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Need advice: Received a call from an Architect I had worked with in the past to design a house. He wanted to team up with me and a "good" project manager to complete a few custom projects that were presented to him. Well, things started out good. I insisted on opening a separate bank account from any of our current individual projects to handle the four we were focusing on. This is my personal thing for keeping money separate. We never full agreed on who did what, although it would seem obvious workwise, however, since I was the GC, one an architect the other a project manager.

Here is where the problems come in - 1.The project manager does not communicate with me properly regarding the projects and many things have fallen between the cracks and he wants to argue with me about what to do, yet my company's name is on the contracts and permits. Besides that I found out "HE HAS NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE!". 2. The architect had funds from one project wired into his account although I sent the wire transfer info for the new account to the out of town homeowner. He also said he wants control of the funds from all of the project although he is not managing the projects! 3. It has been over two months and the the architect has yet to complete a simple set of 1500 sq. ft. plans that were already in CAD and needed minor changes. That particular owner is an investor and forked over 10k in a check to the architect! and so much more it would overwhelm you.

I want out of this TEAM! However, I am not sure how to NOT leave the clients in a bad position. Advise.
 

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You need a lawyer.
Whose name is the contract ultimately under?
Did you form a separate corp. with the architect for this project?
 

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Like Tim said you need legal council pronto. Although sounds like the ship has sunk. What do you have in writing/signatures? Being a G.C. you didn’t research/history of said P.M.? Or just winged it. Same w/archly. Not to be a smart arse but you stated never a solid foundation on who did what. Whose ball of wax is it? You got a P.M depending on subs to tell him how it’s done & an archy that went straight to the cake. Where do you fall in here?

Mike
 

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What do you have in writing between the parties? If there is nothing, someone is going to have to buy out or release the other parties from the project and a lawyer is going to need to be involved...

Challenge is, it sounds like from what you posted that the contracts are in your name... trying to figure out how the archi redirected funds from the customer that you gave wire deposit directions to... so your exposure extends to the client...

More detail needed...
 

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Get legal help and try and get out without losing your shirt or damaging your reputation. It sounds like the longer you work with these guys the worse it will get. If you pursue partnerships like this in the future spin up an LLC for them and make sure that LLC has clear articles of incorporation and a clearly defined operating agreement.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You need a lawyer.
Whose name is the contract ultimately under?
Did you form a separate corp. with the architect for this project?
All of the contracts are with my company only. We did not form a separate corporation.
 

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Was the check from the customer written to the architect or written to your company?

What does your contract say about who to write checks to and who to deliver them to?
 

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All of the contracts are with my company only. We did not form a separate corporation.
Then it's easy. Tell the architect to turn over the collected funds to you or you'll go to the District Attorney, what he did is fraud. Contact your clients and be sure they understand that their contract is with you and no one else, that means payments are made only to you. Fire the PM today as he is superfluous, and apparently unqualified.

You need to protect yourself and your clients, and the first step in that process is controlling the money.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Like Tim said you need legal council pronto. Although sounds like the ship has sunk. What do you have in writing/signatures? Being a G.C. you didn’t research/history of said P.M.? Or just winged it. Same w/archly. Not to be a smart arse but you stated never a solid foundation on who did what. Whose ball of wax is it? You got a P.M depending on subs to tell him how it’s done & an archy that went straight to the cake. Where do you fall in here?

Mike
The only thing in writing are my contracts directly with the clients. The PM was introduced as the Architect's project manager who would be helping, so I had no need to research him because he was not considered my employee. He also was the one introducing the clients. The architect I have used multiple times and considered him a good associate but never teamed up to do a project.

You hit the nail on the head! It was my understanding that I would do all required of a GC-- paperwork with the bank and city, hire and pay subs, schedule the projects, etc. But we never could agree upon the subs and I could never get the required documents from the architect. I don't pull permits, I must oversee the work which is why I am trying to get away from this duo.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Was the check from the customer written to the architect or written to your company?

What does your contract say about who to write checks to and who to deliver them to?
The contract is in my company name. When they interacted with the architect they gave the check to him in his company name. However, it was to be paid to mine and I would give the architect any fees.
 

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The contract is in my company name. When they interacted with the architect they gave the check to him in his company name. However, it was to be paid to mine and I would give the architect any fees.
I hope you didn't give anyone the go ahead to do any of that.
 

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Yeppers you are going to need legal 0council in a huge way. Kiss the money paid to archy & your % by by.
The only thing in writing are my contracts directly with the clients. The PM was introduced as the Architect's project manager who would be helping, so I had no need to research him because he was not considered my employee.

If I told you my plumber has a Chinese chopper pilot friend that does 2 hour trips over Hong Cong for $49. don’t worry he’s a good pilot would you sign up? It’s dog eat dog out there in a busy market not to mention it can get shady quick. Sounds like your research plan is lacking. It is what it is

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks to all of you! I believe I will talk with the clients and get my attorney as backup.
 

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The only thing in writing are my contracts directly with the clients. The PM was introduced as the Architect's project manager who would be helping, so I had no need to research him because he was not considered my employee. He also was the one introducing the clients. The architect I have used multiple times and considered him a good associate but never teamed up to do a project.

You hit the nail on the head! It was my understanding that I would do all required of a GC-- paperwork with the bank and city, hire and pay subs, schedule the projects, etc. But we never could agree upon the subs and I could never get the required documents from the architect. I don't pull permits, I must oversee the work which is why I am trying to get away from this duo.
Contract is between you and your client.
Tell the other sob's to get the F*** off YOUR job site.
Tell the architect to hand over the funds or you will see him in court. You could go after the clients and tell them since they didn't pay YOU that draw, it is still due and owed to you. That will turn them against you though.
You let things get out of control, but with some whip cracking you should be able to take control.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Contract is between you and your client.
Tell the other sob's to get the F*** off YOUR job site.
Tell the architect to hand over the funds or you will see him in court. You could go after the clients and tell them since they didn't pay YOU that draw, it is still due and owed to you. That will turn them against you though.
You let things get out of control, but with some whip cracking you should be able to take control.
TimNJ you are on the money! That's exactly what I did today. I spoke with the clients since, as you stated, the contracts were between me and them. I then informed the duo to return the client's funds since the work expected was never provided and should have been placed with the contractor in the first place. The clients were surprisingly happy that I was now their only point of contact. You are 1000% right when you say I let things get out of control. Lesson learned, never again.
 

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That's what I say, but I still learn them.

Sent from my SM-N975U using Tapatalk
 

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TimNJ you are on the money! That's exactly what I did today. I spoke with the clients since, as you stated, the contracts were between me and them. I then informed the duo to return the client's funds since the work expected was never provided and should have been placed with the contractor in the first place. The clients were surprisingly happy that I was now their only point of contact. You are 1000% right when you say I let things get out of control. Lesson learned, never again.
Good for you!
Hang in there.
 
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