Construction Companies Struggle to Complete Jobs During Boom 8/28/12
CBS 7 Reporter
August 28, 2012
Midland, TX - It's a story that has people outraged tonight, a group of construction workers from El Paso, hired to build a new hotel in Midland, end up living in deplorable conditions and they claim they haven't been fully paid for the job.
Now construction companies in West Texas say this problem is common in the booming economy. Jimmy Henderson, the owner of Greenstreet Construction in Lubbock is in charge of building this hotel. He’s been in the business for 18 years and says this is the toughest area he has ever worked in.
Henderson says when he discovered the conditions and learned they weren't being paid he cut off business. But he says this is a prime example of why a job that should take six weeks is now taking months to complete.
The construction workers came to work on a new hotel in Midland, thinking they would be paid once a week and that living arrangements would be provided.
"Apparently these are our living quarters," Jaime Robles says inside a storage unit. "It's bad, this is bad. You've got rats jumping in, jumping out."
"This is about it right here for 9 guys," Rudy Vega says in the 9X9 room. "We have 1 bathroom for 40 people and it's not even a real bathroom, we had to build it. I came over here to make money, not to dig a hole."
Instead, these workers say, they aren't making any money and they are still waiting to get a check from the subcontractor Terry Davis.
We called Davis to get some answers. He says the workers get paid every 2 weeks and they will get a check on Friday. Davis also claims these workers were aware of the living conditions while on site.
"There's no hotels that's why were building hotels,” Davis says. “There's no places for anybody to stay."
Once Greenstreet Construction caught wind that Davis wasn't paying his workers they asked him for proof of payment. When it wasn't received, Greenstreet stopped business with Above & Beyond and took them off the job.
"These companies that require hundreds of man power, I know they're struggling back and forth," explains Charles Terry with Charles Terry Construction.
Terry says completing a construction project it's a challenge for everyone in West Texas.
“We are busy, busy, busy. I know the oilfield struggles with it, drive around town and every restaurant has for hire signs, there's a lot going on right now," he says.
As for these workers, now that Above & Beyond is off the job, they have no other choice but to pack up and go home empty-handed.
We also spoke to the supervisor for this project, Mike Fruit. He says he's worked for Davis before and wasn't paid. He says if he doesn't receive payment by the end of the week for this job he will pursue legal action.