Life-Advice Guru Isn't Keen on Partnership
(CN) - Liz Pryor, a life-advice guru on "Good Morning America," claims in court that her former retail partner made "unreasonable demands" on her time and then shut her out of the business after taking her $60,000 start-up capital.
In her lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court, Pryor says she was initially skeptical of launching a clothing store with retail veteran Lauri Carleton because Pryor already has a full-time job as an advice expert and author. She also claims Carleton "has a reputation of being difficult to work with."
But Pryor says she agreed to co-own the MAG.PI boutique in Studio City, Calif., after Carleton promised to manage the day-to-day operations.
Carleton obtained a business license in February, but never incorporated MAG.PI, according to the lawsuit.
Between April and May, Pryor says she deposited $60,000 into a Wells Fargo account under the name "MAG PI, LLC," which they used to furnish the store. She claims she spent most of May preparing the store for opening.
After the doors opened, Carleton began asking Pryor to put in "significant hours" at the store despite her busy schedule, according to the lawsuit. The guru says she hit her limit when Carleton wanted her to spend 19 of 30 full days at the store in June and July. Pryor allegedly told Carleton that she could not work that much in the store.
She says she also "repeatedly expressed her concern" that Carleton was illegally paying store employees under the table to avoid taxes, "and that this practice could possibly subject both of them to serious penalties and fines."
Carleton responded by effectively shutting her partner out of the business, according to Pryor. When she finally incorporated MAG.PI Inc., Carleton allegedly listed her husband on the documents instead of Pryor.
Then in August, Pryor says Carleton announced that she "had unilaterally decided that they were no longer co-equal partners" because Pryor couldn't work as many hours and blocked her access to the company bank account.
Pryor seeks an order dissolving the partnership and requiring a full accounting since August.
On Sept. 19, she explained on Facebook why she wouldn't be in the store: "I have unpartnered at the store Magpi and am giving all my energy to do the new book I'm writing and the great work I get to do," she wrote.
Carleton did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.
Pryor is suing Carleton and MAG.PI Inc. for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of the partnership agreement, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, conversion, promissory fraud, constructive fraud and fraudulent transfer.
Her attorney is Christian Molnar of Los Angeles.