Chapter Fifty Two
Monday and Tuesday were busy days for Collin at his new school. Besides trying to catch up with where the other sophomores were in all his classes, Collin had to deal with the harassment he got from the older junior and senior boys, because he was the new kid and because he was the 'new rich kid' to boot. He tried not to take it too serious and joked around with his tormentors while at the same time trying to blend into the school and be accepted.
Many of the kids who knew Collin, particularly from the New Year's Eve Dance, tried to intervene on his behalf, but they became targets as well, so many of them just gave up. Collin took it all in stride and when Ryan and Daniel and Conner tried to get him to go to the principal about it, he said it would only get them more 'pissed-off' and he didn't want that. Collin also told Ryan not to say anything to Mr. Ken as he had to try to deal with it himself.
Back at Three Finger Cove, Mr. Ken brought in Andrew Marshall to brief him on every aspect of Wilkinson Enterprises and he found himself overwhelmed with the many varied factories and retail businesses of the corporation. The only thing Mr. Ken felt good about was that the things he had ordered a few weeks back like the complete review of all billings of legal services by and for one Dennis Clarke; the complete accounting of all of the assets and creditors of Wilkinson Enterprises; and the written directive that the individual Presidents of each operation would be held responsible for their actions and the well-being of their respective entities had all been accomplished.
The thing that tickled Ken the most was that Dennis Clarke was still billing Wilkinson Enterprises for work he was supposedly doing while incarcerated in the county jail while Frank Hale was being paid to defend him on the companies' 'dime'. Ken put an immediate stop to all of that. Ken even had Andrew Marshall begin proceedings to recover any and all monies inappropriately paid to both those men and he knew they both would be squirming when they realized that their 'slush' funds were cut off. Ken also ordered the firing of Frank Hale and anyone else who was involved in the fraudulent use of the company money.
At the deaths of James and Charlotte Wilkinson, Andrew Marshall knew what to do, so he had ordered the complete accounting of all accounts receivable and outstanding debts of Wilkinson Enterprises. He knew that would be required for the tax filings and the wills to be probated. But when Ken Thomas, the newly appointed CEO, ordered that to be done as well, and without any encouragement or prompting from him, Andrew Marshall knew that the man would be good for the Corporation and ultimately Collin.
On the other hand, the operations presidents were not happy about their new responsibility and many of them fired off letters of protest. Mr. Ken didn't care what they thought, and immediately replied by reminding them that they were salaried employees of the corporation and if they felt they couldn't handle what was their responsibility, in the first place, they could resign. Ken had already told Andrew he wanted a complete review of every manager and that he should expect some changes with some people being reassigned or demoted and even fired. Ken also indicated he would look at the upper levels of management as well and those things could happen there as well.
Over at the high school, Collin's harassment went from being verbal on Monday to being physical on Tuesday. Some of the bigger seniors, and their junior classmate friends, began going out of their way to trip Collin up, knock his books out of his arms or even forcefully push him so he'd slam into the lockers. Collin tried to not to be upset, but with every punch and shove, he knew he was in a losing battle.
Over at the Cove, Andrew Marshall was going to be Ken's guest all week and the one thing he wanted Collin's 'Uncle Andy' to do while he was there was to begin outlining a Will for Collin. Granted, Collin was young enough that he should have a long life ahead of him, but in today's climate of kidnappings, which Collin had already had happen to him, and muggings and murders, Mr. Ken wanted to make sure that Collin's wealth didn't go to either the state or the federal governments.
The main problem was that Collin had no one left in his family to leave C.W.E Inc. to unless his grandmother could be found. This was going to be a difficult undertaking, but 'Uncle Andy' assured Ken that he would have everything ready, except for names, to be able to sit down with Collin by the end of the week.
Tuesday after school, at dinner, Ken asked Collin to make sure he hurried home after school the next day as he had a surprise for him. Collin begged and pleaded trying to find out what the surprise was, but Mr. Ken wasn't saying. When dinner was over, 'Uncle Andy' asked Collin to follow him to Mr. Ken's Study and sit down and talk with him as he had some things he needed to discuss with him. When they arrived at the Study and Mr. Ken wasn't there, Collin asked, "Where's my Big Bro?"
"Collin, this is something that can only be discussed between a lawyer and his client. That is why Mr. Ken is not present at this meeting. I know how much you trust your guardian, but when you hear what I want to discuss with you, I think you will understand. Are you ready to begin?"
"Uncle Andy, I thought since I was still underage, I had to have my guardian with me when I make decisions. Isn't this a bit illegal? Shouldn't he be here to help me in making any decisions?" asked the now concerned teenager.
"Collin, there isn't anything that you will have to sign at this meeting, so he doesn't need to be here. What I want to discuss with you may have to do with Mr. Ken and it wouldn't be good for him to know what we are talking about although I'll bet he already knows," responded Mr. Marshall.
"But why can't he be here, Uncle Andy? You know how I trust him. He wouldn't do or say anything that would hurt me or make me do something wrong or illegal. I think he should be here so he can guide me and advise me," argued Collin.
"Collin, let me tell you what I want to talk to you about first. If, after you hear what it is we can discuss it some and also discus if Ken should be here. Then, if we agree, we'll ask him to step in. Will that be Ok with you for now?"
"Yeah, I guess so. I know you wouldn't do anything to hurt me or make me do anything illegal either and you know I'll talk to my Big Bro after we finish anyway, so let's go for it!"
"Ok, Collin, here it is in a nutshell. You know I am here all this week to get Mr. Thomas up to speed about Wilkinson Enterprises."
"What? What is that?" asked Uncle Andy.
"C.W.E. Inc. is the new name I want Mr. Ken to start calling Wilkinson Enterprises. He suggested that since it was all in my name now, he thought I should rename the corporation. Just like I am beginning a new life so should Wilkinson so we both came up with C.W.E Inc. It's just my initials', that's all. I kinda like it. It isn't as long and winded as Wilkinson Enterprises, Inc. is. Plus, it will show that there has been a change in leadership and management and that should tell our competitors that even though my dad is not around anymore, they still will have to look over their shoulder to see what we are doing," explained Collin.
"Is that what Mr. Thomas told you, Collin?"
"Yes, he did and I like that he is looking to revitalize everything and, at the same time, making a statement that we are still a force to be reckoned with. Maybe that is not the way we will finally go, but at least he is talking to me and asking me how it sounds and what I want to do myself. Uncle Andy that is what Mr. Ken has always done for me. He has always talked to me about things, that concern me, and that is what I like about him.
"You know my mom and dad never took the time to ask me what I liked or thought about stuff. He told me that this name change doesn't have to be decided on right now and probably shouldn't be until everything is settled with the taxes and probate, so I know exactly what I will and won't own. Even you, "Uncle Andy', haven't talked to me about any of that and I thought you would have," said Collin.
"Yes, Collin, my boy, I guess I should have taken the time, no, excuse me, I should have MADE the time, but ... well anyway it is what it is and I am glad you have Mr. Thomas as your guardian and mentor. He does have a good head on his shoulders and seeing the way you two are together tells me he loves you very much, too.
"Okay, let me tell you why I wanted to talk to you alone. Collin, you know your father and mother both made out Wills in the event something happened to them. Unfortunately, something did, but now it is your turn to do the same."
"But why, Uncle Andy, I'm still just a kid?"
"Yes, but you are a kid who just inherited close to three-quarters of a Billion dollars’ worth of companies and businesses and has thousands upon thousands of people who work for you. Even though you are still a teenager, right now, you are probably the richest teenager in the United States, if not in the whole world. You have an important responsibility to make sure all those people, who work for you, will still have jobs if something were to happen to you. Now can you understand why it is just you and me talking? If Mr. Ken were here, he might try to influence you to name him as your beneficiary. I, for one, don't want that to happen unless that IS what you want. Also, understand, if you were to name him that would be the first question that the courts would ask if something happened to you.
"Collin, I am not asking you to name anyone, tonight, but I am letting you know that I am working on your Last Will and Testament under Mr. Thomas' direction. He wanted to make sure that I had everything covered and that the state and/or federal governments wouldn't get control of your fortune. He told me he didn't really need your money and I know for a fact that he could buy you out lock stock and barrel with the amount of money he has. But, I know he wouldn't do that, and I think you know that, too. Anyway, Collin, you need to think about whom you could share your good fortune with. As I said, I don't need any names tonight, but I would like you to think of people you care for even if Mr. Ken is one of them."
"Can you help me with the names, 'Uncle Andy'?"
"No, son, I can't. It would be unethical for me to do that just as it would be for Mr. Ken to be here as we discuss your Last Will and Testament. Collin, this is a big decision and one you should not take lightly. Understand, that, you can also assign percentages to people and even give some to charities if you wish," further explained Mr. Marshall.
"Can I talk to my Big Bro about this? I've never had to do anything like this and ... well I need him to help me with this and all," asked Collin.
"Yes, you can talk to him about this. You can talk to anyone about this if you want, but it is best not to talk to too many people as your Will should be kept secret until you are no longer around. We don't want people to know you named them and then they 'bump you off' just to get their share, now do we?" At that last statement the two laughed.
"No, I guess not. Thanks, Uncle Andy, for doing this for me and for helping Mr. Ken with everything. I hope you will be with me as long as you were with my dad." And as Collin finished, he went over to Uncle Andy and gave him a big hug.
Wednesday began as every day did with Collin waking up and taking care of his morning business, then having a wonderful breakfast cooked by Momma Maria, and then off to catch the bus for school. At school, Collin began to look out for his tormentors and tried to avoid them. He stayed with Ryan and Danny as much as he could, but he didn't have every class with them, so he was on his own a couple of times during the day. Right after lunch, Collin was walking to his next class when he was accosted by a senior by the name of Rodney Costa.
"Where are you going, Richie Rich Kid? You think because you have money and live in that big house you are something special. Well, let me tell you one thing, Richie Rich Kid, you are not anything special around here, especially to me. You hear that?" said Rodney while he kept poking his finger into Collin's chest.
"Yeah, I hear you, but what did I do to you? Why are you and the rest of those guys harassing me? I didn't do anything to them either," responded Collin.
"Yes you did. You came here and we didn't invite you. You understand? We didn't ask you to be here, with all your money and important friends, so why don't you just go back to wherever you came from." As soon as Rodney finished, he pulled back his pointed finger, made a fist, and with his entire weight behind it he really punched his entire fist into Collin's chest and Collin went down.
Some of the students saw and heard what was happening, but none of them wanted to get involved but when Collin went down and didn't get up, someone ran to get the nurse.
Back at the Cove, Ken and Andrew were talking about how the estate and inheritance taxes where going to eat into Collin's inheritance when the phone rang.
"Hello, this is Mr. Thomas. How can I help you?"
Andrew watched the new CEO as he answered the phone and then saw how he began to react to what he was hearing. He couldn't hear what was being said on the other end, but he knew from what Mr. Thomas was saying it was not good.
"Thank you and I, we, will be right there." As Ken hung up the phone he looked at Andrew Marshall and said, "Collin's been hurt. We need to get to the hospital."
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