Federal courthouse guards go weeks without pay - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Federal courthouse guards go weeks without pay

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Shannon James Shannon James
Anne Stephens Anne Stephens

SPOKANE, Wash. - Almost 100 guards at federal courthouses across the Inland Northwest are working without pay, according to family members who say they have not been paid in weeks.

The guards, from cities all over in the Inland Northwest including Spokane, Coeur d'Alene and as far as Boise, have not been paid in more than a month.

"We are very upset, I can't sleep at night," said Anne Stephen's, a guard's wife. "He had a heart attack in March, this is not what he needs."

Anne, along with another guard's wife, Shannon James, say at first, they did not even know something was wrong. They paid their bills as normal, but soon their checks started to bounce.

"We had to take loans out from the bank, I have a tremendous amount of fees already incurred" said Shannon. "We're trying to buy a house and that might not happen."

The families' canceled checks and late fees are a paper trail that's left them and the families of so many other guards scrambling to get by.
      
The guard's wives say they've called on everyone in charge to get answers, but it seems no one wants to give them a reason.

"Everybody that can be contacted has been contacted," says Shannon. "No one is giving straight answers... we're being told 60 to 90 days is the fastest anybody can do anything to help with this."

Shannon says, as far as she understands, funds are available but they're not being paid out.

The guards have been told they will be paid at the end of September for the next two weeks of work, but it could take up to 90 days to get paid for their work in August.
    
Meanwhile, the guards continue to go to work everyday and tell their wives their jobs are too important to worry about something like money.

When KHQ attempted to contact officials at the federal courthouse, no one could be reached.

The company that is contracted to issue pay to the guards also could not be reached.

The families are discussing filing a lawsuit together.

If a lawsuit moves forward the families say they would seek not just the lost wages, but also damages including bank fees, loans and credit card debt.

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