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Daughter rescues dad
Posted to Shop Management Forum on 4/24/2014 38 Replies

When my daughter was young, she once got stuck climbing a tree, so I helped her down. It was a simple thing for me, but to her I was a hero. As she grew older I would always help if she fell off her horse or locked her keys in her car. Now she is a grown up young lady in her 3rd year of law school and doesn't need my help for much.

A short time ago I received a large legal envelope in the mail. The letter was from a Trustee in Bankruptcy informing me that one of my large fleet customers had just declared bankruptcy! I checked on the amount they owed me, ($57,000 ) and my stomach turned to ice.

The documents stated they had 10 million in receivables/assets but owed 30 million. Their bank was a secured creditor for 10 million, with the next 20 million owed to over 100 unsecured creditors. I wasn't the only one who did not see this happening.

At supper that evening, I explained the situation to my wife, who was not impressed. My daughter overheard and spoke up.

"Dad", she said, "Under the Repair and Storage Liens Act of the Personal Property and Security Act, I can register liens against all the vehicles you are owed money on".

Before I knew what was going on she asked me for VIN's and dollar amounts. Next she jumped online on her fancy laptop and logged on to the Attorney Generals website. After typing furiously for ten minutes she asked for my Visa # and said that she just registered liens against 15 vehicles from my customer's fleet.

The next week an employee of the Trustees in Bankruptcy called and said he wanted to "negotiate" with me to release the liens. He invited me to a meeting at their offices.

I knew they wanted to put the vehicles in a dispersal auction but the auctioneer had refused to accept any vehicles with liens.

I went to the meeting properly attired in my work boots and coveralls, with the statement of account on one crumpled piece of paper in my chest pocket.

The two trustees sat at a long dark boardroom table, laptops spread out all over the place. They wore nice suits. They smelled of man perfume. I smelled like diesel smoke.

They quickly got down to business and offered $30 K right away if I would release the liens. Not acceptable,I said, since I consider myself a secured creditor. I asked for $50K. They came back with an offer for $40K.

We were engaged in a high stakes poker game and I was not sure just how far to push. I told them to come up a little more and we may have a deal. We agreed on $43 K which was 75% of the amount owed. We shook hands and a few weeks later I got my cheque. I considered myself very lucky and felt bad for the other unsecured creditors who would get nothing.

The business lesson is to watch your receivables.

The life lesson is to always rescue your daughter.

Mark from Ontario

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