Friday, June 28, 2013

Mylene Morillo and Michael Brown: American English Skills Development Center Scandal

Now making the viral rounds on Facebook

Michael Brown is a great man. He's a caring father to my girlfriend and awesome grandfather to our daughter. When he retired from the U.S. Air Force and wanted to start a business in the Philippines that helped Filipinos succeed and open up more doors for them career-wise, it made me see just how selfless and benevolent he was. He could've got a good-paying job in the U.S. Instead, Michael--who is American-born, an Oklahoma native, and son of a retired U.S. military veteran as well, chose to stay in the Philippines after retirement with the goal of helping the people there. Usually, most Filipinos, with no ties to a higher social class, can't wait to leave the Philippines since they know that there are better opportunities abroad. In other words, most Filipinos know that they can only get so far in the Philippines--so they usually make every attempt to leave their country, pursue opportunities somewhere else, and then either send back money to their families that are still in the country or help them get out of the country as well. Despite that, Michael figured that he could contribute his experience, his knowledge, and his abilities to support Filipinos in their own country. Therefore, it is sad to see him struggling to maintain his business after having it snatched from him by a person he once called his friend and who did it purely based on greed. Please read his story here and support him
My name is Michael Brown. In 2006, I started American English Skills Development Center, Inc., with my friend and business partner, Mylene Morillo-Buijs, and at that time I believed she and I were equal partners. My goal was to teach English to Filipino jobseekers, in the hope of helping them find employment and a better life. What I didn't know was that my "friend and business partner" apparently intended to deceive me all along.

After researching the requirements to register a corporation in the Philippines, Mylene told me that, as a foreigner, my name could not be put on the official registration. I knew there were some restrictions on foreign ownership, so I believed her. Why not? She had been my good friend for many years.
So Mylene registered the company in her name, and the names of her relatives.And I foolishly allowed her to list me as an employee. I knew them all, and she swore to me that she and I were the real owners. I truly believed this was how business worked in the Philippines.
Later, I discovered that she had lied to me, and that I could be listed as a true owner of the company. When I demanded that my name be put on the registration, Mylene started working to push me out of the company. She cut me out of all business decisions, and then refused to renew my employment visa and DOLE permits. Then she told me that she had "cancelled" our partnership, and that I no longer owned any part of the company. According to the latest registration documents, Mylene now claims to own 84% of the company that she and I started together!
But taking the company wasn't enough for Mylene. She also refused to return the money I had invested. Since I thought I co-owned the company, I had always been willing to contribute to its future success, and I paid company bills, salaries, rent, utilities, and even taxes, out of my own pocket whenever necessary. I just didn't know that I would never see my money again.
I tried very hard to reason with Mylene, and I even appealed to the so-called Board of Directors (the relatives Mylene had listed as incorporators), but of course they all remained silent. I was left with no choice but to file cases in court.
In retaliation, Mylene filed a complaint with the Bureau of Immigration, seeking to have me deported! Imagine that? Trying to have your business partner deported so you can take control of a company!
And then she traveled all the way to Lucena City to file a libel case against me, filing the case in a remote venue just to harrass me.
Because I had trusted my long-time friend, I now find myself on the outside of a company that I co-founded. So I'm asking for your help.
Please sign this petition, asking Mylene Morillo-Buijs to do the right thing. I'm not trying to take the company away from her. I only want what rightfully belongs to me. Despite what she did to me, I am willing to honor our original partnership agreement. The only thing she has to give up is what she never owned in the first place.
This is not a question of what I can prove in court. It's a question of truth and honesty. The truth is, I am a co-owner of American English Inc., and we did start the company as equal partners. Sadly, whenever I tell people about what Mylene did to me, their first response is "you should never do business with a Filipino". And it's always Filipinos who say this! I don't want to believe that Mylene's actions are representative of all Filipinos in business. I want to show, through your responses to this petition, that Filipinos do not tolerate dirty business tactics, or dishonesty in general. Like many other foreigners, I made a decision to live and work in this country, and I thought I could make a difference. Please show me, and other foreign business people, that we did not make the wrong decision.
One final note: Since I have been locked out of the company, I don't have much proof that what I'm claiming is true. But I do have a stack of emails and other documents that Mylene herself has sent over the years. In them, Mylene repeatedly refers to me as "co-founder", "partner", "owner", and "investor". As you read these messages, you can clearly see that Mylene intended to make me believe I am a partner in the company. You can find excerpts from these documents here:

So tingin nyo mga kabayan sino kaya nagsasabi ng totoo? Ang Pinay o ang Puti? I've heard stories like these before, its not the first time an expat got conned out of his biz. Pero baka naman meron 'rights' si Pinay sa kompanya like sha ang nag-manage nito kaya nag succeed? Oh well, dyesebel!

Ayan sila during happier times bago nag-gulangan, nag jumpshot muna!

Mag-post ang mga nakakaalam or uzi sa isyu, after all viral na nga eh! Di na matatago yan. Parang gelpren lang ni James Yap yan, its outta the bag... keverloo...



  1. If I were you guys, go to the American Institute for English Proficiency instead. Here is their website:

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I also learned a lot when I was studying English at the American Institute for English Proficiency. When I first started, I was so shy. Now, I'm a lot more confident in using English.

  4. Too desperate American Institute for English Proficiency?

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