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'Dear former Greenwood Hall employee': Letter confirms no pay coming for call center staff

(WPDE)

Dear Former Greenwood Hall Employee:
We regret to inform you that Greenwood Hall, Inc. closed its doors for good on December 14, 2017. The company has no more employees and no cash to pay its payroll obligations.
Unfortunately all of the assets were foreclosed on by the company’s Lender and sold.
Since there are no employees, we have no information on how or if W2s are going to be sent and we don’t have anyone who can get paystubs or copies of checks.

This was part of one of four documents ABC15 was sent from an anonymous email early Wednesday morning, apologizing for the hardship that the sudden closure of Greenwood Hall's brand new call center in Myrtle Beach has caused for more than 50 people.

We have independently verified that all four are authentic.

RELATED: Call center in Myrtle Beach closes its doors, more than 50 people out of work

Several employees said they had seen the letter being shared on an employee Facebook group. Not every employee received the letter personally.

The other three documents were provided on letterhead by a company called AnswerNet.

The first was a letter signed by AnswerNet President and CEO, Gary Pudles, to clients of Greenwood Hall.

"Effective this weekend, AnswerNet Education Services, Inc., acquired the assets of Greenwood Hall, Inc. (GH), including the rights under your existing agreement with GH," Pudles wrote. "Our plan is to continue running the Phoenix call center with the same team that has supplied your services in the past ... Unfortunately, we were not able to save the Texas or South Carolina teams. An explanation of what happened is also attached."

In a separate document titled, "What happened to Greenwood Hall," Pudles writes about the past financial troubles of the company.

He stated that the original plan was to shut down their call center in Bryan, Texas, and transition to the Myrtle Beach location.


RELATED: Former CEO issues scathing statement after Myrtle Beach call center closes

"In the middle of November (prior to the closure of the Texas center) I was contacted by GH’s lender about acquiring the GH assets," Pudles wrote. "I was told the Lender intended to foreclose and was shown a list of clients that were being serviced out of the Texas and Phoenix call centers. The plan was going to save the company substantial money after closing and it would be accomplished prior to my taking over the assets."

Pudles wrote that Greenwood Hall's Board of Directors met on Nov. 30 and voted to shut down the Texas call center immediately, even though the new facility was not ready.

"The abrupt closure of Texas, without an operating plan, caused almost all of the clients of the Texas call center to go without service starting December 1," Pudles said.

His letter continued, explaining that large clients canceled their contracts because of the lack of service. At some point, Greenwood Hall executives realized the South Carolina location was no longer feasible, and the company would not have the money to pay its employees.

Pudles finished his letter by confirming that AnswerNet purchased what remained of Greenwood Hall in order to keep its Phoenix, Ariz., call center afloat.

"I have no idea what will become of GH, its debts or its Officers and Directors," Pudles said. "None of those people work for AnswerNet or are associated with AnswerNet."

The final document sent to ABC15 was an overview of AnswerNet, as well as a list of its current and former clients.

As of Wednesday morning, at least one former Greenwood Hall employee has found another job with a different call center in Horry County called Aventus.

RELATED: Company offering Christmas miracle for laid off call center employees


According to our Grand Strand News Alliance partner, The Sun News, the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation said the agency's Office of Investigations and Enforcement has received complains of unpaid wages against Greenwood Hall.

They said the department is reviewing the complaints and assigning an investigator.

“We have received about 15 complaints and are in the process of reviewing and assigning to an investigator,. The complaints relate to unpaid wages," SCDLLR spokesperson Lesia Kudelka said in an email to The Sun News.

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