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Employees search for 'hempcrete' manufacturer, still no pay

Posted at 5:27 PM, May 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-18 16:34:27-04

CLEVELAND — It's a game of cat and mouse, searching for the man who promised hundreds of families a better future, jobs and paychecks. Friday was yet another payday where employees pinched pennies without promised pay.

North Coast Natural Solutions faces a federal lawsuit because 150 workers aren't getting paid.

As News 5 first reported, dozens of former and current employees of North Coast Natural Solutions, operated by Ty Williams, claimed they have yet to be paid for several weeks worth of training ahead of the factory set to open in June.

Since early April, former and current employees said Williams had an excuse for every hiccup, including issues with IRS-related paperwork, employee backgrounds and even blaming Key Bank for running out of paper.

According to a federal lawsuitfiled by two employees of the company, including its former vice president of human relations, one of the excuses Williams offered to employees was that the bank couldn’t print checks because it was out of paper.

“It’s not about 180 people. It’s about 180 people and their families. Whoever they have to provide for at home. So two or three kids at home, that’s who you are affecting," Teddy McQueen, one of the two people featured in the lawsuit said.

On Friday, McQueen drove around, along with other aggravated employees, trying to find Williams. His search led News 5 to The Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church, but he did not come outside, and it could not be confirmed if he was there.

Claire Wade-Kilts is one of the attorneys who helped with the lawsuit. She said there were several red flags she noticed when taking the case.

The first was finding a discrepancy with the company that hired employees versus what showed up on pay stubs.

“Everyone’s offer letter was Northcoast Natural Solutions LLC, and the checks that he gave to everyone said Northcoast 5 Natural Solutions Corp," Wade-Kilts said.

Cleveland Councilman Kevin Conwell turned over all complaints regarding Williams to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office to review the claims. He anticipates an answer sometime next week.

Several groups are hosting job fairs to help the impacted employees get back on their feet. The first is Saturday, May 18 at 11:00 a.m., hosted by The Cleveland Clergy Coalition.

The second will be hosted by Tri-C later this month, despite Williams owing them more than $50,000.