Disputes Continue in Unpaid Workers Controversy as Negotiation Details Emerge

3 years ago January 29, 2013 Jan 29, 2013 Tuesday, January 29 2013 Tuesday, January 29, 2013 9:30:15 PM CST in News
By: Meghann Mollerus

COLUMBIA - The controversy surrounding construction of the Aspen Heights student housing development site either could come to end Wednesday or yield continued dispute and potential lawsuits filed against the construction site, according to former site contractor R-Energy LLC.

"Aspen Heights has promised to pay R-Energy and the laborers and vendors and suppliers tomorrow.  They made that announcement to my laborers last Friday before they dispersed them (by terminating the contract with R-Energy), said Texas-based R-Energy's owner and president Tony Barder.

Barder said on Wednesday, R-Energy will reveal details of its version of the story, which came to light two weeks ago when 11 construction workers from Atlanta, Ga. claimed they responded to a Craigslist ad promising $1,000 a week and free food and lodging, in exchange for work at the Aspen Heights student housing development site in Columbia. 

As details emerged, the situation soon expanded to involve three hotels, a contractor, a dozen subcontractors and an estimated 100 workers--all hired by sub-contractors under R-Energy and whom all claimed they had not been fully, if at all, paid for their work at the site.

Barder said Aspen Heights has yet to pay R-Energy all but one of the draws R-Energy is owed.  These draws, Barder said, are necessary in order to compensate the laborers.  He explained R-Energy had made an agreement with Aspen Heights in which Aspen must either pay the draws by Wednesday or pay the vendors, suppliers and subcontractors directly.  Barder also said he already has paid tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket to some of the subcontractors involved.

Aspen Heights offered KOMU 8 News a different explanation of negotiation details and whom is potentially to blame for the unpaid debts, which total a sum neither R-Energy nor Aspen Heights would disclose.

Aspen Heights's Columbia site project manager Tom Partin said Aspen is not primarily responsible for paying the workers but is helping resolve their plights.

"Obviously, within this contract, there's material and labor involved. Our main focus is dealing with the people-obviously that's associated with the labor, and that's our main focus right now. We did meet with a few of the contractors this morning, and they were very forthcoming with the information we asked for.  What we're going to do this week is we're concentrating on verifying this information, and then we hope to have some resolution moving forward over the next week or two," said Partin.

Partin said he held "extremely productive" meetings with three of seven sub-contractors under R-Energy--Wilkins Development, Kapital Construction and Encisco Construction.  He said as of late Tuesday, he also had made contact and scheduled meetings with two more of those contractors, whose names Partin declined to release until Wednesday.  Partin said Black Sparta, the sub-contractor with whom the laborers from Atlanta claim to have been hired by, is not a direct sub-contractor under R-Energy and has not been in contact with Aspen Heights.

Encisco Construction owner Moises Encisco said he would consider trying to work for Aspen Heights again.  He told KOMU 8 he believes only R-Energy is responsible for paying him and his crew of nine other men, whom he brought from Kansas City to Columbia on Dec. 28 in order to work on the site.  He said his company is owed $24,000 for completed work.  Encisco said in his meeting with Aspen Heights on Tuesday, Partin told him Aspen needed to calculate the percentage of work completed, as there were "some people taking advantage of the situation."  Encisco said he expects to be paid by Friday or early next week.

Barder denied Encisco's claims that he had not heard from Barder since signing a contract with him and said he has been receptive to questions and concerns from all of his sub-contractors.

Both R-Energy and Aspen Heights affirmed this is the first time the two companies have worked with each other.  According to Partin, Aspen Heights currently has five other projects at other universities across the nation.  These projects, he said, have 20 to 30 contractors each.

Neither company indicated it would be willing conduct future projects with the other.

Aspen Heights said it still has 100 to 200 workers currently working on the site under other contractors, like the electrician.  He said none of those workers includes the 50 to 100 laborers contracted under R-Energy.  Partin said Aspen Heights is evaluating whether to rehire any of those laborers but affirmed the site is still on schedule to be completed by fall.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - The third annual Black Men Rock event at Columbia College honored leaders in the black community Saturday afternoon.... More >>
4 hours ago February 06, 2016 Feb 6, 2016 Saturday, February 06 2016 Saturday, February 06, 2016 6:54:12 PM CST in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - Police responded to a report of shots fired around 5 p.m. near Olympic Boulevard and Danbury Court in... More >>
5 hours ago February 06, 2016 Feb 6, 2016 Saturday, February 06 2016 Saturday, February 06, 2016 6:31:44 PM CST in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A Missouri lawmaker says he's pleased that a colleague dropped a restraining order against him, but... More >>
6 hours ago February 06, 2016 Feb 6, 2016 Saturday, February 06 2016 Saturday, February 06, 2016 5:28:16 PM CST in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - The fifth annual Lunafest made its way to mid-Missouri Saturday. The festival took place at Stephens College... More >>
6 hours ago February 06, 2016 Feb 6, 2016 Saturday, February 06 2016 Saturday, February 06, 2016 5:19:10 PM CST in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY - A hearing is scheduled in the Missouri Senate Transportation, Infrastructure, and Public Safety Committee for four bills... More >>
6 hours ago February 06, 2016 Feb 6, 2016 Saturday, February 06 2016 Saturday, February 06, 2016 4:55:18 PM CST in Continuous News
PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) — The surviving suspect in a multistate crime spree has been booked into a Florida jail. ... More >>
8 hours ago February 06, 2016 Feb 6, 2016 Saturday, February 06 2016 Saturday, February 06, 2016 3:39:43 PM CST in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - A group of kids in Columbia explored space Saturday through a monthly space show at the Columbia Public... More >>
8 hours ago February 06, 2016 Feb 6, 2016 Saturday, February 06 2016 Saturday, February 06, 2016 3:24:27 PM CST in Continuous News
BOONE COUNTY - A grass fire in Boone County Saturday afternoon left more than half an acre of land burned.... More >>
8 hours ago February 06, 2016 Feb 6, 2016 Saturday, February 06 2016 Saturday, February 06, 2016 3:04:30 PM CST in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Fire Department responded to a fire at the Gates Rubber Company around 10:30 Saturday morning. ... More >>
9 hours ago February 06, 2016 Feb 6, 2016 Saturday, February 06 2016 Saturday, February 06, 2016 2:34:00 PM CST in Continuous News
SIKESTON (AP) — A 19-year-old southeast Missouri man faces charges accusing him of videotaping a man in a YMCA restroom.... More >>
10 hours ago February 06, 2016 Feb 6, 2016 Saturday, February 06 2016 Saturday, February 06, 2016 1:41:01 PM CST in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A proposal to keep firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers appears to have little... More >>
10 hours ago February 06, 2016 Feb 6, 2016 Saturday, February 06 2016 Saturday, February 06, 2016 1:21:16 PM CST in Continuous News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - Two people are dead after an accident on eastbound Interstate 70 near Kingdom City Saturday morning around... More >>
11 hours ago February 06, 2016 Feb 6, 2016 Saturday, February 06 2016 Saturday, February 06, 2016 11:58:29 AM CST in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - Every state in the U.S. loses money to online sales, but a new study reveals Missouri is the... More >>
11 hours ago February 06, 2016 Feb 6, 2016 Saturday, February 06 2016 Saturday, February 06, 2016 11:57:34 AM CST in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri is among the majority of states that restrict access to original birth certificates for people... More >>
12 hours ago February 06, 2016 Feb 6, 2016 Saturday, February 06 2016 Saturday, February 06, 2016 11:07:14 AM CST in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Twelve cities are arguing a state law capping how much revenue municipalities can draw from traffic... More >>
1 day ago February 05, 2016 Feb 5, 2016 Friday, February 05 2016 Friday, February 05, 2016 7:21:46 PM CST in Continuous News
MOLINE ACRES (AP) — Police in the St. Louis suburb of Moline Acres are investigating the stabbing death of a... More >>
1 day ago February 05, 2016 Feb 5, 2016 Friday, February 05 2016 Friday, February 05, 2016 7:12:57 PM CST in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - Trade deals between Missouri and Colombia and Peru could bring more than 6,000 jobs to the state in... More >>
1 day ago February 05, 2016 Feb 5, 2016 Friday, February 05 2016 Friday, February 05, 2016 6:27:09 PM CST in Continuous News
CAMDENTON - The Camden County Sheriff's Office is investigating allegations of criminal behavior within the courthouse. The investigation started... More >>
1 day ago February 05, 2016 Feb 5, 2016 Friday, February 05 2016 Friday, February 05, 2016 6:22:56 PM CST in Continuous News
Interactive Radar Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 36°
12am 40°
1am 39°
2am 38°
3am 37°
Select a station to view its upcoming show schedule: KOMU 8 CW Mid-Missouri's CW

Coming Up Next

10:29 pmSaturday Night Live
12:02 amLX.TV: 1st Look
12:32 amOpen House NYC

Tonight's Schedule

7:00 pmDateline NBC
9:00 pmSaturday Night Live

Coming Up Next

11:30 pmCops Reloaded
12:00 amCommunity
12:30 amRaising Hope

Tonight's Schedule

7:00 pmFamily Guy
7:30 pmFamily Guy
8:00 pmBob's Burgers
8:30 pmBob's Burgers
9:00 pmKOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30 pmSeinfeld