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Thanks for using JA. I will do my best to answer your questions. DON’T FORGET the your deposit is not used to compensate me until you rate my service. A verbal contract is enforceable and here you do have emails to back up your claim. As such, you can file suit to enforce that contract. You relied on that representation, you held up your part of the bargain, the restaurant is a success, you made a substantial move based on their representation. You have a cause of action called promissory estoppel. Here is an excellent outline with case law.
However, they would be correct to include their initial investment as a debt of the business and insist that it be paid back from any profits but only on a reasonable payment schedule. You are correct in that to do anything it appears you would have to contact a local attorney and let him handle the issue for you. He may be able to negotiate a settlement. Hope that helps and please continue if you have further questions.
Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX I do feel it's been a breach of contract but shrouded by a grey area in terms of the investment now being categorized as debt. I thought this is why they are getting the 70% of the profits. Also, there is a friendship between us so it's not black & white, a lot was agreed upon by trust. Somebody mentioned I may want to go the mediation route. What do you think of that? Also, could you advise me as to how much this would cost me roughly in terms of attorney fees?