• Report: #241537

Complaint Review: Cornerstone Careers Partners

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  • Submitted: Fri, March 30, 2007
  • Updated: Wed, June 24, 2009

  • Reported By:Burlington Ontario
Cornerstone Careers Partners
700 Dorval Drive, Suite 305, Oakville, Ontario Canada

Cornerstone Careers Partners ripoff misrepresents ability to source jobs in the "hidden job market" Oakville Ontario

*Author of original report: John Gardner finally pays retribution.

*Author of original report: Still waiting for court-ordered refund

*Author of original report: Still waiting for court-ordered refund

*Author of original report: Beware of firms preying on jobless

*Author of original report: Oakville recruiter out of business

*Author of original report: Oakville recruiter out of business

*Author of original report: Oakville recruiter out of business

*Author of original report: Oakville recruiter out of business

*Author of original report: Career counselling firm must repay client

*Author of original report: Career counselling firm must repay client

*Author of original report: Career counselling firm must repay client

*Author of original report: Career counselling firm must repay client

*Author of original report: Career counselling firm must repay client

*UPDATE Employee: I'm not the Front man, and no longer an employee.

*Author of original report: RJK and Associates aka Cornerstone Career Partners aka Carnegie Career Partners

*Author of original report: RJK and Associates aka Cornerstone Career Partners aka Carnegie Career Partners

*Author of original report: RJK and Associates aka Cornerstone Career Partners aka Carnegie Career Partners

*Author of original report: Better Bussiness Bureau - UNSATSFACTORY STATUS

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On July 18, 2006, I entered into a sales agreement with Cornerstone Career Partners in which I paid them a refundable retainer fee of $3,289.40 to help me find and land a new job using their career management services that they claimed used a "unique combination of traditional search methods and state of the art business intelligence" to provide me with advanced career search methods. They claimed that their service would enable me to access hiring decision makers in the hidden job market as no other candidate would be able to do on his/her own. Sounds great doesn't it. I agreed to pay a further balance of $2,000.00 three months after their service helped me land a job or I would be refunded my paid retainer fee after one year if they did not directly help me land a new job.

I faithfully revamped my resume according to my assigned career advisor's instructions (Lori Delbo) and was very optimistic about my job search but I slowly became disillusioned with the Cornerstones process after several frustrating months of fruitless and ineffective meetings with my career advisor. In fact, since I retained Cornerstone to help me find a new job I did not even received one prescreening call or interview from a Cornerstone referred employer let alone a job offer.
After several attempts to schedule a meeting with the owner John Gardiner, we finally met on Monday October 16, 2006 to discuss the progress of my job search and I suggested that remedial action needed to be taken to start producing some tangible results for me. I plainly complained to him at this time that I was very disappointed with the current process and I believed that some changes needed to be instituted. His response to me at this time was that no change to the current process was needed and I left the meeting feeling dejected and discouraged.

I continued to regularly meet with my career advisor as required by our contract, when on December 6, 2006 I received an unsolicited email from their licensed third-party Internet job search system provider called CareerAIM (http://www.careeraim.com) informing me that my access to this service (job listing) would be summarily discontinued on December 8, 2006 because Cornerstone had not paid them for several months despite their many attempts to contact them. I called the CareerAIM business manager who confirmed the problem and I naturally became alarmed that Cornerstone was on the brink of insolvency. I followed up with an email to John on December 7, 2006 and blind Cc'd some of the other Cornerstone clients asking him for an explanation of this unexpected development. I was taken aback by the many disgruntled replies I received back from the other Cornerstone clients that I blind Cc'd who also expressed their concern over the job search system service disruption and their general disenchantment with Cornerstone's service.

John's response to my email on December 7, 2006 stated that he had come to an amicable arrangement with CareerAIM so that no service disruption would occur but then stated in a separate correspondence that he had begun legal action against me personally and CareerAIM for breaching the privacy of his clients and for causing malicious harm to his business. I was truly shocked and disappointed with his openly hostile rebuttal.

With respect to his allegation that I had somehow invaded the privacy of his clients and I had thereby damaged your business, I pointed out: (1) that the information concerning Cornerstone's present and former clients was readily and publicly available to me and (2) that my simply discovering the true facts of his business does not damage that business, but that the manner in which he is conducting his business is the real source of any harm to his business.
In conclusion, I have totally lost faith in the business relationship I forged with Cornerstone and their ability to help me land a new job. It is clear that they have knowingly misrepresented to me their ability, experience and business connections to assist me in obtaining employment and that this is not a situation that is unique to myself. I entered into the contract with Cornerstone in complete reliance on their representations. I have been advised by my lawyer that John and his firm are therefore liable for such misrepresentation and that, in addition, he and his firm have unilaterally breached the contract that I had entered into in good faith with Cornerstone Career Partners.

I went onto to advise John, on a without prejudice basis, that if I received payment of the sum of $ 3,289.40 no later than Friday, January 19, 2007, I would consider this matter as settled and I would agree to release him and Cornerstone from any further claims in regard to my contract with his firm. I also warned him that if I did not receive repayment of the sum of $ 3,289.40 by Friday, January 19, 2007, then I would take all legal actions available to me; these including filing a formal consumer protection complaint with the appropriate regulatory and provincial authorities and also, commencing a lawsuit against him personally and Cornerstone Career Partners for the above-mentioned principal amount, for general damages resulting from lost time and opportunities, for interest and for all my legal fees and expenses.

John has completely ignored my letter and has ceased all contact with me as is his usual practice with disgruntled clients (and there are many). My only hope of recovering my lost money is through small claims court. So learn from my bad judgement, naivety and inexperience in this regard, when I say buyer beware and never, ever pay money up front to a head hunter.

I welcome your own experiences with this questionalable organization. See other comments posted on this website regarding Cornerstone Career Partners.

Charles
Burlington, Ontario
Canada

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/30/2007 10:19 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Cornerstone-Careers-Partners/Oakville-Ontario-L6K-3V3/Cornerstone-Careers-Partners-ripoff-misrepresents-ability-to-source-jobs-in-the-hidden-jo-241537. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Author of original report

John Gardner finally pays retribution.

AUTHOR: Charles - (Canada)

Bill wins long fight for refund
TheSpec.com - Business - Bill wins long fight for refund
ACTION LINE
See http://www.thehamiltonspectator.com/article/560239

Al MacRury
The Hamilton Spectator

(May 5, 2009)
The long wait is over.

Bill Harse has won his battle with the former operator of a now defunct career counselling agency.

But some careers don't last this long.

"I received my money ($2,849) last week, in the form of a money order issued by the Ontario Ministry of Small Business and Consumer Services," Harse recently told us.

In 2006, the Stoney Creek resident had visited an Oakville career counselling firm named Cornerstone and paid an upfront fee for its services.

If the firm did not secure him employment within a year, his money was supposed to be refunded.

If it did secure him employment, Harse would pay an additional $2,440.

That's a lot of cash when you're out of work and you need to support your family.

The year came and went and Harse says he was never referred to a single job interview.

When he asked for the return of his money, as his contract with Cornerstone (6316352 Canada Inc.) specified, operator John Gardner told him his company was no longer in business.

Instead, Harse was referred to a recruiting company operating on the same floor of the same office building.

The RJK Group of Companies (6316361 Canada Inc.) collected its fees from any firm or client that hired employees such as Harse. Gardner claimed he was the general manager of the new company, though later he would be identified as a "silent partner."

Within months, RJK was also out of business, evicted from its offices for failure to pay its rent. Employees would later tell Action Line they were owed their paycheques.

Harse filed a complaint with the ministry. The ministry tried to contact Gardner, but received no response.

Charges were subsequently laid against Gardner and both corporations for violating Ontario's Consumer Protection Act.

On July 21, 2008, Gardner pleaded guilty in Hamilton small claims court to one count of failure to return Harse's money and was given 90 days to forward a certified cheque to the ministry.

Ninety days came and went and Gardner said he couldn't refund Harse's money because he was having trouble finding a job himself.

He was granted a further extension and eventually paid the ministry, and the ministry paid Harse.

Employers take note: Harse is a determined, yet patient fellow.
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#2 Author of original report

Still waiting for court-ordered refund

AUTHOR: Charles - (Canada)

Still waiting for court-ordered refund
TheSpec.com - Business - Still waiting for court-ordered refund
Former career centre client is owed nearly $3,000 from defunct recruiting firm

Al MacRury
The Hamilton Spectator
See http://www.thespec.com/printArticle/491376

(Jan 6, 2009)
They say time heals all wounds and good things come to those who wait.

But in our pop-culture society, not many of us are good at waiting for anything -- stop lights, tax returns or divorces.

Stoney Creek's Bill Harse is certainly adopting the philosophy of generations past. Then again, he hasn't been given much choice.

If you're a regular reader of this column, you'll know Harse is the guy who stood up and challenged the career centre he went to when he was out of work and desperately seeking employment.

In 2006, Harse visited an Oakville career counselling firm and paid nearly $2,849.40 upfront for their services. If the firm did not secure him employment within a year, his money was supposed to be refunded. If they did secure him employment, Harse would pay an additional $2,440.

That's a lot of cash when you're out of work and you need to support your family.

The year came and went and Harse says he never was referred to a single job interview.

When he asked that his money be returned, as his contract with Cornerstone (6316352 Canada Inc.) specified, operator John Gardner told him his company no longer existed.

Instead, Harse says, he was referred to a recruiting company operating on the same floor of the same office building. RJK Group of Companies (6316361 Canada Inc.) collected its fees from any firm or client that hired employees such as Harse. Gardner claimed he was the general manager of the new company, Harse says, though later he would be identified as a "silent partner."

Within months, RJK was out of business, evicted for failure to pay its rent. Employees would later tell Action Line they were owed their paycheques.

Playing by the book, Harse filed a complaint with the then Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. The ministry tried to contact Gardner, but received no response. Charges were subsequently laid against Gardner and both corporations for violating Ontario's Consumer Protection Act.

On July 21, 2008, Gardner pleaded guilty in Hamilton small claims court to one count of failure to return Harse's money and was given 90 days to forward a certified cheque to the ministry.

The ministry would then reimburse Harse.

This is where the story becomes rather ironic.

When he returned to court last fall, the veteran career counsellor claimed he couldn't refund Harse's money because he was having trouble finding a job himself.

The Burlington resident was granted a further six-month extension.

Meanwhile, the man whose money he took is once again unemployed.

But the plaintiff must wait until the defendant decides to pay.

So Harse and his family must struggle to pay their mortgage, their debts and their groceries.

Eventually, the wheels of justice do turn, however slowly, and Harse may get his money.

But if you are an Ontario, Canada consumer who has been wronged and is seeking redress from the legal system, it will help if you have the patience of Job, like Harse does.
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#3 Author of original report

Still waiting for court-ordered refund

AUTHOR: Charles - (Canada)

Still waiting for court-ordered refund
TheSpec.com - Business - Still waiting for court-ordered refund
Former career centre client is owed nearly $3,000 from defunct recruiting firm

Al MacRury
The Hamilton Spectator
See http://www.thespec.com/printArticle/491376

(Jan 6, 2009)
They say time heals all wounds and good things come to those who wait.

But in our pop-culture society, not many of us are good at waiting for anything -- stop lights, tax returns or divorces.

Stoney Creek's Bill Harse is certainly adopting the philosophy of generations past. Then again, he hasn't been given much choice.

If you're a regular reader of this column, you'll know Harse is the guy who stood up and challenged the career centre he went to when he was out of work and desperately seeking employment.

In 2006, Harse visited an Oakville career counselling firm and paid nearly $2,849.40 upfront for their services. If the firm did not secure him employment within a year, his money was supposed to be refunded. If they did secure him employment, Harse would pay an additional $2,440.

That's a lot of cash when you're out of work and you need to support your family.

The year came and went and Harse says he never was referred to a single job interview.

When he asked that his money be returned, as his contract with Cornerstone (6316352 Canada Inc.) specified, operator John Gardner told him his company no longer existed.

Instead, Harse says, he was referred to a recruiting company operating on the same floor of the same office building. RJK Group of Companies (6316361 Canada Inc.) collected its fees from any firm or client that hired employees such as Harse. Gardner claimed he was the general manager of the new company, Harse says, though later he would be identified as a "silent partner."

Within months, RJK was out of business, evicted for failure to pay its rent. Employees would later tell Action Line they were owed their paycheques.

Playing by the book, Harse filed a complaint with the then Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. The ministry tried to contact Gardner, but received no response. Charges were subsequently laid against Gardner and both corporations for violating Ontario's Consumer Protection Act.

On July 21, 2008, Gardner pleaded guilty in Hamilton small claims court to one count of failure to return Harse's money and was given 90 days to forward a certified cheque to the ministry.

The ministry would then reimburse Harse.

This is where the story becomes rather ironic.

When he returned to court last fall, the veteran career counsellor claimed he couldn't refund Harse's money because he was having trouble finding a job himself.

The Burlington resident was granted a further six-month extension.

Meanwhile, the man whose money he took is once again unemployed.

But the plaintiff must wait until the defendant decides to pay.

So Harse and his family must struggle to pay their mortgage, their debts and their groceries.

Eventually, the wheels of justice do turn, however slowly, and Harse may get his money.

But if you are an Ontario, Canada consumer who has been wronged and is seeking redress from the legal system, it will help if you have the patience of Job, like Harse does.
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#4 Author of original report

Beware of firms preying on jobless

AUTHOR: Charles - (Canada)

Beware of firms preying on jobless

February 07, 2008
Al MacRury
The Hamilton Spectator
http://www.thespec.com/article/321230

When hunting for a job, don't get lured into the trap of a recruiting firm preying upon the unemployed.

"Just over a year ago I was unemployed and seeking work through every possible venue," Bill Harse told Action Line. "I was contacted by an employment agency which had found my resume online. This was supposedly a reputable recruiting company, offering guaranteed employment in my line of work to my complete satisfaction, for a fee."

Harse says he was told Cornerstone (6316352 Canada Inc.) had an "extensive database" with many high-profile companies always looking to hire a production supervisor in the manufacturing sector.

"To my later regret, I signed up. The firm's representative (John Gardner) personally signed that I would receive a full refund of my $2,849.40, should no job be found by Nov. 27, 2007. If a job was secured, an additional $2,440 was owing."

In the months which followed, Harse says, he had a number of meetings with representatives of Gardner's firm who reworked his resume. At one stage, he noticed the counsellors appeared to be working for a different firm, the RJK Group of Companies, and not Cornerstone. Both firms used the same 700 Dorval Dr., Oakville, address, but occupied different suites on the same floor of the building. When he inquired, Harse says, he was told Cornerstone had taken steps to "better serve our clients."

Harse maintains he never had a single job interview. A year later, he began asking for his refund. He said he made many calls to Gardner's office, which went unanswered.

In a Dec. 2, 2007, registered letter to Gardner, he recounted his frustration at his lack of assistance.

"Not only have I not attained a job, you have given me zero assistance. Not one single job lead was forthcoming from you. Not one interview was granted, nor were there any job listings provided with anything remotely resembling production supervisor."

In a brief reply to Harse, Gardner identified himself as general manager for the RJK Group.

"I have been out of the country and could not return your calls," Gardner wrote. "Cornerstone closed last year and no longer operates. I am sorry to hear that you have not received work yet. I am unable to return any money as the company has closed and no longer operates. I now operate a recruiting company with partners and can help pass on some leads if you can forward your resume."

When contacted by Action Line, Gardner said Cornerstone actually went out of business at the end of 2006, but kept servicing existing clients. A corporate search, however, showed the firm was in the process of dissolution on Dec. 18, 2007. That is three weeks after Harse's contract had expired. Gardner was listed as the principal of the firm.

"We tried to provide the balance of our services the best we could for as long as we could to the remaining clients we had," Gardner stated in a written reply. "This gentlemen worked with my former adviser at my personal expense. I did not want or try to rip off Mr. Harse. We will attempt to locate him a position as long as he remains in our database, or informs us he no longer wishes to seek employment. If you looked at the corporate records, (you would see) we were in business since 2004, but eventually we could not survive. I myself invested many dollars that can never be recovered."

Kim McAvoy of the RJK Group said Gardner was hired as general manager of her company and RJK has no affiliation with Gardner's own defunct firm, Cornerstone. She said the RJK Group only charges its clients a fee if they secure a job.

Ontario's Employment Agencies Act was repealed on March 31, 2001. That act prohibits employment agencies from collecting upfront payment. Agencies are only permitted to charge a placement fee once a client secures a job.

Media relations co-ordinator Bruce Skeaff of the Ministry of Labour's Communications and Marketing Branch said the government of Mike Harris decided the EAA "fell outside the scope of the Ministry of Labour's mandate since the relationship between job applicants and placement agencies is generally commercial in nature and is not an employment relationship."

The Ministry of Labour enforces the Employment Standards Act, which governs employer-employee relations. It does not protect people who are looking for work, like Harse. If a job hunter feels taken advantage of, he or she can file a complaint with the Ministry of Government Services, which oversees the Consumer Protection Act.

The Ministry of Government Services [Ontario, Canada] has issued a warning to job hunters to be wary of unscrupulous recruiting agencies on its website: http://www.gov.on.ca/MGS/en/Spotlight/172341.html.

The MGS Consumer Protection Branch's complaints number is 1-800-889-9768.
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#5 Author of original report

Oakville recruiter out of business

AUTHOR: Charles - (Canada)

Employees unpaid after firm evicted
Oakville recruiter out of business

March 20, 2008
Al MacRury
The Hamilton Spectator
http://www.thespec.com/article/342298

An Oakville recruiting firm has been evicted from its offices, leaving employees unpaid and its operators looking for work.

While the RJK Group of Companies still has phone lines operational and its website remains up and running, the man who funded this fledgling company ... the same man who recently "dissolved" a career counselling firm ... now says both companies are out of business.

The RJK Group and Cornerstone (6316352 Canada Inc.) operated out of the same 700 Dorval Drive office building and had suites on the third floor.

"Well, things have gotten worse since we last talked," John Gardner admitted in a March 16 e-mail to Action Line. "I tried to acquire new financing for RJK as the partners who were running the place could not generate enough revenue to keep it open. The employees were paid until Jan. 31 and are owed salary for the last two weeks worked.

"The landlord did close the business after we informed him we could not come up with the financing we needed to remain open. RJK is out of business. The phones will be cancelled and the website will run its course and we are all out of work."

The Ontario Ministry of Government Services says it's still awaiting a response from Gardner, who officially dissolved Cornerstone in December 2007, a year after taking a $2,849.40 payment from Bill Harse of Stoney Creek.

The contract Harse signed with Cornerstone stated his money would be refunded if the firm did not find him a job in his chosen field, a production supervisor in the manufacturing sector, within a year. If Cornerstone secured Harse a job, he owed an additional $2,440.

Harse told Action Line he never had a single job interview. When he demanded his money be returned, Gardner told him Cornerstone was out of business and there would be no refund. Gardner then portrayed himself as general manager of RJK Group. But Kim McAvoy (who described herself as a partner in RJK Group) told Action Line that Gardner was the "primary investor and silent partner" in the recruiting firm. Recruiting firms charge employers fees if they hire workers.

Durham Stevens of the Morguard Corporation (Morguard Investments) said Cornerstone was the tenant of record at 700 Dorval Drive, Oakville, and confirmed the firm was evicted at the end of January.

Alan Cairns of MGS said Gardner promised a response to his ministry by March 6. Gardner told us he was "trying to get the records of Mr. Harse so I can answer the MGS with the facts on what we did for him."

Action Line found no Oakville firm named RJK Group of Companies registered with MGS.

An unrelated, well-established "power systems" and "mobile mechanics" firm headquartered in Saskatchewan uses the name R.J.K. Group of Companies.

Founder Robert J. Kreuger told Action Line he'd never heard of the Ontario recruiting firm and it has no relationship with his company.

On its website, the RJK Group recruiting firm claims it is a "prominent" firm with extensive experience.

"RJK is dedicated to building solid, long-term relationships and providing our clients with the best possible service. Our approach to every assignment will always be thorough and designed to get the best results."

The RJK Group was in business for a year. Gardner ran Cornerstone for three years.
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#6 Author of original report

Oakville recruiter out of business

AUTHOR: Charles - (Canada)

Employees unpaid after firm evicted
Oakville recruiter out of business

March 20, 2008
Al MacRury
The Hamilton Spectator
http://www.thespec.com/article/342298

An Oakville recruiting firm has been evicted from its offices, leaving employees unpaid and its operators looking for work.

While the RJK Group of Companies still has phone lines operational and its website remains up and running, the man who funded this fledgling company ... the same man who recently "dissolved" a career counselling firm ... now says both companies are out of business.

The RJK Group and Cornerstone (6316352 Canada Inc.) operated out of the same 700 Dorval Drive office building and had suites on the third floor.

"Well, things have gotten worse since we last talked," John Gardner admitted in a March 16 e-mail to Action Line. "I tried to acquire new financing for RJK as the partners who were running the place could not generate enough revenue to keep it open. The employees were paid until Jan. 31 and are owed salary for the last two weeks worked.

"The landlord did close the business after we informed him we could not come up with the financing we needed to remain open. RJK is out of business. The phones will be cancelled and the website will run its course and we are all out of work."

The Ontario Ministry of Government Services says it's still awaiting a response from Gardner, who officially dissolved Cornerstone in December 2007, a year after taking a $2,849.40 payment from Bill Harse of Stoney Creek.

The contract Harse signed with Cornerstone stated his money would be refunded if the firm did not find him a job in his chosen field, a production supervisor in the manufacturing sector, within a year. If Cornerstone secured Harse a job, he owed an additional $2,440.

Harse told Action Line he never had a single job interview. When he demanded his money be returned, Gardner told him Cornerstone was out of business and there would be no refund. Gardner then portrayed himself as general manager of RJK Group. But Kim McAvoy (who described herself as a partner in RJK Group) told Action Line that Gardner was the "primary investor and silent partner" in the recruiting firm. Recruiting firms charge employers fees if they hire workers.

Durham Stevens of the Morguard Corporation (Morguard Investments) said Cornerstone was the tenant of record at 700 Dorval Drive, Oakville, and confirmed the firm was evicted at the end of January.

Alan Cairns of MGS said Gardner promised a response to his ministry by March 6. Gardner told us he was "trying to get the records of Mr. Harse so I can answer the MGS with the facts on what we did for him."

Action Line found no Oakville firm named RJK Group of Companies registered with MGS.

An unrelated, well-established "power systems" and "mobile mechanics" firm headquartered in Saskatchewan uses the name R.J.K. Group of Companies.

Founder Robert J. Kreuger told Action Line he'd never heard of the Ontario recruiting firm and it has no relationship with his company.

On its website, the RJK Group recruiting firm claims it is a "prominent" firm with extensive experience.

"RJK is dedicated to building solid, long-term relationships and providing our clients with the best possible service. Our approach to every assignment will always be thorough and designed to get the best results."

The RJK Group was in business for a year. Gardner ran Cornerstone for three years.
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#7 Author of original report

Oakville recruiter out of business

AUTHOR: Charles - (Canada)

Employees unpaid after firm evicted
Oakville recruiter out of business

March 20, 2008
Al MacRury
The Hamilton Spectator
http://www.thespec.com/article/342298

An Oakville recruiting firm has been evicted from its offices, leaving employees unpaid and its operators looking for work.

While the RJK Group of Companies still has phone lines operational and its website remains up and running, the man who funded this fledgling company ... the same man who recently "dissolved" a career counselling firm ... now says both companies are out of business.

The RJK Group and Cornerstone (6316352 Canada Inc.) operated out of the same 700 Dorval Drive office building and had suites on the third floor.

"Well, things have gotten worse since we last talked," John Gardner admitted in a March 16 e-mail to Action Line. "I tried to acquire new financing for RJK as the partners who were running the place could not generate enough revenue to keep it open. The employees were paid until Jan. 31 and are owed salary for the last two weeks worked.

"The landlord did close the business after we informed him we could not come up with the financing we needed to remain open. RJK is out of business. The phones will be cancelled and the website will run its course and we are all out of work."

The Ontario Ministry of Government Services says it's still awaiting a response from Gardner, who officially dissolved Cornerstone in December 2007, a year after taking a $2,849.40 payment from Bill Harse of Stoney Creek.

The contract Harse signed with Cornerstone stated his money would be refunded if the firm did not find him a job in his chosen field, a production supervisor in the manufacturing sector, within a year. If Cornerstone secured Harse a job, he owed an additional $2,440.

Harse told Action Line he never had a single job interview. When he demanded his money be returned, Gardner told him Cornerstone was out of business and there would be no refund. Gardner then portrayed himself as general manager of RJK Group. But Kim McAvoy (who described herself as a partner in RJK Group) told Action Line that Gardner was the "primary investor and silent partner" in the recruiting firm. Recruiting firms charge employers fees if they hire workers.

Durham Stevens of the Morguard Corporation (Morguard Investments) said Cornerstone was the tenant of record at 700 Dorval Drive, Oakville, and confirmed the firm was evicted at the end of January.

Alan Cairns of MGS said Gardner promised a response to his ministry by March 6. Gardner told us he was "trying to get the records of Mr. Harse so I can answer the MGS with the facts on what we did for him."

Action Line found no Oakville firm named RJK Group of Companies registered with MGS.

An unrelated, well-established "power systems" and "mobile mechanics" firm headquartered in Saskatchewan uses the name R.J.K. Group of Companies.

Founder Robert J. Kreuger told Action Line he'd never heard of the Ontario recruiting firm and it has no relationship with his company.

On its website, the RJK Group recruiting firm claims it is a "prominent" firm with extensive experience.

"RJK is dedicated to building solid, long-term relationships and providing our clients with the best possible service. Our approach to every assignment will always be thorough and designed to get the best results."

The RJK Group was in business for a year. Gardner ran Cornerstone for three years.
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#8 Author of original report

Oakville recruiter out of business

AUTHOR: Charles - (Canada)

Employees unpaid after firm evicted
Oakville recruiter out of business

March 20, 2008
Al MacRury
The Hamilton Spectator
http://www.thespec.com/article/342298

An Oakville recruiting firm has been evicted from its offices, leaving employees unpaid and its operators looking for work.

While the RJK Group of Companies still has phone lines operational and its website remains up and running, the man who funded this fledgling company ... the same man who recently "dissolved" a career counselling firm ... now says both companies are out of business.

The RJK Group and Cornerstone (6316352 Canada Inc.) operated out of the same 700 Dorval Drive office building and had suites on the third floor.

"Well, things have gotten worse since we last talked," John Gardner admitted in a March 16 e-mail to Action Line. "I tried to acquire new financing for RJK as the partners who were running the place could not generate enough revenue to keep it open. The employees were paid until Jan. 31 and are owed salary for the last two weeks worked.

"The landlord did close the business after we informed him we could not come up with the financing we needed to remain open. RJK is out of business. The phones will be cancelled and the website will run its course and we are all out of work."

The Ontario Ministry of Government Services says it's still awaiting a response from Gardner, who officially dissolved Cornerstone in December 2007, a year after taking a $2,849.40 payment from Bill Harse of Stoney Creek.

The contract Harse signed with Cornerstone stated his money would be refunded if the firm did not find him a job in his chosen field, a production supervisor in the manufacturing sector, within a year. If Cornerstone secured Harse a job, he owed an additional $2,440.

Harse told Action Line he never had a single job interview. When he demanded his money be returned, Gardner told him Cornerstone was out of business and there would be no refund. Gardner then portrayed himself as general manager of RJK Group. But Kim McAvoy (who described herself as a partner in RJK Group) told Action Line that Gardner was the "primary investor and silent partner" in the recruiting firm. Recruiting firms charge employers fees if they hire workers.

Durham Stevens of the Morguard Corporation (Morguard Investments) said Cornerstone was the tenant of record at 700 Dorval Drive, Oakville, and confirmed the firm was evicted at the end of January.

Alan Cairns of MGS said Gardner promised a response to his ministry by March 6. Gardner told us he was "trying to get the records of Mr. Harse so I can answer the MGS with the facts on what we did for him."

Action Line found no Oakville firm named RJK Group of Companies registered with MGS.

An unrelated, well-established "power systems" and "mobile mechanics" firm headquartered in Saskatchewan uses the name R.J.K. Group of Companies.

Founder Robert J. Kreuger told Action Line he'd never heard of the Ontario recruiting firm and it has no relationship with his company.

On its website, the RJK Group recruiting firm claims it is a "prominent" firm with extensive experience.

"RJK is dedicated to building solid, long-term relationships and providing our clients with the best possible service. Our approach to every assignment will always be thorough and designed to get the best results."

The RJK Group was in business for a year. Gardner ran Cornerstone for three years.
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#9 Author of original report

Career counselling firm must repay client

AUTHOR: Charles - (Canada)

Author: Al MacRury - Hamilton Spectator Business Action Line Reporter
Source: The Hamilton Spectator - newspaper
GOTO: http://www.thespec.com/article/411972
Date: Jul 31, 2008

An out-of-work career counsellor has been given 90 days to refund $2,849.40 to a former client.

John Gardner entered a guilty plea in Hamilton court on July 21 on behalf of his former corporation, 6316352 Canada Inc., an Oakville-based firm which carried on business using the name Cornerstone.

Gardner has until Oct. 20 to repay William Harse of Stoney Creek.

The Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services laid charges against Gardner and two firms he operated, following Action Line's reports on Harse's complaint.

"The ministry agreed to allow him three months and set the next court date for October," Harse told Action Line. "They also said he could pay it back in smaller amounts rather than all at once, as long as he pays by Oct. 20. The payment must be made by certified cheque to the ministry. Then it will be forwarded to me. It sounds promising."

A ministry investigator confirmed Gardner had entered the guilty plea.

The former operator of the Oakville career counselling firm and the silent partner behind a recruiting agency, Gardner was charged with violating Ontario's Consumer Protection Act.

The charges pertained to his failure to refund money Harse originally paid to him in 2006, and to false and misleading representation.

Similar charges were laid against 6316352 Canada Inc. (Cornerstone) and 6316361 Canada Inc., (which carried on business as the RJK Group of Companies). Both firms operated from 700 Dorval Dr. in Oakville.

The charges were posted on the ministry's Consumer Beware List, consumerbeware.mgs.gov.on.ca.

As Action Line reported Feb. 7, Harse paid $2,849.40 to Gardner in November 2006.

If Harse secured a job thanks to Gardner's efforts, he was supposed to pay an additional $2,440.

If he failed to secure a job within a year, his money was to be refunded.

Harse claims he never received a job interview, let alone a job offer.

When he asked for the return of his money a year later, Harse was told Cornerstone was out of business and Gardner was now running a recruiting firm (RJK Group of Companies).

Gardner portrayed himself as RJK's general manager, but a partner in the firm told Action Line he was the primary investor in that company.

The recruiting firm collected commission from employers once workers were hired.

The RJK Group was evicted from its offices by its landlord early this year, leaving employees unpaid.

If you have a consumer problem, call 905-526-4665 or e-mail

amacrury@thespec.com. Not all calls and letters can be answered.
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#10 Author of original report

Career counselling firm must repay client

AUTHOR: Charles - (Canada)

Action Line
See Hamilton Spectator article at http://www.thespec.com/article/411972

July 31, 2008
Al MacRury
The Hamilton Spectator
(Jul 31, 2008)
An out-of-work career counsellor has been given 90 days to refund $2,849.40 to a former client.

John Gardner entered a guilty plea in Hamilton court on July 21 on behalf of his former corporation, 6316352 Canada Inc., an Oakville-based firm which carried on business using the name Cornerstone.

Gardner has until Oct. 20 to repay William Harse of Stoney Creek.

The Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services laid charges against Gardner and two firms he operated, following Action Line's reports on Harse's complaint.

"The ministry agreed to allow him three months and set the next court date for October," Harse told Action Line. "They also said he could pay it back in smaller amounts rather than all at once, as long as he pays by Oct. 20. The payment must be made by certified cheque to the ministry. Then it will be forwarded to me. It sounds promising."

A ministry investigator confirmed Gardner had entered the guilty plea.

The former operator of the Oakville career counselling firm and the silent partner behind a recruiting agency, Gardner was charged with violating Ontario's Consumer Protection Act.

The charges pertained to his failure to refund money Harse originally paid to him in 2006, and to false and misleading representation.

Similar charges were laid against 6316352 Canada Inc. (Cornerstone) and 6316361 Canada Inc., (which carried on business as the RJK Group of Companies). Both firms operated from 700 Dorval Dr. in Oakville.

The charges were posted on the ministry's Consumer Beware List, consumerbeware.mgs.gov.on.ca.

As Action Line reported Feb. 7, Harse paid $2,849.40 to Gardner in November 2006.

If Harse secured a job thanks to Gardner's efforts, he was supposed to pay an additional $2,440.

If he failed to secure a job within a year, his money was to be refunded.

Harse claims he never received a job interview, let alone a job offer.

When he asked for the return of his money a year later, Harse was told Cornerstone was out of business and Gardner was now running a recruiting firm (RJK Group of Companies).

Gardner portrayed himself as RJK's general manager, but a partner in the firm told Action Line he was the primary investor in that company.

The recruiting firm collected commission from employers once workers were hired.

The RJK Group was evicted from its offices by its landlord early this year, leaving employees unpaid.

If you have a consumer problem, call 905-526-4665 or e-mail

amacrury@thespec.com. Not all calls and letters can be answered.
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#11 Author of original report

Career counselling firm must repay client

AUTHOR: Charles - (Canada)

Action Line
See Hamilton Spectator article at http://www.thespec.com/article/411972

July 31, 2008
Al MacRury
The Hamilton Spectator
(Jul 31, 2008)
An out-of-work career counsellor has been given 90 days to refund $2,849.40 to a former client.

John Gardner entered a guilty plea in Hamilton court on July 21 on behalf of his former corporation, 6316352 Canada Inc., an Oakville-based firm which carried on business using the name Cornerstone.

Gardner has until Oct. 20 to repay William Harse of Stoney Creek.

The Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services laid charges against Gardner and two firms he operated, following Action Line's reports on Harse's complaint.

"The ministry agreed to allow him three months and set the next court date for October," Harse told Action Line. "They also said he could pay it back in smaller amounts rather than all at once, as long as he pays by Oct. 20. The payment must be made by certified cheque to the ministry. Then it will be forwarded to me. It sounds promising."

A ministry investigator confirmed Gardner had entered the guilty plea.

The former operator of the Oakville career counselling firm and the silent partner behind a recruiting agency, Gardner was charged with violating Ontario's Consumer Protection Act.

The charges pertained to his failure to refund money Harse originally paid to him in 2006, and to false and misleading representation.

Similar charges were laid against 6316352 Canada Inc. (Cornerstone) and 6316361 Canada Inc., (which carried on business as the RJK Group of Companies). Both firms operated from 700 Dorval Dr. in Oakville.

The charges were posted on the ministry's Consumer Beware List, consumerbeware.mgs.gov.on.ca.

As Action Line reported Feb. 7, Harse paid $2,849.40 to Gardner in November 2006.

If Harse secured a job thanks to Gardner's efforts, he was supposed to pay an additional $2,440.

If he failed to secure a job within a year, his money was to be refunded.

Harse claims he never received a job interview, let alone a job offer.

When he asked for the return of his money a year later, Harse was told Cornerstone was out of business and Gardner was now running a recruiting firm (RJK Group of Companies).

Gardner portrayed himself as RJK's general manager, but a partner in the firm told Action Line he was the primary investor in that company.

The recruiting firm collected commission from employers once workers were hired.

The RJK Group was evicted from its offices by its landlord early this year, leaving employees unpaid.

If you have a consumer problem, call 905-526-4665 or e-mail

amacrury@thespec.com. Not all calls and letters can be answered.
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#12 Author of original report

Career counselling firm must repay client

AUTHOR: Charles - (Canada)

Action Line
See Hamilton Spectator article at http://www.thespec.com/article/411972

July 31, 2008
Al MacRury
The Hamilton Spectator
(Jul 31, 2008)
An out-of-work career counsellor has been given 90 days to refund $2,849.40 to a former client.

John Gardner entered a guilty plea in Hamilton court on July 21 on behalf of his former corporation, 6316352 Canada Inc., an Oakville-based firm which carried on business using the name Cornerstone.

Gardner has until Oct. 20 to repay William Harse of Stoney Creek.

The Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services laid charges against Gardner and two firms he operated, following Action Line's reports on Harse's complaint.

"The ministry agreed to allow him three months and set the next court date for October," Harse told Action Line. "They also said he could pay it back in smaller amounts rather than all at once, as long as he pays by Oct. 20. The payment must be made by certified cheque to the ministry. Then it will be forwarded to me. It sounds promising."

A ministry investigator confirmed Gardner had entered the guilty plea.

The former operator of the Oakville career counselling firm and the silent partner behind a recruiting agency, Gardner was charged with violating Ontario's Consumer Protection Act.

The charges pertained to his failure to refund money Harse originally paid to him in 2006, and to false and misleading representation.

Similar charges were laid against 6316352 Canada Inc. (Cornerstone) and 6316361 Canada Inc., (which carried on business as the RJK Group of Companies). Both firms operated from 700 Dorval Dr. in Oakville.

The charges were posted on the ministry's Consumer Beware List, consumerbeware.mgs.gov.on.ca.

As Action Line reported Feb. 7, Harse paid $2,849.40 to Gardner in November 2006.

If Harse secured a job thanks to Gardner's efforts, he was supposed to pay an additional $2,440.

If he failed to secure a job within a year, his money was to be refunded.

Harse claims he never received a job interview, let alone a job offer.

When he asked for the return of his money a year later, Harse was told Cornerstone was out of business and Gardner was now running a recruiting firm (RJK Group of Companies).

Gardner portrayed himself as RJK's general manager, but a partner in the firm told Action Line he was the primary investor in that company.

The recruiting firm collected commission from employers once workers were hired.

The RJK Group was evicted from its offices by its landlord early this year, leaving employees unpaid.

If you have a consumer problem, call 905-526-4665 or e-mail

amacrury@thespec.com. Not all calls and letters can be answered.
Respond to this report!
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#13 Author of original report

Career counselling firm must repay client

AUTHOR: Charles - (Canada)

Action Line
See Hamilton Spectator article at http://www.thespec.com/article/411972

July 31, 2008
Al MacRury
The Hamilton Spectator
(Jul 31, 2008)
An out-of-work career counsellor has been given 90 days to refund $2,849.40 to a former client.

John Gardner entered a guilty plea in Hamilton court on July 21 on behalf of his former corporation, 6316352 Canada Inc., an Oakville-based firm which carried on business using the name Cornerstone.

Gardner has until Oct. 20 to repay William Harse of Stoney Creek.

The Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services laid charges against Gardner and two firms he operated, following Action Line's reports on Harse's complaint.

"The ministry agreed to allow him three months and set the next court date for October," Harse told Action Line. "They also said he could pay it back in smaller amounts rather than all at once, as long as he pays by Oct. 20. The payment must be made by certified cheque to the ministry. Then it will be forwarded to me. It sounds promising."

A ministry investigator confirmed Gardner had entered the guilty plea.

The former operator of the Oakville career counselling firm and the silent partner behind a recruiting agency, Gardner was charged with violating Ontario's Consumer Protection Act.

The charges pertained to his failure to refund money Harse originally paid to him in 2006, and to false and misleading representation.

Similar charges were laid against 6316352 Canada Inc. (Cornerstone) and 6316361 Canada Inc., (which carried on business as the RJK Group of Companies). Both firms operated from 700 Dorval Dr. in Oakville.

The charges were posted on the ministry's Consumer Beware List, consumerbeware.mgs.gov.on.ca.

As Action Line reported Feb. 7, Harse paid $2,849.40 to Gardner in November 2006.

If Harse secured a job thanks to Gardner's efforts, he was supposed to pay an additional $2,440.

If he failed to secure a job within a year, his money was to be refunded.

Harse claims he never received a job interview, let alone a job offer.

When he asked for the return of his money a year later, Harse was told Cornerstone was out of business and Gardner was now running a recruiting firm (RJK Group of Companies).

Gardner portrayed himself as RJK's general manager, but a partner in the firm told Action Line he was the primary investor in that company.

The recruiting firm collected commission from employers once workers were hired.

The RJK Group was evicted from its offices by its landlord early this year, leaving employees unpaid.

If you have a consumer problem, call 905-526-4665 or e-mail

amacrury@thespec.com. Not all calls and letters can be answered.
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#14 UPDATE Employee

I'm not the Front man, and no longer an employee.

AUTHOR: Lori - (U.S.A.)

REBUTTAL TO CHARLES @BURLINGTON

1. I (Lori D) am Charles' career coach. Ex-employee now on contract with Cornerstone effective April 1, 2007 (NOT EMPLOYED WITH RJK)

2. Mr. John Gardner closed Cornerstone (Career Management Company) and went into partnership with 2 other Professionals in the Recruiting Business and opened a Recruiting company called RJK & Associates opening an office in Oakville early 2007.

3. My belief is that the main objective to his opening this company was to infact provides substantial leads, and positions for his Cornerstone Clients. Providing them with more opportunities in their job searches.

4. Charles was provided throughout the time he attended our meetings numerous position leads, and contacts. Unfortunately, I do not know to what capacity he followed up, and conducted himself. From my perception he was not open to listening as he knew already what to do. I sensed his continuous anger in our meetings.

5. Charles felt that there was no value in our Career Management Program, and contacted John Gardner (owner) for a refund. I do not know the outcome of this correspondence.

6. Career Aim (a search engine purchased by Cornerstone to provide job leads) did contact our Cornerstone clients via email advising them that Cornerstone was behind on payments. What I do know, is that Mr. Gardner rectified this urgency problem immediately, and there was no disruption with the clients services.

7. Unfortunately, I am the third party caught in the line of fire and Charles has targeted me as a FRONT MAN and such is not the case.

8. I have been contacted by two new contacts in Ontario for my own upcoming workshop (not related to Cornerstone or RJK & Associates) after seeing this rip-off report, they have sent me the following letter which I have attached in part:

I am writing about my concerns regarding your upcoming workshop in Dryden. Our community is in the midst of major downsizing in the pulp and paper sector, and as you probably know many workers have been affected. Local efforts to assist these individuals has been made through a variety of committees and collaborative efforts between local service providers. Complimentary services provided by a reputable contractor is most welcome in our town, however a recent posting on the Better Business Bureau website has piqued my interest in your company.

www.ripoffreport.com/reports/0/241/ripoff0241537.htm

I am certain that you have the best interests of your clients first and foremost in your mind, and hope this translates into a positive experience for the people who do register for your workshop. I am also hopeful that you can appreciate the financial hardships these people may be facing in the immediate future, and respect the fact that you are working with a vulnerable population.

9. My response in part follows:
I am pursuing in getting this rectified, and I have emailed this morning the editor of Rip off Report Corporate Advocacy.

I have been dealing with the Cornerstone Clients and the Better Business Bureau on behalf of Cornerstone as now a contracted coach. I was an employee for Cornerstone, and the owner closed the company to open up a new RECRUITING company called RJK & Associates to provide jobs for the Cornerstone clients and others. Thought it was a great idea. I do not work for RJK & Associates as stated in the false allegations on the rip off report. I do promote their positions available, and set up preliminary interviews for positions available, and not available.

I also have the account managers market the Cornerstone clients to the clients preferred company of choice to generate a position for them. Headhunting I believe this is called.

I am not aware that I have been reported to the BBB what so ever. I am actually assisting them in rectifying the unsatisfied clients with Cornerstone. I have a very large client base and only a few that have become negative since the closure of this company. I do not own this company. My goal is only to help people succeed.

10. I trust that a speedy and efficient investigation will be conducted to clear my name of these false allegations written by Charles on the Rip Off Report. I only wish the best for Charles, and Cornerstone Clients.

I take pride in taking full responsibility for everything in my life.

Lori - Toronto
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#15 Author of original report

RJK and Associates aka Cornerstone Career Partners aka Carnegie Career Partners

AUTHOR: Charles - (Canada)

John A. Gardner has done it again. He has closed down Cornerstone Career Partners and reopened it under yet another business name called RJK and Associates. Same place, same racket and same people (ie. Lori DelBo is now the front man).

He has removed the Cornerstone Career Partners website http://www.ccpjobs.ca/ from the Internet.

See his new revamped Website at http://www.rjkassoc.com/locations.html for more information.

The BBB has been appraised.
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#16 Author of original report

RJK and Associates aka Cornerstone Career Partners aka Carnegie Career Partners

AUTHOR: Charles - (Canada)

John A. Gardner has done it again. He has closed down Cornerstone Career Partners and reopened it under yet another business name called RJK and Associates. Same place, same racket and same people (ie. Lori DelBo is now the front man).

He has removed the Cornerstone Career Partners website http://www.ccpjobs.ca/ from the Internet.

See his new revamped Website at http://www.rjkassoc.com/locations.html for more information.

The BBB has been appraised.
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#17 Author of original report

RJK and Associates aka Cornerstone Career Partners aka Carnegie Career Partners

AUTHOR: Charles - (Canada)

John A. Gardner has done it again. He has closed down Cornerstone Career Partners and reopened it under yet another business name called RJK and Associates. Same place, same racket and same people (ie. Lori DelBo is now the front man).

He has removed the Cornerstone Career Partners website http://www.ccpjobs.ca/ from the Internet.

See his new revamped Website at http://www.rjkassoc.com/locations.html for more information.

The BBB has been appraised.
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#18 Author of original report

Better Bussiness Bureau - UNSATSFACTORY STATUS

AUTHOR: Charles - (Canada)

The Better Business Bureau has been inundated with over 13 new consumer complaints from current and former clients of the Cornerstone Career Partners (career councelling)ccpjobs.ca/index.html company owned by John A. Gardner in Oakville, Ontario Canada.

thebbb.ca/commonreport.html?ID=221632644

They cruise the major Internet job boards (e.g. Workropis)searching for unsuspecting, unemployed people typically flush with severance money and make initial contact by misrepresenting themselves as a headhunter/recruiter. They tell you that they have career advisor with such vast business contacts that they can get you a new job in the "hidden job market" that would not normally be advertised. Of course you have to pay a substantial retainer fee $$$ up front and pay a balance after they get you a job.

Astute readers will recognize this racket as the old Bernard Haldane scam that successfully bilked millions of dollers out of the pockets of "down and out" unemployed people in the past. They were also successfully procescuted for their unethical business practices and Bernard Haldane went underground only to resurface using different business names (e.g. Carnegie Career Partners, Cornerstone Career Partners, National Career Alliance, RD Group International),and there are many more such independently own racketeers thriving all across Canada and the USA.

Search the Internet for Barry A. Layne, president of Career Management who is a close business associate of John Gardner's.

I just don't understand how our legal and legislative systems have failed to permanently protect consumers against this infamous scam by passing effective laws.

Can anybody in government help us?
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