What REALLY Uncorked Cork & Olive?

It appears that there’s more to the closing of the Cork & Olive Franchise Corp. HQ than is being reported. Responding to yesterday’s post, Cork & Olive Wine Shop Franchise Owners Left High & Dry, Wanda commented:

Mike Probst doesn’t care about his 40 employees he fired or all the money the franchisees have spent. He only cares about himself. I looked his name up in myflorida.com and found out he has a judgement filed against him and the company for $800,000. and another one for 30,000. He also sold franchises when he had pending lawsuits against him and the company. He is the worst kind of human. He preys on people that want a better life for themselves and their families. Instead of him giving up controlling interest he would rather put these good peoples lives and families in jepardy. So as I see it he should go to jail. Why isn’t the FTC stepping in and finding out why he was able to sell to innocent people when he knew the company was going under?

A search of the Florida Corporations database indeed revealed two judgements:

Document Number: J07000400286
Status: ACTIVE
Case Number: 07-8509
Name of Court: HILLSBOROUGH – CIRCUIT/CIVIL
File Date: 12/11/2007
Date of Entry: 11/30/2007
Expiration Date: 12/11/2012
Amount Due: $897,450.53
Interest Rate: 11.00 %

Name And Address of Judgment Creditor (Plaintiff)
CITRUS PARK VENTURE LIMITED PARTNERSHIP
11601 WILSHIRE BOULEVARD
12TH FLOOR
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA 90025

Name And Address of Judgment Debtor(s) (Defendant(s))
ESTATE WINE GROUP, INC.
12070 RACE TRACK ROAD
TAMPA, FL 33626
Document Number: P02000125981
FEI Number: 760732313

CORK & OLIVE
12070 RACE TRACK ROAD
TAMPA, FL 33626
Document Number: P02000125981
FEI Number: 760732313

PROBST , MICHAEL
12415 PLANTATION PINE LANE
TAMPA, FL 33635

Document Number J08000128752
Status ACTIVE
Case Number 1000000076155
Name of Court 018533 000623
File Date 04/16/2008
Date of Entry 03/28/2008
Expiration Date 04/16/2028
Amount Due $ 11,226.56

Name And Address of Judgment Creditor (Plaintiff)
STATE OF FLORIDA, DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
TAMPA SERVICE CENTER
6302 E DR MARTIN LUTHER KING JR BLVD S
TAMPA FL336191166

Name And Address of Judgment Debtor(s) (Defendant(s))
CORK & OLIVE FRANCHISE CORP
12070 RACE TRACK RD
TAMPA, FL 336263109 US
Document Number: P05000074613
FEI Number: 562515419

BELLWETHER PROPERTIES OF FLORIDA L P V. ESTATE WINE GROUP INC
Def PROBST MICHAEL Uniform Case: 522007CA006254XXCICI Pinellas Case: 07006254CI
Case Type: DELIN TENANT Filing Date: 07/02/07 Judgement date: 09/06/07

PUBLIX SUPER MARKETS INC v. ESTATE WINE GROUP INC
Case Type: DELIN TENANT Filing Date: 10/29/07

NORTHWOOD PLAZA LLC v. ESTATE WINE GROUP INC
Case Type: DELIN TENANT Filing Date: 06/12/08

07011013CI

WHAT DO YOU THINK? SHARE A COMMENT BELOW.

84 thoughts on “What REALLY Uncorked Cork & Olive?

  • June 19, 2008 at 10:32 am
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    there are so many “secrets” out there this has become very interesting. And I know myself that there are still many ‘secrets’ to be told which will all be revealed as time progresses. why should we hide what we’ve always wanted to release to everyone else yet didn’t because we feared for our source of income. Even though these ‘secrets’ would have cost us our job and that we kept them to ourself does not make us the bad guy. We did what we had to do in order to keep our job. BUT now that we were duped by this company, this man and this woman, it’s ok for everyone to realize this information needs to be released. I write this because I’ve wanted be honest with all investors and francisees from the get go but once again I could not because I would have lost my job. SOmething is wrong with this picture, but it’s ok now. People do get their just desserts, it’s just a matter of time before others realize this and those who were truly at fault, well sorry, but you deserve what will be happening to you. whew. I feel better now!

  • June 19, 2008 at 4:47 pm
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    I know why people kept secrets, but do you realize those secrets may have cost many not just a weekly salary but their homes, savings and mental health. This is deeper than just someone did something wrong. Probst changed peoples lives. Stressed them. All the investors wanted to do was make an honest buck. He made them believe in this great business. All the while he new it was failing. No one or at least not many people go into a business thinking well if it works great other wise I didn’t need that money?

    Businesses don’t fail people do. And Probst certainly did.

    Start talking. Other wise you are no better that the trilogy of thief.

  • June 19, 2008 at 10:47 pm
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    Believe me wanda… I have been speaking up and will continue to do so!!!
    matter of fact… I “HEARD” that augenti was offered a position today with Vinocean selling franchises… seems perhaps… they might be the new owners of franchise corP…. more details to follow as they unfold. meeting took place today…. and Oldsmar will be the first to open early next week…. will advise you what day.

  • June 20, 2008 at 8:22 am
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    Many are already aware of some of the inside happenings of C&O yet many still don’t know what really happened in order for the company to amass over $2.5 million in debt.. actually… the figure is much higher. But, in all honesty, Probst is basically the one to blame since he could never make his mind up. He had many talented people working with and for him yet he did not believe anyone knew what they were talking about, he was the only man who knew what he was doing,,,,,yeah right whatever michael. “The Americans are stupid people and have no idea how to conduct business” was his famous saying… oh really??? So why the hell did you come over here? We had found some wonderful products , including some delicious assortments of actual olives and not olive oils, yet he still couldn’t say yes, let’s get it. Instead it was too expensive and not “his” idea so forget it. after all, the company was called cork and olive, one would think we’d at least carry olives? NOT. He was notorious for screwing vendors. Many of them would go out of their way to please him, yet when they wanted to be paid-forget it! for some odd reason he’d still try to jimmy them down and say -you didn’t deliver on time-the product was not up to par- or contact me in 10 days and I’ll pay you then-still no money 10 days and 2 years later. the company has had to ‘settle’ with some really good vendors all because of his attitude. One vendor even had someone who had cancer yet he continued to work with the company not knowing if he would be paid and of course probst would say-I’m done with them and don’t pay them. well unfortunately this man who had cancer ended up having to have his future commissions held back in order to make up for the loss of payment -this was mentioned to probst and nelson and they both shrugged their shoulders and say oh well, that’s business. What jerks and what lack of compassion.It was all about them and their wallets. about a year ago, one of the old accountants for the company started to blow the whistle about payroll taxes to some valrico employees, what ever happened to her and were the taxes paid yet? oh wait, probably not because then the executives in charge would not be able to enjoy their nightly expensive dinners. something is definitely wrong here and they are still able to walk around freely? So you ask how did the company amass over $2.5 million (actually closer to 4 million) in debt? it’s called GREED and only two people are responsible for that. guess who?!

  • June 20, 2008 at 9:05 am
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    Vinocean can’t sell franchises. She could sell the bad wine to other stores, etc. There has to be a UFOC written to be able to sell franchises. The wine warehouse is not a franchise model. If Oldsmar opens it won’t be Cork and Screw. You know that name is so tainted now. The franchisees should change it.

  • June 20, 2008 at 10:03 am
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    Just called the US Attorneys Office Middle District, they said call the Fl. Dept. of Law Enforcement, they said call the local Sheriffs Dpt. All said call ….. Who the heck do I call? Probst will get away with this if there isn’t anyone that will take the time to actually work. No one cares if a con man steals from its citizens.

  • June 20, 2008 at 5:01 pm
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    How do you think business would go for the Oldsmar store re-opening when there’s a picket line in front of it composed of all the employees who still haven’t gotten paid, the franchisees who are left with thousands of dollars in gift cards that can’t be redeemed and everyone else Michael is indebted to?!? hmmm…just a thought

  • June 20, 2008 at 8:52 pm
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    for your viewing pleasure seems vinocean and deborah are one of the same. ahhh one big happy family. as you can see from the website it is listed as the same compnay.

    https://www.myfloridalicense.com/LicenseDetail.asp?SID=&id=F609107AF6B194781E6E6B05C23DB969

    Name: MILAM, JAMES CRAYTON (Primary Name)
    (DBA Name)
    Main Address: UNIVERSAL WINE CORPORATION
    6309 S. MAC DILL AVENUE, #1429
    TAMPA Florida 33611
    County: HILLSBOROUGH
    License Mailing:

    LicenseLocation:

    License Information
    License Type: Salesperson Wine & Spirits
    Rank: LQS
    License Number: LQS9960
    Status: Current
    Licensure Date: 12/12/2005
    Expires:

    Special Qualifications Qualification Effective

    AUGENTI, DEBORAH KAREN (Primary Name)
    (DBA Name)
    Main Address: UNIVERSAL WINE CORPORATION
    4025 TAMPA RD STE 1117
    OLDSMAR Florida 34677
    County: PINELLAS

    License Mailing:

    LicenseLocation:

    License Information
    License Type: Salesperson Wine & Spirits
    Rank: LQS
    License Number: LQS10150
    Status: Current
    Licensure Date: 03/14/2006
    Expires:

    Special Qualifications Qualification Effective

    View Related License Information
    View License Complaint

  • June 21, 2008 at 8:21 pm
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    What are people’s opinions of Rainer Appold? I’m told that he and a few others are putting up money to revive Cork and Olive without any involvement of Michael Probst.

    Does anyone know if it’s true that Appold and Probst are not getting along these days?

    Can a Cork and Olive led by Rainer Appold succeed?

    I’m told that most of the current franchisees are on board with this, except for the stores owned by Rick Munroe. Does anyone know if this is true/not true?

  • June 22, 2008 at 10:07 pm
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    Why would the franchisees want anything to do with Rainer?? From an earlier post it was said that Rainer approached them and was kind of bullying them into thinking they had to be on his side. I think they need to find another person to be in charge. After all, even if he and Michael are on the “outs” right now, they should remember that at one point they were inseparable..they’re cut from the same mold and I wouldn’t trust him as much as I wouldn’t trust Michael.

  • June 23, 2008 at 1:30 pm
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    Just a hint, I had my employees take everything home in March, no one left anything at the store, we had kept a list on the computer, called the “Red Flag List”, remember the fax to all the stores from Europe? about the glassware?, remember taking of the tags on the new glassware? not legal…….I could go on and on, but when they stopped putting cash in the bank that flag covered the store, I did some research and found all of his UCC filings had the inventory leveraged as collateral.. many times… Merchantile and the other one, were skimming his accounts, so he had to keep it out, I suppose to live off of now. and when they said they were going public….what a joke, that was the death knell. I called the office and told a certain lady to get out now…she finally did. I have an attorney too who said we need to file since we have priority in bankruptcy court.

    Boy it didn’t take long to know that when Ms. S opened her mouth, that she was lying, also she had really bad taste in wine..Rim Rock Shiraz…Please, she didn’t even know which wines were from co-ops, another way Michael found to charge private label pricing for inferior quality co-op wine..more later…

  • June 23, 2008 at 1:32 pm
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    Oh yea, is it true that D, Augenti owns the rights to the name Cork & Olive, and lets send a thank you note because she was able to make sure we had paycks last year, several times..

  • June 23, 2008 at 1:37 pm
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    OK go to http://myfloridacounty.com/ and go to order records, put in his name, and choose all, then choose 1990-2008, wait for a bit, it will load……;o)

    also do ms. S, i know a bunch wanted to……….LOL

  • June 23, 2008 at 5:22 pm
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    Has anyone thought that when things starts getting a little rougher that Mr. Probst might decide to leave the country? and then he might be home free without any obligations whatsoever??? Does anyone know of a way to make sure that he cannot leave? Do the airlines needs to be alerted or whom ever can be contacted so this cannot happen??? ANY IDEAS??? We cannot allow him to just pick up and leave!

  • June 23, 2008 at 5:38 pm
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    Dear Oh Please,
    FYI… it’s Michael W (Wolfgang) Probst… not all of those are his… he never lived in duval county, only hillsborough and now pinellas from what’s we’ve already researched.
    and it’s Stephanie M. (Marie) Nelson… for Hillsborough and Pinellas county as well. ;) oh… and while you at it… check it out for Kennedy, sean R…. nice guy we had working for us eh??!
    and what can we do s exemployees? in order to get our last check? and can vacation and sick time be paid to us as well? any idea? let me know. I’m on the bandwagon!

  • June 23, 2008 at 5:44 pm
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    Dear Oh Please again,
    We’ve not been able to find out if in fact D. Augenti owns the “rights” to the name Cork & olive… any help for us??

  • June 23, 2008 at 6:04 pm
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    Mark Image
    Word Mark CORK & OLIVE
    Goods and Services IC 020. US 002 013 022 025 032 050. G & S: Bottle closures not of metal; Corks; Corks for bottles. FIRST USE: 20040209. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20040209

    IC 021. US 002 013 023 029 030 033 040 050. G & S: Beverage glassware; Beverageware; Bottle openers; Bottle stands; Bottles, sold empty; Carafes; Champagne buckets; Charms for attachment to beverage glassware for identification purposes; Cooling buckets for wine; Coolers for wine; Cork screws; Decanters; Drinking glasses; Glass beverageware; Goblets; Ice buckets; Ice pails; Siphons for wine tasting; Thermal insulated containers for food or beverage; Thermal insulated tote bags for food or beverages; Thermal insulated wrap for cans to keep the contents cold or hot; Wine bottle cradles; Wine buckets; Wine cooling pails; Wine jugs; Wine racks; Wine strainers; Wine tasting siphons. FIRST USE: 20040209. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20040209

    IC 029. US 046. G & S: Cooking oil; Edible oil; Olive oil; Oil made from vegetables or fruits; Salad oil; Vegetable oils. FIRST USE: 20040209. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20040209

    IC 030. US 046. G & S: Spices. FIRST USE: 20040209. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20040209

    IC 035. US 100 101 102. G & S: Providing door-to-door shopping services in the field of wine; Providing door-to-door shopping services in the field of wine-related beverages and drinks; Providing door-to-door shopping services in the field of olive oil; Providing door-to-door shopping services in the field of edible oils and cooking oils; On-line retail store services featuring wine; On-line retail store services featuring wine-related beverages and drinks; On-line retail store services featuring olive oil; On-line retail store services featuring edible oils and cooking oils; Retail wine stores; Retail services by direct solicitation by sales agents in the field of wine tasting; Retail services by direct solicitation by sales agents in the field of wine; Retail services by direct solicitation by sales agents in the field of olive oil; Retail services by direct solicitation by sales agents in the field of wine-related beverages and drinks; Retail olive oil stores; Retail cooking oil stores; Retail edible oil stores; Retail shops featuring wine; Retail shops featuring olive oil; Retail shops featuring wine-related beverages and drinks; Retail shops featuring edible oils; Retail shops featuring cooking oils; Retail store services, available through computer communications and interactive television, featuring wine; Retail store services, available through computer communications and interactive television, featuring olive oil; Retail store services, available through computer communications and interactive television, featuring wine-related beverages and drinks; Retail store services, available through computer communications and interactive television, featuring edible oils; Retail store services, available through computer communications and interactive television, featuring cooking oils. Retail shop-at-home party services in the field of wine; Retail shop-at-home party services in the field of olive oil; Retail shop-at-home party services in the field of wine-related beverages and drinks; Retail shop-at-home party services in the field of cooking oils; Retail shop-at-home party services in the field of edible oils. FIRST USE: 20040209. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20040209
    Standard Characters Claimed
    Mark Drawing Code (4) STANDARD CHARACTER MARK
    Serial Number 78357534
    Filing Date January 26, 2004
    Current Filing Basis 1A
    Original Filing Basis 1B
    Published for Opposition October 26, 2004
    Registration Number 2993307
    Registration Date September 6, 2005
    Owner (REGISTRANT) Estate Wine Group, Inc. CORPORATION FLORIDA 12070 Race Track Road Tampa FLORIDA 33626

    (LAST LISTED OWNER) PROBST, BRIGIT INDIVIDUAL UNITED STATES 12070 RACE TRACK ROAD TAMPA FLORIDA 33626

    (LAST LISTED OWNER) PROBST, MICHAEL F. W. INDIVIDUAL UNITED STATES 12070 RACE TRACK ROAD TAMPA FLORIDA 33626

    (LAST LISTED OWNER) CORK & OLIVE FRANCHISE CORP. CORPORATION FLORIDA 12070 RACE TRACK ROAD TAMPA FLORIDA 33626
    Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED
    Attorney of Record Mark A. Stull
    Type of Mark TRADEMARK. SERVICE MARK
    Register PRINCIPAL
    Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

  • June 23, 2008 at 6:15 pm
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    Dear Admin,
    YOU ARE GOOD! LOL THank YOU!

  • June 23, 2008 at 6:17 pm
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    I stand corrected… Probst entire name is Michael Franz Wolfgang Probst for any who was curious.

  • June 23, 2008 at 7:56 pm
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    Dear Admin,
    YOU ARE GOOD! LOL THank YOU!

    Aw shucks. It was nothing.

    Trademark info is searchable at the US Patent & Trademark site: http://www.uspto.gov

  • June 23, 2008 at 11:00 pm
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    Oh BTW, Oil amphora’s? Clean?. yea once since the store opened not quite every six months….

  • June 24, 2008 at 12:08 pm
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    Wanda
    Is the same Michael Probst that is opening the wine bar in Los Feliz Cali ( Corkx Wine and Life) the same Micheal Probst that we are so fond of. i just stumbled on it online and was curious.

  • June 24, 2008 at 8:09 pm
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    Admin,
    Thanks for clearing that up. What are the chances of that? That is a weird coincidence! Thanks again.

  • June 25, 2008 at 8:06 am
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    as much of a con man he is he just may use different alias names.
    just a thought.

  • June 25, 2008 at 9:31 pm
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    Taken – that’s pretty interesting, especially given the fact that his cohort, Stephanie, is in California right now!

  • June 26, 2008 at 3:34 pm
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    Wonder what Steph. is doing in CA? Wonder if the old high school sweetheart now what he is marrying? So is she the evil “Raisin” of Probst web or is she the stupid sex web site owner gone corp. thief?

  • July 5, 2008 at 3:20 pm
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    I have some info for everyone.
    First the franchisees will do great if they stick together and form a co-op on their own. You don’t need anyone associated with Cork and Olive. They didn’t help you before and trust me with more money and the “help” of the “attorneys” you would be better off closing now. Stick together and make it work!
    Secondly I was told that Ronzino purchase shares from Probst and Cork and Olive Franchise and the Estate Wine Group. Probst fired him, now this is the inside scoop part: Probst asked for more money and then when Ronzino’s wife said no Probst told her than she may never see her money again. She asked him, ” Michael are you threatening me if I don’t give you more money than I will loose the money we already put in?” Probst replied, “yes, that is what I am saying. The company needs money and you and Ronzino need to give more other wise I don’t need him”. Then Probst came to Orlando, and took the couple out to an expensive dinner and asked again for money. Ronzino said he had investors that would give several million but needed all the books so they could go over the numbers and make sure it was viable. Ronzino also told him, that they would want say in how the company was run. With that Super German went ballistic and fired Ronzino on the spot. Several days later a law suit was filed and Ronzino asked for the money back from the shares, (this was agreed upon in the documents before the shares were purchased). (If at anytime Ronzino wanted his shares purchased back from Probst he would do so in 60 days. Written up by Probst attorney Giaordano) Also there was an employment agreement written up by our favorite attorney G., who also owns stock. This agreement was till the end of 2008. By the way Ronzino sold most of the franchises with in several months of working. He started working in Oct. officially and was fired by April. He never got his last two paychecks, they took the money back out of his account. Wonder how the company would have been if Ronzino had been aloud to be CEO. Seems to me he was only hired to get his money. Feel for the poor man.

  • July 6, 2008 at 11:08 pm
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    feel for the Poor Man say what??? making $120K per year and he’s poor? ha
    this definitely sounds like it was written by a ROnzino-doesn’t matter but please “Feel for the Poor Man” not. and it’s allowed not aloud.

  • July 7, 2008 at 6:01 pm
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    Ditto,
    Yes, I feel for the “poor” man and for all the “poor men and women” that have lost their money at the hands of the Super German. Now, if I understand you -its okay for people that have worked hard and saved their money to be stolen from? The franchisees paid over $300k for their franchise. So its okay if Probst stole money from them? And how about all the employees? Is it okay for them to be taken advantage of? You are confused, Money taken from anyone is wrong and yes I feel for every “poor” person involved in this.
    And thanks for correcting my spelling. That is just so important on a blog.

  • July 7, 2008 at 9:54 pm
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    I worked with some of the former emps but on the other side. If you worked there, you know what that means..

    I would be happy to help you all out with specifics in any way I can.

  • July 8, 2008 at 12:34 pm
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    ok WOW – so what other side are you talking about the retail side? We do know that several of the emps that worked on the retail side were good but the majority were not. and the good ones were the ones that left before the company closed and there were just two that I can think of were still around that were any good – countryside was one manager and the st pete store before he was moved to wesley chapel store was the other…………….and can’t say much more about anyone else.

  • July 9, 2008 at 3:14 pm
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    The department of labor has told me that in order to collect unpaid wages under ch. 11, you must file a claim with the bankruptcy court. You can find information about it online:
    http://www.flmb.uscourts.gov/default.htm

    The address to submit it in person is:
    801 N Florida Ave (between Cass and Polk Aves.), 5th floor.

    The case number is: 08-08338-MGW and it is free to file the claim.

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