property from a bank showing that you are buying a leased-up property.
Except my other company, Brie Restaurant Enterprises, would be the tenant and my real estate investing LLC would be buying the leased building.
In order to make this deal work, the owner of the property wanted to see a business plan to make him feel confident that this deal would play out the way I had said it would. This didn't surprise me. It's normal in the course of business that, when doing a lease-option deal, a property owner/seller may want to see what you're going to do with the property to make sure it's a financially viable deal. This would be no different than me leasing the unit from him as a restaurant and many times property owners will want to see a business plan in that case as well.
As soon as I gave them the business plan, they suddently started to change the deal in the most ridiculous ways, I thought I was on Candid Camera. They were giving me architectural drawings of how they planned on removing parts of the building. In one drawing they were splitting the building into 3 parts including adding a drive-through for some fantasy fast food place that they concocted in their tiny brains. In another drawing they were adding buildings in the parking lot, underneath power lines...knowing damn well that they'd never get city approval for permits to build these buildings.
I'm like..."Leave the freakin' building alone! I want it just the way it is!! What's the matter with you people?"
The deal stalled into a black abyss, I pulled out (using words that I'd rather not repeat here) after being verbally degraded by the listing agent, and I moved on. This was in the late summer of 2010.
In February of 2011 I was driving to my office and I happened to notice a liquor license posting on the door. I got to my office, told Cindy about it, and sent her over to see what the license said. I wanted to find out...was this going to be a restaurant, bar, or what?
She got to the property and texted me the name of the place: "Game Day Sports Bar & Grill"
This would be the beginning of my moment of total meltdown.
"How [CENSORED] dare they, those lying bastards. Game Day? What kind of stupid [CENSORED] name is that?"
And it progressively got worse from there.
I think what really insulted me about the entire situation was that during our negotiations, I had been verbally mortified and basically called a loser by the listing agent as well as the owner. I didn't realize it then but it was their way of breaking themselves off from the deal so they could make off with my business idea.
I think that's why the meltdown happened. After everything they had to say about me as a person, which was uncalled for and had nothing to do with the deal, I felt like they added insult to injury by stealing my business plan when only a few months before I was considered a POS to them.
I realize now that they felt that insults was their means of getting out of the negotiations when all they had to say was, "No thanks!"
The problem with his particular property is that it's been a revolving door of different restaurants for the past 10 years. So, I guess it was a blessing in disguise that I didn't get such a crappy location to begin with.
I realize all of this now, of course, but when something is happening "to" you in your life, it's hard to wrap your head and mind around the blessings and what's really the true meaning behind what people are saying and doing...especially when you are emotionally wound around everything that's going on.
But...the reason this single moment was so significant in my life was because it was the precise "thing" that happened in my life that completely threw me off balance for about 2 years thereafter.
And when you're off balance, everything starts getting uncontrollably sucked down the drain as if someone in the sky pulled a gigantic car-size plug out of the "pond" that you call "your life."
That's what happened to me.
That moment I found out about the ripping off of the business plan in February of 2011 the wind was completely knocked out of my sails and I actually had a nervous-breakdown-type meltdown in my office.
I remember that day. Cindy, my former assistant, had to basically talk me down from having a stroke or other such physical calamity that may have permanently affected me for the remainder of my lifetime. I literally lost physical control and I felt like one of those women in a movie that was going through the worst type of physical and mental meltdown/breakdown including flinging large heavy objects across the room, uncontrollable falling to the floor crying, and the whole pitiful and painful nine yards.
Something that's never happened to me before.
Never had any type of "deal" or "business situation" ever affect me in the way that that "February Black Day" had affected me before or after that moment.
So what happened? Why did that one moment seem so different and affect me on such a deep level over every other situation in my life?
I got too emotionally intertwined with "the deal." I had forgotten the mentality of "you win some and you lose some." I also forgot that "sometimes things just aren't meant to be."
Shortly after Meltdown Day, I noticed my entire life being dragged down the drain starting with custody/divorce problems, my dad found to be embezzling from my company, then my assistant Cindy getting all weirded out on me.
All within 6 months after that day.
I felt like I was in a plane that was going down in burning flames. It took me about 6 months to start pulling myself out of the seemingly uncontrollable and helpless free fall.
And even still, I was never able to get my plane in normal flying condition ever again after that day.
A few things since then that I've learned about life:
1) Crisis pushes you to see who you really are. What you can withstand. And if you're really on the path in life that you need to be.
2) Sometimes you're on this path in life and you wake up one day realizing you've been living someone else's life all along. And what a freaky realization that is!
3) If you intentionally screw people over, you'll never get ahead. Period. There are absolutely no exceptions to this rule.
The owner/seller of the property ripped off my business plan. He was finally able to open his ramshackle of a "sports bar" on October of 2011. Me and Ronnie went in there and I found an item on the menu that was meant as a slap in the face to me directly. They named one of their appetizers "Brie Sticks" after my company name Brie Restaurant Enterprises which is named after my daughter Brie.
Apparently they thought it would be funny to poke a "ha-ha" sick in my face.
I wonder what they are thinking now after having to suddenly shut the doors of their bullsh** sports bar after only having had it open for a little more than 14 months and after sustaining a massive financial loss?
I wonder what my dad is thinking as he teeters on the verge of bankruptcy because he embezzled from my company and now I refuse to help him out on any level? (He's ripped me off a few times in my life so this wouldn't be the first time. And I'll never help him do anything again.)
I wonder what my brother is thinking as he sits helpless in the desert trying to raise 2 kids as a single parent on welfare because he's screwed me and many others over and over again in his lifetime? (And I refuse to help him, too.)
I wonder what my ex-husband is thinking as he's rapidly declining in both health and financial status after having recently moved in with his mother because he blew all the money he's stolen from me not including the hundreds of thousands of dollars he's gotten from me in the past couple of years in support payments that the universe apparently has mysteriously taken from him? (And I definitely won't be helping him either!)
Karma happens. And it works every time. Every time. Like clockwork and always on schedule!
You may not see the aftermath of what happens to those that screw you over for several years afterwards but the aftermath always happens. Always. Every time. Without a doubt.
If you keep living your life the very best that you can...the best that you know how...and you try helping people around you, you will always come out ahead. If you try to do good by others and not rip them off, you'll always do well in life.
The nice guy may finish last but at least he finishes. The losers and users end up perishing in the game and never finish at all, even when it seems like they're getting ahead of you.
My students trust me. This is because I've never screwed any of them over. I've had students have fears of sending me deals because they feel that maybe I'll take the deal from them and not include them in a partnership or bird-dog contract.
This has never happened...nor will it ever.
I'd rather go without and not do a deal even if it meant making a boatload of money if it meant I had to screw someone else in the process. And it's not because I'm such an awesome person (even though that's part of it) but it's because I know how religiously karma works. Time and time again. Without fail.
Over the years I have made quite a few connections with different investors. Some are high in integrity. Some weren't.
I've had more investor partners screw me over in the past dozen years than I care to admit to having business relationships with. It's not as easy to find truly awesome people with solid integrity in this business than you may think.
I've been lucky in the past handful of years to finally start hooking up with investors who are honest. Maybe I got more "street smart" and could finally weed out the losers or if the universe finally gave me a break from getting hammered by too many dishonest people. Who knows?
But I'll tell you from vast experience in this area: good investor partners are hard to find. Honest ones are next to impossible to find. Especially when dealing with such an unscrupulous business as real estate investing.
See you at the top!