Tinker guard's paychecks bounce

Wednesday, March 26th 2008, 10:31 pm
By: News 9

By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9

Dozens of security guards at Tinker Air Force Base said they haven't been paid and this isn't the first time the company responsible has been in trouble.

The security guards at Tinker had been working for a contracted company called USProtect. USProtect's former executives had a history of hard-core crimes.

Trisha Hogan is one of the many security guards at Tinker who has had a paycheck bounce, because the company they were working for went bankrupt.

"Put it into my bank, everything was fine, paid my bills, next week I get a call from the bank, 'hey, that money is not there, you owe us'," Hogan said.

It's the same story for all the guards who say the troubles at Tinker started last year when USProtect, a Maryland based company that provided guards to 18 federal agencies, lost a bid to continue providing security at Tinker.

The company's collapse may be linked to a number of high-profile crimes including bribery, tax evasion, corruption and child porn involving it's founder and former chief financial officer.

"During the process we had a lot of people scared off and quit their jobs," Hogan said.

Back at Tinker, Hogan said she and her co-workers are now out of hundreds and thousands of dollars thanks to USProtect.

A spokesman for Tinker said a new company has taken over and "the business operations of a former contractor have no impact on Tinker's security posture."

There are at least two class-action lawsuits filed against USProtect.

California Attorney Michael Millen said getting money from the company now would "be like trying to get blood out of a turnip."

Those class-action lawsuits are now on hold but that attorney handling the cases said there is a very little-to-no chance the guards at Tinker will ever get the money they are owed.

Those guards are now working for a new company called T.W. and Company also based out of Maryland.  Employees said so far, there are no problems.

Tinker also says there was never a lapse in security during the company transition.