Tensions ran high outside a Hanover County courthouse after a local company took nearly half a dozen contractors to court. Those contractors, however, allege the Ashland-based company cheated them out of money.
It’s a story 8News has been reporting on for several months. The contractors are from all over the country and allege Marathon Resource Management Group, a property management company that hires contractors to paint, plow and landscape, owes them thousands of dollars.
“They owe me $3,500 and I haven’t seen or received a dime,” says Alexander Calderon.
The contractor drove through the night from Iowa to appear in court after Marathon filed a lawsuit against him.
“I had to get up early. I had to borrow money against my vehicles,” he explains. Calderon stood outside court holding a sign that read, “Slavery is alive and well.”
He claims he painted 100 dorm rooms at an Iowa university and when the work was done, Marathon stiffed him.
“I am getting emotional because it hurts,” he said. “It’s not right. The man works, you pay the man.”
Also outside court was Lisa Minor-Burnside and her husband, Robert, who were among dozens with t-shirts that read, “Marathon Owes Me Money.”
She tells 8News, “We are owed money from them, owed a sum of $10,000 including damages.” The couple from Alabama says they too prepped dorm rooms and never got paid.
“It’s fraud, it’s just fraud,” Robert Minor-Burnside said.
They were all called to a Hanover courtroom Monday. Marathon is suing them for breach of contract.
Outside court, Marathon’s lawyer, Stephen Moncrieffe, refused to answer questions, but in a lengthy phone conversation last week told 8News the contractors violated their agreement with Marathon when they called the client directly looking for their money.
“We were told that they hadn’t received payment,” Calderon explained. He told 8News the client said they had paid Marathon.
Over the phone, Moncrieffe said Marathon has some big clients who sometimes hold off payment for 6 to 8 months. Marathon also accuses the contractors of disparaging and threatening remarks against the company and its lawyer.
“I think because we spoke out and because we told others we were not paid,” L. Minor-Burnside said.
Minor-Burnside and the others are part of a Facebook group with more than 200 members trying to draw attention to their alleged unpaid labor.
Meanhwile, Marathon is no stranger to a Hanover County courtroom — 8News has learned that over the last seven years, the company has been named in more than a dozen civil suits alleging the property management company owed money to contractors it hired.
Marathon has filed several complaints in court alleging slander. The Hanover County Sheriff’s Office recently closed an investigation into Marathon, telling us the Hanover Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office found no criminal wrongdoing. A petition — with more than 100 signatures — is now circulating, asking Hanover law enforcement to reconsider.