'There are no funds for payroll': Workers stiffed by Spring construction company

Instead of paycheck, workers receive letter saying, 'No funds for payroll'

By Rose-Ann Aragon - Reporter

SPRING, Texas - Several workers for American Pipeline and Construction said instead of a paycheck, they received a letter Thursday from the company stating that they were not going to be paid because the company's assets were being seized.

Stephen Gilkison received the letter one day before payday, dated Nov. 8.

"You can't do that to people," said Gilkison's wife, Valerie.

Stephen had been a pipeline worker for American Pipeline and Construction for three weeks when he received a letter that stated that the company was unsure whether employees would be paid.

The letter read:

"TO ALL EMPLOYEES OF AMERICAN PIPELINE AND CONSTRUCTION:

"The Officers of American Pipeline and Construction, LLC's primary concern is, always has been and will continue to be the health, safety and well-being of our employees. This most certainly includes ensuring that the company's employees are paid. Please note this is not our decision and we regret this situation, but we have been informed by our equity holders that we are to liquidate the company immediately. As such, the company cannot guarantee that you, the company's employees will be paid on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. I understand how hard this news must be to each of you and we are as shocked by this as each of you are.

"Yesterday, Nov. 7, 2018, a senior secured credit lender to the company's equity partner, Scout SSG, seized all of company assets and as such, there are no funds for payroll. The company has not heard from its equity partner regarding tomorrow's payroll and has thus created this situation. As such, the company's corporate management and all of company's officers have resigned.

"This is an unfortunate situation we find ourselves in and we regret the contents of this correspondence. Please call the equity partner, Scout SSG, with any questions or concerns. Their office number is 214-615-2281.

"Godspeed to you all,

"American Pipeline and Construction, LLC"

KPRC2

The letter that was sent to American Pipeline and Construction employees.

Stephen Gilkison and his family were shocked.

"Heart-dropping shock to know that he sacrificed his time away from his family and now he's not going to be reimbursed for that," Valerie Gilkison said.

Valerie Gilkison hadn't seen her husband while he was away at work. Stephen Gilkison said he had been working 12-hours days, seven days a week, during the three weeks he was doing pipeline work for the company at a site in Cuero.

"I was kind of angry to be honest. I had spent all this money between the hotel, fuel cost and food and everything else to find out that they were going to pay," Stephen Gilkison said.

He has since taken a job in Louisiana to keep earning for his wife and three children.

"You're giving that company everything you have -- blood, sweat, tears -- only to find out they're not going to pay you? Yeah, it's heart crushing," Stephen Gilkison said.

The Gilkisons had planned to take vacation next week, but now they're also having to worry about the financial impact this has had on their family.

"It's taking food out of my kids' mouth," Stephen Gilkison said.

"It's going to impact us a lot. We're going to have to move money around to pay the bills," Valerie Gilkison said. "On my husband's crew alone, there was around 10 people, and there's several that literally have $90 to their name. They have nothing left. They were waiting on this check."

The company's website, which once touted "excellent" service in pipeline construction and repair, was not accessible as of Friday evening.

KPRC reached out to the American Pipeline and Construction phone number that was listed online at one point and has yet to receive a response. Meanwhile, the number listed on the letter for employees to call had a full mailbox. American Pipeline and Construction's listed parent company Murphy Energy Group's phone number also went unanswered. The automated message apologized for not being able to help and hung up, "Sorry I couldn't help. Please call back later. Goodbye," said the automated message.

Now the Gilkisons said they are having to make do.

"It's very frustrating that a company can get away with that," Valerie Gilkison said.

They hope that the company corrects the situation and pays the workers.

"If someone puts in the time to work for a company, you should be reimbursed. You should get what you earned," Valerie Gilkison said.

KPRC visited 8500 Cypresswood Drive Suite 104, which was listed as the Spring address listed as the location for the company. The offices appeared to have been cleared out.

Copyright 2018 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.