Bear with me as this reads a bit messy...guess it is.
I co-own a few medium sized English language news sites. My business partner is German and he owns the other half.
He also works for a German company that does other work and he owns a bit of that company as well, though not much.
We decided to setup a German lauguage version of the main site. widget.de as a joint venture between our company and the one he works for.
So we set it up using our custom CMS, design etc. A copy fo the English site except for the content. We paid half of the bills until it moved into profit.
Now they had not been sending us half of the profit. I let it slip as thought it would be handy for corp tax at end of the year. Now they owe us about $12,000 and seem to have spent it propping up other parts of their business. They also say they are skint for the next while.
Now I have access to the ad network, Adsense etc so I know they are making about 6-10K per month in profit on the site and it is going up and they are getting the money.
My problem is what do I do. We host the sites, the brand, design, etc is all our own. There is no formal agreement.
One thing I don;t have access to is the German domain as it was registered by partner and he might have moved to German company or at least would put him hard position if I demanded control. On one side I do not want to cause a problem for him by taking agressive action and on the other I cannot watch this debt build into tens of thousands. I trust him 100% but not the company he works for.
A hard lesson being learned but what to do? I thought the worst case would be us trying to take over the site and then paying them any profit share - opposite of now. But they could switch the domain I guess, though they don't have server access to the site and it is massive. Would it have to be lawyers and ICANN for that?
I am hoping can resolve but was looking for feedback or if anyone ever had similar issue.