I own a very small specialty recruiting and staffing firm servicing government contractors and federal agencies throughout the Washington, DC region. I contracted with Amy Coleman of CoVet Solutions on 4/1/12 to provide consulting services to my firm, namely logo development, web site design, and marketing collateral. In addition, payment for services included 10 hours of Ms. Coleman's time per month to develop and seek out business/partnership opportunities with her contacts. Ms. Coleman contacted me 5/8/12 regarding a potential proposal opportunity with the federal government.
Submittal was due by 5/14/12. She asked me to provide some information to her, and that she would provide the rest. She said she would then submit the written proposal (done via email) on 5/14/12 and I asked her to be sure to 'cc' me on her email submittal she said she would. On 5/16/12, I called and left a message and emailed Ms. Coleman to email me the proposal she had submitted two days prior, per our email and phone communications the prior week.
She did not respond to either my phone message or email until two days later. She responded via email on 5/18/12, and stated she was on the road that day and would email me the proposal when she returned to the office later that day. She never sent it to me. Four days later, on 5/22/12, I called and left Ms. Coleman a message and emailed her again asking to please sent me the proposal, as she had promised twice before. Once again, no response. I then emailed her again on 5/24/12 asking to please send me the proposal. Once again, no response.
During this time, I had been dealing with an employee/associate of Ms. Coleman's regarding logo development. On 5/26/12, in my email to this person regarding a different issue, at the end of the email in bold & italic, I asked her if she has heard from Ms. Coleman, as I have been trying to get a hold of her for a while. This person did not respond to me either regarding this question. I then called and left messages for Ms. Coleman on both 5/31/12 and 6/1/12. Still no response, whether email or phone. Around the same time, I was starting to have issues with this employee/associate of Ms. Coleman. Details about that are not relevant to this complaint.
On 6/1/12, I sent a long email to Ms. Coleman detailing...(1) my consternation with why she would not respond or return my numerous emails and phone calls over the prior weeks, (2) why she would not email me a copy of the proposal she had "supposedly" (more on this below) submitted on 5/14/12, (3) how she had violated several terms of our Agreement (specifying in detail each of them), (4) how I had paid for services, most having not been performed, (5) details regarding my issues with her employee/associate mentioned above, and (6) at the end, stating two options to this mess...one, terminate the agreement and refund me for the monies that had not yet been 'realized' by those performances already paid for but not performed, or two, perform to the terms of the agreement and I would not request any refund and would pay the next month's consulting fee as well.
It's interesting to note that just 35 minutes later, Ms. Coleman responded via email to my email. Interesting in that she would not respond to any of my other emails or phone calls, but she responds to this one. That tells you a lot about this person Ms. Coleman and her company, CoVet Solutions. In her email, she wrote back...
"Whew I just read your LONG email over my phone. Eyes now crossed but I am prepared to refund ALL of your monies expended thus far. No further deliverables will be produced and we will terminate the agreement.We will issue you a refund check of the FULL amount ($3,000) that way you can find someone to do your logo, website and other works. CoVet issues checks on the 10th of the month so you should see it within 5 days of processing and should reach you by mail no later than June 15th."
I emailed back a short time later acknowledging receipt of Ms. Coleman's email. Of course, I had my suspicions whether she and CoVet would actually refund my $3,000 back to me, as she had proven herself a liar several times before.
3 weeks later on 6/21/12, 6 days after she promised that the check "should reach you by mail no later than June 15th", I emailed Ms. Coleman that I had not received the check. I also called and left her a message. Not surprisingly, Ms. Coleman did not email back or return my call. I then called her again on 6/22/12 and left another message, as well as another email that if I did not hear back from her by the morning of 6/25/12, that I would have Attorney contact her and CoVet to begin proceedings to bring suit against CoVet for the $3,000 owed to me. Ms. Coleman emailed me back on 6/23/12 stating that "some people get excited and fearful when you mention the word attorney but I do not. We will await to hear from your representative."
That was the last I have heard from Ms. Coleman or CoVet. While thinking further about it, I decided not to contact my Attorney regarding this, because attorney fees would have consumed much of the $3,000, even if I had won suit against Ms. Coleman/CoVet. Hence, I decided to file a Small Claims in General District Court, where you can so up to $4,500 in my area. I have filed the claim, and have a court date set for 8/3/12. We'll see how it goes...
In addition, going back to the "supposed" proposal Ms. Coleman submitted on 5/14/12 on behalf of my company, here's what I think happened....she got the information from me and included it in the other information she put together for the proposal. She put it in the name of CoVet only, without my company's name. She stole my information and kept it for herself/CoVet. She never had the intention of including my company in this proposal, or probably any potential future proposal. The fact that Ms. Coleman lied (I have the emails to prove) on at least two occasions regarding this issue (and lied several other times, as indicated above; again, I have the emails to prove this), makes it a very reasonable assumption for me to make...why else would she not send me the proposal after she promised at least twice, and kept avoiding my calls/emails??...obviously, she had something to hide!
A final note...I have known Ms. Coleman since 2008, when she was both a candidate and client of my recruiting/staffing firm. It's unfortunate when you think you know someone, when you really don't. In addition, prior to her current position, she worked for a small government contractor in Maryland. I actually brought suit against that company when they "stole" a candidate of mine; once that Ms. Coleman had interviewed on several occasions, and kept in contact with. They owed me $8,000+ for the "placement".
My attorney worked an out of court settlement with that company's attorney, and I settled for $5,000. Through the process, I only "blamed" the owners (husband and wife company); however, looking back now after this experience with Ms. Coleman at CoVet, I'm now thinking that Ms. Coleman is really the one who "stole" my candidate, as he was working directly for her and she was the one most intimately involved in ongoing communications with him, rather than the owner. I cannot prove that, but it seems highly reasonable to suspect that is the case.
Based on the above FACTS, I obviously would highly recommend to never do business with Ms. Coleman personally, nor with the company CoVet Solutions, which by the way, is owned by her father, Morris Coleman.