Georgia workers stranded in Columbia, Missouri

8:24 PM, Jan 23, 2013   |    comments
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By Evan Millward

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ/CNN) - Several Georgia workers say they were promised, jobs, food, and lodging in Missouri, only to be left out in the cold.

The men answered an ad last week for a temporary construction job. It promised $1,000 per week, plus food, a hotel, and travel expenses.

Nothing but the clothes on Barcenenas Cosby's back. That's all the six guys have, stranded in Columbia's EconoLodge.

"They're saying we might be out of our room tomorrow, most definitely," said Cosby.

Because they got sent to a job that didn't ask for them and many weren't qualified for.

"He asked for 40 framers and 10 laborers. He ended up with the opposite," said Cosby.

They signed contracts with Black Sparta LLC in Georgia, but worked with Everything Staffing in Marietta, Ga. The owner now says he too was duped.

[Reporter]: "Is there more you could have done?"

"Um, no. (inaudible) Pretty much our standard procedures is that we look at, um, we make sure this is a legit company," said Bobby Blanks with Everything Staffing.

Blanks says he saw Black Sparta's owners, business info and website. It's now gone. Its number has been disconnected. The address KMIZ got is an Extended Stay hotel. By most measures Black Sparta doesn't exist anymore. Its job posting was on craigslist.

"I would never in my line of business deal with an agency that looks for employees like that. I deal with professional contractors," said Kawaun Watson, owner of Enterprise Construction Group.

That's Kawaun Watson, the owner of another contractor on the Aspen Heights site.

"It has been a fiasco," said Watson.

A fiasco Watson says his company is trying to help.

Everything Staffing says it's sent money, but these workers haven't seen that. But they have seen mid-Missouri's good side, with donations still coming in.

"They can't believe this happened here in their town," said Cosby.

The workers told KMIZ they spent one week in Missouri. The men claim they bought tools and worked on the site for two days, but have never been paid.

According to KMIZ, they were finally picked up Wednesday and driven back to Atlanta by an Aspen Heights employee.

Several of the workers are reportedly threatening a class-action lawsuit.

Aspen Heights said in a statement that the issue is being worked out between a staffing agency, construction subcontractor, and its employees.


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