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Refusal to give up Facebook password to bankrupt company lands man in jail

Charlotte Bankruptcy Lawyer Bryan W. Stone of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Will I lose my property if I file for bankruptcy ?”

 

Katy, Texas-based Tactical Firearms entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy when one of its former owners refused to sign financial documents that would have enabled the company to refinance some of its existing debt.

Supressors Charlotte Debt Lawyer North Carolina Chapter 7 AttorneyThe former owner—Jeremey Alcede—was shown the door, and the new owner–Steven “Coe” Wilson—brought in the owner of a competitor business to run the store while the company passed through bankruptcy.

As a part passing through that process, Wilson sought to “harness the steam” built up on the company’s Facebook account by Alcede. Alcede’s account—which he says is a personal Facebook account—has some 11,000 followers. Like many Facebook pages, Alcede’s contains a mix of business and personal posts which could make it “infuriatingly difficult for judges… to suss out.”

At least one bankruptcy judge “sussed out” the Tactical Firearms matter and determined that Alcede’s personal Facebook page was the property of Tactical Firearms. After a hearing, the judge overseeing Tactical’s bankruptcy ordered Alcede to surrender the password to the Facebook page.

Alcede said he explained to the attorney representing Tactical Firearms that the company did not have a business Facebook page, and that the page in question was a personal page.

According to TechDirt, Alcede’s Tactical Firearms page, by its nature, is “clearly a personal page rather than a business page,” although several of Alcede’s posts refer to the Tactical Firearms business. Alcede built up a lengthy following for Tactical by posting politically charged signs outside the store’s premises and on Facebook. The Facebook posts included statements like: “I like my guns like Obama likes his immigrants: undocumented.”

Alcede refused to surrender his Facebook page’s password to John Boyert, who is evidently running Tactical Firearms. Boyert told the local ABC News affiliate that Alcede was “an employee of the company and he was building” the Facebook page for the company regardless of who the registered owner of the Facebook page was. Wilson and Boyert have conceded that they plan to rename the company, which makes their move to seize Alcede’s Facebook page seem more an effort “to shut down a vocal critic” than to take advantage of the page’s Facebook followers.

Alcede called Wilson and Boyert “undeserving coattail riders.”

That didn’t land Alcede in jail, but his refusal to surrender the Facebook password did—for seven hours. Alcede was held in contempt of the bankruptcy judge’s order. According to TechDirt, the “contempt charge didn’t pan out the way the judge had envisioned.”

Now the judge has ordered a third party to add up the number of personal and business posts on the Facebook page to help her decide who owns it. TechDirt conducted its own review of the page, noting that many of Alcede’s posts were not business related but did “espouse Alcede’s political views.” These views, according to TechDirt, definitely align “with the gun store’s demographic.”

If you find yourself needing the services of a Charlotte, North Carolina bankruptcy attorney, please call the skilled lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC find additional resources here. As professionals who are experienced at handling all kinds of bankruptcy matters, our attorneys will provide you with the best advice for your particular situation.

 

 

About the Author

Bryan 1Bryan Stone is a Partner with Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses his practice on all aspects of bankruptcy, including: Chapter 7, Chapter 11, Chapter 13, home loan modifications and landlord-tenant issues.

A native of Macon, Georgia, Mr. Stone attended the University of Georgia, where he earned a BBA in Banking and Finance, and Wake Forest University School of Law, where he obtained his law degree.

Following law school, Mr. Stone relocated to Charlotte, where he currently serves as Chair of “Bravo!” – a young professionals organization associated with Opera Carolina – and founded the University of Georgia Alumni Association of Charlotte.

In his spare time, Mr. Stone enjoys perfecting his barbeque skills for the annual “Q-City BBQ Championship” and playing softball in the Mecklenburg County Bar softball league.

 

 

Sources:

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20141218/15592429483/business-owner-who-refused-to-turn-over-facebook-account-passwords-arrested-contempt-bankruptcy-court.shtml

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=762810817125141&id=142934489112780

http://abc13.com/441331/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jeremy-Alcede-Entrepreneur/142934489112780

 

 

Image Credit:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Suppressors.jpg

 

 

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