Hanover company says it’s losing business, tries to quiet sub-contractors

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HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A Hanover based company accused of stiffing sub-contractors out of cash is now seeking more than a million dollars from one of the contractors who claim they’re still owed money.

Marathon Resource Management Group accused the Virginia landscaping company Fresh Cuts Lawn Care of conspiring with others to take them down. In Richmond Circuit Court Monday, Marathon sought to silence them.

8News has been following the legal battles and complaints involving Marathon Resource Management Group for several months now.  The Ashland based company is a facility maintenance provider that hires contractors to do landscaping, plowing or painting on properties across the country.   

According to court records obtained by 8News, Marathon alleges Fresh Cuts and its owners Joseph and Sarah Jones, both of Roanoke, defamed the property maintenance provider and conspired with others like local contractor Chris Adler to harm Marathon’s reputation, trade, business or profession. Outside court, Adler told 8News that’s not the case.

“No not at all, it’s more like public awareness and hopefully we can get enough people involved that realized what is going on (and) we can get some laws changed here in the Commonwealth,” Alder said. “We need some help.”

Adler and the Jones’ claim Marathon still owes them money for work they did.

Chris Alder

“You can do the work and if the other people refuse to pay you, your only option is to hire a lawyer, spend a whole bunch of money and go after your money in court,” Alder said. “There is no actual criminal element.”

With more than 200 members, Adler is one of the administrators for the Facebook page “Does Marathon Resource Management Group Owe You Money?”

In court Monday, lawyers for Marathon told a judge they’ve lost business, employees and financing as a result of the Facebook page and news reports. Lawyers for Marathon requested a temporary injunction barring the contractors from posting on the page or talking about Marathon.

Adler tells 8News, “Certain people are allowed to use the court system to bully people like me. You know, they’re trying to stop my freedom of speech. They’re trying to get an injunction on me where I can’t talk to people like you. I can’t go to delegates.”

In court, a witness for Marathon admitted his landscaping business turned down a big contract after seeing a news report raising concerns about the company. They also told the judge Marathon actually ignored their invoices and request payment on another project for six months, however.

The judge ultimately ruled against the effort to quiet the Fresh Cuts contractors.

8News caught up with their attorney C Jay Robbins.  He said he was pleased that the judge denied the injunction. 

“I was, but I really prefer not to comment outside of the pleadings and they are available for public inspection,” Robbins said.

8News also tried to talk to Marathon outside the courthouse.  Their lawyers, owners, and president all declined to comment. 

“No comment on the case, I am sorry,” said Marathon attorney Adam Deno.

Marathon’s President Tripp Brightwell recently lost a slander case against Fresh Cuts owner Joseph Jones, better known as Robbie Jones. The latest case against Jones is expected to head to trial in April.

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