In 1990, at the beginning of the “Ilgha'” war, Rizk’s home in Naccache was shelled and the situation deteriorated further still. Fearing their safety, both he and his wife left to Chicago where their children were living and attending university. Mariejoelle was in film school and Alain was working on his MBA.
Two months into their stay, one of his clients and a dear friend called Abed Tabbara calls to say, “André, I’m with Publirizk because of you… If you are not around, I will have to work with a different agency.” Rizk felt that the reason was not very convincing and when he inquired further, his client said that there seemed to be some billing irregularities on behalf of the agency.
Rizk was enraged. Thinking back on the events that followed, he leaned forward and said, “I was on a flight back to Beirut within 48 hours. I walked into the office and felt like a complete stranger. Everyone was wondering why I had returned. I went into the accounting department, took all the company’s books and headed to Batroun to go over them with my accountant Camille Aoun. A week later, I discovered that Wajih had overcharged numerous clients including Tabbara to the tune of $70,000, Pepsi for $60,000, and Bata for $40,000. Also, those amounts did not show-up in the company’s financial statement. So, on the 23rd of November 1990, a date I will never forget, I went to the office with my head accountant and my lawyer Me. Bambino. There I met and talked, behind closed doors, with Wajih for four hours. At the end of that meeting, I had Wajih write me checks for all the amounts owed and sold my shares of Publirizk to him.”