Is This How The Rich Get Richer?

This isn’t a typical GoFundMe page; no death, no illness, no accident. Yet I implore you to read the twisted account of a wealthy employer systematically destroying the already-tenuous financial world of an unsuspecting employee. As with most great stories, there is deception, greed, and a likable underdog doing what is right but standing to lose everything!  By story’s end, I hope you will be moved to pitch in a few dollars for our hero’s fight for justice. 

A year ago, let’s-call-him “David”, is one of three maintenance workers at a large building in Carroll County, Maryland that houses a handful of businesses and a church. David and his wife are hard-working citizens, living a modest life in a modest home, caring for his aging mother and using an adjacent 3-acre lot for rescuing abandoned and/or abused horses.

Enter our antagonist (we will call him, not coincidentally, Goliath) when he purchases the multi-million dollar building where David spends his workdays. By all accounts, David is a friendly, reliable, and go-the-extra-mile worker who any company would be fortunate to employ -- and the last person anyone would wish to encounter an unscrupulous Goliath.

Shortly after taking ownership, the new owner dismisses two of the maintenance workers.  David, thrilled to still have a job, is now the sole support for the entire building. No matter that his work has tripled, he is grateful to have his job! Before long, however, Goliath both cuts his salary by 17% and drops his medical and retirement benefits. 

It isn’t long after that David and his wife are facing foreclosure on their home.  In what seems like deja vu, the financial deception David is about to encounter would not be his first. This impending foreclosure is the result of a family member’s dishonesty and misuse of family funds years prior.  

 David, now desperate to borrow money to save his home,  wonders who he knows that might have that kind of money to lend. 

And this is when we all yell at our screens: “No -  don’t do it! He is Goliath, after all.” 

But no one should fault David for not seeing what would happen; for not suspecting his own employer would take advantage of him in more ways than one.  Because good people like David see the good in others; good people don’t imagine an employer would deceive and destroy a faithful employee. 

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And this is where I interrupt my own story to remind you fine readers that many of us have had options and opportunities in our lives that perhaps David and his wife have not: a longstanding relationship with a bank,  a lawyer-friend we can call for some quick advice, or, most importantly, knowledge about and experience with loans, legal documents, and the like. 
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Hat in his trembling hand, David approaches his new employer and asks for a loan of $37,205 to save his house. Just days later, using as collateral his 87 year-old mom’s adjacent 3-acre horse rescue pasture (with a tax-assessed value of $92,600) and discussing repayment, Goliath wires the aforementioned amount to the bank. David has escaped foreclosure, and assured by Goliath they will meet again in a week to receive copies of the signed paperwork, a calming sense of relief envelops him - he won’t lose his family home, after all. 

It isn’t but a few weeks, however, and sheer panic has replaced David’s relief. There has been no meeting, no paperwork. He notices that the direct deposits from his employer are markedly lower than the amount they had discussed and pay stubs have stopped arriving;  David cannot make heads or tails of what is happening.  

David and his wife are painfully aware, however, that this new arrangement leaves his family (and rescue animals) with less than half of what they previously had. David works overtime as much as possible. Adding insult to injury, David’s wife is laid off due to COVID. Our underdog hero cannot possibly handle much more - he is not being paid for his overtime work, not being provided with pay stubs, not in possession of any loan documentation, all while doing the work of three and living on half his previous income.   Again, David asks Goliath for loan paperwork, this time to include a payoff amount so that he can search for a better alternative to this dark and mysterious hole.  

Let’s review: Ten months prior, David borrowed $37,205.00. By his calculations, he has paid back $9000.00 via wage garnishment. Additionally, his wife paid $900 before she lost her job. Final calculation: the principal owed is $27,305.00.

Goliath provides a payoff amount of $44,000.00. 

No loan documentation, mind you, but he does include a general ledger that shows payments of roughly $340 twice a month. Markedly less than David’s figure of $450 each pay period.  With $9,900.00 already paid (using David’s calculations)  and the $44,000.00 payoff, a $37,205.00 loan has become a $53,900.00 debt in a mere ten months.  

 At this point, David confides in a friend, a friend who is business-minded and not unaware that proverbial monsters exist;  he is both shocked and angered to learn the details of the improper (and in some states, including David’s, illegal) repayment arrangement. With his friend’s direction, David begins corresponding with his boss only through email and AGAIN requests loan documentation and pay stubs from the past months. 

Perhaps Goliath recognizes that a paper trail has begun;  the pay stubs finally arrive . David and his friend quickly realize they now have documentation that shows the depth of Goliath’s monstrous methods: David has not been paid any overtime. His previous calculation of $450 from each pay period is, in fact, what the pay stubs show. And, mysteriously, there is now a new ledger to replace the original; this one with payments of the correct amount. Perhaps most importantly, Goliath finally concedes that loan documentation does not exist. No wonder the hole into which David has fallen is so dark and deep! 

Unfortunately, though, those discoveries pale in comparison to what David and his trusted friend discover next:  the document his mother signed for the loan collateral was not an Affidavit of collateral but was, in fact, the deed to the property. Goliath has recorded the Deed....he is now the owner of the 3-acre horse rescue pasture. Though David could not have missed a payment (because his wages have been garnished), the threat of default no longer exists:  the deed for the 3-acres is now in the name of  an LLC established by Goliath.

So I ask you: Aren’t employers supposed to take care of their employees? Isn’t it fair to expect employers to follow the law?  David’s employer cut his pay, cancelled his benefits, garnished his wages, didn’t pay his overtime, underhandedly took possession of the 3-acre $92,600 property, wants a loan repayment of $53,900 for an initial loan of $37,205 and is threatening to sell what had been (and still should be) David’s mom’s land.

Time to help!  All GoFundMe donations will go towards building the slingshot that David needs to face his Goliath --  paying legal fees to stop the sale of the land, reestablishing ownership of the horse pasture, and supporting David if he loses his job when he fights for the justice he is due.

Our first and immediate goal is to raise enough funds to file a Quiet the Title motion on the 'stolen' land.  Even if you can't donate, PLEASE KEEP SHARING.  The more who feel the sting of David's situation and, as a result, feel contempt for his employer , the greater the chance this greedy Goliath might be confronted by a formidable foe who is not afraid to hold him accountable. 

With gratitude (for sticking with this long post, especially!),



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Nancy Sellars 
Sykesville, MD
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