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Fax mentis incendium gloria cultum, et cetera, et cetera... Memo bis pun
April 1, 2014 10:04 AM

I won a contest today, and frankly, I think I’m in over my head. The prize? Full ownership of a confectionary corporation, along with their factory, and other headaches. I know YANAL or ML, but maybe you’ve had a similar experience or taken on cases like this; before I do drop big bucks on a lawyer, I need advice about a few things.

First of all, is this prize even legal? What if I don’t WANT to own a company -- can I ask for the prize to be an equivalent amount of cash? It’s privately owned, So I can’t ask for stock instead.

The tour of the factory alone exposed me to many things that would make me think “Liability!!” -- safety code violations, questionable labor practices -- not to mention what happened to the other contest winners on the tour. Do I assume these downsides as well?

I'm pretty sure this place is involved in questionable business practices and I'm not sure if all of the employees are in the country legally. How can I get that sorted without seeming ungrateful, or undeserving?
posted by Charles Buck &c. to Work & Money around (14 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
First off, improve the working conditions for the little orange men. They are being worked to the bone and might sue you for overtime. Also increase your liability insurance. That place is a death trap for children!
posted by saradarlin at 9:29 PM on March 31, 2014 [8 favorites]

Find out what happened to the little African and Caucasian men who worked for the former owner.
posted by brujita at 10:05 PM on March 31, 2014 [2 favorites]

Honestly, given what you've described so far, it may be best if you refuse the prize and just SCRAM.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 10:26 PM on March 31, 2014 [11 favorites]

Are there any competitors that might be interested in the company's assets, or, better yet, trade secrets?
posted by kagredon at 10:51 PM on March 31, 2014 [5 favorites]

Were you notified of your winning this contest by Mrs. Charming Smith of Nigeria? If so, it's super legit to just ask for the money to be sent by wire.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 11:31 PM on March 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

Whatever else happens, if the factory has safety issues, stay out of the elevator.
posted by gingerest at 2:35 AM on April 1, 2014 [11 favorites]

You may just be overthinking things. Do you suffer from a lot of anxiety? Things may not be what they seem. For example, maybe the employees are happier there than in a place full of Wangdoodles and Hornswogglers and Snozzwangers and rotten, Vermicious Knids. I say just accept the prize, especially if you have elderly dependents. Remember that the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted lived happily ever after.
posted by billiebee at 4:28 AM on April 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

This sounds dangerous. You might want to leave the country, take a leisurely boat trip across the Atlantic -- I think there's a peach cruise coming up.

If you want to try something a bit more adult, you could serve a leg of lamb and potatoes. Yes, and I think a can of peas.
posted by jeather at 5:57 AM on April 1, 2014 [8 favorites]

A buddy of mine, Danny, is great at solving problems like this. He's like the champion of the world at it. MeMail me for his contact info.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:09 AM on April 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

IAAL but IANAL. Labor laws vary a great deal between jurisdictions. You need to hire an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction ASAP to advise you on these matters.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:22 AM on April 1, 2014

You should discuss this with an accountant as soon as possible, as you'll almost certainly owe a significant amount of tax on this windfall despite its illiquid nature. Your recent question about caring for elderly relatives on a sub-povertyline income suggests you might end up needing to sell some of the company's assets just to pay what you owe to the government. But there are probably alternate solutions involving trusts and whatnot that only an accountant would be equipped to advise you on. Make sure you secure that advisement before ownership of the company is transferred to your name.
posted by nobody at 7:22 AM on April 1, 2014 [6 favorites]

There's no earthly way of knowing which direction this is going. There's no knowing where you're rowing. Or which way the river's flowing.
posted by scody at 11:08 AM on April 1, 2014 [4 favorites]

Classic Golden Ticket scam.
posted by aniola at 1:04 PM on April 1, 2014

Is it that factory where nobody ever goes out and nobody ever comes in? This could be trouble. I don't know if it's worth it.
posted by SisterHavana at 8:37 PM on April 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

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