Well, there are two ways you can look at this situation. If she is not a sophisticated business person, then she likely does not know her rights. Further, if there is nothing on paper which shows that she is actually a member of the LLC, and you are the incorporator, then you could in good faith state that she is only an investor, rather than a member. That means that you could argue that she has no membership rights. This could result in her suing you for breach of contract
. But that places the burden on her to take action. The other route is to go to court, admit that she is a member, and ask for a dissolution.
If you go the route of making it her problem of proving she is a member, then the only remaining question is how do you force her to turn over the keys. Unfortunately, here again, the only way to force someone to do something is to get a court order. Here, you could sue her in small claims court to get her to turn over the keys, as you can assert that she has stolen company property.
So just to make clear, here is what I think you need to do:
1. Track her down and tell her she needs to hand over the keys so that you can continue running the business while you guys figure a fair way to buy her out.
2. If she refuses, tell her that she is not actually a member of the LLC because she doesn't have any paper with her name on it and that it is your LLC and she is only an investor. Tell her that you are going to pay her back her investment and that she will walk away, but that she has to hand over the keys immediately or you will sue her for conversion and fraud.
3. If she still refuses, file a small claims lawsuit against her (with you as the LLC) stating that she has stolen company property and will not return it and ask for an order compelling her to turn over the keys or pay the fine for having the locks rekeyed.
4. You need to understand that she could assert at the court that she is a member of the LLC and has a right to the keys just as much as you do. If she does this, then she will have to prove that she is a member and then the court will proceed with dissolving the LLC (or refer you to a higher court to do so).
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