How canI shut down a business thatI don’t own?

UPDATED: Feb 26, 2011

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How canI shut down a business thatI don’t own?

The counsel for the Health Dept sent an administrative complaint that asked for the business to shut down, a voluntary relinquishment of my license, and for me to agree never to apply for another such business. Problem is –  I don’t own this business. I was an employee there. The owner moved out of state and wanted me to be able to handle the money for her, so she created a corporation that only owned the bank account (not the business). Further, she closed the business about 2 years ago. She even e-mailed them a letter stating this and included the license. What do I do?

Asked on February 26, 2011 under Business Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

What you can--and should--do is get a lawyer. Immediately. There is some confusion here, since obviously the government thinks you own the business and have control over it--and perhaps you do without realizing it, depending upon how exactly the corporation was set up. At a minimum, if "your" corporation "owns" the bank account, you may have effective control--and be the only with effective control--over the business, making you liable for its actions. Obviously also, the state thinks the business is still in existence, which means that *something* may be conducting business still.

Something sounds very, very wrong--there is NO need to set up a new corporation to handle money because the owner moved out of state; many businesses have out of state owners, and banks are used to handling accounts for people or entities out of state. There was no legal requirement for her to do what she did based on what your write, which means there is something you are not understanding and/or she did not do what you think she did.

So consult with an attorney--now. Bring ALL documentation relating to the business, the bank account, the corporation, etc.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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