My parents have had a business for 30 years. When the economy fell in 2008 their business faltered and was never able to lift itself up. From about 2009 on, they began borrowing money from anyone who had it—any family they could, friends, employees—to keep the business afloat. Today they collectively owe hundreds of thousands of dollars to people.
One of their earliest and biggest debts was to my step father-in-law, whom they borrowed $300k+ from to build their own 5,000 sq ft home. They also owe $30k to my uncle for the last 7 years and $40k to my brother. They owed my husband and I $40k for about 7 years, but we forgave them of their debt recently. There are many more people they owe.
They’ve been promising people for years that they will pay their debt with them. They say they don’t because they just don’t have money. They say it’s their word on the line, that they’re honest people, and they will pay everything off. They say they aren’t swindlers.
But I also know that my parents were paying $10k on their mortgage for years on their 5,000 sq ft home. They bought new cars, mom had a weekly nail appointment, they were paying for several office employees who produced very little, etc. When they sold their home in 2017 for $1.6 million, they claimed they pretty much broke even because of the mortgage, liens, and real estate fees. They went on to rent a $3k house.
Now they want to close the business, move near me, and get jobs as employees. Even my dad’s most loyal employee who was also his first employee all those years ago, has left. It’s just my dad now, and he has no jobs. I suggested they sell their investment property to have money for the move, rent, and expenses while they establish themselves. They were hesitant, but are going to do so.
But I just realized, they are most likely not going to use that money to pay a cent to anyone they owe. They’re estimating about a $100k profit. And with my dad working as an employee I don’t see how they’ll be able to pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars. My dad is 66 and my mom is 59 and going through cancer treatments for the last 5 years. They’re probably going to tell no one they’re selling the house.
I want to at least tell my uncle and my step father-in-law about their plans to sell, because I think they’re going to swindle everyone. Although they really don’t see it that way, I think they ARE swindlers who play the victim card to seem innocent. It’s always circumstances beyond their control that cause them to need to borrow and constantly have no money.
My uncle has 8 herniated discs and degenerative disc disease. He can’t work anymore and is struggling to make ends meet in his family. He’s been out of work for months and isn’t receiving any money because of an issue with the worker’s comp case. He’s in danger of losing his mobile home. I think he deserves to try and get his money.
I also think my step-father-in-law should at least know about the sale. But if he pursues legal action he can easily wipe them out with just his debt, and they’d still owe him money. Then my parents would be left with nothing.
So, I’m conflicted because I think these people should know. But if they do and they pursue payment, my parents are truly going to be broke. At their age and health, I think this could potentially mean they’ll have to live with me. I don’t want that, but I also don’t want them on the streets. They’re also still raising my 15-year-old sister. I also feel guilty because I’m the one they suggested they sell their house to get some money, and now I want to tell others about it so that they’ll end up with no money.
How do I decide whether or not to say something?