Lost Money, Lost Friend

How do you work in an office with a woman who has been your friend for over 25 years and whose son has just stolen your life savings?
I now know exactly how the people felt who lost their investments to Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. Devastated! I don’t know if we will ever see any of that money again and my house is torn apart. After taking a multitude of pictures this weekend, my husband has begun cleaning up the piles of construction debris from our yard. The monstrous blue tarps are unusable as they are riddled with holes and covered with mud and slimy water so he is going to cut them up and put them out in the trash.
There are ragged boards and bent nails littered across the yard. Huge boulders are piled up in one corner of the mud waiting to be moved. We will have to rent a caterpillar or something like that to push the boulders to the rear of our property along the creek line.
Hub collected 6 black, construction bags full of pizza boxes, ice tea and soda bottles, food wrappers, coffee cups, pieces of siding and roofing material. He put them at the curb for trash removal this morning and unbelievably, the trash men took the bags. We will probably have to rent a dumpster to get rid of all of the big stuff like wooden pallets, etc.
That’s just the clean up – I’ll talk about the rest later.
But, back to my first question – How do you work in an office with a woman who has been your friend for over 25 years and whose son has just stolen your life savings?
She works five cubicles up from my desk. Last Tuesday night, when this all came to a head and we realized what was happening, I emailed my friend and asked her if she knew what was going on. Later that night, I called her three times and left messages asking her to call me back. I was crying – not screaming.
She never called me or wrote me back – she told my coworker that she didn’t know what to say to me. All she needed to say was something like, “I’m so sorry”. Her silence makes me think she knew all along that he was going to screw us.
I am devastated but I am grateful my house doesn’t look like a pile of matchsticks like the homes in Alabama. Those families are in much worse shape than I am.

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About JJ

“"Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.'” William Butler Yeats
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18 Responses to Lost Money, Lost Friend

  1. Jools says:

    I completely agree with you that “I’m so sorry” would go a long way here. Do you think it could be that she’s so mortified by what happened, she truly doesn’t know what to say to you? I think if I were in her shoes, I’d be horrified both by what happened and by the fact that there was nothing I could do about it, and I’d be embarrassed that my son could do something so awful, especially to my friend. (That said, I like to think I’d manage to say “I’m so sorry,” at the very least.) I still think she owes you a compassionate response, don’t get me wrong, but maybe it will just take her some time to find the right words? Whatever the case, I’m sorry you’re having to deal with this rift in your friendship, on top of everything else.

    It sounds like you all are doing everything right in terms of documenting this disaster, and I hope you’re able to get some money back from this guy.

    • JJ says:

      I have to say that if my son did something like this, I would be horrified and embarassed, but I would not hade from his victim. But, my friend hates any kind of confrontation so maybe she is just afraid I will blow up.

  2. Bex says:

    Your friend may be just very embarrassed and not know what to say to you. I’m sure she knows how horrible you are feeling and maybe she doesn’t have any control over what her son does (or doesn’t) do. Do you really think she would have known all this ahead of time? He should be reported to the Better Business Bureau and whatever the National Contractors’ Association is called, too. I feel so bad for you guys. LIke you wrote, it wasn’t your whole home in matchsticks, but still that is a helluva lot of money to lose for no good reason other than sloth and laziness and thoughtlessness.

  3. I suspect your friend is appalled by her son’s behavior, and embarrassed. She may well be batting for you behind the scenes, giving the man (well-deserved) grief for his theft. I wish there was a better solution. I wish every jerk would magically acquire the conscience to do the right thing. But how awesome is your grace that you recognize it could be worse. I’m just hoping it will get better for you – soon.

    • JJ says:

      Thanks so much! I guess I woulod just like to know that she was giving him hell behind the scenes – but her silence tells me nothing!

  4. Poolie says:

    You are filled with so much grace and class. My heart breaks for you. You are such an example to the rest of us. She will speak to you…. In time. Blessings to you.

    • JJ says:

      Thanks so much Poolie! I don’t feel classy right now, let me tell you! I’m angry and scared but I do believe that things could be worse,

  5. Donna says:

    How sad a story…My rule is to Never rent to friends or loan money. You tend to keep your friends then. Hope things work out…

    • JJ says:

      My husband and I are kicking ourselves for hiring him, but we truly thought we would be safe hiring someone we knew and we wanted to give a young guy a leg up. Huge mistake!!

  6. Judy Miller says:

    If I were her, I would be so embarrassed I wouldn’t know what to say or do. In fact–I would not even want to come to work where I might have to face you and if I did come face to face with you, I’d probably start bawling. Of course, in the background I would be giving my son such grief that he could do such a thing and probably screaming at him to make it right. Then I would probably feel obligated in some way to pay for the rest of your work to get done. I hope this gets resolved in a good way for you–what a gigantic mess–both physically and ethically.

    • JJ says:

      I’m hoping THAT is the reason she hasn’t said anything to me yet and not because she thinks I’m srong to harass him for reimbursement of over 25,000.00!

  7. yankeechick says:

    I am so sorry about your friend, sweetie. It’s never any easy situation, but if she is that good of a friend and she means a lot to you, then perhaps you should approach her. If she is embarrassed and doesn’t no what to say to you, chances are that the longer it goes on, the harder it will be for her to come to you.

    Good luck with everything! ♥♥

    • JJ says:

      I’m waiting to see the letter from the lawyer that he promised me – once I know what is actually happening, I’ll be able to think more clearly.

  8. Jean says:

    I’d like to know if you think she had an idea that this might happen as well. If so, that’s an entirely different matter.

    • JJ says:

      I don’t think she thought it was going to happen when she gave me his card, but I DO know she knew he was going “belly-up” a few weeks before I did – in plenty of time that had she told me, I wouldn’t have given him the last payment of 7800.00, 😦

      • Jean says:

        Well, that settles it. I’d be pissed and she’d be dead to me. File a lien as soon as you can!

  9. Jean says:

    And you don’t need an attorney to do that!

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