100+ Still Stranded in Texas
It's a much bigger problem than WCJB first reported Wednesday night. Instead of 16 men, there are 135--and they say they paid their last dollar to get to Texas, promised a minimum 1000- dollars a week. When things haven't worked out, there's no money for the return trip.
Heather Jones last saw her fiance Todd Johnson Saturday when he left for Texas with more than 100 others. She says it's a situation that's only getting worse with fights breaking out between the men eager for work.
No one is at the Levy County home of the contractor who organized the trip, Alan Monette. He says he was made verbal promises by another contractor promising plenty of work and pay for his men. He says he will not leave Texas until each of his men finds a way home too.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is managing part of the rebuilding project and contracted with a company to provide immediate relief to the region. But that contract is no longer providing any work because local contractors are filling in. A spokesman says it sounds like contractors made promises they could not keep, and if someone can provide documented proof of fraud, law enforcement authorities may be able to get involved.
Small consolation to Jones and more than one hundred other families in North Central Florida.
"We don't know how he's going to get home yet," says Jones. "He rode in the back of a truck to get there to make the money to help pay for our bills. With these times, we're in a hole."
The Army Corps spokesperson says the Corps cannot provide help to get the stranded men home. He says their best bet is their families, and relief agencies like the Salvation Army and the Red Cross.
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