KC print company goes out of business, employees left without paychecks

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City printing company, Barton Nelson has left employees without insurance and access to their retirement accounts. On June 13, employees said the company held a pizza party and informed their employees they were going out of business.

"I have no income coming in right now, no insurance, nothing," said Felicia Calhoun, who worked for Barton Nelson Printing for 35 years.

A message on the answering machine at the company says, "Thank you for calling Barton Nelson. We are currently maintaining a minimum level of operation while we restructure our finances under court order."

"June 13, Friday the 13th, not a very good day for us," said George Cherry, a cutter who worked for the company for 29 years. He said when management told the employees what was happening, they explained it this way, "The banks and everything took all our money, and we have no way to pay you guys."

One of the owners, Greg Nelson, said the company defaulted on a loan to Enterprise Bank, which was secured by accounts receivables, inventory and the building at 13700 Wyandotte in Kansas City, Mo. While trying to work through the default, Nelson said the bank pulled the plug.

Johnny Johnson has been running the printing press at Barton Nelson for 23 years. Regarding the issues with Enterprise Bank, he says, "We were told it was a work in progress, we've got a plan it just kept leading us on."

Employees told FOX 4 the court appointed receiver, Jim McLaughlin, who is now managing the business, was inside, so we went in to ask him when the employees can expect to be paid. McLaughlin said he has no comment and kicked us off of the property.

"It's not fair to all these people who work here and gave our lives to this company without getting any pay," Calhoun said.

Jerry Mueller with Enterprise Bank would not comment on the relationship between the bank and Barton Nelson, but says the bank has nothing to do with paying the employees. He says Enterprise Bank filed a lawsuit against the company, the court appointed a receiver and that receiver is now in charge.

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18 comments

  • Dennis

    It’s a terrible and hopeless feeling to learn that you are not going to have income or insurance so I’m not trying to make light of the situation. However…this isn’t the first time a company has gone out of business. I struggle to understand what…exactly (Fox4) makes this newsworthy?

  • Ted Tred Spence

    Maybe a slow day?

    You’re correct, it’s not the first time a company has gone under and left the employees high & dry. But it was bad that they had a little pizza party to celebrate, and THEN let the news go then? Makes you wonder who got screwed more, the company or the employees?

  • Anonymous

    Well, here’s another one shutting down. Lifetouch, the yearbook company, informed it’s employees at 8 am Thursday, June 27, that the KC plant was shutting down and all operations will cease by December 1. However, we faired better than the other printing company that shut down on the 13th. All KC operation will move to the Loves Park facilities in Illinois. Came as a shock to everyone. I was going to retire anyway but still, it was unexpected.

  • Former Employee

    A fine example of how hardworking people are hurt by the actions of ownership/management. The company in the story was doing well until nepotism running wild finally killed it. My opinion based on experience working there.

  • Patti Drury

    typical of business. All they care about is money no one cares about the employees who made the company the money in the first place. EMPLOYEES should come first. If it wasn’t for the workers there would be no company.

  • J. Siercks

    Come on Nelson family do good by these people. They have been faithful long term employees who stood by your company for years and now you are going to: 1. not give them the advanced notice of the financial situation the business was in so they could make an informed decision as to their employment with you. 2. Steal their labors for the last week or two while your business sailed towards being shuttered. I am sure you pulled enough from this struggling business to pad yourself, your children and your grandchildren’s futures. Dig into your stash and pay what you OWE these people so they can make their obligations.

  • Guy

    I’m not a lawyer, but I seem to remember a”rights to liquidation funds” from my series 6 and 63 exams. I thought that unpaid wages (the employees) were prioritized ahead of secured creditors (the bank).

  • Chuck

    Seems to me like the employees should band together and purchase the company from the bank (if possible) and run it themselves, all as an owner and democratically choose managers (if they even want one).

  • steve

    this happened to me in 05 when our printingcompany surprised us and closed our doors for good. they paid us our checks to only find out they bounced when we cashed them. sorry for the situation. where im at now laid off 160 people last summer.

  • Stephanie

    Having been married to a former business owner who went broke like this one but on a much smaller scale, never ever assume that these owners are not sick, humiliated, and heavily burdened by your loss and theirs. This was a family business, most likely a source of pride for many years, and in a bad economy with more and more government regulation and maybe a significant loss of contracts, it is over. Prayers for ALL involved.