Health care company accused of not paying employees

MOBERLY, Mo. - Former nursing home owner, Benchmark Healthcare is under attack in Moberly, accused of not paying its former employees.

Benchmark Healthcare owned Loma Linda Nursing Home until Sept. 15. Fundamental is the new owner, and employees said they are happy.

However, they said they need their last paychecks from Benchmark. Checks that have been issued have bounced, employees said.

Fundamental is working with Benchmark and employees to resolve this problem. Employees told ABC17 that Fundamental will give a pay advance to workers affected by their recent paychecks bouncing.

However, even with this solution, employees said they are without two weeks of pay.   

Kribbs Family Pharmacy, in Moberly, is suing Benchmark for nearly $60,000 the pharmacy said it is owed. According to court documents, Benchmark has asked for the case to be dismissed.

State documents show that David Crader, a lawyer in Sikeston, Mo., is the registered agent for more than 50 Benchmark companies.

ABC 17 News was able to track him down. However, he did not want to comment, but did confirm his role in the Benchmark companies as the registered agent.

Friday, the Missouri Healthcare Association told ABC 17 that they spoke with the Department of Health and Senior Services about Benchmark's issues of not paying former employees. They would not comment further.

On Saturday, employees at the Loma Linda nursing home were reimbursed from their new owner, Fundamental. However, they are still missing their Christmas club money and paid time off.

On Monday, ABC17 News talked with Benchmark's Chief Operating Officer, Ronnie Sells. Sells says the reason for the checks bouncing is because of the change in transition date. Their lender was unable to give them money. They plan on paying Fundamental back on October 7.

Sells also said Benchmark is not filing for Bankruptcy and never was planning on it.

Friday, October 4, more allegations came forward to ABC 17 News. A small printing company in Boonville, Mo. is waiting on more than $5,000 from Benchmark. The bill is more than a year old.

Also on Friday, a source close to the nursing home industry said the state started investing Benchmark as far back as 6 months ago. The Department of Health and Senior Services has not confirmed this.

Currently there are 13 companies with lawsuits for payment issues against Benchmark, in addition to a list of 30 companies given to ABC 17 News.

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