Don’t Cosign That Check

Don’t Cosign That Check

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Edgefield Advertiser.

By: Robert Scott

There once was a messy argument between two partners, Lou and Bud, in a successful business. The business would fold if the two tried to split the company up, so they were forced to get along somehow; each had family whose health and welfare was tied to the partners’ stake in the company. And both needed to cosign checks for every company expense.

At one point, Lou had what he considered a great idea for a new security system. He did some preliminary research and became convinced the benefit far outweighed the cost, which was just a small portion of the monthly expenses. But he had to get Bud’s agreement about the new system and cosign the check to purchase it. Bud, however, decided the opposite way; security of their office was important, he agreed, but in Bud’s eyes there were much less expensive and more effective security measures they could take. He said he would not cosign the check until they found a better security system. Lou then said, “This is the best security system, and if you won’t cosign that security check then I won’t cosign any other checks. I won’t cosign paychecks for our staff. I won’t cosign checks to pay the electric bill. I won’t cosign any checks for anything, until you cosign the check for this wonderful security system.”

The company is now in trouble. Lou said that they can easily get out of trouble, but it’s up to Bud: all he needs to do is to cosign that one check, and all the other checks will follow. The company can then continue its prosperous business; Bud is just being obstructionist. Bud, on the other hand, is stating he won’t cosign any check whatsoever if what’s behind it is a threat. He thinks Lou should just cosign all the other checks, and they (together with their families) can then decide on the best security system as a separate issue. They can agree up front that the company will pay for whichever security system is best, not just in the eyes of the two partners (after all, they are in an argument and may not be able to agree) but also in the eyes of their two families.

Which of them do you think is the real problem, Lou or Bud?

I’m going to side with Bud. Lou is the problem. If Bud cosigns that security check, then, later on, Lou for sure will come up with another pet project and pull the same stunt again, and again, and again. The employees and the families who depend on the company’s success are the real hostages here, being held for the ransom of Bud’s forced signature. The families can see that as well, so soon enough not only Bud’s family but also Lou’s family will tell Lou to back off, cosign all the other checks, and work with them and with Bud to come up with the right security system for the office.

Meanwhile, Bud should not cosign that security check.

And neither should Nancy Pelosi.