ELKHART, Ind. -- More former employees of Heart and Soul in Elkhart are speaking out against the owner for owing tens of thousands of dollars, failing to appear in court, and growing another company despite the admitted debt she owes to dozens of people.
Of three scheduled court dates, the owner, Angela Butler, only appeared once, back in May, for a civil case a former employee, Debra Shafer, filed against her.
“She thinks that she can just get away with it. And then I have to go to court, take more time off work and in a way she’s taking me for more money, and more money and still getting away with it,” said Shafer.
Shafer only worked for Butler for about three weeks, but said she was laid off when Butler explained she did not need that many employees.
“I tried to get my money and she kept on ‘oh, well you got to wait until this time, and you got to wait till this time.’ And now, in September, it was a year since I worked for her,” said Shafer.
Since Butler failed to appear, the Judge ordered a body attachment, which is similar to a warrant, except they are used in civil cases as opposed to criminal cases. But, since Butler wrote a letter requesting more time, if she appears for the next date of October 20th, the Judge will withdraw the body attachment.
“She just still hasn’t paid. She thinks she doesn’t have to,” said Shafer. “ I just don’t know how she can say yes, she owes the money, then get away with not paying, not paying.”
The same aggravation has other former employees like Vicky Stouder asking questions of the court system.
“She’s running these businesses. Why can’t she pay us people? Why can’t she, why does she keep ripping off the system? Why does the system keep letting her do it?” asked Stouder.
Stouder and Shafer said what is even more disturbing is the that Butler is hiring people to work at her other business, JRS Junior Transportation, despite owing a huge chunk of change to former employees.
“That makes me very disgusted. That makes me very aggravated because again, she owes so many people,” said Stouder.
“I think that is just downright terrible. I do. And I wish I could just go in there and, be outside the business and ..and just tell them, just not to go in there and apply! You know! Because she’ll rip you off,” said Shafer.
Stouder said some of Butler’s employees have lost their homes because they could not afford the house payments since they were not getting paid. She was also concerned Butler would take advantage of her clients, who are people with disabilities and the elderly.
In August, Butler told ABC 57 she admitted owing all of the money, but blamed not paying employees on not getting Medicare funding.
ABC 57 tried to reach Butler in person and by telephone Wednesday, but was unable to contact her.