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FlexPetz, the dog-sharing company I wrote about yesterday, does still plan to come to D.C. following its expansion to Boston, despite the modern-day “witch hunt” set off in Massachusetts (which passed legislation this week banning pet rental companies). This comes by way of a spokesperson named Simon who would not give his last name, says he does not actually work for the company (he’s helping out a friend), but did return my call.
My hunch is the “spokesperson” who called me is Simon Brodie, listed as CEO of a company that—-at least at one point—-owned FlexPetz, although when I called Simon back he denied this and also declined, again, to provide his last name. Simon Brodie, from Britain (the Simon who called me had a British accent, which I’m sure is a coincidence), pleaded guilty and served time there on false accounting charges. He later moved to San Diego, where he founded Allerca, a company that sets up franchisees to sell controversial, specially-bred hypoallergenic cats for as much as $6,000 each. The company was evicted from its headquarters (also Brodie’s home, according to the San Diego Union Tribune) and has been sued by its landlords for failure to pay rent and by Orange County for loan default.
In addtion, the Union Tribune dug up a few more tidbits in October 2006:
Brodie and two other Brodie-affiliated companies, Cerentis and IntegraAssociates, also defaulted on a $72,280 promissory note, according to Los Angeles County court records. Last year, Brodie tried to raise $500,000 to fund an Allerca subsidiary, animal diagnostics firm GeneSentinel, of which he was chairman, president and chief executive. At the time, GeneSentinel listed assets of $3,000 and debts of $200,000.
This year, Brodie laid off some of the GeneSentinel employees; three former employees allege GeneSentinel owes them thousands of dollars in unpaid wages. Brodie acknowledges wages are owed to an unspecified number of former employees. GeneSentinel has since changed its name to Cyntegra.
Brodie’s connection to PetFlex was originally put together by the blog Itchmo: News for Cats and Dogs, which found his name in an SEC listing for Tetros, Inc. FlexPetz states it is “wholly a subsidiary of Tetros, Inc.” Tetros has since been sold to another company, ColdStar Capital.
Oh, and if FlexPetz does come to D.C., Simon acknowledges it will cost members about $280 a month for four doggy days. The dogs, which Simon says are donated to FlexPetz, are made available for adoption by members who want to be sole owners. All of the dogs in the New York office have been adopted while FlexPetz regroups and rethinks its expansion.
“It’s really a novel concept,” says Simon No-Last-Name. “In D.C., alone, we have two or three people every day who want to sign up.”