In 2002 Bill became the single largest six figure cash investor as one of the owners of Biggs. Located in the 1874 Chicago Landmark status Mansion in the downtown loop area on the Chicago Gold Coast the building is protected by its landmark status. Biggs achieved national recognition in national magazines... "Zagat, Conde Nast's Bon Appetite, Wine Spectator, Women's Wear Daily" and the local "Chicagoland Market".
Although Bill is a pretty good cook, he always left the cooking and presentation to chef Frederic Boyer. Bill wrote many of the commercials and broadcast them live on WNUA promoting Biggs with Rick Odell, as well as playing music during live commercials with Terry Higgins and Dale Prasco. Steven Tyler, Ramsey Lewis and Mayor Daley were regular customers. Bill has dined with the former Mayor Daley in the Library with his family.
The restaurant had a good run for almost 2 years and it was quite a learning experience all the way from the celebrity status treatment, to being professionally bamboozled by a convicted criminal who turned out to be the managing partner in charge who cleverly gave herself the biggest number of shares that she paid nothing for, while selling the other remaining shares to investors for about $50,000 each. This effectively gave her the controlling interest which over ruled anyone that got in her way. We finally learned that Lezlie Keebler served time in a federal prison which she later admitted.
Lezlie left approximately 30 investors with nothing in the end and she didn't have any explanation to go with it. Not even an e mail or form letter mailed to the investors. Lezlie is a professional scammer that the investors who trusted her felt that there was no need for "Due Diligence" which would have easily shown she has more than one identity. A simple credit or criminal background check would have been enough red flags for potential investors to not move forward. After the scam her attitude seemed to be that investors can "write off" losses, so she did a favor for those who trusted her when she created a huge personal loss for them. Their funds are now gone forever as well as the jobs of about 50 waiters and workers who were hard working and loyal. The second largest investor who worked on site lost his life savings, his house, his Mercedes 500, and was forced to declare bankruptcy and is now living in government housing because he now officially qualifies for lifetime "poverty" status. All that her "good friends" have to show for their lifetime of hard earned money is their worthless stock share certificates that still appear to look surprisingly authentic and valuable.
The final year in operation Biggs restaurant grossed over $5,000,000, but Lezlie wasn't sure where that money went as she explained in her new designer cloths, while refusing to allow anyone including the largest investors to examine the financial books. Not a penny of dividends were ever paid to any of the investors or employees without any explanation of any kind, the opposite of what was promised in her clever business plan which is on file and is court record in Chicago. According to her there wasn't enough cash flow to even pay the rent on Biggs, which in the end was the demise of the entire business under her watch. The bottom line is that the business didn't have to close. Lezlie still continued to ask for more money because in a last minute effort to save business there was always another "cash infusion" needed.
Just before the Sheriff's eviction and seizure of Biggs for non payment of rent to the mansions owner, as a final insult she told Bill that this was his big chance to become a real "hero". Sensing that there were still more untapped funds somewhere, she said the cash infusion didn't have to be actual "cash". She explained to Bill if he would simply allow her to use any personal real estate assets for collateral then she could get an equity loan and she would generously even take care of all the paperwork for him. All he has to do is sign off and she will do the rest. "Once bitten, twice shy" that was a deal that Bill could refuse and now past age 67 he will never be able to retire since his hard earned retirement nest egg is gone forever.
She has also used other alias’s in the past and she may be known as L. Keebler - Lezlie R Keebler - Lezlie McCool - Leslie J McCool - Lellie McCool - Lezlie J Keebler - Leslie J McCool - Lezlie J Amspec or Leslie J McCook. Apparently Lezlie ran out of options in Chicago, but is probably still operating in another affluent area. After Biggs she managed to become employed and get into the books of even more established Chicago restaurants and successfully closed at least one.
Never-the-less, it was very entertaining and throughout the experience there was never a dull moment. The lesson Bill learned was more valuable than the money he might have earned for his retirement which of course he will never see now. Bill says (with a sense of humor) that his six figure losses weren't a loss at all, it simply bought him an education successfully graduating with honors from "The Chicago School Of Hard Knocks". Lezlie has since removed her facebook profile in shame or created yet another identity.
FINAL UPDATE: Here are some excerpts of sentences sent to Bill on May 17, 2011 in a long, rambling and repetitive e- mail. Only a few sentences were relevant to the finances of Biggs. The only excerpts of sentences relating to her management failure is where she wrote "all the money was all accounted for"...."had to deal with a slew of sharks"..."everyone is so stupid that they believe that hundreds of thousands of dollars went missing and I'm still walking around free - particularly with my history?"...my friends all know about my history as do any and all business associated, including employees, landlords, etc. It's the first thing I lay on the table. In fact, I'm a celebrity: Martha Stuart and I "visited" the same Federal prison camp. Ha, maybe she stayed in my room. I invested and borrowed from my friend and family oveer $350K in an effort to fight the legal battles"...and..."I live in the Island of Truth" (repeated 4 times by Lezlie Keebler, not Charlie Sheen)
End of story that needed to be told and nothing more needs to be said. Close the book and draw your own conclusions. As far as Bill is concerned this matter is closed just like the public court records filed against Lezlie in Chicago. If you search the Internet you will find many companies who list more aliases and do background checks.