Friday, October 14, 2005

Unique Enterpreneur

Here is a story for those of you who hate corporations and root for the small entrepreneur. This Wall Street Journal article tells about a Chicago lawyer who has found an interesting way to enrich himself:

Using a state whistle-blower law, Mr. Diamond since 2002 has filed about 95 suits in Cook County court here against retailers that failed to charge him taxes on Internet sales, alleging that they broke the law. In cases where the state of Illinois joins the suits and prevails, he is entitled to up to 25% of the financial damages, with the rest going to state coffers.

Mr. Diamond's first eight suits were filed against such retailers as Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Office Depot Inc. and KB Toys Inc. He has netted about a half-million dollars already, from some retailers.

The article goes on to talk about how states are trying to stop him from doing this. What do you think? Is Diamond an opportunist exploiting a loophole to make easy money or is he a hero for stopping the corporations from breaking the law?

Source: Division of Labour


Gregory Bylos said...

haha, he's my hero...

Rebecca said...

I'd say that he's an opportunist exploiting a loophole {like richard exploiting the loophole in the dress code about soccer cleats} because if he really wanted to expose fraud he would just report the violation. Why does he get money because the companies didn't charge him taxes on internet sales? I don't really understand how that works. It seems like the government should prosecute the businesses, not the consumer.

Daniel Hanison said...

I do not understand why he is entitled to 25% of the court settlement, it seems like more people would be doing this if that was the case. I guess he makes a better living doing this than working for the government. I wouldn't mind half a mill a year for ratting on people.

Anonymous said...

I would agree with Rebecca that he has simply found a loophole and is exploiting it because he is in it for the money. If he just wanted to expose the businesses he would go after one large coorporation and involve the media alot more. But the fact that he has repeadtly filed suits proves that he is in it for the money. But hey no one has stopped him yet! Kristen

Kind Kimberly Burky said...

I give him props. This man clearly took time to find a random law that he knew would be violated somewhat frequently and ran with it. He is extremely creative. However, at the same time, he is exploiting these companies for easy money. This man is most likely not upset about not having to pay a sales tax because that would actually just cost him money. Also, I agree with Kristen (because we pretty much agree on everything) on the point that he would have not filed repeated suits. If he was really concerned about the corporations breaking the law, he would have pursued suing one large corporation to make an example out of them. This guy could probably make money another way legitimately with his sweet creativity :)

Brian Zabell said...

Using my quaint knowledge of economics from watching educational South Park I can conclude that megacorporations are not really the evil empires we make them out to be. The Underpants Gnomes taught the children that corporations exist because they start out as a small-time entrepreneur. However, the products are very well-made, and thus the small business grows into a large corporation.

After all, who can argue with such business strategies as:

1. Collect Underpants
2. ???
3. Profit