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Aspen Heights Speaks Out

Published On: Jan 29 2013 01:29:00 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 15 2013 05:08:18 AM CST

The company behind a Columbia construction site where nearly 100 workers claim they were stranded without money for the work they did is finally answering questions. Aspen Heights, a new college student housing complex, is being constructed near Highway 63 and Stadium Boulevard. The complex says the workers should have their money in the next few weeks. Currently, Aspen Heights is working with about seven subcontractors to get workers' information. Those companies were hired by R Energy, which was fired from the job. Now, Aspen Heights say it is handling the issue itself. "The steps we're taking right now are showing that we are taking some responsibility," said Aspen Heights Corporate Project Manager Tom Partin. "There's obviously material involved and labor involved and our main focus this week is taking care of the labor side because it involves people." Aspen Heights has taken on the job of cleaning up a mess when it fired R Energy, LLC of Texas. That company then allegedly dropped its financial obligations. Therefore, Aspen Heights is eliminating the middle man and dealing with companies directly except for one company, Black Sparta, LLC of Georgia. The first workers to speak out had signed contracts with Black Sparta, but ABC 17 News found only a phony address and disconnected phone line, and so did Aspen Heights. "Black Sparta is not one of the companies," said Partin. "I'm not sure who Black Sparta is. If they had something to do with one of these other companies, I'm sure they'll be contacted. But we've been unable to contact or make sense of who Black Sparta is as well." Another subcontractor, Enterprise Construction, is also at fault. Its owner, Kawaun Watson, is still in jail in Perry County on a warrant from Atlanta. Aspen Heights is familiar with him and his company. The housing complex is now going to be more careful with hired construction companies because it's name is damaged before the buildings are even finished. "I think our guard's definitely up to make sure nothing like this happens for the remainder of the project," said Partin. Two Missouri companies involved, Sedalia-based Kapital Construction and Grandview-based Enciso Construction, both say they are willing to go back to the job once they get paid. Aspen Heights would not say if it planned on taking legal action against R Energy, LLC. Those Georgia workers tell ABC 17 News they are looking into a class-action lawsuit but they are unsure who they will sue.

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