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"We could probably be the billboard, the post child or the poster company or family that got caught in the craziness of the economy," Vaughan said.
But the company did not believe Liquid Highway's failure to pay had to do with the economy. In their lawsuit, Dillanos' attorneys Nike Air Huarache Black And White Mens
"It's almost Nike Air Huarache Pink Floral comical. It's just so unreal, but it's far from comical, because people (who were owed) were impacted in a real way and not a good way," Vaughan said.
"It's just tough to see the banner out there of giving all of our profits away and yet the trail of carnage is strewn about in their wake, and people need to understand that," Mallory said.
But the Bynums say that after December 2009, the payments came to an abrupt stop.
When Liquid Highway first opened in Greenville in 1998, founder and original owner Rod Williams said it was "the funkiest coffee shop in town."
Mallory said he discovered later that he wasn't the only business person who was owed.
Yet signs that say "Saving Lives One Cup at a Time" are displayed at Liquid Highway's three locations.
While Liquid Highway's failure to pay its expenses has angered many of the people who are owed, the owner of the popular chain blames the weak economy for what happened.
In fact, court judgments filed at the Greenville County courthouse reveal Liquid Highway owes nearly $5 million to banks, vendors, equipment suppliers, office leasing companies and credit card companies.
Seven years later, Williams said he is still owed about $300,000 from Nike Air Huarache White Mens
"I would have taken half at this point than have nothing, but we didn't have that opportunity," Matt Bynum said. "(Liquid Highway) wanted it, and they didn't do what they were obligated to do."
"We are still saving lives with our time and our talent. We don't have money to give away right now. That savings lives one cup at a time is every bit as true today, if not more, as it was back then," Vaughan said.
But Vaughan insists Liquid Highway is still saving lives, even though the business is no longer a registered charity.
In February 2009, the Bynums sold their chain of Brick House Coffee stores to Vaughan. The Bynums financed the deal themselves and began receiving payments of approximately about $5,000 to $10,000 per month.
"We're not getting a penny," Williams said. "Any time someone talks to me about Liquid Highway now, the first thing they bring up is, 'Oh yeah, that's the shop that gives all their profits to missions.' That's very noble, but if they're giving it away, that's my money they're giving away."
But in 2006, Williams and his wife, Donna, divorced and decided to sell Liquid Highway. Theda Vaughan, who Williams said was a regular customer, purchased the chain for $1 million.
Vaughan said in 2008, as several new Liquid Highways stores were being built, banks stopped lending, credit lines were pulled and sales decreased by as much 40 percent.
the only person who is owed money by Vaughan. Tad Mallory, owner of West End Coffee in Greenville, said he's owed about $18,000 for coffee supplies he sold to Liquid Highway in December 2009.
ï»¿Upstate coffee chain criticized for not paying bills
drew attention to the large amount of money Vaughan and her husband made from the sale of their shredding business in the late 1990s. An unrelated lawsuit, Theda L. Vaughan; James Ricky Vaughan v. Recall Total Information Management, Inc., showed the Vaughans made more than $22 million from the sale.
Drs. Matt and Ann Bynum, who own a dental practice in Simpsonville, are among those who are owed.
"Everybody there had some sort of a quirk factor, and that's how we hired," Williams told News 4's Tim Waller. "Employees had nose rings and tattoos. We fit very well together as a family."
The coffee chain known for giving all its profits to charity was faced with a flurry of lawsuits. Dillanos Coffee Roasters, of Sumner, Wash., claimed it was owed $43,000 for coffee and supplies.
While Liquid Highway gave large amounts of money to charity from 2001 to 2008, according to IRS records, the Vaughan's charitable foundation, Touch the Ground, was suspended by the South Carolina Secretary of State's Office in 2009 for "failure to pay a delinquent fine for a delinquent annual financial report."
"Out of the people who were owed money, I was on the bottom end of the ladder, and I know it goes in excess of hundreds of thousands of dollars," Mallory said.
Vaughan told Waller the $22 million she and her husband made was spent before they purchased Liquid Highway in 2006. She said $4 million was used to fund their charitable foundation, Touch the Ground, while another $2 million was tithed to their church. The rest, Vaughan said, was spent on taxes and paying off the remaining debt on their shredding business.
Dillanos Coffee Roasters accused the Vaughans of "unjustly refusing to apply (the money they made from the sale of their shredding business) toward their judgment debt." Eventually, Dillanos accepted a judgment from Liquid Highway for $50,872, which still hasn't been paid.
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"We've refinanced our house and our dental office and our lake house and are trying to sell things right and left," said Ann Bynum. "It's like a fire sale at Bynums."
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