UPDATE: Stone Creek Homes shuts down
~See previous story for more details~
PLYMOUTH — Stone Creek Homes shut down unexpectedly yesterday morning, laying off all employees in both their Plymouth and Nebraska plants.
The Stone Creek Homes Nebraska branch's quality control manager, Tracey Shippley, said that employees were called into a meeting with CFO Alan Donohue yesterday morning where they were abruptly told that the plant would be closing.
"(Donohue) just said, we are closing the plant, we don't have the funds — the money is gone and we don't have money to make payroll," said Shippley Friday.
Thirty-five Nebraska plant employees and five more office personnel have not been paid for the past two weeks of work and "it's not looking favorable that we will be paid," said Shippley.
Plymouth branch employees are in a similar situation, as Milam said that those not employed through a temporary employment agency have not been paid.
Shippley said that employees are looking into the legal side of the situation, but if Stone Creek Homes declares bankruptcy, there's not much employees can do to get their money.
"We will have to get our own lawyer and file a class action suit," said Shippley.
Shippley first became aware that the company might be in trouble about a month ago, when she said the plant started not receiving building material in a timely manner. As a result, employees had to wait to continue working on the company's pre-made homes.
Stone Creek, said Shippley, has incurred large amounts of debt with local businesses — owing about five different businesses between $5-10,000 each.
"$5,000 may not be a lot to (Stone Creek), but to a small business, $5,000 is a lot," said Shippley. "It's not only that they are not paying their employees, it's that they are not paying their vendors too."
Stone Creek Homes opened in Plymouth in August 2011, in the former Shamrock Homes plant on Markley Road. Ferguson said then that he wanted to open the company's second plant in Plymouth because of an emotional connection to his hometown. The company made waves by bringing many new jobs to the community and also by instating a mentoring program designed for those who were not attending college/technical schools, single parents, or the unemployed who had no particular skill or formal training.
In December 2011, Ferguson announced that the Plymouth plant would be the company's new corporate headquarters, saying at a company Christmas party that “changing lives is the number one importance in our business strategy. Every human being who works for Stone Creek Homes is our single most valued asset.”
This statement stands in stark contrast to the many employees who now find themselves without jobs and lacking a paycheck for work already done.
Shippley refers to Stone Creek Homes as "one of the most hostile work environments I've ever worked in."