Trouble is brewing at Vital Express, one of Santa Clarita’s high profile companies.
Dan and Lisa Boaz, owners of Vital Express, delivery and logistics had been leading the good life. Their company had taken off from a small, mom and pop delivery service, into an international logistics company, with franchises rolling out throughout the nation. Or at least that is what they would like you to think.
In 2004, the Company made a $2 million commitment to buy the renaming of College of the Canyon’s new performing arts center. After twelve months and no payments, the formal deal was finally inked, and then fell apart just two months later. Lisa Boaz unilaterally decided to nix the commitment because of “a slow-down of the economy, rising interest rates, increased cost of construction, and significant increases in fuel costs.”
The suspicion is that Vital Express was never in a financially strong enough position to support the deal and was hoping to lure new investors with renaming the performing arts center.
The College was left with only a tiny portion of the promised two million pledged, yet COC had already delivered hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising and accolades. In fact, the Boaz’s had even created an artist rendition of the Performing Arts Center, complete with a large “Vital Express” sign that was never to be. The rendition was used prominently by the Boaz’s in their efforts to sell franchises for their company. In fact, as of this writing the Vital Express Performing Arts logo is prominently displayed on the homepage of the Vital Express website.
This week, the Boaz’s sold their Sand Canyon home. They are preparing to move to new headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina. Meanwhile, the company appears to be unraveling. Vendors haven’t been paid, employees have gone months at a time without pay, but more damaging, are allegations that money paid by franchisee owners and investors have been going to cover the Boaz’s lavish lifestyle instead of paying the bills. Many prominent local residents invested in the Boaz’s dream, only to find there may be nothing left.
One source close to the company told KHTS. “We also understand federal law enforcement agencies are looking into their operation.”
The Boaz’s maintained a high profile life, with a home in Sand Canyon, expensive cars, motorcycles, a motor home, a beach house and all the appearances of leading the “good life.”
Lisa Boaz has been very active in civic and charity organizations, serving on the Board of the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce and numerous other Boards, including the KHTS Advisory Board.
But when searching through court records, Lisa’s record is riddled with Civil and Small Claims Court cases and even an Order to Vacate. It appears that some of the monies ordered in judgments have never been collected by the victims, as the Boaz’s routinely weave one company into another. Throughout the years, the Boaz’s Glendale based CPA, appears to have maneuvered them through the turbulence by closing one company and forming a new one.
“They’re very slick,” one informant told us. “They appear to be this wonderful couple, really concerned about their community, when in reality they really only care about two things, Dan and Lisa.”
Along with never fully funding the College of the Canyons Performing Arts Center, the Boaz’s also promised to donate 5% of their revenue to Henry Mayo Hospital for any company using their services and mentioning Henry Mayo. Many Santa Clarita companies began using Vital Express with the promise of assisting Henry Mayo. The Hospital reported to KHTS, “Generous donations were made for a number of months.” The Hospital Foundation would not divulge specifics in respect for donor confidentiality. KHTS was not told when the last donations were made.
Another prominent local investor told us, “I got sucked in. I spent a lot of time with them and never saw any problems, until I began to get reports from some of their employees and others around town. I didn’t want to believe the reports, because I just couldn’t believe Dan and Lisa would do anything like that. I guess I really misjudged them.”
It appears a lot of people misjudged the Boaz’s. Four of their investors are exploring legal recourse to recoup damages. The outlook appears tough, since there appears to be very few assets left. Investors and vendors hope to recover some of the Vital Express diverted revenues. The only known assets the Boaz’s possess is in their Sand Canyon residence, which has been sold and will close escrow this week, and in a new million dollar home, the Boaz’s purchased late last year in a very wealthy section of Charlotte, North Carolina. According to sources, the Boaz’s will receive approximately $100,000.00 of the profits from the sale of their Sand Canyon home. Not nearly enough to pay the debts allegedly owed to vendors, employees and investors.
Many people on the inside didn’t realize what was happening. Franchisees were being told bills were being paid when they weren’t. And it appears bills have not been paid, while monthly payments were still being made on the Boaz’s personal luxuries, such as their Motor Home, expensive cars, a speedboat, and their personal insurance and bills, all before they paid their own employees.
KHTS contacted the Boaz’s. Lisa Boaz denied the allegations. “Everyone has known we’ve had our home up for sale for more than six months. The community has known we’ve been planning to move to North Carolina. Our intent is to put the Valencia Vital Express franchise up for sale. We’ve done so much for the community.” Lisa would not comment about any monies owed, nor would she discuss company finances, or the allegation the Boaz’s were going to move the lucrative Vital Express Staples account to their North Carolina operation.
While this may soon be the last Santa Clarita sees of Dan and Lisa Boaz, their trail will unfortunately continue to impact many innocent local victims.
The name “Vital Express” may soon be a distant memory for the College of the Canyons Performing Arts Center, however this is a company that soon won’t be forgotten in the Santa Clarita Valley.