BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. -- About 300 workers from Sedalia, Mo., to Overland Park, Kan., no longer have jobs Friday after a property records firm abruptly shut down its operations.
Former workers at Xceligent's U.S. Headquarters aren't sure what to do next.
Xceligent is one of the largest commercial real estate record companies, with more than 500 employees across the United States.
Just after 4 p.m. Thursday, workers at the headquarters in Blue Springs received an email telling them to pack up their personal belongings and be out of the building within 30 minutes. They received no severance and no payment for any paid time off they had accrued.
Christina Dietrich has worked for the company for eight years. She's says employees knew there were going to be layoffs, but no one had any idea the entire company would be liquidated under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing.
"It was chaos," Dietrich said. "There were people just balling and crying. People freaking out. I just tried to stay as calm as possible. I gave lots and lots of hugs before I left and just packed up."
According to the Wall Street Journal, Xceligent had been involved in a year-long court fight with its primary competitor, CoStar Group, over allegations of data theft.
The British parent company, Daily Mail and General Trust, says it decided to shut down Xceligent, in part because the firm had trouble gaining a foothold in the important New York commercial real estate market.
Dozens of former workers are gathering at a Blue Springs restaurant Friday afternoon, where many believe the sudden shutdown may violate a law requiring 60 days notice for layoffs.
Workers are also hopeful that the Grain Valley, Mo., couple who started the company may try to pick up the pieces and restart the operation.
With only ten days until Christmas, the liquidation comes at a horrible time for many working families.