What do you think I should do?
Uncle George is a sweet old guy with the proverbial silver tongue. As long as I can remember he was usually being supported by some widow woman or another, right up until that little misunderstanding with the law. When he got out of the pen, he said he was gonna go straight. He was gonna quit drinking and open a bar down by the old stockyards. Which is a part of town where they do go through a lot of beer. I wondered how he could stay sober working in a bar every day and I remember I did ask him how a convicted felon was going to get a liquor license. But, he is one of those charming rogues that can sell shoes to a snake, and by the time he got through explaining that he didn't need a liquor license for a 'Vegan Sushi Bar' it seemed to make sense. In fact my brother and sister both fronted him startup money as silent partners.
They had Uncle George bring them over in his BMW last night to try to get me to invest money too. They said they had, “a temporary cash flow problem." I said, "What do you mean temporary, that place hasn't made a dime since you opened it four years ago." Sis started cryin', blubbering about believing in her dream and how she, "knew in her heaart," she should stay on course for success. Back when Dad died, Grandfather had put his fortune into a trust fund for us three grandchildren. I was pretty sure that was what they were after. It's supposed to be locked away from Uncle George, but when I started feeling sorry for her, I suggested that if she really wanted it that bad, I guessed it would be OK to pull out her share. They, all three, got this same stunned look on their face and I started feeling real stupid.
Long story told short - The trust fund is, in fact, gone. They have sold off everything that could be sold, my brother has cashed in his retirement account, and my sister actually sold Mom's wedding ring, the ring that Mom was given by her Grandmother. Uncle George, of course, has been drawing a comfortable salary as manager of this fine establishment the whole time. Uncle George also happens to know that I have a little more than $20,000 equity in this house. Creepy. He explained how, if I sell my house and give him the $20,000, that extra $20,000 will be just enough to finally get that business booming. And, I will have enough left over to make a deposit on a little apartment.
My brother tells me that, if I don't give them the money to finally succeed, then the inevitable failure will be my fault. My sister says if I don't help then, "all their sacrifices won't mean anything." I don't think their money meant much to them anyway, if they threw it away on a stupid scheme like this. On the other hand, they are family. I don't want everybody blaming me for their problems. It might be easier to just give them the money and hope that this time they will learn and change.
What would you do?