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This is the situation I was in (Except my old boss wasn’t quite running it into the ground as you were you).

I honestly considered by the old business, but after further research it wasn’t worth it.

Mainly being that it was a franchise and the rules and regulations that went with that, not to mention the extra 10% I had onto every sale didn’t mesh to well with me.

In regards to the clients question, I’ve always been a fan of doing the right thing. You attained those customer while working for him so therefore those customers should not be poached by you. If your good at what you do, you will get your own customers. Plus, word will spread and if those old customers you used to work with want to find you, they will.

Anyway, If I was in your position I would not be buying the business. It’s very, very hard to get rid of a bad name.