EL PASO, Texas - A company working on the construction of the Montecillo development in West El Paso fired the person in charge of managing funds for what appears to be the mismanagement of the account, said the company's owner.
The firing comes as subcontractors allege they have not been paid for work they did at Montecillo.
All Service Construction based out of San Marcos, Texas, is one of the companies working on constructing The View at Montecillo, a future senior living community in the smart code development.
All Service Construction owner, Weldon Smith said he was "working to fix" payment issues that may have arisen from one of his former employees mismanaging funds for the Montecillo work.
"I had some problems. I had a bad person working in my office handling the money. So now I'm fixing everything," said Smith in a phone interview on Thursday.
Smith said he fired a man he identified as Paul Soscovalle last December 19 and is investigating how much money may be missing and how it may have affected El Paso subcontractors All Service Construction hired for the Montecillo project.
"They'll get their money. I'll take care of that. I needed the work anyway. What he (Soscovalle) did is my problem and their money is my problem, too so that's what I'm fixing," Smith said.
One of those subcontractors is Michael Novak, an electrician who was hired by All Services and who said he was not paid for all the work he did at Montecillo.
"The traditional spirit of Christmas and gift giving - we weren't able to do any of that. We were just able to sit here," said Novak at his home in East El Paso, speaking about the impact the payment loss had on his family.
After ABC-7's phone interview with Smith Thursday morning, Novak said All Services wired him most of the $1,600 the company owed him for the electrical work, minus $200.
"They basically just wired me that to keep me quiet because I've been making a lot of racket and I'm trying to stand up to the force for everybody else that's working there. And it didn't satisfy me. They still owe me money. That's the fact," said Novak.
Novak said there were other subcontractors who did not get paid. Norberto Balino, another electrician on Thursday said All Services still owes him nearly $3,000 for work at Montecillo. He said the company gave him a check a month ago but it bounced and Smith ignores his calls. He said he knows of at least six other subcontractors who have also not been paid.
Smith said he planned to pay all of the subcontractors soon.
"In two weeks, everyone should have their money, if not before. Probably by next week," Smith said.
EPT Land Communities, the developer of Montecillo, through a spokeswoman, said they only deal with the main, general contractor, which is Comanche Contractors, a bonded firm based out of Houston.
Comanche is then tasked with hiring other companies and keeping track of the work being done by each subcontractor. "EPT Land Communities is not having any issues with the general contractor we've hired for this project," a spokesoman wrote in an email.
Montecillo has received attention after the City of El Paso approved $22 million in property tax rebates for EPT over the next 20 years because the land is being developed using smart code.