Franchise Fraud: Hard to Swallow

What you pay for when you lose in arbitration.

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In civil court, the law almost never requires a losing party to cover the winner’s legal costs, let alone its lunch tab. Arbitration is different. Here are the expenses Deborah Williams and Richard Welshans were obliged to pay after losing to Coffee Beanery.

Court reporter/transcription fees: $35,571.24

Holiday Inn conference room: $2,808.16

Arbitrator’s fee: $16,800

Arbitration association fee: $8,500

Past-due franchise royalties: $13,710.16

Cost to deliver, house, and feed opposing witnesses: $2,700.14

Coffee Beanery lawyers’ lunches: $504.25

Beanery lawyers’ commute: $926

Beanery’s legal/accounting fees for arbitration, and for defense against Maryland state investigation, to which the couple was not a party: $105,932.40

Total: $187,452.35

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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