In the early '90s, Todd Weir was a stockbroker, living a life that Modie Cox would have envied. He had the finest mansion, the fastest Lamborghini. But he wasn't balanced spiritually and eventually, as he says, it was time to pay the piper.
"One year I was a star," Weir said. "The next year I was in the paper as one of the top 10 losers in Western New York."
By the fall of 1996, Weir, better known as Thaddeus Weir, was accused of defrauding investors out of millions of dollars from 1991 to 1994 by getting them to invest in new companies but not telling them that the companies were dicey and controlled by him and his brother, Michael. Two years later, the Weirs pleaded guilty to the charges.
Under a plea deal, both agreed to come up with a total of $800,000 restitution for their victims and both pleaded guilty to state security fraud charges that could send each of them to prison for up to eight years.
"When you face that kind of stuff and you have a wife and you have kids, you have to check yourself," Weir said. "I don't know if I had the stamina to go through that again. You can handle that stuff but when your kids have to read about that stuff in the paper and get teased . . . that pain, you live with it. You get away from God, that was my deal. You can't do it without God and I needed to be humbled. He had to slap me around to get me to grow."
Weir was permanently barred from selling any form of securities in New York State.
"I knew I wasn't a liar, a cheater or a thief," Weir said. "Was I egotistical? Yeah. Was I an [expletive]? Yeah. Was I out there trying to make friends? No. I was a typical jerk. I believe in karma, I believe what goes around comes around. You have to pay the piper when he's due. But God knows best and I'm a better person for it."
His livelihood stripped down, Weir starting rebuilding while under indictment. He started a technology firm, Centale, and hired a human resources person to conduct interviews and make hires. On the first day of work, Weir came clean with his employees.
"You're going to be reading about me in either the sports page, the financial section or who's under indictment today," he told them. "I can't ask you to trust me right now but in six months I want you to evaluate this relationship."
Half the staff didn't return the next day. Today, without giving away how much the company is worth, Weir says, "The last 10 years have been a struggle, but I'm much happier now than I was back then."
Two years ago, Weir took over ownership of the Buffalo Rapids. He eventually changed the name to the Silverbacks and implemented the "Do Your Best, Never Quit" program. Cox took the program and ran.
"Modie," Weir said, "is one of the best men I've ever met."