Tycer vs Gould: The Chronicle's Take

August 26, 2009

Maggie Galehouse at the Houston Chronicle has posted her take on Battle Ownership, the Tycer vs. Gould controversy at Gravitas.

Chefs' rift grows into a chasm

The story elaborates on the promises made, the SBA loan, and the attempted buyout.

Galehouse confirms the issue that we feel is at the heart of the controversy:

Gould came up with a new plan: to buy Gravitas from Tycer. He told Tycer what he was doing, found some financial backers willing to buy out the SBA loan and gave Tycer a letter of intent to take over the restaurant's financial obligations.

But Tycer felt low-balled. He said Gould's investors were "looking for someone frantic who wanted to be pulled out from underneath a boulder."

He counteroffered, and Gould's investors pulled out.

But as recently as July, he said, Tycer told him he still saw him as a partner.

That changed on Aug. 7 when Gould got a call from Tycer's wife. Annika Tycer, a management consultant who helps her husband with the business side of food, had been involved in the buyout negotiations. She told Gould that he was no longer considered a partner.

Our summary:

Something smells funny. If Tycer didn't want to be bought out, why did he enter into negotiations?

Here's the timeline as we see it:

Tycer negotiates with Gould.

Gould can't raise enough money in this economic climate.

Tycer feels lowballed, but still considers Gould a partner.

Then Tycer's wife comes in and tell him that he's not considered a partner.

Gould feels betrayed, and quits.

Maybe that's just business as usual in a Tycer establishment. But we think it stinks. Ethical firms don't promise a key employee equity and then yank it away because they get mad.

We stand by our position to avoid Tycer and his establishments; we can't support a restaurant with these sorts of business practices.

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