International Franchise Expo (IFE) officials acted quickly and decisively to protect attendees and franchisor exhibitors from the predatory seller of a fraudulent franchise opportunity. Within 24 hours after being alerted by UnhappyFranchisee.Com publisher Sean Kelly, CEO Joe Smith & Davidovich NYC Bagel & Sandwich Shop were asked to leave the New York City trade show. By noon on Friday, only an empty booth and tray of bagels remained of the Craigâ€™s List sellersâ€™ first attempt to penetrate the franchise industryâ€™s premiere event.
(UnhappyFranchisee.Com) Joe Smith, originally from Newburgh, N.Y., and his partner Dennis Mason, of Frenchtown, N.J., have collected hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars from individuals and families who dreamed of opening their own businesses. Smith & Mason offered (and offer) an opportunity too good to be true: a fully functional, fully financed bagel and sandwich shop franchise requiring only an up-front cash outlay of $29,500.
Using a number of names (NY Bagel Cafe & Deli, NYC Bagel & Sandwich Shop, and now Davidovich NYC Bagel & Sandwich Shop), Joe Smith & Dennis Mason have harvested a steady stream of fees from those who responded to the hundreds of ads they maintain on local Craigâ€™s List classified sites.
Victims are provided with documents that donâ€™t include critical information required by law, including three state enforcement orders regarding their fraudulent & illegal sales practices, the millions in fines and civil judgements they owe, that 90% of those who pay fees will never open a bagel store, or the extremely high failure rate of those that do manage to open.
Smith & Mason have recently become so emboldened by the ongoing success of their scam (weâ€™ve been warning about it since 2013) that they decided to emerge from the dark, shady pages of Craigâ€™s List to troll for victims at the franchise industryâ€™s premiere franchise showcase and sales event: The International Franchise Expo (IFE) being held at the Javitz Center in New York City May 30 – June 1, 2019.
Taking the NY Bagel Scam Mainstream Was a Bold & Risky Move
For Joe Smith, taking his NY Bagel Scam mainstream was a bold & risky move. Running a scam on the shady pages of Craigâ€™s List is one thing, but operating in the bright light of day is another.
The International Franchise Expo (IFE) is produced by MFV Expositions, a division of a large international exposition company.
Itâ€™s sponsored by the International Franchise Association (IFA) with the assistance of the Department of Commerce/US Commercial Service.
IFE exhibitors include the New York Attorney Generalâ€™s Office â€“ the office in charge of protecting New York residents from unlawful franchise opportunities.
Fridayâ€™s roster of speakers includes Dale Cantone, the Assistant Attorney General – Franchise Unit Chief – Maryland Attorney Generalâ€™s Office.
In 2015, Dale Cantone investigated a complaint by Unhappy Franchisee publisher Sean Kelly and issued an enforcement order and cease & desist against Joe Smith, Dennis Mason and NY Bagel.
Joe Smith gambled that either no one would notice or care enough to object him running his long-time scam at the IFE.
It was a gamble he lost.
Tom Portesy, President & CEO of MFV Expositions, Took Bold & Decisive Action
Tom Portesy, President & CEO of MFV Expositions, producer of the IFE show, doesnâ€™t mess around when it comes to protecting the attendees, franchisor exhibitors, and the integrity and image of his show.
Shortly before noon, Unhappy Franchisee posted a warning about NYC Bagel exhibiting at the IFE show (http://www.unhappyfranchisee.com/ife-international-franchise-expo-scam/).
Within hours, Tom Portesy contacted Sean Kelly asking for solid documentation for our allegations.
He forwarded our documents to MFV attorneys and quickly but thoroughly investigated the claims.
Friday morning, Tom Portesy and Maryland Assistant Attorney General Dale Cantone met with NYC Davidovich Bagel CEO Joe Smith and gave him a chance to respond to the allegations.
Having determined that there were problems with NYC Bagelâ€™s franchise disclosures, Tom Portesy asked Joe Smith and NYC Bagel to leave the show.
According to Portesy, Joe Smith politely and respectfully packed up his booth and vacated Booth 1039.
An exhibitor sent us a picture of Booth 1039 taken Friday afternoon, empty except for a tray of hardening bagels left behind.
NYC Davidovich Bagel & Sandwich Shop Still Active on Craigâ€™s List
Since 2013, we have been warning potential victims and urging law enforcement to shut down the NY Bagel Scam and hold Joe Smith & Dennis Mason accountable.
Itâ€™s frustrating to see them still operating with impunity and running hundreds of ads on Craigâ€™s List.
However, we appreciate and thank those who have been willing to take a stand and do their part to limit the NY Bagel franchise scam of Joe Smith & Dennis Mason, including:
- Thomas Portesy, President & CEO of MFV Expositions, who quickly and decisively acted to protect the attendees, exhibitors, and integrity of the IFE franchise exhibition.
- Dale Cantone, Assistant Attorney General – Franchise Unit Chief – Maryland Attorney Generalâ€™s Office
- Barry Braun, Senior Investigator, Virginia State Corporation Commission, Division of Securities and Retail Franchising
- Eric Palosaari, Securities Division, Enforcement Unit, Department of Financial Institutions, Olympia, WA
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