Norfolk, Va. – More than a dozen former employees of two Norfolk Liberty Taxes franchises on East Little Creek Road reached out to NewsChannel 3 after not receiving thousands of dollars in pay and bonuses.
“At this point, we’re missing two checks and our bonuses,” said Renee Garrison.
Lyn Sanders said “My car note’s behind. My bank account’s overdrawn.”
The women said they blame Kevin Williams, Sr., who franchised the locations a few years back. The women said it wasn’t until the height of tax season that they started having big paycheck problems. They also say he packed up the locations around Mother’s Day and said corporate would pay them. However, in a string of emails from the former employees to corporate, corporate managers put the buck back on Williams.
“We’ve been there, we did what we were supposed to do and now you don’t care that we haven’t gotten paid?” Garrison said.
“We’re still representing you. So if we’re not happy, you shouldn’t be happy,” Sanders said.
NewsChannel 3 took action to get answers from Liberty Taxes Corporate COO Rufe Vanderpool.
“What you’re implying is that corporate should pay them,” Vanderpool said to NewsChannel 3 investigator Jessica Larche.
“What I’m implying is that they need help,” Larche responded.
“I understand the human side,” said Vanderpool. “I understand these people got screwed. But he incurred that debt. I didn’t. But the answer everyone wants to hear is ‘Oh corporate’s gonna step in and pay these people.”
Vanderpool said repeatedly that the corporation has no legal responsibility to help compensate employees of franchises.
“Could it be a donation? Could it be something that you all could do? I am sure that you all could find the money to help them in the meantime,” said Larche.
“I’m sure we could,” said Vanderpool.
“Will you?” Larche asked.
“I don’t know the answer to that,” he said.
Later Tuesday after NewsChannel 3’s interview with Vanderpool, he sent NewsChannel 3 this email:
“I followed up with staff members after you left. The process of us taking back those stores had already begun. I also verified that the plan was, once they are legally back in our control, to pay the employees. We need to make them whole and want them to be available for next tax season.”
Vanderpool did not give a timetable on when the former employees would be paid.