- Apr 10, 2011
- Reaction score
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.