Bizzibiz franchise owners have finally started speaking out against the clown-circus of a company that sold them one of the most ill-conceived franchise opportunities in recent history: Bizzibiz Digital Marketing.
Bizzibiz founder Jim Piccolo is already on to his next venture, selling $8,000 real estate seminar packages and what appear to be get-rich-quick real estate investment opportunities through REWW Real Estate Worldwide in the former office space of Bizzibiz.
Jim Piccolo has even purged his Linked In profile of any mention of BizziBiz, as have many of his cronies (Such as Gail Gust, Daniel Silver, others) who aggressively promoted the doomed opportunity, then abandoned them and their clients.
Sources tell UnhappyFranchisee.Com that Ms. Toni Anderson began working for Bizzibiz in November, 2011 doing search engine optimization (SEO) work. They say that she was crowned CEO (lucky her) when former CEO Kurt Ohlson jumped ship with a key employee and launched a competing firm called localseodeals.com.
Now Ms. Anderson faces a looming franchisee rebellion led by one of the founders and leaders of the TEA Party movement, Mark Skoda. Here’s some of Mark Skoda’s bio from LinkedIn:
Active in politics on the local and national level, Mark founded The Memphis TEA Party…He is a co-founder of the National Tea Party Federation, the National Tea Party Alliance and is an organizer of the National Tea Party Convention. Skoda was named to the Newsweek Inside The Tea Party Top 10 in September 2010.
He has spoken at numerous trade and political events, provided commentary while appearing on television and radio. Mark has been featured on radio, TV and in print nationally – CNN, FOX Business, Glenn Beck, CBS, MSNBC, ABC, Associated Press, LA Times; internationally on BBC Radio and TV, NHK Japan, Dutch National TV, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, France and Australia.
Skoda also runs MPS Broadcasting provides terrestrial AM/FM radio programming and content, local TV broadcasting and program development and internet radio services, and hosts the Mark Skoda Show.
The letter that Mark Skoda sent last month to Bizzibiz CEO Toni Anderson has been circulating among the surviving Bizzibiz franchise owners:
October 13, 2012
8502 E. Princess Drive, Suite 200
Scottsdale, AZ 85255
To Whom It May Concern:
Over the past several months, BizziBiz has attempted to right the ship and rectify the challenges of management changes, technology failures and a failed Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. During that same period, leadership came and went and clients were exposed to internal and external factors that degraded the BizziBiz brand. While a number of people attempted to step up to attend to existing clients and fix problems resulting from these many missteps, in the end it appears that problems continue with little reason to expect a better outcome.
Furthermore, outstanding debts are unlikely to be paid and there is no real possibility of external cash coming in to support a re-launch of the business. In my own case, besides the investment in the franchise itself, my franchise is owed approximately $32,000 in back commissions. Recently, one of my clients has subsequently terminated their relationship and has requested their up-front fees for a website that was never developed; a further $1,700. The former amount was part of the public record during the Chapter 11 filing and the latter now due my client.
It now comes to my attention that two former BizziBiz employees may have taken intellectual property from the company, worked on developing their business while in the employ of BizziBiz and may have destroyed vital data to the continued service of active clients. As of the date of this letter, no action has been taken against these former employees nor does it appear that funds are available to prosecute any case in the matter.
In the context of the failure of the franchise model, that is the inability to execute the responsibilities as outlined in the Uniform Franchise Offering Circular (UFOC), I find myself at a crossroads in considering my next actions. This note outlines some of those actions that would be appropriate.
First, we will need to hire a lawyer to pursue all of the rights of the company to retain its intellectual property, determine any damages done to its clients or any misappropriation of corporate information that benefitted the former employees to the detriment of BizziBiz and the franchisees collectively.
Second, we need to hire and initiate a full forensic accounting of the financial transactions related to the operations of BizziBiz. This would include a full accounting of all cash received, disbursements made and investments/purchases related to the operation of the business. This forensic accounting effort will also look at all transactions related to any interested parties so as to determine whether any fraudulent actions took place to the detriment of the business and its franchisees.
Third, we need to hire legal counsel to evaluate the current state of the business and take a decision as it relates to the rights of the franchisees in relation to the UFOC and the actual operations of the company from its inception to the current date of operations.
I wish to notify you that I am looking to bring together a group of franchisees to fund this initiative and to represent them in this effort to determine whether or not any recourse is possible or necessary. This would include the capture of unpaid commissions, any intellectual property that may still have value and to determine if any civil or criminal actions may be necessary given the possible harm of the interests of the franchisees and their clients.
I regret these steps; however, I believe it is time for a full accounting of this business failure in the interests of its employees, franchisees and their clients. Please be advised that you should retain all records, emails, and notes, in paper or electronic form related to the BizziBiz operations. No records should be destroyed or deleted nor should any material changes be made to financial records that have been developed or retained in the operation of the business. You should be prepared to provide all business records at a time and place required by our attorney upon appropriate filings.
Mark A. Skoda
President, MPS Digital Marketing Services A BizziBiz Franchisee
Cc. David Lowrance, Esq.
9245 Poplar Avenue
Germantown, TN 38138
UnhappyFranchisee.com has been reporting on the Bizzibiz franchise fiasco since its launch. Read all of our posts here:
Read these recent posts: JIM PICCOLO Blames Bizzibiz Failure on Lazy Punks
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