The man himself with his nicely dyed black hair and waxed chest-the vision of manliness
The following is a description of recent events involving my former business partner Danny Yehia and myself where, I feel, my intellectual capita, business idea and future opportunity with a potential investor was stolen by Danny through unscrupulous business practices. It is my opinion only and you are welcome to read this trail of events to come to your own conclusions. I have tried to document all correspondences where ever possible and to be as objective as I am capable.
For an Executive Summary click here:
This is the story of my experience with Danny Yehia, husband of Tanya Yehia, father of Chanelle Yehia, owner of Surface-Products http://www.surface-products.com, former owner of Grosvenor Glass.
I have known Danny Yehia for about 15 years and became a close friend about 8 years a go. He was a small business operator selling a product from a company called 3Form. His company name was Grovesnor Products. After a number of lawsuits including 3Form for violation of his non-compete agreement, he ended up shuttering this company and relaunching a new company under the name Surface Products.
Two of the lawsuits I found against Danny after about 10 minutes of searching online are posted below:
I believe he has been sued or named in one or two additional lawsuits. I am having a researcher seek court documents from a lawsuit he was named in in Los Angeles as well as being named in a second lawsuit by 3Form for selling products that impinged on their patents. I will post as soon as I have court records. I don’t know the outcomes of these lawsuits, I only know that in 20 years of business, in 4 different companies, I have never been sued once.
The First Two Years
Anyway, I digress. Danny and I started working on various business ventures together about three years a go.
I had written a business plan and emailed it to him and asked him to read and let me know what he thought (I will attach the business plan). He told me he liked it and he would like to get involved. My idea was to try and find the same information that was being telemarketer by means over the internet-generating a relative cost advantage and a competitive edge over the incumbents in the market place. We incorporated a company with equal preferred shares, opened a corporate bank account and commenced doing business. We spent almost two years and about $10 000 each trying to find a scalable means to acquire specific information through digital research and not telemarketing. There were many, many false starts, road bumps and dead ends.Unfortunately, we never managed and resigned ourselves to having to do it the same was as everyone else-through direct contact.
Fall 2012-January 2013
We both got side tracked for about six months on our own business but through a friend of Danny’s, we met a guy who owned a telemarketing call centre in the Phillipines. Danny set up a conference call with him and we both pitched. The guy said he was very interested. At this juncture I started to formulate a business and marketing plan to commence selling in Australia as it appeared to be an untapped market and a good entrance point into the business.
We arranged to provide a non-disclosure/non-compete. This was late 2012 and close to the holidays and it wasnt until the second week of January when it was finally agreed upon and signed by both parties.
After it was signed I suggested as a next step as to show them all our data, comparative analysis and a sales presentation. I told Danny that I would create the PowerPoint if he could arrange time and date and a webex session for my presentation. I created a Dropbox account on his desktop as he kept a lot of the files we would use and then shared it with myself. For the next 10 days I spent approximately 15 hours putting together the materials to formulate a credible business case with an executable sales strategy and go to market plan. I created a PowerPoint, a Pro Forma sales projection and edited competitive analysis documents that I wanted to use in my presentation. I outlined key differentiation strategies with a in depth scalable business model.
On the given day (Saturday, January 19th), I presented the sales plan to the investor by PowerPoint. At the end of the discussion I suggested next steps being a $25 000 investment in the new company that would make the investor an equal partner and to create a new corporation in Singapore with a new share structure. I also suggested that we fly to the Philippines in February to meet and assist in training the call center. The investor was going to be in Utah and Danny suggested that we fly down there and meet him to further solidify the relationship. Finally I suggested that Danny share the Dropbox folder with the investor so he could have access to our materials and we could use it as a common access point to share future documents. The investor agreed with all my recommendations.
We agreed that we would send a follow up email with the division of takeaway tasks divided. After the call Danny asked me to do it. I asked him to vet the Dropbox folder of anything we wouldnt want to share with the investor and then share it. We agreed for him to send it as he was the original contact. I sent Danny the email on Monday, January 21st.
I didnt speak with Danny for four days after this call. On January 24th, Danny contacted me by text:
I chose not to go as I didn’t see much value in going to see this guy twice inside a month. My own business was busy and I couldn’t really afford the time away. Also my mother was sick and I was reticent to take myself further away than was necessary from her in case I had to return quickly.
I didn’t speak with Danny for five days but on Wednesday, January 29th, I texted him about getting together. He waited a day to respond and after I left him a voice mail at his work, he texted me:
I started to get the definite sense that he was avoiding me-as Danny is usually texts me a lot (some days I have counted over 100 texts). Something definitely was not right.
I had flyer miles that were expiring at the end of January and I had to use them before the end of the month or lose them. I had told him this earlier in the month and on Thursday (January 30th, 2013) I tried sending him a voice mail and text message:
He finally called me back after this barrage. He told me he was with his daughter, that he could not speak for long and what was it that I wanted. I told him about the flyer miles expiring and that I needed to know whether I should book the flight. He asked me if I could book it and change it, then if I could cancel it. I thought this was odd but I told him that Avion tickets were very restrictive but I could find out. He suddenly indicated that he could no longer talk as his lawyer was calling and that he would call me later and then he hung up. He never did.
The next morning (Friday, January 31st) I texted him again as it was the last day of the month and I would definitely lose the points to which he responded by email with a rather heightened level of aggression that I found puzzling:
Since he mention his daughter and hospital I backed off completely, since no one would use their daughters health to evade someone, right-thats bad karma
Once again I never heard from him that day. I never bothered booking a flight. As things at work had started to slow down, I began working on some sales strategy documents for this project. After I had completed them, I went to put them in the Dropbox folder that I had created in his account for me to put my files for the presentation. I was denied access. It confirmed what I already felt in my gut-he was in the process of fire-walling me out of this deal as well as from his clients and contacts.
On a hunch I went to his Linked in account at it showed only 10 contacts (it had been well over 200 the last time I checked). I went to my Facebook and looked up his wife (Danny had deleted his account) she had deleted me and blocked me from seeing her profile.
I realized I had been an idiot to have used his account to share files with. Also I allowed him to be the point man with the investor even though all the sales and marketing strategy, pro forma planning and presentation work had been my own work-and what was worse, I didn’t even have access to my own materials. Effectively a coup de tat had been executed with calculated precision and without forewarning.
The Silent Treatment
I didn’t sleep on Thursday night and on Friday, I sent a final text trying to appeal to his humanity to communicate with me.
My text message:
Hey. I tried to put two sales strategy docs into Dropbox last night
and was denied. Thats a pretty big betrayal of trust Danny and pretty
much says most of what I already suspected.
I have always trusted you entirely. We at times had our differences,
but I considered you family and it never even occurred to protect my
interests separately from your own. Perhaps I was naive. If your
grievances are such that you cannot or will not work with me then you
need to communicate this now. Being silent, secretive and fire
walling yourself from me is beneath both of us and disrespectful to
our friendship. I am not now nor have I ever been your ‘enemy’. You
don’t have to be afraid of any potential actions I may take, I am not
a vindictive person. I am just very saddened by this.
I do feel though, If this is going to end our partnership and
friendship then lets get it over with as soon as possible so we can
clean things up and both have closure. I think we owe each other that.
Finally, I will say to have taken this crazy journey with you and all
the characters we met, and never got to do what I think we both do
best-to sell customers and build out a real company-is a small tragedy
in my life. We made the classic partnership mistake-we ran the
marathon and then tripped at the finish line. I think we would have
had a lot of fun together and made a good team. I still admire you
greatly and have learned a great deal about business and life from our
friendship and I mean that sincerely.
I am working this morning but available any other time.
I still did not get a response two days later.
Now if you find that letter a little obsequious and ass-kissing to a man who was in the process of stealing my ideas, documents and trying to run away from me for a measly $25 000 investment and a promise from a man neither of us had met, your right. It was. But keep in mind that I just lost everything I had worked on for two years, felt betrayed by one of my oldest and dearest friends and didnt know (and still dont) what legal options I have with a guy who is running to create a new corporation with a Philippines company, incorporating in Singapore.
As a final note on this first installment of what is likely to be an ongoing drama in my life, I want to (re)interate that I am not accusing Danny of any thing illegal-that is something the courts will have to decide. I am not going to state that you should not do business with him either-that is something you need to decide. I will tell you the events as I have stated are 100% factual as I can possibly relate . All communications since the original investor meeting on January 19th, 2013 has been captured and documented on this page aside from a two minute phone call.
I am going to chronical my efforts to raise alternative capital for this while simultaneously optimizing and promoting this website towards current and potential customers as well as potential investors of Danny Yehia to assist in their due dilligence. I hope also it will be an online cautionary tale for future generations of business contemplating entering into business agreements without proper protection. It will be a living document that will be updated regularly and promoted exhaustively.