Loads of Dirty Laundry

Bounced checks, phony documents, multiple bankruptcies, countless lawsuits, burned business partners, and an army of avenging attorneys might discourage most entrepreneurs. But as far as Mohamed Ibrahim is concerned, it all just comes out in the wash.

Ibrahim asserts that the tenants he evicted did ask him for work months ago but that he didn't hire them, so their money problems aren't his fault. Ana and Jairo have since found another apartment and want to forget about everything related to I Have a Dream. They're not sure where Sylvie went. Jairo and several of his friends who hired on as laborers at the shopping center -- but say they were never paid in full -- have had to chalk up their experiences to life in the United States. "It wasn't just me," Jairo insists. "Mohamed always has someone working for him and he doesn't pay. I tell everyone who starts over there, 'You better be careful, because you're not going to get your money.'"

He hires those in need and he always pays them, Ibrahim insists. But someone's always complaining, spreading all kinds of lies. Undoubtedly the worst offender, he adds, is Monique Taylor, with her almighty five feet of alleyway that has made his life miserable for more than two years.

But now it looks as though he's got the problem solved, he confides happily. "No one knows yet -- I just bought the lot across the street, and I'm going to put the parking over there." So all the stores in I Have a Dream can open, and he can start making some rent money. And then he can get all these foreclosures and liens and bankruptcies out of the way and start building that lucrative day-care center.

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"I need to resolve this mess," he confides with his characteristic guileless gaze. "I need to get on with my life.

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