Last updated: November 3, 2018 at 7:11 a.m.
ST. CROIX — A group of more than a 100 men from a cross the U.S. mainland, many of whom left their families and regular jobs behind on the belief that they would make substantially more money doing hurricane recovery work in the territory, have complained that the company they were hired by to work here, named Campbell Development, has been badly mistreating them, abusing their rights, bouncing checks, and taking arbitrary action that has resulted in irreparable harm.
Campbell Development was subcontracted by AECOM, a firm that won a contract through the Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority to receive FEMA-obligated funds for hurricane recovery work, including contracts to perform repair work on public schools. In a statement issued to The Consortium on Friday, FEMA said, “FEMA does not select or hire the contractors or sub-contractors and is not a party to the contracts with the territory or other entities. The territory selected the contractor AECOM to perform repairs. Questions or concerns involving contractors and sub-contractors should be directed to the respective companies.
“Through the FEMA Public Assistance program more than $100 million has been provided for temporary school structures, including 245 modular units and 11 multi-purpose sprung structures. These temporary structures are designed to withstand 175 mph winds, and can be used for three to five years. Modular units will be in use over the next three to five years. Of the 245 total modular classrooms, there are 74 yet to be occupied due to final construction and fit-out.”
(The employees said Campbell Development was subcontracted by APTIM. However, an APTIM contractor told this publication late Wednesday morning that Campbell Development’s contract is with AECOM, not APTIM. AECOM later told The Consortium that it subcontracted a company called Patriot Response Group LLC, which hired Campbell Development.)
The men, frustrated, held nothing back. They gathered around a table in an apartment complex in Peter Rest Tuesday night to share their grievances with anyone who would listen. From bounced checks to arbitrary firing, some of the men spoke of being homeless on St. Croix after being let go by Campbell Construction and banned from the complex for arbitrary reasons as asking questions about pay.
The company is said to be seven months old. The owner, Julie Campbell, was described by the workers as a “vindictive, cussing, not-very-nice lady when she comes down to it. If she wants to show off, she’s going to show off and she’s going to do it in front of every body.”
The Consortium will investigate the matter further today. Watch the video above.