Recently closed trucking company under investigation by the state of Michigan for allegedly failing to pay its truck drivers and other employees.
Excel Trucking in Grand Rapids, Michigan reportedly shut down in September of this year, but employees say the payment issues began in July, and the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity has received six wage and hour complaints citing Excel Trucking over the last year.
“We were just waiting and waiting and waiting,” said truck driver David George, who used to drive for Excel.
“It impacted my kids because first and foremost, they get their money first, so if I don’t get any money, they can’t get any money,” he said, estimating that the company owes him around $3,000.
Employees on the other side of the company say they are missing paychecks too.
“At first, we were given the excuse that it’s because the wire transfer for the funding didn’t come through, and then it was that he had changed banks so it wasn’t set up, you know, timely to deposit stuff. And then it was that somebody had made a mistake,” said Jennifer Rasmussen, who worked for the administrative side of the company.
“It was always passing the buck to somebody else.”
Excel’s CEO, Carl Oosterhouse, was disbarred by the Michigan Attorney Discipline Board in 2008 for misappropriating client funds and forging a client’s signature on a check, reported Fox 17.
Oosterhouse has not responded to requests for an interview, but wrote in an email that Excel’s credit lender is to blame for the issues with payments.
“I am continuing to work on our financing partner, but I have not yet made the progress I had hope [sic]. I understand you need to make decisions and make money. I understand your frustration and in many cases anger. I am doing all I can and will continue to do so.”
For now, the 30 truck drivers and the rest of the company’s employees have been “left out to dry,” as George put it to Fox 17.
“It really hurt a lot of these drivers,” said Vivki Lewis, who worked in the administrative department. “I mean, some were evicted from their homes.”
“I don’t know how you could just walk around and look at somebody and just know that you just left them out to dry,” said George.
Excel Trucking is loosely tied to the now-shut-down Sunset Logistics – a trucking company also based in Grand Rapids, through Oosterhouse. Both companies were located on Clay Avenue SW.
Wood TV 8 reports that Oosterhouse once served as corporate counsel for the Gainey Corporation, and is still listed as a trustee. Gainey Corporation was a large trucking company that filed for bankruptcy in 2008 owned by Harvey Gainey Sr., father of Buddy Gainey, who owned Sunset Logistics.