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The gold standard

Irvine businessman Mitch Goldstone won a $7.2 billion court settlement. Persistence was the key in this classic showdown.

by steve churm
EXECUTIVE EDITOR/PUBLISHER,
OC METRO
Published: August 01, 2012

Mitch Goldstone is nothing if not persistent. Doggedly persistent – like that miniature poodle that won’t let go of your pant leg no matter how hard you shake it. Just ask the big boys at Visa and MasterCard or over at Bank of America and Citibank. Goldstone (pictured below) was David in a classic stare down with Goliath in a legal scrape with the world’s largest credit card networks.
   
And guess who won? After seven years, Goldstone has been talking triumph and vindication after the two sides in the precedent-setting antitrust lawsuit settled for a record $7.2 billion. Goldstone, who launched the lawsuit in 2005 and became the lead plaintiff in the matter that ultimately morphed into one of biggest business class-action cases ever, was victorious.
   
Score one for the little guy. Record one for the Irvine entrepreneur and thousands of other small retailers like him who will ultimately receive a refund from the card companies for what Goldstone and his team of attorneys alleged was price fixing when it came to fees charged to merchants. Seven years ago, when Goldstone questioned why card companies were not passing along savings to business owners that resulted from the use of new technology and related efficiencies in processing transactions, he was met with stony silence. No one at Visa or MasterCard corporate even answered his calls.
   
“It was like we didn’t exist,” recalls Goldstone, co-owner of a photo processing company, ScanMyPhotos.com. Many of us wrestling with the daily alligators of operating and growing a business would have taken the big hint and dropped the matter. Not Goldstone, a proud graduate of the USC Marshall School of Business. “Something 
inside me said, ‘Don’t walk away. This is worth fighting for.’”
   
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