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CUPPY’S COFFEE: Attorney Rudy Harper & Assistant Desiree (Reportedly) Resign

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It’s been reported that Cuppy’s Coffee in-house attorney Rudy Harper and Desiree Kahn, the Cuppy’s Coffee legal assistant in charge of handling refunds, resigned Wednesday, September 10th.

Harper and Kahn reportedly stayed behind in Ft. Walton Beach after a limited number of employees were invited to relocate to the new home office in Muscle Shoals, AL. Not receiving a paycheck and a lawsuit from the landlord over nonpayment of rent are likely factors in their abrupt departure.

One commenter on Blue Mau Mau wrote:

The last attorney left is Lou. Is he even allowed to practice law in the state of Florida or Alabama?

With all of the legal issues Cuppy’s is facing, perhaps it should have been high on Cuppy’s priority list to at least pay their attorney his paycheck.

What do you think? Are there any Corporate employees left in Florida? Did the Alabama “Dream Team” get paid? Share a comment below.

245 thoughts on “CUPPY’S COFFEE: Attorney Rudy Harper & Assistant Desiree (Reportedly) Resign

  • Cuppy's Coffee Victim

    My understanding is that Theresa St. Clair was not invited to be part of the Elite Alabama Dream Team. Isn’t that being fired?
    She then lined up her deal with San Gelato and only then got on the morality soapbox. She made sure everyone got her self righteous letter. But didn’t she jump ship to go work not only with a vendor/client, but one that was fixing to sue her employer? Isn’t that a violation of her employment agreement – non-compete, non-disclosure?
    She made millions in firness. You’re kidding, right?

  • TS has been an entrepreneur since her early 20’s. Yes she’s made millions over the years & not just in fitness. She’s a smart woman & she was scammed in believing in the coffee industry just like other xemployees & zees. Also, have you ever been to Muscle Shoals, AL? Only desperate people that can’t find another job would have followed Dale to AL. TS was friends with gelato folks before all the BS.

  • Victim… you obviously don’t know what “being fired” & ‘Resigning” mean.

  • Cuppy's Coffee Victim

    I think I have an idea of what being fired means.

    Not being offered continued employment = being fired.

    What I am confused about is your portrayal of Theresa St. Clair as a smart, ethical, highly successful millionaire entrepreneur one minute, but then as a powerless midlevel manager with no real oversight, responsibility, power or even knowledge at Elite… basically a flunky with a VP title who had to be totally clueless to not know what was going on for two years. And did you say she had history with Morg at Slender Lady – the franchise that he’s still getting sued by franchisees over? She was so clueless that she didn’t get it even after Slender Lady, Java Jo’z and Cuppy’s? Which is it?

    Franchisees know her as the one calling them for money, creating deadlines and pushing them to send in their deposits to nowhere. The truth isn’t that hard to figure, no matter how clever she/you think you’re being.

  • guest

    Victim… once again you prove to only ready what you want & then make crap up. No where did I say she had history with Morg at Slender Lady

  • Cuppy's Coffee Victim

    “guest…” (or can I call you Theresa?):
    Once again you duck the questions…
    Did she know Morg from the fitness days?
    Was she invited to move to Alabama?
    Has she fielded calls regarding San Gelato franchises? Does she continue to be the franchise contact at San Gelato?
    Was she the smart, accomplished VP or the unwitting lackey with no executive access or power at Elite?
    I expect you’ll duck these direct questions as quickly as Dale Nabors can duck a franchisee phone call.
    Should be interesting…

  • Victim… I don’t see you telling us who you are. And besides… this site is for zees. What you should be doing if you truly are a “Cuppy’s Coffee Victim” is focus on who controlled the money. And that my friend would be Morg & Dale. You also should be talking with a lawyer instead of your BS on this site. But then again you are probably nOT a so called victim. You just like to stir up sh it.

  • Why don’t you stay on the subject of who got your money if you are a victim. That would be Morg and/or Dale

  • survivor

    Ok, so this is not about Ms. St. Clair but I would like to set the line on Don Ochsenreiter. Don was hired at a very high level position in hopes that he would create relationships with banks and therefore help the franchise get better options for funding for the franchisees. While he was employed, he did get paid, a very high amount with substantial raises on a scale negotiated by his lawyer. About a month or so after he started (if it was even that long) Morg brough in all of the “upper management” and asked them to all take one for the team and accept a pay cut that was to last for no more than 6 months. That meant that anyone making over 48K per year was to get cut down to that amount – no one was ever brought back to their original salary no matter what position they were in. Don was the ONLY person that was not only not in the meeting but did not take a paycut — his pay was well over a 100K per year. I also would like to see where he feels he is owed the millions of dollars he is suing for, or what he is suing for that amounts to that kind of money, especially with the benefits he was receiving during his short stint with the company.

  • Cuppy's Coffee Victim

    Guest/II/TSC responds “Why don’t you stay on the subject …” and doesn’t address a single question. I think that speaks volumes.

    survivor: why would a guy who was hired a month earlier agree to a pay cut? He had gotten one, maybe two paychecks? All the rest of the people in that room had been getting fat and happy getting their shares of the money stolen from franchise deposits for a year or more. He just starting to realize they told him a load of bs about the company, and then he gets Dale Nabors as a boss and the guy who hires him vanishes?

    Don Ochsenreiter was another victim of Morg Morgan, Dale Nabors, Theresa St. Clair and the corrupt employees who fed off the bones of the depositer’s life savings. He never got the chance to feed off the carcass like you all did.

    All of you who claimed you worked so hard and cared so much, that’s all you were – participants in a corrupt enterprise. This is a coffee company that never seems to get around to selling any coffee. There’s a name for that… sham.

  • Victim… you are an idiot

  • actually, i wouldn’t blame Don for not taking a pay cut. He was brought in to do a job that Morg and Dale couldn’t handle on their own, and I’m sure that they had been trying. At that point, he was probably the most ‘important’ employee, because we’ve seen what has happened now that the company has no capital.

    Look at the financials of Cuppy’s that were on the CA website. Pretty pathetic, and that’s why the state of CA required franchise fees to be escrowed. I’m not sure if Cuppy’s got around it by having the franchisees pay Elite, but that would be something that I would be asking the state for assistance on.

  • Cuppy's Coffee Victim

    Did Theresa St. Clair know Morg from the fitness days? [No Answer. My guess: Yep]
    Was she invited to move to Alabama? [No Answer. My guess: Yep]
    Has she fielded calls regarding San Gelato franchises? Does she continue to be the franchise contact at San Gelato? [No Answer. My guess: You bet]
    Was she the smart, accomplished, ethical VP or the unwitting lackey with no executive access or power at Elite? [No Answer. My guess: neither]
    Is “Guest/II” Theresa St. Clair? [What do you think?]
    Is she working real hard to obscure her past participation in this scheme? Will people fall for it and think she had no part in this? [Hmmm… who’s the idiot now?]

  • Guest

    …who’s the idiot now?… you still are!!


    Victim: Point made. Move on. Horse. Dead. Beaten. Really dead.
    Guest: Grow up. If you don’t want to answer, try silence, not name calling. you won’t be so obvious.

    jd: I can’t imagine being recruited by a company, settling on compensation, benefits and title, then being asked to take a pay cut within a month, having an ownership change in less than 2 months, then learning Mr. Nabors is moving the company to HIS neighborhood in Possum Holler where he’s going to set up the Cuppy’s Coffee World HQ in a boarded up Piggly Wiggly.

    What’s the guy supposed to do… ask nicely for an executive office away from the seafood department?

    Kind of foolish anyway. If you’re not going to pay your employees anyway, why not give them raises instead of pay cuts?

  • survivor

    Let me clarify, the pay cuts took place long before anyone even knew Dale was in the game to take over the company – except for Morg and Dale of course. Victim if you seriously think Don was not “feeding off the carcass” you really need to learn how to read. How is him making over 5K a paycheck (or wahtever the math equals when you make 100+K/yr) while the rest of the employees were barely making 10 dollars an hour not feeding off the carcasses? And Don was there for more than a couple months, so don’t think that it was that he wised up quickly. He’s not dumb by any means I’ll give him that but he was rarely ever seen around the offices either.

  • Let me clarify, the pay cuts took place long before anyone even knew Dale was in the game to take over the company – except for Morg and Dale of course.
    Maybe I’ve got the timeline wrong.
    Didn’t Don O start in March, 2008?
    The Announcement is dated March, 10.
    Didn’t Dale take over the company at the end of April, 2008?

    I’ve seen nothing that suggests anything other than Don Ochsenreiter was a legitimate businessman who mistakenly thought Medina/Cuppy’s was a legitimate business.

    Getting hired and taking a paycheck to help a company bring on investors is not picking the bones. He wasn’t telling Cuppy’s depositers that they needed to get their money in by Friday so they can get their franchise fee waived… knowing full well that the company would use it to make payroll. Do you employees understand that yet?

  • Guest

    Don started in the middle of January 08.

  • When did he resign? June?

    Did he know how screwed up the situation was when he came on board?

  • I think he knew it was screwed up, just not how screwed up it was. It was only after dale refused to even meet with him to discuss his role in the new company that don resigned.

  • Guest

    Latest Update…. The sky has fallen on Dale Nabor’s Dream Team in AL. Dale has finally gotten up enough nerve to meet with the employees that followed him up to Muscle Shoals, AL and told them he can NOT get the money to pay them. But he wanted to know who would continue to work for him for FREE. Has he lost his mind totally? He also told them if they would not stay and work free he did not want them to blog him. WTF????!!!!! He’s an arrogant sh it!! So… now there are NO employees at Cuppy’s/Elite/Medina! Dale is still trying to sell Elite contracts to Brian Hayes. But remember franchisees… Brian Hayes/SBT or whatever name they go by these days is overcharging you for buildout and equipment. Your best bet is to take whatever loss you have now and sue Morg/Dale/Medina/Fransynergy and try to recoup your deposit moneys. Cuppy’s is dead! Even if a franchisee let SBT continue to build them out, I would NOT call it Cuppy’s. Cuppy’s has an awful name and I don’t evenn think God himself can raise that dead franchise. Franchisee please listen up… you need to join together to get justice. There are more people out here willing to help you get that justice than you may think. Good luck to you zees and to the employees that followed Dale to AL and had work for 2 months without pay. I wish you all well.

  • Admin

    Can you please forward me any information in regards to the lawsuit being filed in Florida? Thanks for your help.

  • Another Guest


    Can you also forward me the info about the lawsuit. Thanks.

  • jeannette

    they owe me and I’m not going to let this go.

  • I entered in this mess, april 2006. JAVA JOZ……was told a lie through sept. 2008. i`m also not going to let this go. everyone that worked for cuppys (or what do we call them today ) knew this wasn`t right—-and said nothing.


    Here’s what I propose:

    Post your Cuppy’s Coffee or Java Jo’z story here, factually and in interview form:

    We’ve got 8 posted and one coming soon.

    Once there are at least ten, we start a serious email campaign to get some attention brought to bear on this situation.

    Just because you might not get your money back doesn’t mean you’ve got to go away quietly. At least get your story told so they don’t get away with this all together.

    Franchisees & Depositers: If interested, email unhappyfranchisee[at] for the interview questionaire.

  • guest

    dont post your story if you have pending litigation, it could hurt you in the long run

  • Claudia Robbins

    If you have pending litigation, have your attorney decide whether it will hurt your case and have him/her review it.

  • guest

    any good attorney will tell their client to keep their mouth shut until end of litigation, regardless if it helps or hurts….

  • another pis___ franchisee

    Hey Admin, Who is the guest saying don’t post their story Dale Nabors? So everybody can’t see what a piece of sh__ he is. How is it going to hurt your case when we are never going to get payed.


    any good attorney will tell their client to keep their mouth shut until end of litigation, regardless if it helps or hurts….

    I disagree for several reasons. First, here have been some very good attorneys who gave their blessing to clients wanting to post the facts of what happened to them. Some have reviewed prior and some haven’t.

    Second, negative posts on blogs provided a strong motivation for both Java Jo’z settlements as well as Cuppy’s when legal avenues were worthless. In these situations, these guys know the legal system and have anticipated it before setting up shop. The “sell the assets” of Java Jo’z ploy left the attorneys powerless… it was the need to silence online critics that brought about the Java Jo’z refund pool and got Ben Scoble his money back.

    Third, it’s not all about money. Because the lawyers controlled the game up til now, these scams have persisted. The lawyers tell their victim clients not to say anything, so they don’t. Any agreement they might settle for will contain a gag order, so their story will never be told. That’s why these guys get away with the same crap in company after company: because everyone listens to their “good” lawyer.

    I hate to be the cynic here – and I have a lot of lawyer friends who are good people. But lawyers want everything to happen in the courtroom ot through legal channels. Some want this because of control… because that’s their world, their playing field. Some want this because they control the game at $400 an hour and don;’t want that game to change.

    But I would venture that many “good” lawyers want what’s best for their client – and understand that “best” isn’t simply monetary. “Best” in some cases is knowing that you didn’t leave the rock in place for the next guy to stumble upon, but turned it over and exposed all those slithery things under it to direct sunlight.

    Know what I mean?

  • guest

    Don’t continue to take advice from Admin-he is in this for one thing only-to keep his blog site alive.Listen to your lawyer.He might only want to win your case for egotistical reasons but at least he will do all he can to win the case.Why do you people continue to waste your energy on blogging when it has produced absolutely no results.I know a lot of you have been blogging for 6-8 months and more and have not seen a dime of your money.This site is draining your energy and time.This site might be responsible for some good things in the past but right now it is a waste.

  • Josiah Smith

    While i don’t entirely agree with guest and his admonition of Admin, I do agree that those of us that have been wronged do need to stand up. There is a group on Yahoo comprised entirely of Cuppy’s franchisees and those Java Jo’z licensees that still exist. The group shares info for open stores, franchisees with leases that are building their own stores and those seeking redress. It’s a much better use of your time to join this group than to blog here. Having said that, this will be my last post to this website. I hope to see all of the franchisees on the Yahoo Cuppy’s group.

  • Guest


    At this point in the game, it is about the money. Thats the only thing thats gonna hurt them, is to get em in the pocketbook.

    None of the players care about the lawsuits, look how many default’s and default judgments are coming up? They know the only way they gotta pony up any cash is if someone really puts effort into it.

    If you do a quick search on the Okaloosa County Clerk of Court website, there are only two lawsuits with a judgment on them. The next step is a judgment lien, then a writ of execution, then a levy. All steps that require $$$ up front that the players counted the victims wouldnt be able to go that far.

    It looks like ONE case so far will go the full monty to get their money. Maybe the other zee’s should follow suit and quickly plow ahead to stand in line at the courthouse steps during the levy sale.

  • Guest

    another pis___ franchisee on November 18th, 2008 3:19 pm Hey Admin, Who is the guest saying don’t post their story Dale Nabors? So everybody can’t see what a piece of sh__ he is. How is it going to hurt your case when we are never going to get payed.

    I am a current zee of two units (well, supposed to be 2), does that make me a piece of poop now?


    At this point in the game, it is about the money.

    For some, it’s always been about the money. For others, it’s about more than money… It was about building something they could be proud of, something worthwhile… working with their families… Creating a gathering place in their communities. Of course, the goal of every business should be to be profitable, but those of us who have spent a couple of decades in franchising know that money is not the sole, or even primary, motivater of owner-operator franchisees. They want to create something. To be part of something positive and relevant. They are trying to fulfill a dream.

    Some franchisors and biz opp sellers – not most, just some – see this as a weakness to exploit. To these dream merchants, this is just a game, and whomever ends up with the money wins. Suckers should have known better. They create the dream: The happy, caring home office family. The powerful vision of a brand that will change the world one cup, one bagel, one ice cream cone at a time. They create it so well, they can make themselves believe it at times, and hire employees who believe it to… and their naive sincerity makes the illusion real enough to part some really, really smart people from their money.

    To the attorneys it’s a game, too. That’s not right or wrong, necessarily, it’s just what they do. Attorneys are not champions of truth and light ordained by God to be your champion (present company excluded). They are professionals with a very specific education on the legal system. You hire them to be your guide in the legal system. That’s their game board. Monetary settlements are how they keep score… how they know if you won or lost. It’s not about right or wrong to them – it’s about actionable or not actionable. Winnable or not. Collectable or not. Saturday morning, they’ve still got a standing tee time with opposing counsel no matter what your outcome.

    I’m not saying not to pursue legal avenues… you should. I’m not saying don’t listen to your attorney… you should. But you should make up your own mind. Are you going to go through life afraid to use your first amendment right, to be twice violated, to allow others to fall into the same trap – maybe with a different company and different characters – because no one warned them? Doesn’t it piss you franchisees off that all those who could have warned you listened to their “good” attorneys and let you step in the beartrap?

    Guest says I’m afraid of not keeping this blog alive. Read the name of the blog. Unfortunately, there’s no danger of running out of Unhappy Franchisees. The purpose here is to get the truth out about what can, did and could happen so that others might avoid the same mistakes.

    Guest is wrong. At the end of the day, it’s not all about the money… it’s about how you lived your life.

  • AFTER losing over 80 thousand dollars—- how do i take care of my elderly mother & my grandson who is 3 ???? yes i am MAD, and won`t let this go. WHAT JAVA JOZ,………CUPPYS AND ALL REST OF THE NAMES, did was wrong ! and should get theres .

  • Richard Milligan

    My first time post, just to let you know I gave Elite a $58,000 deposit contingent on financing with a special adendum that I would get refunded in 60 days or less. That will be 2 years ago in March 09. I had settled for a contract for only $44,000 in monthly payments and still got only promises until the Theresa St Claire letter and nothing ever since. I am willing to join with all that want to form a group to stop these people from this fraud.

  • another pis___ franchisee

    Richard, I gave Elite $51,900 deposit in July of 2007. I had a settlement agreement that I was supposed to get paid in payments over 14 months and never got 1 payment. Between us we are out $109,900. I would like to hear from other people on how much they are out from Elite, Cuppy’s so we can all see just how much money these people have stolen.

  • Does anyone know anything about a class action against Cuppy’s? I understand that a group of franchisees has retained a law firm specializing in franchisee suits.

  • Rudy Harper now works for the Okaloosa County Public Defenders office

  • That’s good news for Dale. Now he can be represented free of charge when they haul his butt to jail

  • I have learned that a number of attorneys are up-to-speed and interested in discussing options with victims of Cuppy’s Coffee. One is Dady & Garner in Minneapolis – someone post the name and contact info if they’ve got it.
    Another is:
    Alejandro Brito, Esq.,
    & Melissa Bernheim, Esq.
    Zarco Einhorn Salkowski & Brito, P.A.
    100 S.E. 2nd Street
    Suite 2700
    Miami, FL 33131
    Tel. (305) 374-5418
    Fax (305) 374-5428

  • Scott Korzenowski 612-359-5486 at Dady & Garner

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