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Random Fashion Thoughts (Part 3: Style farmer strikes back) - our general discussion thread

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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@dieworkwear did you ever track Drew Keith down? how did the TOJ debacle conclude?
It's a long story, but here's the short of it. I talked to about six or seven law firms and they all said the same thing: there's not much you can do internationally, and if you wanted to pursue it, it would cost a lot of money. In the end, I dug around to find out about his financial standing. He didn't own anything -- he sold his fancy car and didn't own any real estate. The one thing he owned was a large share of Libertine, the restaurant he opened with his partners. Even that chicken shack was wisely put under his girlfriend's name (it later folded). For a while, they were trying to sell Libertine. The partners promised me to keep me in the loop because they supposedly also hated Drew. If the restaurant sold, Drew would have gotten a small windfall, at which point I could see if a law firm was willing to take this case. But the restaurant never sold. It just folded and Drew got nothing.

So, basically, there were a few obstacles. One was that he was in another country and jurisdiction isn't clear, especially since customers were spread across the US and, ins some cases, even around the world. It would cost a lot of money to pursue, and even if a court granted you a win, you'd have to collect. And when you collect, he has nothing.

I was told this is would be the civil case. There's also a criminal case, but you'd have to prove intent (this would involve Charlie and that other guy's participation, I can't remember the third guy's name). They would have to show that Drew never intended to deliver the jackets and this was fraud, not just mismanagement and bankruptcy. I tried to reach that third guy for a while, but he dodged my phone calls. So it didn't seem like he would cooperate. Even if I reached him, he clearly wasn't eager to help. And my understanding is that I'd have to find a DA who would be willing to take the case, which is hard since -- even if the total number of orders amounted to a big amount of money, it's small compared to other things. And each DA may only have a few people in his or her jurisdiction who were affected, which makes the amount smaller still.

The only recourse after that was social media and shaming. Some people left bad reviews of that chicken shack, and then this new restaurant they opened (although the gf says she broke up with Drew and he's not involved with the new operation). That one reporter went to the chicken shack and got thrown out. Someone sent me some info about Drew evading taxes, which I forwarded to the IRS. They confirmed they received it and forwarded it along to the right department, although I was never able to get any follow-up from that.

I read on StyleForum that some people were able to get refunds from Paypal, but the process seemed murky. I was never clear on why some people were able to get refunds while others were not (I wasn't able to get a refund and have been a Paypal member since the early 2000s). Anyway, I was planning to write a post about the story -- hoping that, at least, there's yet another link for when people Google Drew Keith. I also wanted to use the post to research how people can protect themselves. This is an inherent problem with custom orders since custom products often take more than six months to deliver, which is longer than most credit card protection windows. For bespoke, it can be over a year for delivery. And these companies are commonly overseas. But I've yet to get around to it.

Anyway, the tl;dr: Drew has nothing, so it's like trying to squeeze blood from a stone. The most I could get was causing him a bit of grief, no matter how small.

I really hate that guy. I don't fault him for losing control of a business, and I don't want him to be driven to suicide or anything. But it really makes me mad how he took so many orders, and even when he came back, he blamed everyone but himself. He didn't make any attempt to right things. I wish he at least made an attempt -- like "ok, I may be able to sell my shares in Libertine and I can pay you guys your deposits back" or something. But all he did was come back into the thread and yell at us for calling his restaurant.
 

Teger

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That's disappointing, but I guess expected. It's probably the craziest thing to come out of SF -- there have been other shady internet operations that have taken people's money, but the scope of TOJ was unprecedented. I used to be FB friends with him and we'd talk about beagles (I have a beagle and he rescued a beagle from a cosmetics research lab in Korea) and we'd send each other beagle pictures. A few weeks ago my wife asked me "whatever happened to the Korean beagle guy?" and I tried, and failed, to explain to her the whole "I deleted my FB because I'm in hiding from the internet because I stole a million dollars".

The funny thing was, before everything came out I'd look at his FB and think to myself that I'd taken a wrong turn in my life -- here's this guy who's selling leather jackets in Korea and he's posting pictures of himself in Michelin restaurants with a new Jaeger, and I'm slaving away in graduate school. And it turns out that, no, selling leather jackets isn't that good of a business, to really afford the luxury goods you want you need to steal from your customers.
 

Melbush

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I'm pretty sure the name of the third guy was Dan and he was supervising the manufacturing process. I always wondered how he could possibly not know what was going on...
 

LA Guy

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does anyone remember when regis stopped wearing shirts to try to dress more minimalist. that was one of the funniest WAYWT-related things i've ever seen.
Seriously, @Teger - don't encourage him. He has already dispensed of shoes, shirts, and underwear. You can tell by his demeanor above that he is a desperate man who will not stop at the police checkpoint.

Also, there is a strict no nudity policy on the forum. And if he insists on the minimalism of a thong, I'll have to move his posts to dumb threads.
 

LA Guy

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I'm pretty sure the name of the third guy was Dan and he was supervising the manufacturing process. I always wondered how he could possibly not know what was going on...
It's so easy for employees to not realize the extent of the problems of a business. It's a cliche, but often, customers and employees are the last to know that a business is going bankrupt.

For a production manager, you never touch the money. You okay the invoices, but you never ever tough the money, never write a check. If the factory comes to you saying "Hey, we never got that check", you talk to the boss, and come back with the "Hey, he said that he was taking care of that right now."

I know in more than one instance when I faltering business called in some 1/4 of their workforce a week into December, and summarily let them all go. They were not allowed access to their records of any sort, and had to turn in laptops and phones on the spot so that they couldn't contact anyone they knew through the company unless they had contacted them previously through a non-work channel. The same employees had been giving clients the answers that the executives had given them for months, until the day they were let go.

Oh, and no severance of any kind, because of an interpretation of a specific clause in their contract. Merry Christmas!
 

DLester

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It was ugly watching the Toj pyramid scheme unravel.
 

Coldsnap

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@Teger thinks he can come back after 5+ years and open up old beef / wounds!

@dieworkwear that's pretty incredible, was good to read that info.

For Paypal refunds, I pretty much called Paypal on random Saturdays for nearly a year to get a $700 refund in a similar situation. I eventually got the right guy, must have caught him on the right weekend, and he just gave me my refund within 10 minutes.
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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@Teger thinks he can come back after 5+ years and open up old beef / wounds!

@dieworkwear that's pretty incredible, was good to read that info.

For Paypal refunds, I pretty much called Paypal on random Saturdays for nearly a year to get a $700 refund in a similar situation. I eventually got the right guy, must have caught him on the right weekend, and he just gave me my refund within 10 minutes.
Aside from the actual money that was lost, and the fact that so many people got screwed, I will say that the best and worst thing about that whole debacle was the thread itself. Worst because it was annoying to watch CM guys go into that thread with nothing but schadenfreude (saying this knowing that I absolutely do the same thing in other situations). And to see certain posters post really lame, not even funny remarks. And all people who defended Drew, which in the end just helped him get away with this whole crime.

But sometimes the situation got so ridiculous, it was legit hard not to laugh. Like straight up face in your hands laughing. Just reading the same stupid ass comments over and over again, seeing everyone -- including the victims! -- scream at each other and argue. And then all the little convos that would emerge like camp stories among people trying to survive a plane crash, huddled around some fire trying to pass time. Like that dude who talked about only eating Safeway cookies so he can wear leather jackets. And that one guy with an avatar of a Rick Dunks boot on his head (some drawing), who was so annoying but somehow became annoying enough to be endearing. Or that stupid comment about "chubby Asian IT face." That thread was so awful and good at the same time.
 

Nyarlathotep

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Saw a stylish granny at a grocery store just a moment ago wearing a Versace-esque bomber jacket with wreath patters going over a white background with some red/black checkering, white jeans, white sneakers and big, face-covering sunglasses. Should've taken a pic, even though I might have been mistaken for a pervert.

#grannychic
 

Racing Green

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steveoffice

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imagine my surprise seeing the TOJ debacle and Foo's SWD adventure after coming back from a 3 year hiatus...
 

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