7 On Your Side helps New Jersey non-profit get paid back

CEDAR KNOLLS, New Jersey (WABC) -- For adults with developmental disabilities anxious to be employed, their options can be limited.

But a Morris County non-profit set out to change that, offering job training and employment opportunities to a highly motivated but underutilized group of individuals.

When a company hired the employees but then didn't pay them for over a year, they asked for an assist from 7 On Your Side.

At Employment Horizons, they are busy packaging up products, re-purposing or repairing gadgets.

"For adults with disabilities, there's a 70 percent unemployment rate," said Employment Horizons Executive Director Matthew Putts, explaining why the non-profit is so important.

Putting adults with developmental disabilities to work every day, he says that without the center many of his program's employees wouldn't be earning money.

"Places like Employment Horizons give people an opportunity to have someplace to come everyday, do real work, and we partner with great business to do it," said Putts.

Except one recent business, Matt says, wasn't such a great partner. A giant outstanding invoice worth thousands was owed to the fledgling non-profit.

The charity's CFO Bob Johnston said the company, which he didn't want to name, started paying off the balance in installments.

"Then they stopped (paying) completely, and said, 'Yeah we sent the check.' We never got the check," said Johnston. "We never got anything."

"But we had already paid the staff for the work," said Putts. "They weren't complaining about the work we did."

The work done by the adults with a range of disabilities got high praise. Ali Peck said she loves coming to work and earning a paycheck.

"I think it's a great place to work, because it gives people like me who have disabilities, a chance to contribute to society and that's important for people to see," said Peck.

The company which didn't pay for the work still owes Employment Horizons more than $18,000 for work completed over a year ago.

"We sent them a bill several times, tried to get in touch with them, were promised things and nothing happened. That's when we reached out to you," said Johnston.

So we reached out to the New Jersey based business. The owner said he always intended to pay the balance off. Once we got involved he made four payments totaling $2,250 and has stayed on a weekly schedule to settle that bill.

If they remain making payments on the payment plan, the balance will be satisfied about 14 months from now.


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