Former Unique Performance Employees Demand Unpaid Wages
Just when you thought I couldn’t post any more Unique Performance news! CBS11 has reported on some angry former employees of Unique Performance who are owed tens of thousands of dollars. Even after UP had 61 cars confiscated by police Hasty still ordered his workers to continue work on the Foose Stallion and other cars, siting bank delays for their non payment.
Luis Deras, a former assembly technician had this to say. “I stayed there until the end, Pretty much it was me and two other guys that finished the last cars that we built there and it was really, really, sad.”
Deras is referring to the collapse of Unique Performance. On November 1st Farmers Branch police detectives started executing search warrants at several locations where the vehicles were manufactured and stored. In all, 61 vehicles were confiscated; 58 were Shelby Mustangs in various stages of completion, three were Chevrolet Camaros. Police say the vehicles lacked adequate titles and the vehicle identification numbers had been scraped off all of the confiscated cars. No arrests were made and no charges have been filed. The case is still under investigation.
After the raid, Unique Performance locked it doors and would not answer questions about the cars seized, but employees who worked on the Foose Stallion were asked to stay on the job.
* EMPLOYEE UPDATE
CBS 11 News Reporter Stephanie Lucero has spoken to numerous former Unique Performance employees who say they are owed more than $40,000 in back pay. Some of the men and women say they’ve been given assurances that they will be paid on December 26th. Doug Hasty is the President of Unique Performance.
“Doug is waiting for the funds to clear. That’s the story we’ve been told,” said Mike Luzader, a former program manager who worked on the Foose Stallion and the vintage Shelby Mustang. “They’re waiting for the funds to clear on an 11-day hold with the bank and there’s been promises made that we’re going to get paid. Whether or not we see the money, is a different story.”
After police seized the Shelbys, employees say work on the Foose vehicles continued. The former employees say they also helped clear the warehouses and moved materials to other locations.
* STATEMENT FROM FOOSE DESIGN
The Foose Stallion Mustang is a vehicle conceptualized by famed automobile designer Chip Foose. His company, Foose Design, which is based in California, had a licensing agreement with Unique Performance and Techstar Automotive Group. Shortly after the police seizure, Foose Design terminated its licensing agreement and all business activities with Unique Performance.
In a statement issued to CBS 11 News, Foose Design said it, “Does not manufacture production vehicles. Foose Design created the concepts for prototype vehicles and licensed the right to build certain vehicles to Unique. Unique was solely responsible for dealing with customers, manufacturing the cars, as well as hiring, managing and paying its employees who worked on the cars. While Foose Design had no direct involvement with the individual cars being built at Unique Performance, Chip Foose’s heart goes out to any employee who was not paid for work he or she performed. Foose Design and its attorneys are working with law enforcement and preparing their own legal claims against Unique.”
* DOUG HASTY
Tom Pappas, a Dallas attorney representing Hasty in the criminal case, says the former employees are “the least of the problems for him”. Pappas says “I know that Doug strongly believes if he can get out of bankruptcy he’ll be able to pay his debts”.
Pappas says, “Many of these matters are in bankruptcy court and the decisions about who gets paid what and when belong to the bankruptcy court and the bankruptcy trustee.”
Pappas would not allow CBS 11 News to speak directly to Hasty.
* CARROLL SHELBY LICENSING
Legendary sports car icon Carroll Shelby pulled out of his licensing agreement with Unique Performance just days after the police raid. Carroll Shelby Licensing says Unique fell behind on customer orders for the vintage Shelby Mustangs and numerous lawsuits were filed by angry customers. Hasty claimed Shelby’s company was late in delivering parts.
* EMPLOYEES HAVE LITTLE HOPE
Former employees of Unique Performance say they have little hope of getting their money. They say they are owed various amounts of money and stayed, even though they didn’t know when they would get a paycheck, due to their loyalty to the company and the car.
“We were passionate about it,” says Alison Weber, a former material manager for the company. Weber says she feels responsible for her colleague’s losses because she asked many of them to stay and complete the work, and on numerous occasions they were told the money was coming soon. Weber says they were always told a different story. “Probably in an hour, probably by the end of today, three o’clock today, four o’clock today and nothing, but please keep building these cars.”
Deras says building the Foose Stallion was personal for him. “We took it very personal on the car because when I grew up I used to build model cars and I always called my dad and said, ‘Hey dad, I’m building cars but now it’s a real car and it’s a special edition’.”
The employees say they believe Unique Performance and Techstar have a responsibility to pay their unpaid wages. A spokesperson for Techstar did not return CBS 11 News phone calls.
Three people have filed complaints against Unique Performance with the Texas Office of the Attorney General.
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