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Studio Partner Stole My Gear During Studio Lockout
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cdog
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#1
25th May 2006
Old 25th May 2006
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Studio Partner Stole My Gear During Studio Lockout

Well, I recently changed partners in my studio, the old partner who was on the lease left and I became the new lease holder, and I brought in another guy to split the rent with me. He paid me $1200 for his half of June and July. He also made me a small personal loan of $2500 to be paid back within 6 months to cover some of my transition expenses. Business has not been great.

So I go and pay the security deposit, $1200, on Thursday May 18th to the building management company. I use the $1200 cash my partner gave me. They tell me I need to also pay the first months rent (June), which is $1200, in the next week. Fine. Little did I know they have a way of speeding up payments.

So I'm busy with various projects and the weekend goes by, and then Wednesday I get a message from my partner, who was in LA, saying hes back in town, he dropped by the studio and that it has been padlockled by building management because I have not payed June rent. I try calling him back and no answer, I leave a message for him to call me.

During this time he calls the management company and they tell him the security deposit has been left, but that we need to pay June rent to get the padlock off.

His reaction is to get the building super to let him into the room to "gather his stuff." My new partner does not own a single piece of equipment in the room. It is all mine, 100% of it. He takes my apogee converters and several microphones, in total worth over $5000, and takes the stuff back to his apartment, without calling me or alerting me that he has "borrowed" my gear as collateral on his rent/loan money.

So yesterday I go into the management company office and pay June rent. They call the super he removes the padlock. I go to the studio that night, only to find many of my prized gear possessions to be missing. As I'm sure you can imagine, I was quite distraught. I called my new partner and leave a few messages. After a few hours I email him, telling him I paid June rent and asking if he knows what happened to the gear.

About an hour after I email him he calls me, saying "Oh, I have your stuff, I just wanted to cover my ass." He returned the stuff later that night.

My initial reaction is that what he did was totally unacceptable, as well as being illegal and immature. Even if somebody owes me a million dollars, it does not give me the right to steal their car. Furthermore, if I wanted to take his money and empty out the studio and flee to Canada overnight, why would I have put down a $1200 security deposit on the studio?

His reaction is that what he did was totally justified. My reaction is I deserve an apology. Whats your reaction?

Granted, the guy is a good guy, but I think he made a serious error in judgement, i.e., too hasty.
#2
25th May 2006
Old 25th May 2006
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The good news is, you got your gear back. the bad news is, demanding an apology does nothing to change his character anyway. some people just conduct themselves the only way they know how. there's no changing them or winning anything in this case. Now if it turned out you didnt get your gear back!...well thats a whole differnt scenereo.

I'm suprised you're being so polite about this in the first place, being in brooklyn ya know!
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25th May 2006
Old 25th May 2006
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Balanced equation... You should have been on top of the rent issue, and he should have given you the benefit of at leat a phone call to sort out the issues. It is illegal (as in felony theft) to take anything as collateral for any purpose that is not contractually pre-arranged - like your house is collateral for your mortgage and your car is collateral for your car payment - all agreed to when you signed the loan deal.

Making amends has much to do with using this opportunity to advance the relationship. Your new partner paniced and that is partially understandable, but he needs to know with total certainty that his first measure to address concerns is to call you for clarification. You should honestly commit to frank and transparent responses and vice versa. Like I said, this is a new business arrangement so use this situation to improve the comunication and relationship.

.02

cheers,
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#4
25th May 2006
Old 25th May 2006
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The best advise I can give you is the one I didn't take when I had partner.

Be frank (along with diplomatic) with each other. There must be some good things between you two if you are partners. Money, like the song says changes everything, but you do not have to let it.

If you express yourself well with each other and both are mature and secure enough to deal with it then your partnership can grow as well as your friendship.

(by the way maybe he was taking the equipment not because he didn't trust you but because he didn't trust the landlord, or is that what you meant?).

Good luck to both of you. Keep cool.

Jim
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#5
25th May 2006
Old 25th May 2006
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I say, tell him you want his thoughts on your final mix of some project ....when he sits down at the desk....you chloroform him. While he is unconscious, forcibly insert a 4-Channel Behringer Tube Pre into his anus and then go throw him in a truck stop bathroom. Now, not only does it appear to onlookers that he engages in perverse homosexual activity, but even worse.....he's a Behringer user. This is how I solve most domestic disputes. thumbsup

What? Wrong forum?
#6
25th May 2006
Old 25th May 2006
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That is stressful...sorry to hear this.
But I have seen a few things go wrong with studio finance locally here.
Gear is always taken at some point.

On the up side is as already mentioned, you got your gear back.
And this guy obviously has some balls which could be used to benefit the business.
But a shared studio is a tough call, and when one person 'owns' all the gear and simply takes money of the other it is realy very tricky to guess what might happen.
I can see his point though...locked out and a few grand down the swanny.
Not great all round.
don't panick
keep going
don't trust or rely on him too much ...i suppose.
His last gig was a bit crappy but things can change

A real partner would have called you and you both would have smoothed things over with the landlord and felt more like a team as a result.

But I can see his point....a show me the money kind of dude.

I just don't know...trust your intuition always...that is not as easy as it sounds.
make sure you can talk with your partner or pay him off and say good bye.
Trust is earned and begins with friendship...you got to want things to be good for him and you, if you are not absolutely 100% honest about money and the big stuff it will not work in a million years.

You guys are really new to each other also...so it takes time.
Perhaps it wil alll turn to be an advantage soon enough.
My grandad always said 'you can't have a friend without a fight'
but he had no friends....so what do I know?
Thanks Grandad!!
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25th May 2006
Old 25th May 2006
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umm...

I think what he did was incredibly smart and I might have done the same thing myself. He handed you a lot of cash and then got the impression that you didn't use it properly. so he grabbed some "collateral". as soon as he found out his money was where it was supposed to be, he gave you back the stuff. no harm, no foul. if you are going to have a partnership, I think you should really take this as a step forward in trusting each other. because its obvious that there was not very much before. now there should be a little more.
#8
25th May 2006
Old 25th May 2006
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All relationships are based on two things: trust and respect. These are paramount to any long lasting relationship, business or otherwise. Here are two people who don't know each other very well (at least that's the impression I'm getting). One has been loaned an amount of money to perform certain tasks with business or otherwise. One person is gone out of town and they come back, to find that certain business transactions have not taken place (i.e. lock on the door) from their point of view. So most people resort to a version of darwinism (survival of one's stuff). I want to make sure that 'my ass is covered' just in case. I believe as what other's have said if you keep communication as open as possible then over time you can develop the above requirements for a business relaionship or otherwise. I'm sure you can't expect someone who lives in New York to trust everything you say right off the bat .
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#9
25th May 2006
Old 25th May 2006
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cdog

Nice that there was a reasonably happy ending.

A loan between business partners is just that. If he wanted collateral, he should have asked for it in advance.

No excuse.

But if you're gonna continue to work with this guy, there needs to be a bit of 'kid glove' action.

Whatever qualities he had that caused you to choose him as a partner may make up for the indescretion or not, but that's for you to decide.

I never could believe the whole lockout deal. I've had places in Hollywood and downtown LA, and the management would sometimes just assign a new partner to you and let you know later.

And we never, ever heard of anyone lifting gear.

Amazing.
#10
25th May 2006
Old 25th May 2006
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What an ass.
I've been in partnership with several people over the years.
No-one has done anything like this.

I think you are being unneccesarily gracious about this- I'd be furious.

An aside- I'm moving back to the states and looking for studio space- if you ever want a studio partner who won't steal your stuff- let me know.

James
#11
25th May 2006
Old 25th May 2006
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I would simply revert your former partner's title back to 'friend' instead of 'business associate' if he really is a good guy. You have to learn from someone's mistakes, better if it was not your own.

I had a similiar situation with a friend who was hooked on drugs for a while. We got him out of the gutter and he roomed with me for a while. I left the place and stored some gear there and found out that he had simply left the apartment to return to the gutter. The landlord sold my stuff and locked the apartment. I had to buy my own guitar out of a pawn shop and lost the rest of my belongings.(legalities ensued, long story)
He is my childhood friend, he got clean and now is doing very well for himself, I forgive him as his health means more to me than my metal and plastic things.
But you got your stuff back, if you do value him as a friend, you should just scold him over a beer.
#12
25th May 2006
Old 25th May 2006
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My opinion - the gear lifting is unacceptable.

'Covering his ass'?

How would HE react if YOU did the same thing?

It's not the worse thing that could have happened,
but there are definitely more mature ways of handling things.

'Cause now, you might think about covering your own ass
in anticipation of him covering his ass. And that's too much
ass-covering, which takes time away from the music...
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#13
25th May 2006
Old 25th May 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stellar
umm...

I think what he did was incredibly smart and I might have done the same thing myself. He handed you a lot of cash and then got the impression that you didn't use it properly. so he grabbed some "collateral". as soon as he found out his money was where it was supposed to be, he gave you back the stuff. no harm, no foul. if you are going to have a partnership, I think you should really take this as a step forward in trusting each other. because its obvious that there was not very much before. now there should be a little more.
What he did was illegal, and not smart at all actually.

I'm supossed to trust him more now? Huh?

We have been friends for a few years and the trust level was quite high (for someone to have a key to my studio there must be a high level of trust). He did loan me $2500 after all. But this incident has certainly opened my eyes. Some people make better friends than business partners.

His contribution to the studio is money, thats it, we have never worked together.

What a mess.
#14
25th May 2006
Old 25th May 2006
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glad to hear you got the gear back!
i would lay out some guidelines in a diplomatic way, and insist on a contract if you plan to be partners.
otherwise look for another partner.
hope it all works out.
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#15
25th May 2006
Old 25th May 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stellar
umm...

I think what he did was incredibly smart and I might have done the same thing myself. He handed you a lot of cash and then got the impression that you didn't use it properly. so he grabbed some "collateral". as soon as he found out his money was where it was supposed to be, he gave you back the stuff. no harm, no foul. if you are going to have a partnership, I think you should really take this as a step forward in trusting each other. because its obvious that there was not very much before. now there should be a little more.
So, take the guy's stuff and THEN call when you get around to it?

1) Illegal, 2) Uneccessary, 3) Unprofessional

2 wrongs certianly don't make a right, and a discussion was in order.

To the starter of this thread: this business 'partnership' will not work out. Period.
#16
26th May 2006
Old 26th May 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stellar
umm...

I think what he did was incredibly smart and I might have done the same thing myself. He handed you a lot of cash and then got the impression that you didn't use it properly. so he grabbed some "collateral". as soon as he found out his money was where it was supposed to be, he gave you back the stuff. no harm, no foul. if you are going to have a partnership, I think you should really take this as a step forward in trusting each other. because its obvious that there was not very much before. now there should be a little more.
I agree 1000% with this.

I don't know what side of the nieghborhood you grew up on... but If ANYBODY... took me on as a partner...borrowed $2500 from me as well as took $1200 from me for rent...

And then showed up... to find his money padlocked... and him locked out... because you didn't handle the rent like you said.

I would simply cover my $$...

Obviously he had no intention of ripping you off... he clearly returned the gear as soon as he learned all was cool... think about his side for one second... he thought he was getting ripped off by you!

How does he know he can trust YOU? Even now.

It's not like this has been a long time relationship and then he pulled this... this just happened to HIM.

I would feel grateful he still wants to be your partner...
He even LOANED you cash to get by right now... that sounds pretty low-key and trusting.

Perspective

Like I said... different ways of taking care of business. In the end... his and your intention and your outcome is the only concern.

Much Respect,
#17
26th May 2006
Old 26th May 2006
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$3700 cash out of his pocket, he stops by the studio and there's a padlock. In this day and age of scams, can you see his side? Even with messages and stuff can you see how it sounded fishy to him? As long as you have everything cleared up and look at each other and say you understand where the other was coming from, I think you will be fine.
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#18
26th May 2006
Old 26th May 2006
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I think you (or your lawyer) need to have a talk with your landlord. What they did was probably illegal, according to my calendar it's not June yet.
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#19
26th May 2006
Old 26th May 2006
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I think the 'June rent' seems like a grey area in all of this.. run that past me one more time?

Also this doesn't jive well with a brand new business partnership - "So I'm busy with various projects and the weekend goes by"

So I am busy?
June rent?
Landlord padlocks the studio over rent payment issue?

That combination of events would make me sweat blood if I was your new partner to be honest.... Seems like a bad start to me....

Bad communication

Perhaps between you and landlord?
Between new partner and you
jbo
#20
26th May 2006
Old 26th May 2006
  #20
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it's not like you just owed him money. it sounds like he payed you 1200 dollars to be paid toward a specific thing, not as a loan. what he did may have been illegal, but i don't think what you did is any better. he panicked and thought you had ripped him off, and tried to protect himself. if you HAD ripped him off, and he didn't protect himself, he'd be SOL. i don't think what he did was right, and i wouldn't have done the same thing, but i don't think it's as bad as some of the replies make it out to be. he obviously didn't have any intention of stealing your gear.
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#21
26th May 2006
Old 26th May 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodney Gene
It's not like this has been a long time relationship and then he pulled this... this just happened to HIM.
HE almost got taken for $3700... (or so he thought).
Read the posts Rodney, I've known this guy for years, we're friends. He had been a partial partner in my studio under the previous lease for the past year, now he is a half partner. He has been to my house many many times, he knows all my friends. Its not like this is some dude I met on Craigslist from a posting titled:
"Studio with lots of gear, needs partner with buxx."

But from the way he reacted, its almost like I am some CL scammer.

If he thought I was so sketchy as to take the money and run, why did he enter into any agreement with me in the first place?

BTW Rodney, I did pay the June rent before the calender even changed to June, honestly I blame a lot of this on the building management for being assholes.

The entire reason I went in the week of the 18th to put down the security was so they wouldn't padlock the door. Rent is due by the 10th of the month as stated in the lease. Aparently with a new lease they want the first month upfront, even though its essentially the same people in the room. Then, they did not even give me the full week after the 18th to pay June rent - they padlocked it Monday 5/22.

My partner overreacted and took a bunch of my stuff. That is not legal. If he really thought I was ripping him off, file a lawsuit like a normal, mature person, don't resort to theft.

I don't blame him for being pissed about not being able to get in. I would be to (I apologized to him for this, took the blame). It was TWO DAYS of lockout. Not a month. But in my book, as well as the lawbooks, you cannot resort to theft under any circumstances, he apparently thinks otherwise.

All I want from him is an apology and to admit that he was wrong to take my stuff, regardless of the rent/loan issue. If I had known he might react like this, I never would have accepted a loan or his partnership.

Also, he took well over $5K in gear - I only owed him for $3700.

#22
26th May 2006
Old 26th May 2006
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Maybe he wanted to get alll the gear out becasue he thought the managment company were dodgy.
#23
26th May 2006
Old 26th May 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdog
Well, I recently changed partners in my studio, the old partner who was on the lease left and I became the new lease holder

His reaction is to get the building super to let him into the room to "gather his stuff." My new partner does not own a single piece of equipment in the room. It is all mine, 100% of it. He takes my apogee converters and several microphones, in total worth over $5000

1) What gives the super the right to let a non lease holder (on paper, you said your name was on the lease only right?) to let someone in to "gather their stuff"? It doesn't make sense...so some crack monger walks up and says they want to "gather their stuff" and they let him do it? That sounds illegal on the part of the superintendent and the owners of the building.

2) Why didn't the superintendent KNOW that the rent had been paid already for May, and told your partner the situation? Besides the obvious problems of the situation...it sounds like the super needs to pull his head out of his ass, and if seriously irresponsible.

I'd use security screws made by Middle Atlantic or Raxxess (or randomly mix them). Then unless the person has both tool bits it's going to slow them down and they aren't going to be able to arbitrarily remove gear from the racks. It's good security anyway, it's going to take longer for anyone breaking into your studio to remove the gear than for the police to get there (you do have a wireless alarm system right?). And have the mics in a locked mic cabinet (unless he has the key for that too?).
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#24
26th May 2006
Old 26th May 2006
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Well he just called me and apologized. Besides the miscommunication which was an error on both our parts, he admitted that taking the stuff was wrong under any circumstances, and was just not the appropriate response to being locked out. It was an impulse reaction he said, and he regrets it.

All in all, I respect him more now for admiting he made a mistake, being a big man and apologizing, and I'm willing to let water pass under the bridge and move on. Besides, I need the rent relief.

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#25
26th May 2006
Old 26th May 2006
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Nathan,

The super let him in because he is one of the regulars at our studio, he paid a quarter of the old lease but was not on it.

May rent was paid by my old partner, apparently May got shortened to 22 days this year. The people who own and operate the building are *********s, that much is clear.

Please let this thread die now folks.

#26
26th May 2006
Old 26th May 2006
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DO NOT go into a partnership with this guy.

I'll tell you from experience that even if things start with both of you absolutely "in love" with each other it will eventually end in a bad way. Something will come up to sour the partnership and with this guy's actions so far it'll happen sooner than later.

I had a studio with a friend once and to raise money to buy out an existing studio we went into partnership with his parents. Each of us owned 25%. Actually, I already had gear as interest, so they put in twice what my stuff was worth by buying the existing studio. My friend (they were his parents) took over a loan for me and bought his way in.

Within a year we borrowed $24K for a console and within a few more years we had borrowed another $5K.

Eventually, we incorporated without his parents and agreed to pay their interest back as a loan. Because their son was "having financial troubles" they let us slide on the payments. I think we owed them $46k total. We did pay about a twelve installments.

After a few more years my friend was only showing up occasionally (mostly to pay himself or play with the books) and I was doing 80% of the sessions. He hired interns to do everything else. He then found Amway and went insane. Eventually I caught him doing tape dupe work on the side (for Amway!)

The end of this story is that if I called him on this his parents were threatening to call in the entire loan. I tried to set up a lease/buyback, but the gear wasn't appraised for enough to get $46k to buy them out. I took my stuff and walked away.

My only consolation was that he got tired of the place two years later and sold it for about fifty cents on the dollar. Through a friend I bought a ton of outboard gear and mics and flipped them for a nice profit. Shortly after I left the guy's mom died. He took what he got for the gear and existing studio and NEVER PAID HIS DAD ANYTHING! That was between them, but it was so wrong.

We had the busiest music room in town and it was a NICE studio. His greed eventually destroyed it all.

DO NOT GO INTO PARTNERSHIP WITGH THIS GUY!

Trust me!

Danny Brown
#27
26th May 2006
Old 26th May 2006
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdog
Read the posts Rodney, I've known this guy for years, we're friends. He had been a partial partner in my studio under the previous lease for the past year, now he is a half partner. He has been to my house many many times, he knows all my friends. Its not like this is some dude I met on Craigslist from a posting titled:
"Studio with lots of gear, needs partner with buxx."
I'm sorry.. I did read it. Actually I just read it again... I didn't see anywhere on the initial post where you mentioned he had already been a a partner for a long time...

This sounded like a new person.

And then I read later on where this was trusted friend... who had a key.

So my question is.. why the worry? He had already returned the gear... and I assume you have more than $5 k worth of gear in the studio...?

It seems pretty obvious this was not an attempt to 'rip you off'.
A theft would have cleaned you out... this seems like you would have come to the logical conclusion of what was what...
And then... he simply returned the gear when he found out all was cool.





Quote:
Also, he took well over $5K in gear - I only owed him for $3700.
Let's be honest here cdog...

For one it is hard to steal $3700 in gear... (I can just see someone adding up the used gear prices in thier head...plus EBAY fees.. plus 3% for PAYPAL... etc...

And two... second hand street price for gear is sketchy at best... meaning not guaranteed.

And as it turns out.. it genuinely was a misunderstanding... communication snafu, which is cool IMO.

My only point is that under the circumstances, it is easy to see both points of view.

Much Respect,
#28
26th May 2006
Old 26th May 2006
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdog
My reaction is I deserve an apology. Whats your reaction?
I break his 2 kneecaps !! Trust me! He won't do it again...
And if you think i'm making an error of judgment?...Well, that makes us even then!!!!
#29
26th May 2006
Old 26th May 2006
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yeah I would not continue with this partnership.
#30
26th May 2006
Old 26th May 2006
  #30
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well I would have top say that if this little incident gets you that upset then keep him as a friend only. What I am saying is that in a relationship you have to have the capacity to forgive because sooner or later we all falter. Some more than others.

If you let things like this upset you without taking control and move on its going to be a rough ride whatever partner you do have.

Most problems between friends are caused by bad communication.
Be the strong one here and tell him that he shoudl trust you more next time because that is why I think you seem upset. Does he know how upset you are? You may be presuming this and are expecting an appology. He may think all is OK now that he returned the goods to you.

Go have a beer and talk it out. Then do not make a decision right away but let it digest a few days. If after the talk you both feel going on is good then go for it. Otherwise back out.

That is what I would do these days. I've lost too many firends in my life because of pride, anger etc.


Better to regret something you did then something you didn't do.

Jim
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