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Mitt Romney – Proven Enemy Of Small Business
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When you purchase your next printer cartridge and look up to the large “Staples” sign, realize that it should be saying “Romney's Staples”.

This successful worldwide retailer revolutionized the office products industry back in 1986 and its success came about due to the vast amounts of venture capital invested by Bain Capital, a firm lead by Mitt Romney. Tom Stemberg had been fired by National Foods and in 1985 Stemberg assembled a group of his friends together to help him write a business plan. His future Staples management team included Robert Leombruno, another Harvard man, as his CFO. Paul Corian, who had been a successful store merchandiser, was also selected. With seed money from Leo Kahn, these individuals wrote the Staples business plan. Being all close friends, Stemberg was quoted as saying “I’ll never forget the night before we opened the first Staples, people pulled an all-nighter and Leo and Mitt Romney showed up with boxes and boxes of pizza and soda”.

Several years later, the Staples Business Plan, in a 3-inch ring binder, was loaned to me by Bob Leombruno as part of his effort to convince me to hire him as my own CFO. The core competitive edge to the Staples plan was a national floating eleven-tier price strategy to underprice the independent small office supply stores and do so without being noticed by government officials.

I read the plan from cover to cover and, later, Leombruno explained to me that wherever Staples opened one of its box stores, management would simply identify which of the eleven store prices would be implemented in order to accomplish both eliminating the local competition and maximizing their own profits. After the competition was gone, and under the FTC radar, the Staples strategy was to gradually raise prices following the eleven-tier price strategy. Of course, this action was illegal as it was considered “restraint of trade” and part of the Sherman Act. I am sure that was the reason that Leombruno wanted his copy of the business plan returned the next day. Using this strategy, Staples turned the office products industry across the United States upside down. However, this strategy would not have been developed had it not been for another Harvard ally of Tom Stemberg, Mitt Romney. According to Leombruno, Romney was aware of every detail of Staple’s restraint of trade strategy.

From a new company that Romney was running, Bain Capital, he quickly joined Stemberg's Board of Directors and authorized an eight million dollar investment to establish Staple's first store in Allston, Massachusetts, in the greater Boston area. Romney was intimately involved on a daily basis with Stemberg and skillfully helped craft Staples's plan to bring down thousands of smaller stores through the restraint of trade activity. Romney and Stemberg's goal was to attain immediate and significant market share for the new box store. By dropping retail prices lower than what they paid for the inventory wholesale, they were ensured that customers would abandon their local office supply store. Stemberg and Romney turned every item in their store into a “loss leader”, a tactic they knew worked well in the grocery store industry. By doing so, they ruthlessly knocked out all their competitors, except for one.

You might be asking how I knew all of this. It was my office supply store that was closest to the Allston location and, after visiting their first store, I saw first-hand how Staples operated.

My story is the account of an entrepreneur victimized by the Stemberg-Romney strategy that used any means possible including bribery and infiltrating my organization in order to destroy a major competitor. Like a pickpocket at work with an accomplice, Stemberg and Romney used extreme diversions to create confusion and a manipulated landscape so that I could not, at the time, identify who stole my 23 OfficeLand stores. My story also identifies the detailed human fallout of ordinary people caused by Romney and Stemberg's white collar crime.

Office Supply stores as part of the community

For many decades the traditional stationery store of the early nineteen hundreds expanded to become the local community's office products establishment of the seventies and eighties. Once, there were twelve thousand office supply stores in the United States, primarily supported by three large wholesalers; United Stationers, S.P. Richards, and Champion. Most of these small independent stores were successful and very much part of the fabric of every American community. The owners of these sole proprietorships were often members of Rotary or Kiwanis and contributed at length to worthy non-profits in their communities.

These small businesses hired local teenagers to deliver products to other businesses and many were parishioners at the local churches and synagogues. If you needed a new typewriter or repair of an older one, some of these stores also sold those important business services. In this by-gone era, when you charged your purchases, it was not on a credit card but on the word of the local business owner, who always received at least 30 days terms to pay the bills. As modern-day business grew in America the office products industry was strong. Its own trade association, the National Office Products Association or NOPA organized annual Chicago conventions that were informative and exciting to attend.

In approximately 2-3 years, this warm and friendly American industry all but disappeared along with many of the U.S. manufacturers that supplied it as they were replaced by private labeling of products from China and other Pacific Rim countries. While these items cost far less than their American-made counterparts, the retail prices barely changed in the superstores, allowing Staples and others to significantly increase their profits.

Tens of thousands of well-paid small business jobs all but disappeared as Staples bulldozed their way to the top of the industry which later was joined by Office Depot and Office Max. Today, is America a better place for what happened to this industry? It certainly is for Tom Stemberg, now a billionaire and Mitt Romney who cashed his way to becoming the Massachusetts Governor and, now, presidential candidate. But both of these business powerhouses stopped at nothing to ensure their control of the industry.

I will relay to you a detailed description of the continuous, orchestrated attack on me and my wife. We have had to fight the character assassination and lies spread by powerful law firms retained by Staples. Through bribery and sabotage their money driven campaign's primary purpose is to repress our financial strength and undermine me.

As it is said “the devil is in the detail” and in the following paragraphs I've attempted to present as much detail as possible. I have connected the dots of incidents that occurred over several years. In reading these accounts of both personal and business activities keep in mind the enormous amount of money involved and be reminded what many people will do for money. It was Stemberg’s and Romney’s vast sums of cash that bought the power they now have.

My office products store was one of those twelve thousand office supply stores. However, I also had accomplished something very different in the industry. My innovations in this industry caused both Stemberg and Romney to reach down into the bowels of their dirty tricks and attempt to destroy every aspect of my life for fear that I would continue to be a very serious threat to their big box business model.

A year before Staples emerged as a superstore I created OfficeLand, the first in the country national franchise operation. In 1982, I had left a 14 year career as music director in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts. At my last teaching position in Needham, Massachusetts, my work was well respected and the superintendent urged me not to leave. He and his assistant superintendent even offered me more money to remain as Music Director.

However, I was determined to enter business for a couple of very important reasons. After ten years of having been divorced there were storm clouds surrounding the potential adoption of my two daughters by my Irish-Catholic ex-wife's third and , as she told me, wealthy new Jewish husband. He had been married before, but had no children and wanted mine. The Gilbert family, I was told, was very powerful and would lavishly provide my daughters with world travel and the very best education. I loved my girls and had been diligent in child support payments and ongoing parental visits. However, my new French-Canadian wife did not appreciate my two daughters. I was preparing to do legal battle to keep my daughters, and my humble school teacher wages were not going to support the cost of attorneys.

I was very motivated to make money. Mini computers from Data General, Digital, and other manufacturers had hit the market. Fascinated by computers, I took a FORTRAN computer course so as to prepare myself for this new generation of technology. Committing my modest teacher’s retirement as a deposit, I purchased a run-down office supply store in Newton Corner, Massachusetts. Located about 6 miles outside downtown Boston, it was a bustling location next to the Mass. Turnpike and between the vibrant suburbs of Newton and Watertown, where I had graduated from high school. Fred and Lorraine Gibbons had owned the store since 1952 and also employed two full-time staff members. The company was originally called “Mercury Adding Machine Company”. The antiquated store had outdated office equipment and its office supply shelves of old pine planks set on cement blocks were not the reason I chose to purchase it. I primarily had bought the location and knew what needed to be done.

After the brief period of training by the previous owners, I hired my mother to help work the retail store. My mother, a first generation Irish/Greek woman with strong ties to the Catholic Church, had been an executive secretary, but wanted to work for me as it was much closer to her home. Because we had a cash business and I was working outside sales, I felt that I could trust my own mother to help run the store. My youngest brother, George, was also looking for a job after school and I paid him well to deliver office supplies in my truck.

At home in Shrewsbury, MA, I enjoined my new wife, Susan, to take care of the books and purchased a Digital PDP computer and software. With the help of my CPA, I taught her bookkeeping. A couple a days a week, she took the 30 mile trip to Newton to pick up the receipts and bills. My relationship with my wife was strained, aggravated by her affair with my colleague, a teacher at Algonquin Regional High School. I had worked hard to keep my family together and forgave her bad behaviors.

Neither in college or in my professional life, did I drink beyond an occasional glass of wine nor did I ever use drugs of any kind. Fortunately, my parents never abused alcohol when I was younger. However, all my siblings partied using a great deal of alcohol and marijuana. On a couple of occasions they tried to get me drunk but as their own drinking became excessive I walked away. I think they resented me for not being one of them. As a musician I saw, first hand, how drugs and alcohol harmed incredibly talented musicians including one of my Boston Symphony teachers. I considered myself pretty well disciplined and motivated to begin earning a great deal of money.

OfficeLand, Inc. was entirely my own and I knew its success would all depend on sales. I joined the Newton Chamber of Commerce and Kiwanis Club, networking every possible customer that came my way. I meticulously kept a daily “Beat Yesterday” book which recorded my steady increase in sales. As money came in I updated various aspects of the store.

I was accomplishing my objective and wanted to grow even faster. I tossed out the unprofitable greeting card department, upgraded the store with new fixtures and carpets. I replaced typewriters with new Eagle, Compact, and IBM personal computers which had recently entered the market. I hired a bright young man from Worcester Poly tech to handle my computer software and programing. Together we both learned D-Base 3 and put together our own point of sale system. I renamed one side of my large store Newton Office Products and the other was known as Newton Computer Systems. Both sales and profits increased

. Instead of giving myself a larger salary, I kept looking at new ways to reinvest in the company and expand beyond Newton. In 1985 I renamed the company OfficeLand, Inc. After considerable research on franchising, I paid my attorney Ray Ewer, $30,000 to complete franchising paperwork required by the Federal Trade Commission. Joan Fouhy, a talented teacher that I knew from Algonquin, designed my logo which Ewer filed with my trademark application. OfficeLand, the first office supply store franchise operation in the country, was born. I set up my first model store franchise operation in Auburn, MA, which was purchased by Shirley and Hal Morin. In three succeeding months I sold seven franchises in the metro Boston area and through 1991, I established 26 locations on the East Coast.

In 1987, together with my neighbor, Dr. Yao Tsung Yen, who had been a research engineer for Digital computer working on HDTV technology, we established a new company, Offcom, Inc. Offcom private labeled 286 computers from Mitac Corporation of Taiwan under the OfficeLand trademark name. We decided to use both the franchise stores and the Wall Street Journal to sell low-cost state of the art computers. I also began to look for a smaller computer unit which would be more powerful and less costly than existing models.

OfficeLand and computers

Fortuitously, at this time I met Beny Alegem in Las Vegas at a COMDEX show. We had lunch and discussed our mutual interest in marketing a new small footprint computer which we both identified in the Korean section of the mammoth computer show. Beny was the CEO of a new start up computer company, Calabco, of Woodland Hills, CA. At his office we signed an agreement and placed letters of credit from our banks to Goldstar Industries of Seoul, Korea. We ordered a container of the smaller footprint Goldstar Computer under both the private label names of OfficeLand and the name of his new company, Packard Bell. Had it not been for a six month workers strike in Korea, you might not be reading this article today. The strike forced me to turn over all the sales and marketing to Beny and, a year later, his success became very obvious. He eventually sold out to NEC for a billion dollars. I saw his happy picture of the front cover of Fortune Magazine.

In 1986 I established an Auburn, MA franchise development office closer to my Shrewsbury, MA home. With my focus on franchising, problems began to bubble up at the Newton store being managed by my mother. She never seemed happy about the great progress I was making. Repeatedly, she expressed her disappointment that my career was not pointing me in the direction of becoming a Catholic priest. While I was in high school, she forced me to promise her that I would enter the priesthood after college. She showed no respect for business or the benefits of financial success. Clearly, she did not care if the company was making money and, instead, tried to hold on to outdated business practices that made the store inefficient. In support of my typewriter mechanic's decision not to repair Japanese-made typewriters by Smith Corona, she turned customers away from our store and sent them to our competition. She was indignant when I finally fired the mechanic and soon after retired the entire typewriter department.

Having the need for more employees especially to help setup new franchise stores, at my brother, Tom's request, I hired his new and second wife, Cindy, to work full-time with my mother in Newton. My brother asked me to hire his new wife and help them obtain a mortgage on their new home in Natick, MA. I was hopeful that my new sister in law, while working alongside my mother, would ease her disappointment of me and help her improve her negative attitude.

In implementing modernization of the Newton store, I spent about $40,000 in 1988 to build out the basement into a high tech computer repair center. New fixtures highlighted the showroom full of more traditional, larger OfficeLand computers. Having grown to ten franchises at the time, the company placed Sunday display ads in the Boston Globe that brought customers to all locations. Each store offered demo units and, when sold, the franchise owners picked up needed inventory from our central location in Newton. The success became obvious as the stores began selling many computers allowing us to order more from Offcom, Inc. and increase our profits.

The attacks begin with a flood

Our computer success was short lived, however, as in 1988, on a Monday morning I arrived to the store to see a river of water streaming down from the ceiling into my newly refurbished computer outlet. The damaging waters also flowed down to the basement of our new tech center. The water gushed from the second floor of the building in such a way that it covered two thirds of the retail store and most of the basement. Everything was ruined, including the beautifully packaged OfficeLand computers. It was a disaster forcing me to close the computer store section forever.

My attorney Robert Tennant of Tennant and Ewer had a brother, Walter, who had also been our insurance man. Their insurance company offered no financial help and refused to pay out my business interruption insurance. Instead, I was told to file a lawsuit for damages in Newton District Court. After hiring an expert witness and paying about $10,000 in legal fees, the trial by jury was a joke. I was told that the judge would not accept our expert witness and was going to dismiss the case. However, according to Ray Ewer, he convinced the judge to have the other side (the landlord) pay for my legal cost. I was out of my $40,000 and any loss of business.

Not long after the trial my mother told me that the building custodian had intentionally left the water on in a sink area above our store for the entire weekend. She never told me how she learned the story. The story left me very perplexed at the time.

A few months earlier, Robert Tennant, my attorney (Tennant & Ewer) told me there was to be work done on the building which would interfere with my operation and asked if he could represent me in dealing with the landlord. The Tennants were pretty powerful people in Newton as Robert's father was a long time alderman.

I was also very conscious that only a few blocks away from me, were Stemberg's new Staples offices. Having met him there on two occasions, he was very indifferent and quite unfriendly as I tried to see if there were ways for us to work together. My ruined computer store was not an isolated incident. In this manner began Stemberg and Romney’s efforts to sabotage OfficeLand with the help of my family and lawyers bribed by large amounts of money.

The financial loss incurred by the water damage was staggering and forced me out of the computer business. I am sure Romney and Stemberg were very pleased. The loss also extended to the franchise owners as they depended on corporate for inventory of OfficeLand computers.

It is well known that financial stress harms marriages. In the case of Romney and Stemberg they not only caused financial damage to my personal life but went much further. They involved my family and my very confused wife. My relationship at home with Susan was not going well as she had become depressed and unresponsive to my concerns. She came from a home in a bad section of Manchester, NH where she alleged serious abuse. Susan relied on her parents to tell her how to run our home and discipline our son. One day returning from work, I saw a table tennis paddle on the top of the refrigerator and asked her what it was for. She told me that she was using it to potty train our son and spanked him each time he had an accident. I was outraged and ordered her to stop her archaic method of discipline. I tried to explain the psychological damage it might cause. Having been certified in special needs education, I was concerned as to what other medieval methods of teaching my son was being exposed to. I encouraged her to enroll at a local community college, but she dropped out after only a few weeks. Instead of working with me to help my wife obtain professional help, her uneducated parents viewed me as the problem.

Adding fuel to the fire, my own family, recognized that her unstable state of mind could be used against me. Susan’s drastic differences of how she raised children combined with her secret portrayal of me as her enemy also harmed our relationship. In a normal situation, our working together for the benefit of our son and my daughters should have improved our relationship. However, my family's insidious jealousy and greed, along with Romney’s and Stemberg's vast amounts of cash made Susan an easy target to use against me.

Kathleen Faucher Pereira

Infiltrating my successful OfficeLand operation together with causing extreme diversions was Romney's and Stemberg's strategy. While they used my wife, siblings and my mother, they did not care about my family at all. For them it was all about their obsession with obtaining a great deal of wealth at any cost. Now my sister was going to try to take over the operation at their request. She had recently married her second husband, Bob Pereira. Quitting her job at Digital Computer she agreed to my requirement of working on Saturdays, a good time to meet potential franchisees. Giving her a good base salary with benefits and commissions she moved into her new office and immediately began work. However, she completely ignored my leadership position in the company and began advertising for an assistant to work for her. I had not authorized the appointment of a new position which brought us to immediate conflict. Only two weeks after accepting the position as franchise sales director, she informed me that she could not work on Saturdays as she and Bob were visiting their new Fryeburg, Maine cottage on weekends.

Pereira was a slippery type of person and I did not trust him and he did not like me. He had an MBA from Babson, and never seemed to have any employment himself, which made me suspicious of my sister's real motives. My mother adored her new son-in-law as he was married to her daughter who, all my life, could never do anything wrong. I was shocked at my sister's sudden disloyalty and made it clear that I could not accept her new condition as franchise sales director. Saying absolutely nothing, she left the Auburn office never to return again. Having discussed this major incident with my mother, she sided with my sister, so did my brother and his wife, Cindy, offering me very little understanding of my position. Only a month later, I was told that my sister and Bob opened a competing office supply company called OfficeExpress not far from our Auburn franchise location. Within two months, my mother resigned from OfficeLand to take a government job in Waltham. I am sure, to also help my sister in her new company. What else became clear to me was that my wife had been secretly talking with my sister about their store.

Before my mother left OfficeLand she told me of deep intimate discussions Susan had been telling her of our marital life. Obviously, there had become a bond of some type between my sister, my mother, and my wife but I did not know why. I had absolutely no idea that all of them were working against me. While I was certainly threatened by new competition coming from my sister, I found out later that her store was only a diversion. The real competition was Staples, Romney and Stemberg.

As additional space was needed for franchise growth, I moved OfficeLand to Marlboro Executive Park, a better Class A space for my fast emerging technology-based franchise operation. My staff grew to about ten full-time individuals. Joe Thompson did his very best as my Executive Vice President to advance the company but he was also mistrustful of my family. He later resigned to take a position somewhere else.

To bolster my knowledge of sales, I took a course with Tom Hopkins, a well know name in sales training. For $10,000 I purchased his series of sales selling video tapes and personally began sales training for franchisee staff every other Friday. The program was well attended and appreciated by the franchise owners. However, at a full staff meeting before my mother departed OfficeLand, in front of the entire staff my mother asked me “What do you know about training?” Everyone was surprised by my mother's insulting question as they knew I had been a teacher and my forte was training.

My mother’s bad attitude also seemed to have spread to other members of my family, many of which were on my payroll. I had always been supportive of them so why the change? In looking back when the cunning Bob Pereira arrived on the scene he and my sister mobilized others in the family to cash in on my success. They also were very aware of how Stemberg and Romney viewed OfficeLand. Obtaining my mother's support and bribing my attorney, they struck a deal with the willing Stemberg and Romney to undermine my goal to take OfficeLand national. All of them secretly participated in the destruction of my rapidly developing OfficeLand chain of stores.

I decided to sell the damaged Newton store and take the proceeds to relocate a new store headquarters in Londonderry, NH. Londonderry changed almost overnight from a farming town to an executive suburban community located on an interstate highway not far from the Massachusetts border. I sold the Newton store to an affluent Newton resident who wanted his own independent stationery store and set up a new OfficeLand operation in a Londonderry strip mall not far from the interstate. Besides my wife, Susan, I hired other employees to work in the store. The much larger store also became the new headquarters for the growing franchise chain which had had 16 locations. Out of the computer business, I concentrated on establishing a warehouse of basic office supplies purchased directly from the manufacturers and had them delivered once a week to the franchises. The savings were considerable and with our own OfficeLand catalog we were able to easily compete with Staples.

Bill Romaniecki and storm clouds

In 1991, the economy was in a recession and for some reason (perhaps internal sabotage)’I was not selling as many new franchises. I also had hired another friend who was known to my family as we grew up together in Waltham. Bill Romaniecki had been fired from Cardinal Cushing Academy and begged me for a job. We had reached a level of sustaining 23 franchise stores in all six New England states and Florida. I needed someone to help oversee franchise adherence to policies and quality control. Romaniecki was assigned to visiting the stores and recording their progress. It did not take long before he was doing battle with franchise owners and I had to fire him for refusing to follow my orders. I gave him a chance in running one of the OfficeLand franchises that had been taken back for non-performance by the franchisee. Bill’s behavior seriously lacked focus, and on some days he never opened for business. I began to question why his work had been so damaging to my company.

The truth was, now that my sister was not around, he had infiltrated my company on behalf of Stemberg and Romney. Allowing me to think that the franchise owners resented his visits to their stores, he had been secretly organizing my franchised stores to become sold to Staples in violation of their franchise agreements.

The once positive energy that I experienced with the help of good people that worked for me in Massachusetts was turning very sour and I did not know why. I became concerned about the future of my store chain. At the same time, I was receiving recognition in New Hampshire and around New England. The Londonderry – Derry chapter of the New Hampshire Chamber of Commerce nominated me as their business man of the year. They told me that their recommendation had been accepted by the state and I was to receive the distinguished award at their annual dinner. However, I had a bad feeling at the time and honorably turned down their award urging them to give it to someone else.

I had been contacted by Robert Ronstadt who wanted to write a story about me in Success Magazine. Also a part-time Babson professor, he was impressed as to how much I accomplished with my 23 store chain without one dime of outside investment money. The article did appear in the August 1991 issue. There was little response when I showed it to my wife and family. I realize now that they were poised to kick off several diversions for the purpose of secretly selling my OfficeLand chain to Stemberg and Romney.

Acquisition

Having only a small bank loan, little debt, steady income from monthly royalty payments, a balance sheet which also identified over $400,000 in loans receivable, and total franchise revenues of about 14 million dollars, it was time for me to seek better professional advice as to how to grow my company. Locally, I considered a reorganization of the company which would bring in an investment in exchange for appointing a new company president working under me. While Dan Sheehan of Braintree was interested in the position he was not able to help locate new sources of cash and the effort terminated.

Moving OfficeLand from Massachusetts to New Hampshire I needed a new law firm to represent the company. The Manchester office of Hale and Dorr brought in their Boston expert on M&A, Jeff Stein, who advised me to go to NYC and meet Joseph Mays of Securities Consulting Group. In 1991, I did not realize that Hale and Dorr also represented Staples, Inc. and neither did they disclose the fact. I also never realized that Stein, years later, represented Mitt Romney in a case which removed a member of the Mass. Turnpike Authority. Located on the 96th floor of the World Trade Center, Mays, with little research, advised that I meet with the “Mormons” in Salt Lake City. He indicated they controlled most of the mergers and acquisitions in the United States.

In Salt Lake City, Allen Wolfson of A-Z Professional Consultants Inc. greeted me with three different companies that might acquire OfficeLand and continue its growth by hiring me as their CEO. If you read the facts today about Wolfson and A-Z Professional Consultants, Inc. you will learn that Wolfson, along with A-Z and his partners were found guilty of securities fraud by scamming several companies with fake acquisitions. I did not realize at the time, that Wolfson committed “serial securities fraud” as was stated later by the SEC. Wolfson’s prime recommendation was that OfficeLand be acquired by Members Service Corporation (MSC), a NASDAQ company that owned eight other businesses.

Traveling to Irvine, CA, I had lunch with the Fred Luke, the chairman who had also once been a teacher. We hammered out an agreement that would have conveyed the company to MSC for an amount of cash to me and about eight million dollars’ worth of their preferred stock. At the same time, I would be retained as the company’s new CEO and move the company to Maitland, Florida where the new Chairman of MSC had just been appointed. I spent about one month in Orlando having meetings with Arthur Feher, the new chairman of MSC. I interviewed new staff and approved a lease for office space. I also spent time looking at new homes to move my family. Once I was in Maitland, we identified both Sam Hargrove of Altamonte Springs and Susan Sunka of Lake Mary to work full-time for our new company, OfficeLand International, Inc.

While Fred Luke was a soft spoken gentleman, Arthur Feher could only be described as the opposite in both appearance and in speech. His idea of impressing me was to take me to an executive strip joint, trying to have me experience more than their normal group entertainment. I made it clear that I was only interested in running a successful business for MSC and nothing more. I was ready for the change and prepared to buy a new home costing far less than in New England. While my own motives to move were honorable, I have no doubt that all my wife and family could think about was continuing their deception and the huge financial award they would receive from Romney and Stemberg.

Returning to Boston from Florida and ready for the formal acquisition, I needed an experienced attorney to represent me and the company. I had lost trust in Ray Ewer who had poorly represented me in the Newton flooding incident. Because Jeff Stein was unavailable, I hired an M&A expert lawyer by the name of David Sharpe of Boston and delivered all my corporate books and records to his West Street office. This package included all franchise agreements, loan agreements, trade mark registrations, etc. and left it with him as he requested. I had organized a meeting with Arthur Feher came and with all the franchise owners. At a Bedford, NH meeting he assured them that our new OfficeLand International would be a more powerful organization that could only benefit all their stores.

I anxiously waited for the formal acquisition event but never received my copies of the closing documents and the designated time to sign all the agreements. After Feher returned to Florida, my wife proudly told me that she had secretly met and gone to lunch with Arthur Feher and gave no reason why. I told her to stay away from anything to do with MSC during this critical time. I also knew that she and her mother had been meeting with one of the first New Hampshire franchise owners, Connie and Frank Catanese of Hooksett, NH but she refused to tell me why. I had recently fired my OfficeLand vice president, Bill Cole, who was meeting with Susan and different franchise owners without my knowledge. Cole was a retired army major and, at my wife's request, they met with me in my home stating that my son would be better off applying to West Point instead of the United States Merchant Marine Academy as I had planned. It was obvious that while I was in Orlando, Susan had been making other plans with Bill. I had no idea that I was “sleeping with the enemy” and that my mentally disturbed wife had been so negatively influenced by my family and the money of Stemberg and Romney that she was ready to explode.

Roadblocks

Sometime in September of 1991, I was notified by David Sharpe that the acquisition was being put on hold by MSC. Sharpe gave no reason but in a letter to all the franchise owners instructed them to put their monthly royalties in escrow with him until the situation was resolved. I was furious and demanded all my documents back from Sharpe but he refused to comply with my request. Almost at the same time Susan filed for divorce and filed for bankruptcy as well. Susan had been drinking pretty heavily and was quite disoriented at home, leaving mountains of Len Jr.’s laundry unwashed and ignoring his school needs. Despite all her problems, I still cared very much for my wife and tried to get her to seek professional help, but she refused. I now understand that her actions were obviously controlled by others. She was told to exclusively follow the advice of my family members who were encouraging her reckless behavior for their own personal gain. Of course, behind this charade was a scam carefully crafted by Romney and Stemberg.

As Susan had filed divorce papers, I had no choice but to leave my home. For a few weeks I lived with my father in his small apartment while he was recovering from prostate surgery in the hospital. My life was thrown into complete chaos. Susan changed banks and took all the cash that was in our joint checking and savings accounts, leaving me only my car to get around. MSC and Arthur Feher would not return my telephone calls and my family members seemed unfazed by my plight.

When you become a victim of white collar crime (as I was victimized by Stemberg and Romney), it’s like being in a boxing match with someone you cannot see. The hits you receive are impossible to defend. Certainly Romney and Stemberg were trying to inflict a mortal wound on me. Only my fierce tenacity allowed me to continue Office Land’s progress. As you will learn Susan was their best chance to destroy me both personally and professionally

. I welcomed anybody to discuss my plight and anyone who would listen became a life raft in a sea of chaos. What I did not realize, at the time, was my family would target anyone who would be supportive of me. Having won over my wife in my family’s secret plot to destroy my business and profit from their commitment to Stemberg and Romney, Susan became their greatest weapon to accomplish their goal.

An attempted murder

I received a call from Lynn Crocker telling me that she had left Maine and rented an apartment with two of her children in nearby Manchester, NH. Lynn was the wife of the Sanford, Maine, OfficeLand franchise owner and someone who fully understood my OfficeLand operation. I welcomed her friendship and interest in my business activity. I enjoyed her company but was careful to not begin a full blown relationship until I would be able to stabilize my life.

Upon my second visit to Lynn’s apartment, I discovered Susan sitting in her living room. Susan had a strange look on her face and I knew there was something very wrong. Asking why Susan was there, Lynn defended her telling me that Susan suddenly appeared at her front door. She seemed to welcome Susan's visit but I was very apprehensive. Uncomfortable with the situation, I explained that I was leaving, sarcastically telling them that they could enjoy each other’s company. As I started to leave, Susan also got up from the couch and followed me. As I turned my head back to see her she lunged straight down at me with a knife in her hand preparing to strike hard in my back. I learned later that she pulled the large steak knife from her sleeve. I was able to grab her arm and stop her thrust. However, she refused to stop her attack and tried in every way possible to stab me while I wrestled her to the couch. I yelled to Lynn to call the police but the telephones were dead so she ran outside to find help.

The police arrived quickly. They handcuffed Susan while she actually told them she wanted to kill me and they took her away. She remained in custody over the weekend and thereafter for three months. Within a few days, there was an article in the paper stating that the Attorney Generals’ office in Concord was proceeding with an attempted murder charge. Lynn had witnessed the event and provided detailed testimony. The DA determined that the incident was premeditated. The telephones were dead because, while Lynn had gone upstairs to check on her daughter, Susan had slightly pulled the telephone jack out of the socket, giving the appearance that the phone lines were connected when they were not.

My life went from being chaotic to paralyzing. Now I had an attempted murder case to deal with. Fifteen-year old Len Jr. was on my back to get his mother out of jail and he certainly did not want me to be a witness to her attempted murder trial. An assistant attorney general called me asking me to provide a statement of the detail of what happened informing me that were going to try Susan for attempted murder.

I was overwhelmed. Having called my mother about this horrible matter she seemed indifferent and none of my family called to either ask questions or give me support. Their response was incredibly insensitive. Continuing to take care of Len Jr., the Court automatically appointed a Guardian ad Lidem for my son. This attorney represents the best interests of a child involved in a major family dispute. I met with Attorney Mark Jewell and explained the situation. Len was only 15 years old, so he recommended to the Derry Court that I take full custody of Len Jr. until he was of legal age which was 16 in New Hampshire.

Because I refused to agree to cooperate with the state attorney general’s office and testify against Susan, Lynn was angry. She departed Manchester and returned to Maine. Susan accepted a lesser charge of domestic violence and was sentenced to Hampstead State Hospital where she remained behind bars for three months. On several occasions I took Len Jr. to visit his mother who, on one occasion, threatened to commit suicide. Upon her release she was ordered to maintain psychiatric treatment at the Nashua Psychiatric Group. Years later I did a great deal of research relating to the incident.

Curiously, all mention of Susan's attempted murder charge had disappeared from NH court records and from the Manchester Union Leader archives. There was one small document, however, left in the Manchester District Court's files which was given to me in 2003. The case number was 91-15063, dated October 21, 1991.

In Nashua, Susan was diagnosed bi-polar and told to always keep to a schedule of taking her prescribed medicines or face the possibility of more traumatic incidents. For about six months Susan lived in a nearby condo which I rented for her. There was a relief for me, however, as I now understood her diagnosis. Frankly, her many years of confusing and debilitating behavior meant that she had always been bi-polar. It answered the questions of her infidelity and her reckless actions in our marriage.

However, I never thought the situation would turn to attempted murder. I also wondered why all of this had taken place at the very same time of the demise of OfficeLand. Who had created such a fury of hatred that she would try to kill me? She had never exhibited any violent behavior for the many years that we had been married. I began to wonder if my own family had something to do with her criminal actions. Of course they had something to do with it. The fact that my family had been heavily bribed by Staples, Romney and Stemberg, was the root cause. With devious skill they created fear and confusion in my wife, utilizing her significant psychiatric problems to benefit their scheme to take over my company.

As my family and “friends” these people could stay close to my business and personal activities. It is important to remember that Susan worked for OfficeLand alongside my mother, my sister in law, and my brothers. All of them, today, have been receiving a great deal of money from Staples. While I believe my own family was directly involved in the sabotage of OfficeLand, they needed and got the help of my very ill wife.

As years went by, Susan made sure that our son remains by her side. While I was living at our home in Londonderry and taking care of Len Jr., Susan made the decision to return to our Londonderry home. It was Len Jr. who came to me to inform me of their decision which he supported. Given the fact that his mother recently tried to stab his father to death, it was shocking to see that he refused to acknowledge any danger that I might be in if his mother was to return.

With my collapsed company, a divorce in progress, and Susan's refusal to stay in her condo, I was forced to leave the home. What made matters worse was that I had begun running out of money and very much needed employment. I was offered a job by Towhill Office Products, a large Boston-based contract stationer, to open an office in South Portland, Maine. Looking back, Susan's return to our home and taking over my son's supervision was all orchestrated to take place at the same moment I was offered a job in Maine. This was a job I could not refuse as I very much needed the income. The job also brought me close to Lynn Crocker who lived by herself in Springdale, Maine. Only six months after working for Towhill, the company, I was told, had been acquired by Staples, Inc. resulting in the loss of my job.

I believe that Stemberg and Romney made the arrangement for me to temporarily operate a phony Maine branch of Towhill because Staples had already purchased Towhill. They routed me from my immediate family in the Boston area and left me broke and unemployed in far off Maine. This was not the work of my family but the power of Staples, Inc. and its two founders, Tom Stemberg and Mitt Romney.

Bankruptcy does not mix with franchising

Renting an apartment in Wells, Maine, I ended up having a relationship with Lynn Crocker. As I was desperate to have someone to discuss my OfficeLand issues we became very close. I became alarmed in the realization that my family exhibited absolutely no concern for all the traumatic things that were happening to me. I gathered as much extra money as I could and retained a lawyer in Manchester, NH. Attorney Jennifer Rood was going to fight the bankruptcy proceeding, but not the divorce. A bankruptcy history would be the death knell for me if I wanted to continue a future in the franchising industry.

However, Susan's erratic behavior simply wore me down and I agreed to the divorce as well. We owed very little money to creditors and I couldn't understand why Susan had filed for bankruptcy. Her bankruptcy documentation listed the names and addresses of most of the franchise owners. We had no financial responsibility to them and their relationship was with OfficeLand, Inc., a corporation. In addition, most of the franchise owners actually owed me a total of nearly $500,000. Years later after researching Susan's original bankruptcy documents prepared by a local Manchester legal clinic but listing several out of state law firms, including one in Philadelphia, I discovered something perplexing. Not long after my bankruptcy petition to deconsolidate the case allowing Susan to go into bankruptcy and for me to stay out of bankruptcy, her attorney withdrew her petition.

Quite obviously this meant that the sham bankruptcy was designed to prevent me from working in franchising. Only Staples, Stemberg and Romney would have wanted this stain on my reputation. Susan was neither smart enough nor sane enough to arrange for this damaging activity carefully prepared by Philadelphia lawyers...and why Philadelphia lawyers? Her bankruptcy documents gave the appearance that the twenty franchise owners listed on her petition were owed money by us. A scheme such as this was carefully planned by people familiar with staging scams. According to Wikipedia, the name of this type of scam is “The Big Store”. With The Big Store, the con artist creates an environment in which to run the scam which is completely under his control. Everyone, except for the victim, is involved in the scam. Stemberg and Romney, using very expensive hired guns, their attorneys, are the con artists.

Trying to locate my assets for me, Attorney Rood contacted my M&A attorney, David Sharpe, insisting that he return my franchise documents. He did not argue the fact that he had them in his possession but refused to send them to her, claiming he would hold on to them as he was expecting future litigation. To my knowledge, there was never any litigation. I had made copies of my many franchisee documents before handing them over to Sharpe and insisted that I retrieve them in the basement of our Londonderry home. However, Susan claimed she threw out all the documents as they were damaged in a flood. Ray Ewer, my earlier attorney in Newton, refused to call me back. I finally realized that OfficeLand had been sabotaged.

The Big Store Scam

Certainly, Susan was part of a conspiracy but she was not its architect. The lies of almost everyone around me made it impossible for me to learn who was responsible for actions against me. However, one franchise owner couple, Barbara and Ed King of the Westboro OfficeLand franchise, told me that they had been bought out by Staples, though they would not tell me anything more. My 80 page franchise agreement that each franchisee signed made it impossible for one store to sell out to anyone without the written consent of the franchisor and I was clearly the CEO of the franchisor. I now know that as the victim of a “Big Store” scam, I had been lead into a series of events completely controlled by Stemberg, Staples and Romney.

Attempting to start a new job in far off Maine and, at the same time, regain my OfficeLand assets while taking care of my son was a Herculean effort. Carefully planned by Staples's lawyers at the request of Stemberg and Romney, the events I was subjected to at the time were intended to keep me very far away from the final OfficeLand sale to Staples.

Lynn Crocker was equally confused because only a few months before I was the undeniable president of OfficeLand Inc. She had her own issues including the mysterious award of the custody of her children to her husband. She fell into a deep depression, and reluctantly returned to her ex-husband. I was surprised by the award of the children going to her husband, as she was a very loving mother and had been recently employed to help pay for their care. But she was also shocked to learn that her husband retained one of the most prestigious law firms in Maine, known to represent the Bush Family in Kennebunk. She believed, as I do today, the expensive law firm was paid for indirectly or directly by Staples, Inc. as they realized she was closely connected to me.

Attacks on me were carefully planned in an attempt to destroy me and any residue of OfficeLand. The “face” of white collar crime is not something that is easy to digest by outsiders. The reality of my desperation and the struggle of others, guilty only by their association with me, show the heartless lack of concern by Staples, Stemberg and Romney. Following the closure of Towhill, and unsuccessful at obtaining employment in Maine I returned to the Boston area. I had little money and no assets while Susan and my son, now 16 years old, continued living in Londonderry.

My mother had been living alone in her six room cape and I asked if I could temporarily live upstairs at her home until I could locate a job. She agreed but, not long after I arrived, on a Friday afternoon, she told me that she had received a “bomb scare”. She claimed that a “Mr. Bombe” had called to tell her that if I did not leave the home, that she and the house would be blown up. Arriving shortly after I did were my brothers Tom and George. They told me that I had to leave or I would jeopardize the safety of their mother. My mother agreed with them. No one offered any assistance and I had very little money, less than fifty dollars to live on. Everyone around me, my family, my wife, and my friends had simply ignored me. To participate in the Stemberg and Romney pot of gold, my demise was their quid pro quo.

Homeless entrepreneur

My father had been divorced from my mother for years and I doubt that he knew much about my family's involvement in the conspiracy. If he did, he would have stopped it cold. A World War II veteran who fought in the battle of Okinawa, he had too much integrity and had expressed how proud he was to see me develop OfficeLand into a significant company. I helped him get a part time job with a music store owner who I knew to help supplement his meager social security income. The company was selling, across the country, bundles of old sheet music stored in a 19th century warehouse near the center of Nashua, NH. My father assembled the music to ship out and seemed to enjoy the job.

Having visited him in the old warehouse I knew how to get in at night. It was a rundown wooden structure of four floors. It was unheated and when it rained the water poured in from the roof. The stacks of music were covered by sheets of plastic. Inside the building I found and occupied a large walk-in cooler so as to protect myself from the elements and take temporary residence. My father's tiny apartment was too fat away in Suncook, NH and, in order to recover from my personal disaster I had to stay in the greater Boston area.

My grandparents and most of my uncles and aunts had passed away and there was simply no other place for me to live. At a thrift store I purchased an old electric heater, cot, and blanket to sleep on. For about a month this became my secret place to live. During the day, I ate cheaply and sold two of my musical instruments to get some cash to live on. All my clothes were in the car and my life was very difficult but I also refused to give up, or go on welfare. I knew enough to stay away from being depressed or feeling sorry about my situation. In seeing a homeless person today, I am reminded of my own horrible circumstances and understand others’ personal tragedies. Having the fortitude to fight on in life, despite sometimes unseen but enormous obstacles, is a gift that good people enjoy, no matter what their income, and they should have our respect.

Mentor

In the newspapers I looked for any opportunity that would allow me take control and improve my unbelievable life. While attending a sales presentation about selling prepaid telephone cards in Woburn, MA, I was approached an older man who wanted to know who I was. He introduced himself as Basil Henriques, a dentist and research scientist at Tufts. Taking me to a corner of the room he listened to my incredible story, left the room, and returned. He presented me with $1,000 in cash and insisted that I live with him until he helped arrange my own apartment. I gladly accepted and he became my good friend and mentored me, setting me on the road of a mentally strong person ready for any situation. Wherever I traveled, he went with me. He was extremely well-read, with a large and diverse library and often visited me at night insisting that I immediately read a book from cover to cover in one night as he often did. One book that he had me read, “If You Can't Do It, Steal It!” advised employees to look out for opportunities in their place of employment where they could steal good ideas and profit for themselves.

When it came to my dealings with my family, I was in absolute denial. As the oldest of the five children, all my life I had been familiar with my mother's insane method of raising children. I was accustomed to my responsibility of protecting and helping my siblings despite the fact they had no loyalty to me.

It was impossible to think that these brothers and sister would turn on me in exchange for money, because I knew I would never do anything to harm them. Communists would have loved my mother as she constantly professed that her children, no matter their age, academic performance, or talents were all equal. Sharing was taken to an extreme to the extent that all my friends were required to be my brother's friend. My mother always went out of her way to emphasize that just because I was the oldest child in our family, that position carried no special status. Quite the contrary, however, I was the one who had to compromise and accommodate any of my sibling's unreasonable behaviors. Despite all the insurmountable evidence of my family’s involvement in the OfficeLand sabotage, I refused to identify their involvement. Because of this blind spot in my life, a whole series of other problems ensued.

I took Basil to my family get together where he was impressed by my aging but still attractive mother. With Doc's help and selling prepaid telephone cards, I was able to get back on my feet again and rented an attractive apartment in Nashua permitting me to remain near my very confused son.

Collateral damage, other victims

Few people know that they have been victims of white collar crime. To them, it appears on the surface as antiseptic and only something that involves competition between large corporations. It doesn't identify the collateral damage inflicted upon others that may simply be at the wrong place at the wrong time. This was the case with Lynn Crocker who became a perceived obstacle to the ruthless behavior of Stemberg and Romney and my family, who attacked anything that got in their way.

Because of Lynn's knowledge of OfficeLand, as her husband was a franchise owner, there was too much of chance that she would learn the truth of the conspiracy. If she did, she might have informed me of the scam and damage the scripted cover-up my family, Stemberg, and Romney had carefully designed. She had to be stopped by any means. Lynn became a direct victim of Staples, Stemberg, and Romney’s criminal activity. She was a simple person whose life had been a rocky road into her adulthood. Lynn knew too much about the Staples takeover of OfficeLand. She could have been anybody, perhaps someone in the reader's own family who knew too much. Similar to the families of organized crime, white collar crime affects everyone. Based on the greed of Staples, Stemberg, Romney, and my family, lives of innocents were affected along the way.

About a year had gone by since I had left Maine and heard nothing more from Lynn. Visiting my mother one afternoon, I was told that she received a call from Lynn's sister. She explained to my mother that Lynn had been admitted into a state mental hospital in Biddeford, Maine. She complained that no one seemed to care about what had happened to Lynn and wanted me to know so that I could do something about it.

Eventually, I traveled to the Maine state hospital. While driving, l remembered Lynn's terrible story of her mother's death when Lynn was ten years old. She had told me how her father began having sex with her, and for many years after. I heard that incest was very commonplace in central Maine where she was born. Before I had left Maine a year before, I had arranged that Lynn meet with a psychiatrist in Biddeford. While treating her, he explained to me that the extensive sexual abuse she had experienced made it impossible for Lynn to ever have a real relationship with a man. The psychiatrist gave me a book to read. The Beans of Egypt Maine is a sobering account of a totally dysfunctional Maine family plagued by generations of family incest. He explained that Lynn had been cursed for life. Now, as I arrived at the state hospital, Lynn was behind locked doors but was allowed to meet with me. She was a very ill and suicidal.

Only with my signature, however, could she permanently leave the hospital and she begged me to sign her out. Feeling very sorry for her miserable situation, I foolishly agreed and we left for a cheap motel for one evening until I could decide where to take her. In her current state, Lynn was unable to tell me what happened when she returned to her husband and it was not the time to ask. She wanted to get married immediately after we left the hospital. I explained that she first had to get better before we should consider marriage. My answer gave her hope but I knew the reality of her condition made it impossible.

Given that she was not on any medications, I felt it would be better to get her medical care in Massachusetts. Of all the New England states, Massachusetts was known as the best in mental health care. However, I did not know where to take her. I could not impose upon Doc as his place was very small and my mother would never agree. Calling my son in Londonderry, as I regularly did, I explained the situation. He consulted with his mother who suggested Bill Romaniecki's home in Attleboro, MA. At first I thought the plan was impossible as there was bad blood between us. I had not spoken to Bill for a couple of years but Susan had explained that she was in regular contact and Bill and his teacher wife, Jackie, would certainly accept her into their home. Knowing no other place to take her, very reluctantly I agreed and drove her to the Romaniecki Attleboro home.

Bill and Jackie Romaniecki

The Romaniecki were, at first, gracious and had prepared a bed for her in their basement. Lynn was tired and immediately went to sleep. I returned to Waltham where I had informed my mother what was happening with Lynn. Then I returned to Doc's apartment in Woburn a few miles north. The Romanieckis agreed that Lynn could use their address, since a Massachusetts address was needed to permit Lynn to enter the well-known Fuller state operated long term treatment center in Attleboro. However, within a 48 hour period Lynn’s condition degenerated so that I took her to Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro where they declared her mentally incompetent and placed a police officer outside her door. The head nurse told me that Lynn was a threat to herself.

Explaining that Sturdy Memorial Hospital could do nothing for her, they arranged for an ambulance to take her to the Corrigan State Hospital in Fall River, MA where they could give her proper care and psychiatric treatment. I followed the ambulance to the hospital and watched her check in. She gave both my name and her father’s as her contact people in case of emergency. About a month went by when her doctor called me to come in for a meeting. A psychiatrist himself, he explained that Lynn was bi-polar and required medicine on a daily basis. He went into great detail of what this illness was and the danger would be if she was not properly treated. With him we discussed her being admitted into Fuller which he agreed was a good long term program.

I had discussed in detail with Romaniecki that upon Lynn’s release from Corrigan, I would take her to the Fuller Hospital in Attleboro. We both agreed it is where she would receive months of treatment and rehabilitation. Before leaving Corrigan State Hospital, however, Lynn's doctor made it clear that she would only be released if she went directly to the Fuller Hospital. I told him that I completely agreed and made the arrangement He painfully explained that she continued to be a danger to herself and if she did not get professional treatment it was possible that she might attempt suicide.

Driving directly to the Fuller Hospital Lynn took her suitcase of clothes and walked into the art deco style hospital to register. The day before, all had been arranged and, as far as I knew, the registration was a formality. However, to my surprise, the admitting department of Fuller explained that they could not admit her since she was not a resident of Massachusetts. They would not allow the Romaniecki address for her admittance. I explained that the Romaniecki Attleboro residence was, in fact, Lynn's as well. I informed them that Lynn's last residence before being at Corrigan was the Romaniecki address but they adamantly refused to admit her.

Surprised by this turn of events and it being late in the day, I had no other choice but to bring her back to Romaniecki’s home and try to resolve the problem the next day.

I immediately drove to the Romaniecki home. In the previous weeks, while Lynn had been at Corrigan State Hospital, Bill went out of his way to regain my trust and friendship that we had for many years before OfficeLand. He and his wife regularly opened their home to me and I was comfortable in being friends with their two children.

When I arrived at their home I carefully explained the dangerous concerns that the Corrigan State Hospital psychiatrist had told me. Both Bill and Jackie paused and stared at me in a very peculiar way. Finally Bill, with an evil looking smile on his face, stated that I was the problem and that Lynn was not bi-polar. More surprised than ever, I was upset that their opinion seemed to prevail over the psychiatrist, especially since Lynn had been under a doctor's care for over two months. It was late in the day, and I had no choice but to leave Lynn. Returning to Waltham, I explained the events of the day to my mother who listened but, as usual, expressed no opinion. The very next morning I left early to discuss this matter privately with Jackie Romaniecki. She had been a teacher and a local school committee member and I thought I find a voice of reason. However, she was delivering newspapers with one of their sons when I arrived. It was strange since I had been aware that Bill usually took care of the newspaper route. Bill’s other son went to get him when I arrived.

Outside Lynn's room, I quietly sat on the floor waiting to discuss the problem. I heard the front door open. Suddenly, Bill and two police officers walked downstairs to confront me explaining they were prepared to arrest me for trespassing. Without one word of warning Romaniecki was trying to get me in trouble with the police. I apologized to the police and quickly left the home never to return again. Confronting my mother with what happened; she claimed to know nothing. She was, in fact, part of a scheme which was unfortunately, still tied to the scam of preventing me from finding out what happened to my company.

The scam and its evil and frankly demented script continued. A month went by and my mother told me that she accepted a summons for me to appear in Attleboro Court stating that I was a serious threat to Lynn Crocker who had gone to restraining order against me. When I arrived at the courthouse at the prescribed date, there were only two people in the courtroom, Romaniecki and Lynn Crocker.

Romaniecki went up to a court officer and told him something that I could not hear. Suddenly two court officers rushed me to the back of the courtroom pointing to Romaniecki stating “that man says that you have a gun in your briefcase”. Of course I did not have a gun, as I have never owned a gun. The court officers apologized, and I remained in the courtroom for about one hour before the case was heard. After the complaint was read and I was asked to respond, Romaniecki spoke up trying to manipulate an answer to the judge. But the judge told him to keep quiet and allowed me to freely explain what had taken place. The judge politely asked me if I was willing to stay away from the Romaniecki residence and, of course, I agreed. He then stated that there was no need of a restraining order and while Romaniecki loudly complained the judge dismissed the case. I was vindicated and wanted nothing more to do with Romaniecki or anybody in Attleboro

. I backed off, and let the Romanieckis take complete charge of Lynn and her dismal future. I have no idea what ever happened to Lynn Crocker but three years ago, my wife and I checked her Internet listing under her former Maine address. It stated that she died in 2001.

We now understand the real reason for the Romaniecki's complete control of Lynn's future and my forced removal from any involvement with her. Bill and Jackie Romaniecki, along with Susan and my mother, were aware that Lynn Crocker knew what happened to her former husband's OfficeLand franchise and that it was, as they all were, sold to Staples. Romaniecki and my family were keenly aware that she might tell me all she knows about the theft of my company.

Just before bringing Lynn to Romaniecki's home, I had not seen or heard from Lynn for about a year. In the less than 48 hours after departing the Biddeford State Hospital, she was too tired and ill to discuss OfficeLand. However, I am sure in a short period of time she would have told me the details about her unsuccessful return to her husband and what truly happened to their OfficeLand franchise. Lynn's tragic personal life and impaired mental health was collateral damage caused by Stemberg and Romney. If, in fact, Lynn died of suicide, Tom Stemberg and Mitt Romney who provided the financial incentive to my family and knew of my national franchising plan should be held criminally responsible for her death. They successfully used my family and Romaniecki to make sure Lynn would never talk.

I know that the entire chain of OfficeLand stores including the Sanford, Maine location owned by Lynn's ex-husband was secretly and illegally acquired by Staples, Inc. At the time, Staples had been buying out their larger competitors in order to close them down and secure the lucrative commercial accounts. About 80% of all OfficeLand sales came from business accounts.

Office Oasis

Realizing that it was impossible for me to spend time and very limited resources on finding out what happened to OfficeLand, with “Docs” enormous help, within two years I approached ninety manufacturers in the office products industry. They knew me from OfficeLand and I offered them participation in a new Office Oasis program that I developed. In the nineties I was on top of my game in technology.

I had been published, had been an importer of computers, and had developed a cutting edge POS system. I also could see the future would maximize the use of CD and personal computer technology. My Office Oasis program would permit all the manufacturers to place their inventory items on my Office Oasis CD (called an Office Supply Superstore on CD) I arranged with the new UPS Fulfillment Center in Lexington, KY, to receive inventory from the manufacturers and ship it directly to customers located in the lower 48 states within two days of an order. Using the Office Oasis CD customers could order any of our 3,000 items at a price of only 17% above cost and pay us at the time of the order by credit card. It was one of my best ideas and the manufacturers agreed and paid me, in advance, about $250,000 to place their inventory on our CD. They also agreed to provide opening inventory in Lexington with no upfront cost.

I realized that most of these U.S. manufacturers were very concerned, as they should have been. Staples did not need them any further because of much cheaper Chinese manufacturing; they would be put out of business. I presented my final plan to manufacturers at a Chicago NOPA convention and received almost universal support. However, I was told by the XEROX people as they handed me their payment, that they were told by Staples if they were to do business with me, Staples would never do business with them. I should have paid more attention to the warning. In addition to working all the details with the manufacturers, I obtained written agreements with large grocery store organizations to place CD display units in several thousand stores across the country. Elkman Advertising of Bala Cynwyd, PA, created the award winning design of the CD. Each CD would be distributed free to customers. However, to produce CD's and pay for a quality management team I had ready; I needed to raise 3 million dollars. I wrote a business plan to present to the venture capital community.

The first CFO for Office Oasis was Peter Hughes, from Filenes Basement Inc. A Sloan School graduate, he was very helpful and arranged that I present my business plan at a formal presentation to about fifteen key Sloan School Business School staff members. If approved, it would move through their Zero Stage funding group or to some other VC organization.

I made the presentation and had all my agreements in place. Pioneer Capital of Boston, was very interested in investing in Office Oasis. However, as anyone who is in the investment community understands, the management team is key to the execution of the business plan and, other than me, the position of CFO was the second most important position. At a critical time, Peter Hughes was presented an offer to become CFO at a large department store chain in NYC. Explaining to me that he was uncomfortable with a startup, he accepted a new position in an industry that he was very familiar. I had great respect for Peter and wished him well in his new position. However, this vacancy left me with pressure to quickly locate a first class CFO to help me close the Pioneer investment.

I had placed a large display ad in the Boston Globe, looking for this top quality individual with brand name recognition but there were few qualified respondents. Over the years I had maintained a friendship with a former Algonquin Regional High School school board chairman by the name of Bill Higgins. In my high school band I helped his son get admitted to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. I had made friends with the Kings Point Band Director, Ken Force, and arranged to have Bill's son admitted to this prestigious service academy in which no tuition was required. Bill was indebted to me for my help. He also knew my wife, Susan, and others in the family at music events they had attended.

I had been meeting Bill periodically as his previous banking experience had been helpful to me. I trusted Bill Higgins.

Bob Leombruno

Bill recommended that I hire Bob Leombruno as my CFO. I was shocked and reminded Bill that Leombruno, along with Stemberg had written the Staples business plan and it would be impossible for me to think that he would work for a competing startup, even if I could trust him. For a brief time Hale and Dorr represented OfficeLand. It was easy to, again, retain their Manchester, NH, lawyers to also represent Office Oasis. I discussed the possibility of bringing aboard Leombruno with them. I did not realize and the firm did not disclose that the Boston office of Hale and Dorr represented Staples. I was given non-compete and non-disclosure agreements to present to Leombruno if he did join my team but I had much more vetting to do before making such an important appointment.

Leombruno was charming and quite convincing when I met him. He claimed that he had departed Staples and now wanted to be in a technology driven company and recognized the advantage of my Office Oasis plan. My Executive V.P. at the time was Randolph Williams of Westboro, MA who also met Leombruno and was impressed with both his credentials and his positive attitude. Leombruno invited me to his Eastham home and introduced his wife and one of his children.

Later we visited his Barnstable, Cape Cod home where he told me that he had a serious prostate cancer problem and was one of the reasons that he wanted to do something very different with Office Oasis. Signing all my agreements and accepting a large stock position in our new company, he concentrated on preparing our final due diligence meeting with Pioneer Capital. Office Oasis, Inc., in addition to its Office Superstore on CD, established three locations of a small Mail Box Etc. type store to also franchise across the country. Better than OfficeLand, Office Oasis was my second chance of attaining thousands of franchisees across the country as Ace Hardware had done in the hardware industry. Pioneer Capital had made arrangements to meet my full management team and view our Londonderry, NH store. We were ready!

However, the very morning that Pioneer was to arrive, I received a call from Leombruno telling me that his attorneys told him that he could not have anything more to do with Office Oasis and that he had called Pioneer Capital informing them of his decision. It became absolutely clear that, again, Stemberg, Romney, and Staples Inc. had sabotaged me again. Of course, they had the help of my friend, Bill Higgins, and my family. Having run out of any significant amount of money, combined with strange events at the franchised stores, I eventually withdrew from Office Oasis. These stores also were bought out by Stales Inc. and they quickly closed. I deeply regretted the financial resources I accepted from manufacturers that were depending upon me to keep them alive with my new CD superstore. To them I owe a sincere apology.

The OfficeLand, Inc. and the Office Oasis Inc. ventures proved beyond a shadow of doubt that Stemberg and Romney regarded me as a major threat to their blossoming company. As there is other evidence to offer that will take too long to explain, these two retail collapses, undoubtedly, involved my wife, my family, and thought to be trusted friends. They were all successfully bribed by Stemberg, Romney, and Staples, Inc.

The demise of my companies was not the last encounter with Staples and its two unethical founders. There have been other substantial business activities of mine they sabotaged in later years. Since the “Big Store” tactics worked twice, they figured the strategy could be continued. Having been rewarded a great deal of money from Staples, Stemberg and Romney, this same Staples group employ powerful law firms to continue their efforts to harm my new companies and destroy my character. Today, each one of my, once, very average income family members are reported as affluent, owning expensive model vehicles, boats, and second homes. Their children have all graduated from expensive private high schools and colleges. Funds are period ally allocated to all that participated from a large trust fund that my mother has set up.

My once thought to be loyal son , Len Jr., now represents a new generation that continues the conspiracy. Clinging to his mother's participation in the conspiracy he, too, receives money from the trust. A graduate of Kings Point, which I also helped him become admitted, he has ignored the legacy scribed on the brass plaques placed on the outside entrance of each dorm building of this outstanding service academy. It reads “A cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do”. A combination of greed and jealousy continue to this day to be my family's demented motivational factors. If they are confronted with the truth of what actually happened, expect they will be ready to launch into more lies and deception as though they were the victims. It's all part of their on-going strategy.

Years later and the psychologist, Suzanne Suttenberg

These are the facts, but before you judge my story please realize that until February, 2003, I was completely on my own as even my friend, Doc, became ill due to a shock and was admitted into a nursing home . Other possible companions that might, someday, become my wife were corralled by my family and became fearful in establishing a relationship with me.

Until the year 2009, I remained in denial about the total involvement of my entire family. Those who have dated in their later years understand the difficulty of bonding with someone, never mind trying to explain the confusion of decades. Several of my family members knew that I was attempting to date via the Internet.

I was contacted on the web by Suzanne Suttenberg in May of 2001. She claimed that we had a great deal in common according to the computer matchup. In fact, we were opposites in almost every way and for the following year she never, again, was on the Internet. While I was a Catholic republican, she was a Jewish liberal and a member of the ACLU. When I was strangely terminated from my lease in a Charlestown apartment, she invited me to live with her in her Wayland condo.

At first I thought she was interested in a personal relationship but because there was no intimacy and I lived in a separate room, she signaled her real motive. She was a psychologist with an impressive list of business people seeking her counseling. We very seldom argued about anything and we tolerated each other’s differences. One day, out of the blue, she explained to me that with the consent of only one of my family members and her signature as licensed psychologist, I could be declared mentally incompetent by the State of Massachusetts (then governed by Mitt Romney). I was completely shocked as there had never been any discussion regarding my mental competency and no reason for such a statement. I also felt betrayed as I had helped resolve a very serious issue with her 25 years old son.

Nonetheless, it was the actions of Suzanne’s very wealthy father in law who got into big trouble within the Jewish community that was the root of my problem. I realized that Suzanne had been hired to get close to me and legally discredit my state of mind. Suzanne told that her husband’s father was the target of very angry Jewish authorities because of major criminal activity. Living in an expensive estate in Newton, MA, and being a close friend of former Senator Ed Brook, the Suttenbergs lived what Suzanne described was a jet set lifestyle.

Together with her husband, Joel, she traveled extensively throughout the world. Because of large donations to Israel, there was a statue of her father-in- law in Haifa. But it all came to an abrupt end when it was discovered that her husband’s father had for years been stealing a great deal of money from the rabbinical school. Suzanne explained that the Jews punish their own and in her case the family had to pay for the significant loss of the school’s funds. This included selling off the Newton estate but leaving Joel’s mother with a condo in Boca Raton . It also required that Suzanne and her husband sell their large Wayland home in exchange for her small condo. But it didn’t stop there.

Despite her membership in the Wayland temple, she was obligated for years to attend the same Newton synagogue shared with Staples founder, Thomas Stemberg and the Suttenberg family. In fact on several Saturdays I dropped her off at the Temple where she stayed for hours before picking her up. Enslaved by her in-laws criminal activity, this was the reason she was assigned to me. I do not believe that Suzanne enjoyed her work of following me and attempting to discredit me as we often enjoyed each other’s company. Other than know every action of what I was doing at the time I do not believe she carried through any serious actions of discrediting my psychological state of mind.

Rescued and move to New Hampshire

Fortunately, in the nick of time, I escaped Wayland and Suzanne to receive for the first time great help and empathy from my present wife who knew me from the past and lived in New Hampshire and away from Romney’s political influence. A Magna cum Laude graduate of Boston University and a vice president at a large Boston investment company she, to this day, has researched the events , identified all involved, and help put all the sordid parts of this complicated puzzle together.

Small business in the U.S. Constitutes about 73% of total business in America. Mitt Romney and his powerful cronies have proven that they are only interested in advancing their own large corporations. Their greed motivates attacks on me, the entrepreneur, and has harmed the lives of others. Their arrogance and monumental wealth have always been more important to them than the thousands of small businesses that drive most of the economy. Romney’s money through Staples and other corporations he has funded will continue to be used to control their global interest at the cost of American jobs. Now he wants your vote so he can be President of the United States? To vote for Romney would be no less of a mistake than to vote for Bernie Madoff. ¬¬¬¬¬¬

Coming soon –Part Two

Watch for Part Two of this true story and learn how the Staples founders used their large corporate contacts and the power of the Massachusetts governorship to thwart Faucher’s continued effort to start a new and even more successful videoconferencing company, Picture Communication, Inc. Because of an agreement Faucher had made with an Italian company, PictureCom had far superior technology than any other company of its kind in the U.S.

Read how the largest privately held construction company in America, Gilbane Construction, family members Ray Broderick and Francine Gilbane Broderick of White Plains and Narragansett, RI, drew Faucher to Massachusetts’s most influential but corrupt people. This third and most bizarre diversion included Walter Reichert, Jerry Berberian, Haffner Fournier, William Tita, Norman Silverman, Douglas Hajjar, and Joseph Kennedy. All participated in the laundered 5 million dollar funding of Faucher’s new company, the International Center of Distance Learning, Inc. and arranged its merger with PictureCom. They introduced Faucher to the Lexington based defense contractor, Raytheon, and lured his new management team to Kuwait on the pretense of bringing education to the Arabs.

Behind the scenes, as board members of Faucher’s merged education operation, they secretly maneuvered a 362 million dollar acquisition of the nearly bankrupt Andover videoconferencing giant, PictureTel, to Polycom containing Faucher’s PictureCom technology. This resulted in Staples founder, Tom Stemberg, a new board member of NASDAQ, to become a large stockholder and member of the board of Polycom. Read Faucher’s ignored letters to the SEC, FBI, and State Attorney General. Learn of his compromised trusteeship at his alma mater, The Boston Conservatory.

Through all of these turbulent events, Faucher was never permitted to have any contact his two daughters, Lisa and Kimberly Gilbert. They were absorbed into part of what he believes is a well-sheltered organized crime family. When no one chooses to buy out Faucher’s businesses, he remains convinced there is a link between the theft of his daughters and the destruction of his companies.

All of this happened while the other Staples’s founder, Mitt Romney, had become the very powerful Governor of Massachusetts.


Street Talk

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