‘Why would I do anything else?’ BBB head retires after 20+ years

CHARLOTTE — One of the Charlotte area’s biggest consumer advocates for over two decades will work his last day on Wednesday. Tom Bartholomy is retiring from the Better Business Bureau.

Bartholomy grew up in Indiana, where he joined the BBB in 1982. His father owned diners called the Burger Bar. So, Tom went from Bartholomy’s “Burger Bar” to another BBB.

He joined the Better Business Bureau right out of school. “My first day on the job, ‘Hey, you got to go give a speech to a Jaycee club. I’m going, OK, here we go. Let’s do this,’” Bartholomy said.

He’s been speaking out for consumers ever since.

Bartholomy came to Charlotte in 2001 and never left, running the BBB, and constantly protecting people from scammers and bad businesses.

The biggest example in all those years? He says it was around 2006 when an international pyramid scheme called “12dailypro” was based here in Charlotte. “We had victims from all over the world. I mean literally, all over the world for this group.”

Federal investigators say it roped in more than 300,000 people and raked in more than $50 million.

It was the early days of the Internet, an eye-opener, a hint of the power of the web in the world of scams. “It’s just opened a whole new way of how we need to work to educate consumers on the perils that await them,” Bartholomy said.

He helped stop it and even got victims some of their money back. “That was very heartening, to say the least,” he said.

Bartholomy teamed up with Action 9 repeatedly over the years to help people stay a step ahead of scammers, first with Don Griffin and then for the last 10+ years with Jason Stoogenke.

“You get into the work and you see the good that you’re doing for folks and the difference that you can make and you’re going, ‘Why would I do anything else?’” he told Stoogenke.

Bartholomy says he plans to enjoy the outdoors in Avery and Burke Counties from now on. Will he miss it all? He laughed and told Stoogenke, “Pieces and parts.”

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