I-TEAM follows money trail to get Daily's Place subcontractor paid
Small business felt ripped off after job on Jaguars' new amphitheater
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The owner of an Orange Park small business says he felt ripped off and feared going bankrupt after landing a dream job to help build one of the hottest new attractions in Jacksonville: Daily's Place Amphitheater for the Jaguars.
The small contracting business, Jaguar Concrete Pumping and Services LLC -- which is not affiliated with the Jacksonville Jaguars or Shad Khan -- turned to the I-TEAM after not getting paid the $36,948 owed for the work employees completed more than six months ago.
"It was almost three months' work, night and day," owner Donnie Teachman said emotionally to the I-TEAM. "I'm pretty much going to shut the doors. I feel like I let my employees down."
Teachman and his daughter Morgan Ritayik contacted us because they had been waiting so long for their payment from the project that they had to use their savings to pay their six employees -- putting them in danger of going out of business.
"I make sure my dad and my brothers have food in their stomachs before I cash my check," said Ritayik who does the company's bookkeeping. "It almost feels like it's trying to destroy us. There is a time you have to give up because you don't know what else to do."
"It's hard cause it would be hard to start all over and do something because I'm so far in debt with all my bills and pumps," said Teachman.
While talking with the pair at their Orange Park business, we were showed the $90,000 pump they purchased to help in the Daily's Place project and future work.
"I feel insulted. I feel Shad Khan came in to Jacksonville to make Jacksonville better," said Ritayik. "We were so honored to be able to do this job and do this project, now we're potentially closing our doors when we helped you."
So the I-TEAM followed the money trail to find out why Jaguar Concrete Pumping and Services, which has been in business more than 20 years, hadn't been paid for the work it completed in the spring.
First, we tracked down the Jacksonville Jaguars and the city of Jacksonville. While Daily's Place sits on city property, a city spokesperson said the project was 100 percent by the Jaguars and Khan.
We got the bid that shows the Jaguars hired Hunt-Danis, a Joint Venture, for the $53,250,000 project. Hunt-Danis went on to hire Jacob Companies, Inc. for some of the work. Jacob then hired Teachman's company, Jaguar Concrete Pumping and Services.
The I-TEAM then worked backwards to find out who wasn't paying who. Neither Jacob Companies nor Hunt-Danis' lawyers returned our phone calls. And while the Jaguars organization would not agree to a sit-down interview with us, we were told off camera:
- The Jaguars organization was aware of the situation of Jaguar Concrete Pumping and Services not getting paid for work completed.
- The Jaguars paid Hunt-Danis in full.
- The Jaguars have a good working relationship with Hunt-Danis.
- The Jaguars are in favor of all subcontractors getting paid.
The CEO of Jacob Companies, Don Perry, never answered the I-TEAM's questions but emailed us, "Just so you know, they (Jaguar Concrete Pumping and Services) are getting paid by Hunt-Danis...So there is no story."
Then, three weeks after the I-TEAM stepped in, Jaguar Concrete Pumping and Services received its financial lifeline: a check paid in full.
The public relations firm for Hunt-Danis sent the following statement to the I-TEAM:
"It is unfortunate, and we are dismayed that Jacobs Erecting and Construction has not met all of their payment obligations to their subcontractors, despite receiving the full amount of their contract value from us. Hunt-Danis will continue efforts to ensure timely payment from our subcontractors to their vendors."
After receiving their payment in full for the work done on Daily's Place, we went to see Teachman and Ritayik again, where we saw the weight of the stress visibly lifted and the company was back in business.
"I'm glad we reached out to the I-TEAM because I feel like we wouldn't get paid if it wasn't for you and everyone that stands behind you," said Ritayik.
"With all the effort the I-TEAM put in, that's probably the reason we got paid," said Teachman.
The I-TEAM never got a clear answer as to who was at fault, and we did later hear from a landscaping business that alerted the city of Jacksonville it was still owed $250,000 from Hunt-Danis at the time, and had no business dealings with Jacob Companies. That business did not want to come forward for this story.
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