This will not be pretty.
The authors of this website have tried to avoid the unmeasured use of verbiage in description and elucidation of the issues the Coop is facing and how we let ourselves get into this horrible financial position. We continue with the intent to accurately inform.
Let’s consider a possible future that is colored by the same stagnant “hope” which has been the hallmark of the Fiske/Bettenhousen regime.
In looking forward to the likely endgame of this battle for a better General Manager, two important points come to the surface. The first is the number of Labor Board claims which have been levied against the Coop during Fiske and Bettenhousen’s tenure as President and General Manager.
Unfortunately, these claims are all settled with a court directed binding mutual non disclosure agreement, but it shows up in the numbers. Yes there are, now, at least a few. Meaning we are paying legal fees and payouts to the improperly fired employee. These amounts are not small. These amounts are likely to grow.
The second, more important point, is that the president, Mr. Colin Fiske, has continued, for more than a year now, to allow Bettenhausen to waste colossal amounts of our cash on a remodel to nowhere, while showing no talent for running a grocery business. Month after month after month. I was there when the local accountant explained Cost-of-Goods-Sold to both Bettenhausen and Fiske. They’ve been running this thing for three years and never knew. It was a shocking moment for all present. When experienced underlings brought issues up, Fiske allowed Bettenhausen to unilaterally dismiss this guy with no warning. Sixteen years with no demerits. Nor was he was the first one thrown under the bus. When the previous CFO was fired earlier last year in a similar short unilateral fashion, under an unsubstantiated cloud of possible embezzlement, Fiske kept right on backing Bettenhausen up. Why this is continuing to occur is a mystery to many. A judge won’t care too much about the mystery.
However, it clearly paints an easily defined picture of what is known in corporate law as gross negligence.
A thumbnail sketch of corporate gross negligence goes like this. If one has made agreement to take care of another’s property, then gross negligence is the failure to actively take the care one would of his/her own property.
Now I SERIOUSLY doubt that Fiske would allow someone to lose close to a million dollars of HIS ( or his wife’s) money and then extend that person’s contract for another year. (and contrary to the written bylaws).
The explanation? Fiske has simply an almost unbelievable lack of business experience.
An important nuance, in this scenario, is that a judgement of Gross Negligence is not paid by the Coop. Nope. It’s paid personally by the director involved, (or his/her spouse – due to California joint tenency law.)
If these kids don’t straighten up and find another General Manager, or at least get her out of the building before she racks up more Labor Board payouts, there may also come a day when He – Who – Is – Responsible understands two things. One, ignorance of corporate law does not excuse you no matter how handsome. Two, the Coop attorneys that Trumpenhausen gleefully uses will not be available. It’s personal, see. Just like when you trust someone with your money and they piss it away. People don’t like that. They want their money back. There are probably some folks around getting impatient with the water rising to nostril level as they attempt to support their Coop – while ignorant, inexperienced and DEAF Directors dawdle as it sinks.
A word to the wise is sufficient. So Poor Richard said…