Bank Shuts Down Local Manufacturing Business, Puts 23 People Out - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Bank Shuts Down Local Manufacturing Business, Puts 23 People Out of Work

SPOKANE, Wash. - The budget crunch continues to hit close to home. A local manufacturing business suddenly closed its doors this week leaving two-dozen employees at Millwood Manufacturing out of a job. What's worse, they say they haven't been paid in weeks. The owner is a well-known businessman in the community. It's a story that pits hard-working employees against a pillar of the Spokane community.

If you've ever walked into a high-end home in Spokane, and noticed elaborately carved doors, custom cabinetry or artfully designed railing, it's likely the crew at Millwood manufacturing had a hand in it.

"Most of us who work here love what we do, Darrel Dirstine said, molder at Millwood Manufacturing.

But in the last couple of months, the company and it's owner, George Schilling, fell on hard economic times.

Finish Shop Manager Dave Halsen said, on Monday morning, Schillinger "Pulled everyone in here and said 'I'm shutting the business down, I'm locking the doors and I don't have any money so nobody's getting paid. period."

It was devastating news. The people building homes for others in the community were now struggling to pay for their own. Halsen said he could make ends meet but felt bad for his colleagues who "have little kids and a rent payment, or a house payment that needs to be made."

Dirstine agreed."It doesn't take long to go through your savings," he said.

The first signs of financial troubles struck a few months ago when Halsen said that about half of the employees checks bounced.

Workers said Schillinger promised he'd take care of it. Many believed him.

Plus there were jobs to finish. Dirstine explained, "We wanted to stand by our customers."

So workers kept coming for free for months. But a couple of weeks ago, employees said many of the payroll checks bounced again. Then on Monday, Schillinger delivered the bad news: the business they called home shut its doors for the last time.

"I'm just disappointed in him cause he always claimed to be honest and he hasn't been," Dirstine said. " He hasn't been straightforward with us"

Schillinger did not want to go on camera but did give the following statement to KHQ during a phone interview:

"Recently our bank seized our checking account without notice, the same afternoon as payroll, leaving no money to cover the day's payroll or other checks. Then demand letters were sent to our customers for any balances owed Millwood. Making matters worse, any money deposited would also be taken.

Needless to say, this type of move has a paralyzing effect and did so with Millwood not being able to operate. The construction industry has been hit extremely hard and Millwood is no different. Substantial dollars were invested the past three years to make a solid working environment and a place of pride for each employee.

Yesterday was a very sad day for my employees as well as my family which will be affected by this action for many years to come. Never would I wish this on any employee or any other business as Spokane is our home."

As of Tuesday, it was unclear if the workers will get paid. Some have gone two months without a paycheck while others have filed for unemployment.

 

RESOURCES:

For more information on Millwood Manufacturing, visit their website at: http://www.millwoodmfg.com/index.php

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