update: a client sent me a thank-you check as a way to avoid paying my boss

Remember the letter-writer whose client sent her a large thank-you check as a way of avoiding paying her boss, with whom he was embroiled in much drama? The first update was here, and here’s the latest:

I wasn’t originally going to update again on this, but things went bananas, so I figured you’d like to hear since we are all a little entertainment deprived.

In my first update, I mentioned how I was hired by Gilbert to over see his homes on the side in addition to my full time job with Adam’s company. This originally was great, I was making more money, and the homes are built really well so the amount of times I had to fix something major was rare. Overall, an easy job. The payment plan me, Gilbert, and Adam worked out was going great as well, and they hadn’t had any issues with the way I was handling repairs and billing.

While I was working for Gilbert, we started another large project for him (the one mentioned in the previous update). Ho-boy did that affect things. Gilbert asked me to be the lead on this home (as a representative of Adam’s company, so my main job) since I did a great job managing the others, and having the background of actually building the home would make it easier to manage later on once it was done and a part of my property management duties. Adam agreed, and everything was great during the first half of the project.

During the process of building this home, both Gilbert and his wife completely changed. (In retrospect they didn’t, I was just too money blind to notice it before). They started to severely micromanage me while I was building the new project, which slowed the process by months. They were very difficult, rude, and aggressive, and frugal. They reluctantly paid bills from our office, and sometimes they would outwardly deny paying for things they were contractually obligated to pay (for example, they wanted to add a section to the project that would require a lot more money, they agreed, signed, and when the bill came pretended we were responsible for that). All of this was aggravating, but if they wanted to slow the progress on their job, there is nothing I can do about it. I spoke extensively with Adam about this during the whole process to make sure I was handling it appropriately, and to protect myself when they eventually turned on me (which they did).

Their behavior became so erratic that subcontractors refused to work with them due to their hostility and disrespect. I came on the job site one day and the wife was screaming at a painter because he was painting something white that was supposed to be green (it was primer!). I stepped in and asked her to leave because the painter was doing his job and there was no need to treat him like that. The guy doesn’t speak English, so he was very frazzled after this, understandably so. She refused to leave the job site and became aggressive toward other subcontractors as well, including throwing a paint brush at the painter, so I halted work on that site to protect everyone, and they all left. (Did I handle that right? I was a little scared myself and didn’t know what to do.) His wife, in her almost complete, multi-million dollar home, started crying and screaming that we had no idea how hard her life is (she has no job or responsibilities). She had a full on meltdown, toddler style. There is something about a billionaire’s wife crying about how hard her life is to people who make just over minimum wage that doesn’t sit right with my soul.

I left the home while she was raging and sent a text to her husband that he needed to check in on her because it seemed like she was having a nervous breakdown and I was worried about her safety. I didn’t engage with him when he called me about it later on because at this point I had a ton of evidence that wouldn’t go well. I went to the office and told Adam and our VP what happened. We talked it over, and I realized I couldn’t work for them in any capacity anymore. Naturally, his wife spun the incident and I received a hostile email from the husband full of lies about what went down (they claimed I screamed at her and that’s what made her snap). I sent a response email including a resignation letter and included his company’s HR in the process. I gave a notice period of two weeks, but they decided to end my job there immediately (thank God).

The home was completed by another associate of mine, so I was mostly able to wash my hands of that. This all mostly happened pre-coronavirus. Just this week though, I got an email from a former client letting me know that he ran into Gilbert at Publix, and while they were catching up, he went into a tirade about how this company that built his house bullied his wife and they were considering legal action. Gilbert had no idea we built this person’s house and have a great relationship (an actual great one!) with them. I told Adam and have met with our company lawyer, who all agreed that we would take action against him if they continued to spread lies on top of any litigation for the money they currently owe us. They suggested I send a cease and desist letter (slander or libel) but I haven’t decided if I’d like to go that route, as I’d rather rid myself of this all. I did suggest they speak with the painter she assaulted though, he was highly upset that day.

So, yeah! That was a wild one. I am otherwise doing well. I am not worried about this at all because Adam has made it clear he would protect me and I have no reason to believe otherwise. Our lawyer has also confirmed it would be difficult for him to even bring this to court. One funny thing though, Gilbert’s insistence on tarnishing my name actually did the opposite. He spoke so highly of me to his friends when I started working for him (because I was cheap, trustworthy, and efficient) that when they found out I was available they all called asking me to be their property manager. Seems like everyone knows he’s full of … crap. I will most likely not take another part-time gig though. This has soured me on the type of clientele we deal with and I’m realizing I just don’t like the entitlement we experience on a daily basis. Some of our clients are amazing, I even look up to them. However, most are cut from the same cloth as Gilbert and his wife, and I do not need that in my life, no matter the money.

One last thing. I mentioned money problems in my original letter due to problems with my spouse’s job. He has since left that company and started at another that he LOVES. We were planning on purchasing a home this year, but we will probably wait til the virus is long gone to do that.

Stay safe! And thank you to you and your readers for the consistent insight and support.

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