The obituary of CityGuru, Inc. will show the cause of death as multiple wounds self-inflicted by its own Founder, Drew Morrison. From its mercurial rise as Path Investments Group, LLC in 2009 to it spiraling downward in flame as CityGuru, Inc. in 2015, Drew Morrison leaves behind a legacy of countless broken investors and a story of questionable management and ethics.
Incredibly, Drew Morrison took first place for “Best Investment Opportunity” and “The Peoples’ Choice” awards in the 2012 “Fast Pitch” competition hosted by the former Seattle ZINO Society. Representing CityGuru, Inc., Drew Morrison proved he ruled supreme in the art of Fast Talk.
In less than four years, he managed to raise over $700,000 in known private funds from small investors along with their trust in his promises in various ventures that never paid a return. Remarkably, the self-styled “Entrepreneur Extraordinaire” continued to recruit new funds even when his long time investors have yet to realize a dividend, interest payment–or even the status of their principal.
With the company now seemingly dead in the water and its founder having gone underground, CityGuru Shareholders and Investors are dizzy from wondering: “What happened?” Many can recount promises from Drew Morrison that he would “make it right” earlier in the year when news of possible misappropriation of their funds began to surface.
In a written statement Drew Morrison shrugged it off as “These were honest mistakes”
And, mistakes they were, indeed—and about as “honest” as self-inflicted wounds can possibly be. Except for a brief window of time in later 2012, early 2013, Drew Morrison has been the sole acting executive of CityGuru, Inc. His mistakes became the mistakes of CityGuru—and inadvertently the mistakes of its investors/shareholders. Whether these mistakes were made in naivete of business acumen–or by deceit–really doesn’t matter now to an investor/shareholder who simply wants answers from a founder missing in action.
Even in declarations filed as Court Records, plaintiffs noted Drew Morrison’s propensity for self-injury in business and legal matters. As one Plaintiff stated: “As the tide finally turned against him, Drew simply became his own worst enemy with one bad choice made after another; each even more stupid than the one before!” As the Face of CityGuru—it was inevitable Drew Morrison’s own company would suffer from each self-inflicted wound. He began inflicting the wounds at a critical time when CityGuru, Inc. could have possibly been salvaged with a little common-sense damage control described in the post: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
Apparently the wounding has been ongoing since at least 2007, and when they grew more extensive, it was inevitable that the curtain on OZ would be eventually be thrown aside by the September, 2015 KOMO-TV News story revealing the true nature of Drew Morrison’s activities.
An autopsy of CityGuru, Inc. reveals the following wounds that were clearly self-inflicted:
Neglect and Abuse of Fiduciary Duties for Investors’ Funds
Despite repeated requests by investors/shareholders to providing financial transparency, Drew Morrison either never understood the need for or refused to develop a reasonable accounting system expected to run any form of business (see “Who Needs Accounting?”). Any resemblance of CityGuru’s accounting was that of Drew Morrison’s own monthly bank statements. As a result the wounds he inflicted were:
- Mixing personal finances with investor funds. The “Easy Come; Easy Go” concept took its toll as little or nothing was left for business investments.
- Lack of accounting resulted in delinquent taxes. Sooner or later the price of NOT paying taxes will be higher than paying them initially.
- With no measurement of the company’s fiscal health, there was no measure of return for investors/shareholders. Even their principals cannot be accounted for. Shares of equity cannot be validated.
- With no accounting the value of stock sold to investors cannot possibly be determined, much less attract an IPO/Buyout as initially promised by Drew Morrison. This leaves shareholders in a burning house with no exit.
- Ironically, Drew Morrison could have possibly vindicated himself against allegations of fraud, conversion and misrepresentation simply by producing documentation as proof of his demonstrating fiscal and fiduciary responsibility.
Many investors/shareholders have experienced the frustration of trying to obtain current, accurate and complete information from Drew Morrison regarding their investments. The tone of information often depended upon who was receiving it (and what they wanted to hear). All too often, the “facts” could easily be refuted simply by comparing notes with other investors hearing a different story. Handling business facts and information with such a cavalier attitude often came across as condescending—even arrogant—to investors/shareholders. In effect: they were being dismissed as being incapable of handling the facts—particularly bad news.
In business, dismissing the relevancy of the investors who feed you is akin to biting the Hand that feeds you. The same Hand can slap you back, resulting in yet another wound that could have been prevented such as:
- Claiming he had no money as the reason he wasn’t paying interest, dividends or ROI on Investor funds for over five years. He boldly stated “I’ve gone 5 years without a salary to put this company first”, even after court-ordered bank records revealed a lavish lifestyle at the expense of investor funds continuously being wired to his account.
- Claiming he couldn’t pay creditors because of a lack of money would not only escalate into bigger legal issues, but would add insult to injury when he shortly thereafter appeared in expensive magazine vanity spreads, such as that in Mode Magazine (page 26 to 33), featuring a dapper Drew Morrison, beautiful woman on arm glorifying his own success and affluence.
- Compromising the trust and respect of his investors/shareholders by offering different versions of the same story to different investors described in “Drew Morrison: Good Cop—Or BS’er?”. Feeling the necessity of comparing notes to get at the truth, investors created their own “Watch Dog” by uniting to create The CITYGURU Investor , as a viable means of keeping their founder transparent–and accountable.
- Executing a legally-binding contract with one of his largest investors—only to default on the first payment, dismissing both the claim as invalid and his creditor as a “Disgruntled Investor”.
Disregard of Governmental Regulations for Conducting Business
While Drew Morrison followed proper protocol in incorporating CityGuru as a Delaware corporation he, ironically, chose to ignore and dismiss the myriad of other Federal, State and Local regulations all U.S. companies operate under. Arguably, the mere act of attempting to take food away from a Big Dog can result in a nasty wound that could have been avoided. But, by testing the Big Dog, Drew Morrison placed himself—and CityGuru—under the microscope of possible government intervention concerning violations and infractions. Yet, Drew Morrison tried:
- Operating in Washington State without registering as a foreign entity while operating as PATH INVESTMENTS GROUP and later, CityGuru.
- Operating in Seattle, King County without license or permit
- Generating revenue without reporting to the appropriate, Federal, State or Local tax authorities.
- Selling On the Go Technologies and CityGuru Stock which may prove to be Phantom Stock.
Neglecting/Ignoring Legal Issues:
Any litigation can start out as a small hurt. Left untreated it can quickly become an infected, oozing wound. For his own reasons, Drew Morrison chose to ignore his own legal wounds as they occurred, often with no regard for the need of treatment—much less prevention—of the infections. By neglect they became self-inflicted wounds that would eventually infect CityGuru and its Investors/Shareholders by:
- Flagrant and continuous breach of contract with investors and vendors
- Disregard of Court Orders; even altering Court ordered documents
- Disregard of Tax obligations either in personal, corporate, city or state.
- Challenging legally binding documents to escape obligation only to open the door to investigations that led to findings with far reaching legal implications.
- Warning investors that joining in any legal action against him would result in a “sum zero” for all concerned (translated: “If you sue me, you will lose everything”). This subtle intimidation tactic would eventually anger and spurred investors to action when they learned he had already spent their money.
Reinforcing a Track Record of Bad/Unethical/Incompetent Business Decisions:
By claiming all his troubles are due to “honest” mistakes and refusing to take responsibility for his own actions, Drew Morrison has drawn more attention to those very mistakes. Upon closer examination, the “mistakes” seem to connect the dots into a recurring pattern, or modus operandi, suggesting habitual self-wound infliction such as:
- Demonstrating flagrant fiscal/fiduciary irresponsibility with Other Peoples’ Money
- Selling Questionable equities in return for “investment funds”
- Carelessly managing public events and vendor funds such as in the Ferrari & Fashion Event
- Exposing himself and CityGuru to questionable and possibly unethical practices concerning Charities
Hiding Underground in light of Bad News:
We have often extended the benefit of the doubt to Drew Morrison here and acknowledge the claims of some that perhaps Drew Morrison may be getting “A Bum Rap” from people angry with him. An open invitation to all Drew supporters—and even Drew Morrison himself—still stands for submittals of their perspectives on issues to be published here.
If you are reading this, Drew Morrison–you are particularly invited to speak out on what you think the rest of us need to hear! Remember: your posts will be un-edited and un-censored. We will leave it to the reader to decide for themselves.
But there is little we can do regarding Drew Morrison’s own self-inflicted wound when he chose to go underground at a time when his investors/shareholders need him most. In the wake of Shutting down CityGuru, disappearing and refusing to openly address the many questions from investors/shareholders Drew Morrison only compromises his own credibility and trustworthiness, adding to other self-inflicted wounds such as:
- Leaving his Path Investments Group investors in the lurch until a year later when they learned he had since abandoned the company leaving them with no explanation of what happened to their investments.
- Abandoning CityGuru investors in the wake of the KOMO-TV News Story causing much speculation and angst for his investors: Perhaps he was avoiding the due process of being served summons he knew might follow in the wake of the KOMO story. Or; perhaps he was simply embarrassed in light of unwanted public relations. We think it is simply Drew Morrison’s M.O. to severe all contact when he is pinned with pointed questions.
- Whatever his intentions were in going underground, Drew Morrison only attracted more pointed questions (CityGuru in a Tar Pit?; Drew Morrison: Missing in Action) and resulted in more investigation of the facts (Drew Morrison’s Rap Sheet). Put another round in…I’m itching to pull the trigger