What Really Happened with Cold Stone and CNBC


For those of you eagerly awaiting my comments on your baseless and delusional perceptions of who I really am, and what really happened here-- free of speculation--a simple phone call to me would have certainly set your misperceptions very straight!

However, because of the cowardly approach of writing anonymously, which merits no respect, I am unable to confront my meek adversaries. Steinberg and Webster, you guys just do not get it!

Therefore,this is the ONLY time that I will write on this blog on this issue! I have many more valuable causes in which to invest my time!

You really believe that S and W out- foxed me? Who are you kidding? Believe as you wish! Steinberg's op-ed piece wreaks in professional envy! How unfortunate for you miserable souls!,

Ask Mike Regan from Kahala and David Rauch from S and W if they feel the way you do! I assure you that they do not!

Because David Rauch chose to share through an academic piece how the historically competing worlds of franchisor and franchisee can work together and align their interests to achieve a common goal for the benefit of both parties, demonstrates intellectual, business, professional and social maturity!

Although it is no secret that Kahala has in the past and currently is in the midst of very tense relations with both it's franchisees and some of it's Area Developers, as unorthodox as it may be, it must be credited with it's creative and pro-active approach of seeking assistance from it's long-time adversary in order to protect the Brand from a highly inflammatory public relations crisis!

The reality is that the franchisees were even more worried than Kahala because it was their stores which were being boycotted in order to send the message of public disapproval to Kahala? But it was the franchisees whose sales were plummeting and therefore became justifiably alarmed!

My agreement to represent the NIACCF and collaborate with Kahala was done only after receiving specific and unequivocal direction from the NIACCF and its franchisees to take all action necessary to protect the Brand so that the franchisees, who so heavily rely on it, will NOT continue to be damaged by it's complete destruction.

I never "crossed the line", or "betrayed the franchisees" or "went to the dark side", or "sold my soul" to Kahala or any one else! Never have and never will! No conflict of interest exists with Kahala.

The only reason that Kahala agreed to pay the Modest sum of attorneys fees that I was requiring to be paid by the NIACCF( franchisee association) to retain me was because without such financial contribution, the NIACCF would not have been able to afford my firm's legal services and would not have been able to support the defense of the Brand name which the franchisees so heavily rely upon.

So if the franchisor wanted the assistance and support of the NIACCF in derailing the CNBC public relations efforts to disparage the Cold Stone brand, then it was only fair and appropriate that Kahala and NOT the franchisee association pay the legal bills associated with this coordinated effort.

Frankly, I believed it was a rather brilliant strategy to have the franchisor pay for a benefit to be derived by the NIACCF and the franchisee stores as well as the franchise system for protecting the brand. If the same situation would arise today where the franchisees wished to take legal action to defend their businesses but could not afford to do so, and the franchisor would have an interest in protecting it's brand, rest assured that I would be knocking on the Franchisors door to pay the bill and without creating any potential conflict of interest!

The bottom line is that the brand and the franchisee stores were well served- all without any financial or other cost to the franchisee association-NIACCF.

I still actively represent the NIACCF as well as a majority of the Area Developers in Cold Stone on issues of concern to them vis a vis Kahala. Rest assured that my commitment to the franchisees is unwavering and my integrity and honor will never be compromised! However, I refuse to discuss my strategies, legal advice or other sensitive matters on the Internet as my duty is solely to and always will remain with the franchisee!

It is unfortunate that those accusing me have no facts whatsoever which support the baseless accusations. Get on the board and become actively involved in your franchisee associations legal affairs committee and you will see the light! Clearly, you must be living in the dark as you have no backbone or internal fortitude or sufficient character to identify yourself in this blog!

I owe no one, except my clients, an explanation as to why or how I give particular legal advice in the manner that I do. And whether you approve or not of how I practice law, frankly, I do not give a damn! It has benefitted and served my clients really well over the last 25 years.  

My family, partners, and employees as well as many charitable organizations, community programs, religious institutions, universities and law schools have substantially benefitted financially from my unselfish generosity. All this after having grown up poor, mowed lawns since the age of seven, cleaned toilets on my hands and knees while at Harvard and worked over 3000 hours per year, year after year over the last 20 years while owning my law firm.

So criticize till your hearts desire. It will make no difference!

Life is like a game of chess. Make one move at a time. Move up- not down, and when you reach the Top, you may move as you like!

This has been a guest post by ROBERT ZARCO.

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  • user-pic Paul Steinberg | November 14, 2011 7:02 PM | Reply
  • Is a Canadian capable of being a miserable soul? Oh... that whole "je me souviens" thing. Well, other than that?

    Paul, I believe Victor Hugo had in mind a certain province when he wrote a certain book.

    Zarco raises an important issue - if the same stores sales were falling, who did it effect more? The members of the Association or Kahala?

    Right now, as of November, 2011 I can not find any recent FDDs for Coldstone. If they are on as the head tenant, but the franchisee simply walks, then Coldstone will have take over the unit, pay the rent, but won't be able to resell it without a FDD.

    That strikes me as a problem.

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