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Government contracted employer skips out on workers, more than 30 now without pay

Posted at 5:51 PM, Sep 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-20 19:55:35-04

HAMPTON, Va. - An employer contracted by Langley Air Force Base owes his employees a month's worth of wages, vacation and sick leave balances, according to the Transport Workers Union of America.

Owner of Bio Net Electric LLC, Robert Riddick, notified his employees who were working on a janitorial contract that their last day of work would be on September 15.

Jeffrey Hood, spokesman for 633 Airbase Wing Public Affairs at Langley Air Force Base, told News 3 Riddick submitted a letter to the base's contracting office on September 7.

The letter notified the Air Force Base that Bio Net Electric LLC was looking to leave their contract on or about September 15. A face-to-face meeting happened on September 8 where both parties agreed on the contract termination.

Employees said Riddick met with them during the week of September 10 and said he was having financial trouble, but would have their money soon.

President of the Transport Workers Union of America 525 Kevin Smith said, "Two days later he [Riddick]  was paid electronically by the government. That same day he skipped town, leaving a letter to the employees saying that he apologized, but because of his legal obligations he had no choice but to leave town without paying them."

One employee said he's confused and angry.

"We were all in the dark, everywhere, you know. Supervisors, all of us. We didn't know when it was going to happen, how long it was going to take or anything. All we knew was that we're not getting anything," said former Bio Net employee Bryan Sloat.

News 3 called Riddick but the company number was out of service. His mobile number went straight to voicemail. We also emailed him, but haven't heard back.

Sloat said in addition to their paychecks, employees also need to be paid for vacation and sick days. Even though they are working for a new contractor now, the days without pay are adding up.

"Between paydays, we're ending up with 54 days [without pay]. You know, that's a long time for people who depend on this income, like me," said Sloat.

Union representative, Kevin Smith said he is seeking legal action. He expects to have a lawsuit filed against the owner and company by Monday.

Here is the letter that Kevin Smith received from Robbert Riddick:

"Good afternoon,

Over the last couple of weeks, I've been working hard to get funding to cover payroll and my other expenses.
It did not happen.

I regret to inform you that I will not be able to make payroll. I'm currently dealing with some legal actions that has been filed against my company. I am currently seeking legal representation.

As you may be aware the base is closed, today and tomorrow and I am unable to meet with the employee's.
I have informed our project manager of the situation. Saturday , September the 15th is our last day and so we will not have an opportunity to meet with them.

Robert L Riddick Jr.
Bio.Net Electric LLC"

A Go Fund Me is also set up to help employees. Click here to help.