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Company helping with Joplin tornado cleanup closes its doors - KOAM TV 7

Company helping with Joplin tornado cleanup closes its doors

Updated May 14, 2013 at 6:15 PM CST:  A Joplin business closes claiming it's waiting for money it's owed.  Intelligent Investments says it's trying to reach a settlement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a lump some of money, money that was needed to keep the businesses doors open.

Many private construction companies assisted with clean up efforts after the Joplin tornado but Intelligent Investments says doing that job has caused them to send employees home and close it's doors.

David Helton spent three years with the company.  Now he's one of 19 employees who lost their jobs there in the last year.

"OOur focus was to work Joplin, be Joplin, employ Joplin, and that's the most heart wrenching part of this whole episode," says Helton.

The private construction company was prominent in Joplin's recovery efforts after the tornado.

Intelligent Investments received the contract from the Army Corps of Engineers for debris collection and removal for up to $40 million.

Investment Incorporated President and CEO Raul Gonzales says they have received all but $4 million dollars, money he didn't have to keep his employees or his business open.

"It's not getting paid in a timely manner, I mean that was a risk that I took the minute I accepted this contract," says Gonzales.  "I've heard the horror stories - the government takes a while to pay but what bothers me is that I'm sending employees home.  They've got families to feed too and it wasn't for anything they have done."

There are many variables to a debris removal contract.  A binder full of invoices from people who were paid, to employee paychecks to what streets the company cleared is called a total cost settlement method.

"You have to justify the cost," says Gonzales.  "We were responsible for every curb that got run over and things like that someone ultimately has to pay for, usually that's the contractor and that's expected cost, but we have to justify every penny and of course we have to spend it first."

Raul says he sent the binder last August to be reviewed but has yet to receive that last payment of $4 million, or a reason why.

When we contacted the Army Corps of Engineers, a representative says that Raul's contract is currently under investigation but since it is pending no further details could be released.

Raul says he was never told his contract was under investigation.

As for now, his business remains closed but he hopes to hear something soon.

The representative with the Army Corps of Engineers says they don't know how long the investigation will last.

Raul is obviously hoping it's sooner versus later.

 

Posted May 14, 2013 at 2:27 PM CST:  Investment Incorporated, a private construction company in Joplin, has closed it's doors and let go 19 employees.

The president and CEO of the company says they are awaiting a settlement of $4 million with the Army Corps of Engineers but had to close because they didn't have the cash flow to keep the business going in the meantime.

The contract was issued by the Army Corps of Engineers for debris collection and removal after the Joplin tornado.

When we contacted the Corps a representative said the company's contract is currently under investigation.

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