Bellows Falls company on the hook for unemployment compensation
BELLOWS FALLS >> Many people in Vermont have put Tropical Storm Irene behind them, but more than one business is dealing with its after affects.
Case in point: Green Mountain Traffic Control, a company that offers flagging service and traffic control in Vermont and New Hampshire.
"My company performed 24-hour duty for the state of Vermont and we waited months to get paid," said Deborah Wright, president of GMTC. "We had to go to Sen. Leahy for help and then afterward we received a storm of payments."
Wright said "the storm of payments" resulted in bookkeeping problems for her and other Vermont companies, including overpayments from the state and missed filings with the federal Internal Revenue Service.
Now, according to the Vermont Department of Labor and a judge in Windham Superior Court, GMTC owes a judgment of $18,535.21 as well as a sheriff's filing fee of $177.57 and interest in the amount of $3,393.10. According to the documents, Wright and GMTC had made a partial payment of $3,085.43, after April 1, 2014, when the original judgment was issued.
The state seized an account held by GMTC by TD Bank and has filed documents requesting its contents — $18,215.44.
Wright said she is appealing the disbursement request, but said the Windham County Sheriff's Office hasn't served her with the appropriate paperwork, a claim Sheriff Clark denies.
"I have served her through my office, either personally by me or by one of my deputies, with any paperwork sent to me by the state of Vermont," said Clark.
The legal action against GMTC and Wright began on Aug. 20, 2013, when the Department of Labor filed a summons and complaint with Windham Superior Court, asking for a summary judgment. On Feb. 14, 2014, Judge John P. Wesley issued his decision, granting the Department's motion.
"Taxpayer attempts to raise issues as to proper accounting by the State, arguing that it has been attempting to no avail to resolve confusion in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene," wrote Wesley. "It appears that Taxpayer is addressing issues related to income tax withholdings; whereas, the Department's complaint is based on a failure to make required contributions to the unemployment insurance fund."
In addition, noted Wesley, GMTC and Wright "failed to seek an administrative hearing to challenge the assessments ..."
Wright does not deny she owes the state money. "I had been making payments to (the Department of Labor), at $3,000 a month. But I couldn't pay that amount, not while I was dealing with the IRS," she said. Having her bank account seized means she is having a hard time meeting payroll, but she insists her business is not in danger of closing its doors.
"I am working hard to resolve these issues with the IRS and I know I owe the money to the state but I am hoping there is another way to pay it back."
GMTC employs about 20 people, said Wright.
"I am trying to keep everything floating. I am eking my way out day by day."
Bob Audette can be contacted at 802-254-2311, ext. 160.
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