Maekiaphan Phillips came to Red Hook Saturday hoping to get money she’s owed.
Like many of the other local recovery workers she walked away with nothing.
“They were working under insurance I acquired for them,” Phillips said.
For Phillips, the issue, hits close to home and has gotten her whole family in the mess of nonpayment.
Her son Nathaniel came to her when the contractors needed a local business license to do the recovery work.
They thought they would be helping their island.
Little did they know where it would lead.
“I was the one that they contacted to get thirty guys working. I did that. They paid the first two week’s worth of work,” Nathaniel Phillips said.
Wood Forest, the company that originally came to Nathaniel Phillips for the contract, was fired followed protests in St. Thomas that USVI NEWS reported on.
ALLCO came in and picked up the contract.
Workers said they haven’t been paid since.
“We’re here to pick up their checks and we’ve been contacting Mr. Joe Ping from ALLCO, Casey, Chris, everybody from ALLCO asking them if there is any discrepancy on any of the missing JSA’s which wasn’t missing on our part. We did what we did and we turned it into Wood Forest,” he added.
Phillips said he and his team submitted all of their JSA’s or Job Safety Analysis to Wood Forest, which then would go to ALLCO.
But many were turned away Saturday during a payment meeting for not having the approved time.
“I am here because we did a government program for the roofing contractors. We have paid people that we had needed to pay and people that had not been paid did not submit the correct, proper, work the proper forms and the proper submittals for them to be paid,” Zachary Smith with ALLCO said.
After frustrated calls to both ALLCO and Wood Forest heads, Nathaniel’s dad got this call from Wood Forest.
“I’ve paid out everything. There’s not enough to go around to everybody. And so I figured you would want to pay everybody else first,” Rep. from Wood Forest said in a recorded phone call.
Tesroy Phillips was the trucker driving to and from the job sites with materials and working on roofs himself.
He also isn’t being paid, and doing what he can to help the other guys out.
“It’s not ok, you don’t do people like that, you don’t know. One over Christmas this dude said Pops, with tears in his eyes, this is a man you know. I just, he couldn’t talk I know what he was feeling. I was on a plane and had to give him money. And these guys are making a joke of it,” he said.
For the Phillips family, they say they’re running out of options.
They’re calling local leaders for help and hoping someone can sort this out for their family and the local workers.
“Why are the locals the ones that suffer when we the locals are the ones that went through the hurricane?” Maekiaphan Phillips added.