Franchisor attorney David Kaufmann of law firm Kaufmann, Gilden & Robbins is under fire & facing ethical questions regarding his actions as a AAA mediator. Kaufmann is accused of using his role as a mediator to block submission of pro-franchisee criticism, opinions & evidence to an association of state securities regulators (NASAA) as well as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that oversees franchising. He is also accused of allowing blatant contract breaches by franchisor PIRTEK USA while prohibiting franchisee Jim Lager from participating in even general franchise industry discussions. by Sean Kelly, Founder, Franchise Truth Initiative.
In my opinion, corporate bullies and their expensive, oh-so-respectable enforcers sometimes take their legal thuggery too far.
They just can’t help themselves.
It reminds me of those movies where the victim is tied to a chair in a leaking basement or remote warehouse… beaten, bleeding, shirt torn, helpless…
And the captor is drunk with the power of having full domination over another human being.
They just can’t help taking a few more unnecessary & sadistic punches.
[Though, if this scene were ever to appear in a movie about franchising, the villains may be working over the franchisee with a high-quality, custom rubber PIRTEK-branded hydraulic hose.
It’s usually during that last bit of excessive brutality when the tables turn… and it becomes the captors’ turn to get their asses kicked.
[Author’s note: the preceding has been edited slightly to emphasize that this is solely my opinion & a fantasy scenario of my imagination. To my knowledge, neither PIRTEK USA management nor its attorneys have inflicted physical pain on any franchisee with a hydraulic hose, PIRTEK-branded or otherwise.”]
Franchisee Jim Lager’s Mad as Hell & Not Gonna Take it Anymore
Jim Lager has a message for his former franchisor PIRTEK USA, its Australian Executive Chairman Glenn Duncan, PIRTEK attorney Michael Joblove and self-described franchisor attorney & AAA mediator David Kaufmann of New York City firm Kaufmann, Gilden & Robbins.
You’ve taken my money.
You stole my successful business… and the years it took me to build it.
I was ready to accept that.
But now you claim you own my voice?
YOU control my right to free speech?
David Kaufmann thinks HE decides when I can express my opinion & whether I’m free to communicate with my own government?
Sorry, David. Sorry, Glenn.
Sorry Mike Joblove and the other franchisor bullies on your team.
You’ve overplayed your hand with the wrong U.S. veteran.
My voice is my own… and it’s about to get louder than ever.
David Kaufmann Issued a Restraining Order Against a Franchisee While Ignoring Blatant Franchisor Breach of Contract
As a AAA mediator/arbitrator, David Kaufmann is ethically bound to conduct himself as an unbiased arbiter.
After then-PIRTEK CEO Glenn Duncan forced Lager out of the PIRTEK system, both parties agreed to remove their respective Internet content regarding Jim Lager’s tenure as a PIRTEK USA franchisee.
Jim Lager complied. PIRTEK USA didn’t.
Kaufmann reportedly dismissed Lager’s complaints and allowed franchisor PIRTEK USA to breach its agreement by allowing numerous press releases and advertorials that promoted Lager’s military service and success as a PIRTEK franchisee to remain active.
One such planted story in 1851 magazine also contained an illegal Franchise Performance Representation (FPR – aka illegal earnings claim).
Seemingly with Kaufmann’s blessing, PIRTEK USA continued to promote Jim Lager’s unprecedented first and second year sales of $1M and $2M via the story that had been visible since 2014.
While PIRTEK represented it had removed all content under its control, Powills told Lager that he would have removed the PIRTEK-sponsored content immediately on request.
“All you had to do was ask, “ said Powills.
Kaufmann Prohibited Franchisee Lager From Speaking to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA)
Yet while franchisor attorney David Kaufmann refused to acknowledge franchisor PIRTEK USA’s serious breaches, he forcefully prohibited franchisee Jim Lager from participating in invitations for public comment from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) on franchise legislation.
In 2020, David Kaufmann refused to allow Jim Lager to submit a 3-page letter to the FTC regarding “Disclosure Requirements and Prohibitions Concerning Franchising, 16 CFR Part 436 (the “Franchise Rule”).”
Lager’s letter, published below for the first time, was critical of tactics franchisors use to hide franchisee criticism.
However, it was not specifically about PIRTEK and did not name his former franchisor.
Last week, Jim Lager sought to submit a similar letter in response to NASAA’s invitation “REQUEST FOR PUBLIC COMMENT: PROPOSED STATEMENT OF POLICY REGARDING THE USE OF FRANCHISE QUESTIONNAIRES AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS”
This time, not only was Lager admonished and threatened by Michael Joblove for wanting to submit a letter that didn’t mention PIRTEK, David Kaufmann slapped Lager with a harshly worded TRO (Temporary Restraining Order).
David Kaufmann’s TRO reads:
IN ARBITRATION BEFORE DESIGNATED ARBITRATOR DAVID J. KAUFMANN
(CONDUCTED BY CONSENT PURSUANT TO THE COMMERCIAL ARBITRATION RULES OF THE AMERICAN ARBITRATION ASSOCIATION)
TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER
PIRTEK, USA, Claimant-Counterclaim Respondent,
JAMES LAGER, Respondent/Counterclaimant
Upon the December 23, 2021 application of Michael Joblove, co-counsel to Claimant/Counterclaim Respondent Pirtek, USA, not responded to by counsel to Respondent-Counterclaimant James Lager, it is hereby ordered and decreed that Mr. Lager be temporarily restrained and enjoined from transmitting the submission to the North American Securities Association (“NASAA”) which Mr. Lager ex parte communicated to the undersigned on December 22, 2021 and advised he would submit to NASAA no later than Christmas (which the undersigned promptly forwarded to all counsel) pending a hearing to be conducted in early January, at a date and time convenient to counsel and the undersigned, to determine whether a preliminary injunction of like effect should issue.
It appears to the undersigned that Mr. Lager’s communication to NASAA violates the parties’ September 2, 2020 Settlement Agreement. But I am certainly willing to entertain any argument to the contrary advanced by Mr. Lager’s counsel at the preliminary injunction hearing. Since the NASAA submission deadline is January 6, 2022, Mr. Lager is not being prejudiced pending the preliminary injunction hearing which clearly must be conducted before that date. I urge counsel to communicate possible dates and times for such a hearing as soon as possible.
December 23, 2021
“It Appears… Mr. Lager’s Communication With NASAA violates the Parties September 2, 2020 Settlement Agreement” States King David
Franchisor attorney David Kaufmann believes franchisee Jim Lager’s criticism of loopholes and disclaimers – in the types of franchise disclosure documents David Kaufmann and his firm are paid to produce for the nation’s most powerful franchisors – “appears to violate” his agreement with PIRTEK.
Lest one think this franchise legal king Kaufmann is deaf to the unschooled pleas of the serfs & peasants under his command, he graciously states that he is “certainly willing to entertain any argument” before dismissing it in favor of the franchisor.
(He is as fair as he is wise and powerful! All hail King David!)
Since both he and Joblove note that King David had ruled that Lager could not share his opinions with the FTC a year earlier, why would he allow Lager to provide criticism to NASAA over fraud loopholes Kaufmann likely invented (or at least uses).
“It Appears… David Kaufmann’s Bias & Advocacy for Franchisor Interests & Bullying is a Breach of Professional Ethics.” – Jim Lager
So far, Jim Lager has issued complaint letters to the FTC, to NASAA, to the Texas Securities Agency, to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
He is releasing, through this website and elsewhere, the letters he was forbidden from sharing.
He will likely submit formal complaints to the New York Bar Association, to the American Arbitration Association, to the Veteran’s Administration and other groups that defend veterans and their civil liberties.
Kaufmann, Joblove, Glenn Duncan and maybe even Duncan’s daddy back in Australia will unload everything they’ve got to silence Jim Lager, but it won’t work.
They overplayed their hand.
They pushed him to the point that he just doesn’t give a shit anymore.
Some of us value our voice more than we fear the pain you inflict from your little bag of tricks.
And when you push a guy like Jim Lager too far and too hard, you will be dragged into the light of day for all to see.
Out here in the sunlight of public opinion, you’ll find arrogance & bullying don’t have the same effect…
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Documents Referenced (Posting More Soon):
PIRTEK Sponsored 1851 Magazine Advertorial with Earnings Claim
Jim Lager Submission to the FTC BLOCKED By Kauffman
Jim Lager Submission to NASAA BLOCKED By Kauffman
TAGS: David Kaufmann, Franchise attorney David Kaufmann, mediator David Kaufmann, attorney Michael Joblove, PIRTEK, PIRTEK USA, Glenn Duncan, Jim Lager, franchisee Jim Lager, Texas Hose Pro, Franchise NDAs, Federal Trade Commission, FTC, the Franchise Rule, NASAA, Franchise Legislation, AAA, American Arbitration Association