During the summer and fall of 2007, Robert Owens, on behalf of Craig Zabala and The Concorde Group, Inc., solicited investment funds from a number of people in Omaha. On September 4 when I met with him, Mr. Owens talked in very general terms about what the offer was generally the chance to purchase stock in a company, The Concorde Group, Inc., that was set to go public very shortly. Mr. Owens said the stock would be public in a week or so, and later amended the comment to a week, ten days.
A number of us asked if we were free to sell the stock when it opened, or if our investment required a minimum holding period. Mr. Owens assured us we could sell immediately when it opened, although he stressed that the general consensus was that the stock would open around $8.00 per share and quickly trend higher. His advice was to sit on it a while and see where it went. Over the course of the evening, Mr. Owens mentioned prices ranging from $8.00 to $12.00 per share when talking about the likely open of the stock. He also used numbers $25.00 and $28.00 per share when talking about the potential of the stock after it was opening and operating for some time. Mr. Owens also mentioned on two occasions through the evening that dividends would be paid on the stock as soon as things got cranking with the company. He didn't address specifically the timing or amount of the dividends, but repeated more than once the likelihood that they would exist at some point. In addition, Mr. Owens talked about a second rollout or offering of stock to follow the first after things were established.
After answering these and other questions and making other comments of his own, Mr. Owens produced a copy of a contract or agreement that anyone interested could sign to take advantage of this offer. Mr. Owens made a number of comments about the agreement being very standard and just the rigamarole we go through on deals like this. After reading the agreement briefly, I and at least one other person at the table brought to Mr. Owens' attention a clause that read something about the requirement that investor's in this opportunity have a net worth of no less than $1 million. There was considerable discussion at the table, amid laughter, that none of us were in that position. When the question was raised Mr. Owens said that's a technical thing that should actually just be taken outta there. He also commented that Craig already took care of that for anyone that's interested. He said it was not something to prevent any of us from purchasing shares of the stock. I raised the question of removing it from the agreement if it could be taken out of there anyway and Mr. Owens' response was nah, its just legal speak anyway. It wont impact anyone in this room. That's Craig's deal and he's taken care of it for all of you.
From that point I and several others made numerous attemtps to contact Mr. Owens and/or Mr. Zabala to find out what was going on with the investment. Despite the promises (repeatedly) that the stock was about to open on the PLUS Market in London, it never in fact did open on that market. Apparently the company failed to secure a "market maker" for the offering, and has often blamed the PLUS market and threatened lawsuits against that market for its treatment of the company. It wasn't until this spring (09) when the stock finally "opened" on a market in Germany. In the meantime, our stock investment was (and still is) incorrectly linked to a completely different stock (we're told some Chinese company). Despite numerous promises to take care of this issue for us, nothing has been done. While the stock is "open," there has never been a single trade of the stock. And obviously, there has never again been mention of the dividends Mr. Owens promised in September, 07. Further, even though Mr. Owens and Mr. Zabala told us there would NO restrictions on our investment, we found out later we did in fact have restricted stock.
For nearly 2 years we heard countless lies and promises from Mr. Owens and Mr. Zabala about this stock and our investment. We asked repeatedly for documentation and information we were entitled to as stockholders, and rarely if ever received anything we asked for. If and when we did receive a few pieces of information, it was after weeks and months of repeated emails and phone calls. Instead of working with us to provide information, Mr. Zabala ignored our requests, or told us how lucky we were that he allowed us to invest in this company at all.
In summary, Mr. Owens and Mr. Zabala willfully took advantage of several of us in Omaha who they knew for a fact did not meet any requirements of $1 milliion in net worth or $250,000 in annual income. That was made very clear to them both, and in fact Mr. Zabala told us we should probably not make it a point to repeat that since he "did us a favor" by giving us this wonderful opportunity. They misrepresented their company and the contract, took money under false pretenses, and have done nothing but ignore us and lie to us ever since. We acted in good faith, and to this day none of us has received a penny of the money we invested as a result of their lies and misrepresentation.