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NILES Ex-worker files charge against HM Steel for pay



Published: Thu, April 4, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



A company official called the former worker a disgruntled employee.

NILES -- A court date of April 18 is set for a company accused of not paying a former employee.

Veronica Wadsworth of Howland, who worked at HM Steel from October 2001 until last month, sought the criminal charge.

The charge, semipayment of monthly wages, was filed Wednesday in municipal court.

It accuses the company of not paying Wadsworth for the last pay period she worked.

Bill Bourjaily, company co-manager, said he was unaware of the charge and declined to comment on it.

Charges of passing bad checks were dismissed in February against an employee in HM's Cleveland office. Employees in the past few months have complained of not getting paid or receiving partial payments.

Amount owed: Wadsworth estimated she's owed about $200. "It's just the principle of it," she said. "You cannot not pay someone and expect to get away with it."

Bourjaily thinks Wadsworth is a disgruntled employee and said the last pay she was owed was $74.20. He said the pay date was March 22 and Wadsworth would have received it shortly thereafter.

The company has suffered from bad publicity, he said. It struggled with a bad economy and difficulties in the steel industry during its first year.

"It took us almost a year to learn the business, and we've been doing our level best to keep it coming along," Bourjaily said.

The company is slowly making progress and expects to hire 10 people in 60 to 90 days, he said.

HM Steel bought the former Hunter Steel Co. on Hunter Avenue in February 2001 and renovated the building and equipment.

Tax breaks: Trumbull County and Niles gave HM a 10-year 75 percent property-tax abatement, and the Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved a 10-year 55 percent tax credit.

The steel processing mill started operating in March 2001 and hoped to add 59 jobs over three years.

HM sells its products to plants and warehouses, which sell them to other manufacturers.




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