I worked for a company that supplies medical and beauty lasers all over the world. About a year ago we were introduced to one Mike Woolley of SouthBank Capital in London.
Mike presented himself as a Hedge fund Manager with access to private money from high net worth individuals. Mike wanted to invest this money in leasing so that he could take advantage of a stale market where nobody lends.
Mike told us he had access to millions and could easily fund our deals. We started giving him business and very quickly things seemed odd. He would take weeks to sort out deal paperwork and longer to pay out. After a few months we submitted a large number of deals that took so long to process that customers cancelled, calling us all sorts of names because of this jerk.
His behaviour was the most worrying. He would hide and refuse to return calls, answer emails or respond to text messages. He just went offline. This is the man who puts himself up as a professional city financier with years of high level business experience. He has no balls and is a complete chicken. He took deposits form customers and we had to pay them back.
He eventually paid some deals and after an emergency meeting, in which he allowed us to buy lunch, he gave his personal guarantee that all issues were resolved and no more problems would arise.
He then started complaining about some delinquent accounts. We looked into this and it turned out that some people had not paid but he had no process in place at all to deal with this. He just had his only part time member of staff email the customer, who mostly ignored him, so these debts built up without any management to deal with them.
We proposed to deal with them by collecting equipment, but he did not respond, he just let them get worse. So what you may think. Well, this was some investors money. Sure, they had plenty, but that's not the point. He took their money to invest and mis managed it in a completely reckless and irresponsible way. The way they underwrote deals was bizarre to say the least. They accepted just about anyone, which is really stupid as lots of people took the money and disappeared. We became concerned and even traced a few, but Woolley did nothing about it.
Back to us. Christmas is here, we did a load of deals and what happens, Woolley does his trademark bury his head in the sand. 120k of deals on the table, with salaries earned and he does a runner. He took more deposits and we have to cover these as it is not fair on the customer.
This has made us rethink our business, and we are strong enough to weather it and recover, but the stress, hassle and worry that this man has caused us, our staff and business partners is wrong. He took liabilities on over a protracted length of time without any hope of covering them.
His one and only member of staff, who did not always get paid on time, and is a true professional, has done the sensible thing and got a job with a proper company.
Meanwhile, Woolley carries on pretending to be the big man in the city, holding directorships in a diverse range of questionable companies whilst many people face a leak christmas and customers are left without the products they ordered. Ok, they will not be out of pocket, but their dreams of expanding their business is on hold for now.
Worse though, are those customers with equipment and no warranty. As the equipment owner, Woolley and his corny SouthBank Capital are required to keep their accounts in order for their warranty to be active. Because they owe so much their account is now on stop, which includes warranty support for the hirers of their equipment.
I worked hard for a lot of my customers and feel aggrieved that this man has let them down so badly and behaved like a Lilly liveried coward who is too chicken to speak to me, my boss or our customers.
If you plan to have business dealings with Mike Woolley, think carefully. Don't let his silver tongue, polished accent and flamboyant charm fool you. He is a flim flam man, a wannabe without means and he will lie, cajole and fool. When the problems arise, have fun getting hold of him.
My boss became so desperate after 30 attempts to contact Woolley that he sent him an email an email saying he would visit him at home. Woolley answered this one saying he would call the Police and his lawyers as he took this as a threat. No threat was made, just a very desperate attempt to resolve all issues and get back on track supporting customers, delivering equipment and paying wages.
Luckily, I got paid, my boss is that sort, but if you work for Woolley, he is not shy in paying staff late, if at all.
I am told that Mr Woolley will be taken to task in the courts. I hope so, he is a sleazy little man who treats everyone as they are beneath him and there to serve him. If you met him, you would not believe his arrogance.
If you encounter Woolley, take a wide Berthe, that will cost you nothing. Don't for gods sake invest in him, or let him make you think he has money.