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Jakehatfield

Corson stole my money

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I am just stating facts in hope that anyone considering signing a contract with Corson Distilling would be informed to make the best decision. 15 months ago I signed a contract with Corson for a complete turn key 300 gal system including 4 ferms, 1 mash tun, 1 multi purpose 24 plate still with complete automation.  The contract read the equipment would take no longer then 6 months. After our initial down payment of 50% (63k) on 1/2/18 Corson suddenly became silent. I had to send several emails to get a response about anything. Then Corson wanted to change the design and look of the equiptment. After a month of stating my case they did agree to build the  design I was sold. As of Jan 2019 we had not received any equipment and Corson would not return our calls or emails. After leaving voicemails everyday for 2 weeks we got a call from a gal with Corson who assured us  they would be building our equipment and they were short handed. The very next day I received an email from their bankruptcy lawyer, Holly Roark, stating that Corson was no longer going to build the 26k in ferms and if I wanted my still, mash tun, and automation I needed to respond to them with in 48hrs and send 18k more than the contracted price (81k) within 5 days or they would be ceasing operations and maybe filing chapter 11. It’s now in the lawyers hands. There is silence from Corson. I am so disappointed as I am a blue collar plumber who’s saved money for 7 years to have this opportunity to better my and my family's lives. I am at a place financially now trying to start over on this business. I’m not going to be able to make it work. I hope this doesn’t happen to anyone else. 

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That really sucks.  I cant think of what else to say, but F those guys.  So very sorry. 

Even this email you shared from their lawyer seems crazy shady and inappropriate.  Why would a companies lawyer be actively soliciting more funds from the companies clients, while in the process of advising them on bankruptcy options?

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  i feel bad for you , but any time your paying for something that some one promises to build some time when they get there thumb out of there ass your playing a very risky game . if your ordering a custom piece of equipment that is one thing , but if your ordering a piece of equipment that the vendor claims they sell all the time to millions of distilleries then i call bullshit .  personally if the vendor doesnt have it on the shelf ready to sell then dont buy it .....were in the whisky business nobody pays us for whisky before we have even bought the grain to make it ....... we bought a vessel from a vendor that claimed they had it on hand ready to ship , we bought it paid for it money was accepted immediately , it then took them 3 months to ship it , needless to say it was the last thing we bought from that company . be careful out there the world is full of crooks   .

tim     

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54 minutes ago, Hudson bay distillers said:

  i feel bad for you , but any time your paying for something that some one promises to build some time when they get there thumb out of there ass your playing a very risky game . if your ordering a custom piece of equipment that is one thing , but if your ordering a piece of equipment that the vendor claims they sell all the time to millions of distilleries then i call bullshit .  personally if the vendor doesnt have it on the shelf ready to sell then dont buy it .....were in the whisky business nobody pays us for whisky before we have even bought the grain to make it ....... we bought a vessel from a vendor that claimed they had it on hand ready to ship , we bought it paid for it money was accepted immediately , it then took them 3 months to ship it , needless to say it was the last thing we bought from that company . be careful out there the world is full of crooks   .

tim     

Holstein, Carl, Kothe, and Vendome all require money upfront with an 8 month lead time. What type of equipment did you purchase off the shelf? 

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49 minutes ago, Hudson bay distillers said:

if your ordering a custom piece of equipment that is one thing , but if your ordering a piece of equipment that the vendor claims they sell all the time to millions of distilleries then i call bullshit .  personally if the vendor doesnt have it on the shelf ready to sell then dont buy it

That all sounds pretty logical, but I think making a down payment 1/4 to 1/2 on large orders is pretty standard way of doing things as far as brew houses and stills go. The vendor needs to protect themselves too. Seems like the best way to protect yourself is to check out vendors head to tail, and talk and visit recent clients of theirs. 

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5 minutes ago, Southernhighlander said:

Their web site is still up, so I imagine that they are still taking orders.  http://www.corsondistilling.com/

 

I’m well aware of there attempts to deceive other potential victims. As this is why I felt it was necessary to share my experience in hopes that others would not have to go through what we have gone through. This kind of thing destroys good peoples dreams. Btw they have found funding to advertise through google also. Wish they were spending my money on the equipment I payed for. 😕

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Jake,  I feel for you we almost became a victim of the Corson group, in conversations with them something just didn’t feel right so my business partner started checking into there business, that coupled by all of the red flags that went up on this forum we may have lost our butts !  

If they succeed in filing chapter 11 bancruptcuy, you may not see a dime of your hard earned money, that is not a reorganizational filing its liquidation. I’m by no means educated in bankruptcy law but from what I have read ,There may be a long list of creditors, vendors or banks that have a first class seat to pick the bones of what money or assets they have left. 

Best of Luck

 

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49 minutes ago, Lorenzo said:

 

If they succeed in filing chapter 11 bancruptcuy, you may not see a dime of your hard earned money, that is not a reorganizational filing its liquidation.

 

Chapter 11 is reorganizing debts so that a business can keep operating. My guess is that they are threatening 11 so that they can keep taking deposits without risking criminal liability. They could keep taking money claiming that they had the intent of continuing to run the business. They could play it out as long as they can and keep taking deposits from unsuspecting people until it finally crashes down. Then they can just claim that it is nothing more than a failed business. They probably think that will keep them safe from criminal proceedings. I think a good agent could put their asses in jail anyway. It probably wouldn't be that hard to show they had no intention of delivering equipment even as they took deposits.

I partly base this on a comment made in another thread that said their building was empty. Kinda hard to make stills when you have no equipment or employees to make them.

Hey Corson - the next call you get asking about equipment may be an agent in disguise! Better think twice about taking more money. 

 

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2 hours ago, Lorenzo said:

Jake,  I feel for you we almost became a victim of the Corson group, in conversations with them something just didn’t feel right so my business partner started checking into there business, that coupled by all of the red flags that went up on this forum we may have lost our butts !  

If they succeed in filing chapter 11 bancruptcuy, you may not see a dime of your hard earned money, that is not a reorganizational filing its liquidation. I’m by no means educated in bankruptcy law but from what I have read ,There may be a long list of creditors, vendors or banks that have a first class seat to pick the bones of what money or assets they have left. 

Best of Luck

 

You are lucky. My first conversations with them was in August of 2017. I scowered the internet and this forum for bad reviews. I could not find any. Come to find out later the bad reviews on this forum had been removed at corsons request and the forum rules had changed as we were sending our 50% down. At least they changed the rules to allow these posts to stay up to hopefully protect people. I’m thankful these type of conversations saved you guys from these crooks 

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12 hours ago, Hudson bay distillers said:

were in the whisky business nobody pays us for whisky before we have even bought the grain to make it

Lots of people have paid deposits on whiskey that has not yet been made.  I took payment for barrels that customers are going to be waiting years for delivery on.  They want 5 year old whiskey, I dont have 5 year old whiskey now, I still sold them 5 year old whiskey and will deliver in the future as agreed.  Paying a deposit in advance is not in of of itself a foolish thing..

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Terrible thing.  This lawyer is a piece of work too.  I cannot fathom why the counsel for a client facing a "possible" bankruptcy would solicit more money from customers.  Perhaps it's worth asking your lawyer about standards of ethics for the ID bar assn. to see if this kind of thing passes muster.  

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I believe because this is "custom" the supplier would have been required by law to expend the money you sent them, specifically on your project. They can not "bundle your money with someone else's. You provided a certain amount of money for them to purchase raw materials and begin construction on your particular still.  In NY there are always cases where building contractors take money from clients to do specific jobs, and then they fail to perform that work. They are arrested and charged with larceny.

You should check with the attorney general as well as the local district attorneys office

good luck

example http://www.newzjunky.com/nysp-roofing-contractor-arrested-on-grand-larceny-charges/

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6 hours ago, Silk City Distillers said:

At what point does it become fraud?

Lawyer up, sue management not the company.

Several have sued Corson with zero results.  Corson has their customers sign a binding contract that has so far protected them against all law suites. 

Also, you have to sue the company first, then try and pierce the corporate veil to go after the corporate members etc. In many states you cannot sue management.  For example: If someone sued my company and then pierced the corporate veil to sue me personally, they would never get anything from me as long as I am married and my wife has nothing to do with the business.  Under MO law, a married couples property is comunal and since my wife has nothing to do with the business she cannot be held liable and since our property is comunal, I cannot be held liable either because it would affect her.

 

Also business people protect their businesses in various ways.  For example, there was a company called Morgan Resaw LLC that manufactured band resaws for sawing pallet decking and they sold Scragg Mills and other inherently dangerous equipment.  Morgan Resaw LLC was an empty shell.  It leased all of it's buildings and equipment from a company called ARKLATEX LLC.  A guy cut his hand off and sued Morgan Resaw LLC and Morgan Resaw LLC  had no assets etc so the people suing did not get anything.  Because of that state's laws they could not pierce the corporate veil either.  A new company was formed after that which ARKALATEX rented equipment and buildings to.  The CEO of ARKALETEX and Morgan Resaw and the new company is the same person, but it did not matter because the businesses were ran as separate entities.   This CEO did this more than once when people were injured and is still in business today after more than 30 years.  This method is used a great deal by businesses to protect assets, and I would bet $100.00 against a donut that Corson stills is an empty box with zero assets.  However there is probably another entity that leases Corson assets or manufactures things for them.

 

I can't believe the Corson Brothers are still in business and still taking down payments.   I think at this point they are just running a scam with no intention of fulfilling orders.  If that is the case and it can be proven in court, someone may get some traction and get a judgement against them, even with the contract, or at least maybe the brothers might be locked up in prison. Everyone who has been screwed by them needs to call the AG in the state Corson is in and report them and try to get them shut down and locked up in prison before they steal more people's money and ruin their lives. 

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3 hours ago, Roger said:

I believe because this is "custom" the supplier would have been required by law to expend the money you sent them, specifically on your project. They can not "bundle your money with someone else's. You provided a certain amount of money for them to purchase raw materials and begin construction on your particular still.  In NY there are always cases where building contractors take money from clients to do specific jobs, and then they fail to perform that work. They are arrested and charged with larceny.

You should check with the attorney general as well as the local district attorneys office

good luck

example http://www.newzjunky.com/nysp-roofing-contractor-arrested-on-grand-larceny-charges/

Roger, you are right.  When a customer makes a down payment to us all of that payment and the 2nd of the 3 payments goes toward that customers project.  i doubt the money that Corson receives goes to any project.  These guys really do need to go to jail.

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The Corson's attorney sent the cease and desist letter below to me in 2017.  Please see my replies below the letter.  They were of course bluffing.  They threatened lots of people with law suites at that time.  They had no case and I knew it.  Everything I said about them was true.

2017-07-17 T. Petersen to P. Hall  re Affordable_Page_1.jpg

2017-07-17 T. Petersen to P. Hall  re Affordable_Page_2.jpg

2017-07-17 T. Petersen to P. Hall  re Affordable_Page_3.jpg

You tell them any time they would like to bring suite, my attorney and I are ready.  They have no case and we will bleed them dry.  Do not contact me again and tell the Corson's that if they or anyone from their organization contacts me again I will report them for harassment.

 

Mr. Hall,

 

You are responding to my secretary, Ms. Bush. Please kindly direct any further communications regarding this matter to me.

 

In your email you allude to the fact that you have an attorney. If that is the case, please immediately forward my cease and desist demand to him or her. As I indicated in the several voice messages I left for you, if you are in fact represented by counsel then I can only speak with your counsel. It is because I received no further information about who your counsel is that the cease and desist demand was forwarded to you directly.

 

The cease and desist demand stands. I respectfully request that you forward that demand, and this email, to your attorney immediately.

 

Thank you.

 

My Reply to the above.

You tell the Corson brothers they can kiss my harry hillbilly ass, Tory called here cussing me like a dog threatening to sue me and I told him I would stomp his ass if  he ever talks to me like that in person. You picked the wrong person to try and intimidate.  Bring on your law suite, I'm ready and waiting

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Discretion of the judge to allow the suit.  In situations of illegal behavior, courts generally permit direct suits.  Liability limits don’t shield against commiting fraud.

 

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1 hour ago, Silk City Distillers said:

Discretion of the judge to allow the suit.  In situations of illegal behavior, courts generally permit direct suits.  Liability limits don’t shield against commiting fraud.

 

Several have taken them to court over the last 2 years with no results.  I know one guy who gave them a $120,000.00 down payment and he went after them with everything he had with no results.  He was not the only one.  A lot of money has been spent on attorneys with no return..

I think its unlikely that anyone will get any money back at this point.  However, I think things have changed to the degree that now they are committing strait up fraud and you are right, liability limits don't shield someone in that situation.  That being the case, you would think that criminal charges would be brought against them but their web site is still up and it appears that they are still taking orders.

  The people who have been ripped off need to call the Sheriffs Department and the DA in the county where the Corson's business resides, as well as the Idaho AG.  Until that is done, these guys are going to keep doing what they are doing.  Also, call or email the lady who did the newspaper article on Corson.  Her contact info is on the other Corson thread.     The people who have been ripped off are the ones that can stop these guys.  

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Jakehatfield, I posted this on another thread but I will reiterate it here.  If you live in a state that is different than Corson, don't waste your money on an attorney.  Go to the FBI and make a complaint.  If enough people do this, the FBI would hopefully open an investigation to see if interstate fraud is occurring.  I have recently retired from 30 years of practicing law and that is the advice I would give if you were sitting across the desk from me.

Paul, your statements regarding escaping judgments in Missouri are a bit off the right track.  I have had multiple civil cases in Missouri where I convinced the Judge that due to fraud, tenancy by the entirety property (as it is know in Missouri, we are not a community property state) could be divided and attached.  

On 3/4/2019 at 2:37 PM, Southernhighlander said:

and since our property is comunal, I cannot be held liable either because it would affect her.

The above is completely inaccurate.  Your wages, dividends, interest, pensions, and anything titled in your name alone are all reachable by Judgement Creditors.

 

I have also successfully "pierced the corporate veil" in fraud cases.  

You would be accurate in cases of negligence that you would not be able to attach property titled as husband and wife but not fraud.  And if your wife is a co-owner in your LLC, the negligence can flow to both of you if it can be shown that your are under-capitalized or under-insured.

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Aux Arc,

 

Sorry you misunderstood what I wrote

 I would certainly never commit fraud or any other crime. Affordable Distillery Equipment has an outstanding reputation, as has every business that I have ever owned and I have owned several successful businesses. .

 Please read all I wrote.  If I committed fraud you could most certainly come after me personally, however if I committed no crime you could not, or at least it would be very difficult. Also we go above and beyond concerning safety.  With stills in over 300 distilleries, we have to. 

I don't have any business partners or financial backers.  I like making all of the decisions myself.  I've always been sort of funny that way.

One of Corsons stills blew off a manway raining scalding mash all over the distillery killing 2 cats and injuring 1 person.  This was due to 2 different design flaws. The manway was flawed which probably saved the owner.  If the manway had not been so cheap it would not have blown open and more pressure would have built causing a much more catastrophic event.

Corson actually seemed to make efforts to produce the equipment that they had sold for 3 or 4 years. Several attorneys who have been paid tens of thousands of dollars could not convince any judges of fraud. My example concerning how hard it is to pierce the corporate veil was not a reference to a situation where there is fraud.  I was referencing the fact that no one has had any traction in the courts because there was at that time,no appearance of fraud or at least the courts did not seem to think so.

Now you may have a different situation.  Now it appears that they are committing fraud, so yes now they can be gone after personally,I would think.

Good advice concerning the FBI.

Interestingly enough my sister is an attorney.  She graduated from Columbia Law School in New York.  Her husband is also an attorney.  He holds degrees from both Yale and Harvard Law. I'm not as well educated.  

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Corson's site is still up and running, and number 2 in google's organic search inclusions for the search "distillery equipment"

https://www.google.com/search?q=distillery+equipment&rlz=1C1ASUC_enUS662US662&oq=distillery+equipment&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i60l3j69i65l2.9375j0j8&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

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I appreciate your distaste with injustice and the way Corson is operating. I’m sure you will be thrilled to know  Their website and Facebook is down now. Not sure for how long. I reached out to your company before I found Corson. You took 6 weeks to return my call. By that time I had already gone in another direction. The wrong direction unfortunately. Btw you kinda hijacked my thread.  

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