TAMPA, FL — Federal, state and local governments are spending millions of your tax dollars staffing COVID vaccination clinics to help save lives.
But I-Team investigator Adam Walser has uncovered some of the people working at those clinics haven’t been paid for weeks.
Armed guards from Tampa-based Rat Pack Worldwide Security and Consultants have been protecting people at Hillsborough County COVID vaccination sites since late January.
One guard, who asked not to be identified due to fear of retaliation, told us the shifts were up to 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
After working for several weeks without being paid, the guard contact the I-Team about the situation, saying many people working at the four sites where Rat Pack is supplying guards are growing desperate.
“I don’t know how I’m gonna feed my children”
“A lot of stress. A lot of fear. A lot of I don’t know how I’m gonna feed my children. A lot of I don’t know what to do at this point,” is how the Rat Pack guard described the situation.
Jewral McIntyre, who goes by the name “JayR” is CEO of Rat Pack.
“Rat Pack Worldwide security is a veteran owned company, a minority owned company, woman owned company. We provide security for churches, schools, events, clubs. We teach security here,” McIntyre said.
McIntyre says his employees haven’t been paid because he hasn’t been paid and the government owes him $150,000 so far.
“The government pays the prime contractor, we’re the sub. So they pay the prime contractor and then the prime contractor pays the sub and the sub pays us. So there’s three people in front of us,” McIntyre said.
“They have to wait. And that’s per our agreement”
“We didn’t get approved for no PPP loans so when we get paid, we pay our employees,” McIntyre said. “They have to wait. And that’s per agreement. Per net situation. “
An employee we interviewed said McIntyre explained that the delays meant they had to wait weeks to get paid.
“It had to do with something called net 14,” the guard said. “I don’t understand it.
“The day that you start working, you don’t get paid until 30 days after that,” McIntyre said. “We started COVID site 1 January 25th, so February 25th, the invoice gets sent. Two weeks after that, it gets paid.”
But McIntyre says even when he gets the money, he can’t immediately pay anyone.
“We make sure the checks clear and then we pay our guys. Because even with the government, they cut checks. The checks get sent. We deposit the checks. Five business days they get cleared so we still have to wait that time too,” he said.
We asked him whether the contractor made him prove he had enough capital to pay his guards before they started the job and McIntyre said the company did not.
“They understood. They seen our capabilities statement and things like that. Right now, it’s just how the small-owned business world is. A lot of us go through this,”McIntyre said.
The employee said there was never an understanding when they were first hired that they would not be paid until Rat Pack was paid and there was never any signed agreement stating that.
“Both parties have to agree to the terms and conditions”
Multiple Rat Pack employees told the I-Team they responded to an online advertisement for “full time” employment, but McIntyre says those agents are independent contractors.
“In the job announcement, they label it as a full-time job. No indication that it’s an independent contractor job,” said labor lawyer Daniela Carrion, a partner at the Linesch Labor Law Firm.
“It’s not reasonable to have an expectation for a worker to wait six weeks to find out when they’re gonna get paid,” Carrion said.
“At our orientation we explain that to them. And I guess when they explain that to them, they still think that it’s gonna come,” said McIntyre.
Carrion says a verbal agreement isn’t enough.
“There has to be an agreement, a meeting of the minds is what the lawyers call it. And basically both parties have to agree to the terms and conditions of the project or work,” she said.
“It’s not a matter of you get hired and the employer decides how they pay you, when they pay you and what your roles and duties are. If you are an independent contractor, a true independent contractor, then the duties should be clear and concise,” Carrion said.
The guards working at the COVID sites say they didn’t find out the terms of their employment until they had already worked for weeks.
“He could have been honest with everybody right from the very first day each person was hired,” the guard said.
“We have received death threats”
“We have received death threats. The Department of Labor contacted us. You guys contacted us. It’s embarrassing,” McIntyre said. “We want to take care of our agents. And I can’t take care of them if big government don’t pay us when we’re supposed to be paid.”
A CDR Maguire spokesperson told the I-Team, “We have no issues with payments from state or local governments or their schedule of paying. We have caught up with our obligations under the contracts”.
The Harrell Group says the company has met its obligations, saying money was wired into Rat Pack’s bank account twice already… in late February and again last week.
“The employees should definitely be paid for what they did, for the work that they’ve done,” the guard said.
McIntyre says he plans to make it right.
“As a minority business owner, I have a lot on my plate already doing what I’m doing. But at the end of the day, I am a veteran, I am a disabled veteran. And it gives me anxiety to explain why we can’t get paid to pay them. But we understand the contract fully,” he said.
If you have a story you think the I-Team should investigate, email us at email@example.com