Truckers who used TEI as broker may have cash claim

| 5/7/2007

Some drivers may get paid for hauling for the shuttered Trucker’s Express Inc. after all.

TEI is a Missoula, MT-based company that had more than 300 trucks and a broker service. The company officially closed its doors Feb. 26, leaving many carriers without payment for loads hauled from at least December 2006 through February 2007.

Tracy Fries, an OOIDA member from Meridian, ID, co-owns the Boise Boys Inc. trucking company. TEI’s brokerage firm accepted payment for loads but didn’t pass payment on to dozens of small trucking companies who haven’t been paid by TEI and instead has left a recording saying the company was dealing first with its “secured creditors.”

Fries has been compiling a list of companies that TEI left without payment to pursue legal options. Companies or truckers that weren’t paid by TEI’s broker firm may contact her at

“Anybody who is holding an outstanding freight bill (from TEI) – have them get in touch with us,” Fries told Land Line on Friday. “We may be able to give them information that would help them collect.”

Fries found a bankruptcy court filing that could lead to payments for truckers hauling for TEI out of Texas.

GSE Lining Technology of Harris County, TX, filed a statutory interpleader rather than pay TEI money for jobs that TEI’s brokerage service arranged with other truckers and trucking companies.

“To the best of GSE’s knowledge, TEI has outstanding invoices to GSE which total $124,902.84,” court papers state. “TEI is demanding payment of these invoices … however, since TEI has not paid Other Carriers, some of those Other Carriers are making claims against GSE for the funds in dispute.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has taken reports from more than a dozen drivers who reported they haven’t been paid by Trucker’s Express Inc.

Fries said she’s talked to several companies and counted more than $300,000 in unpaid freight from TEI so far. She said she believes the total amount of unpaid freight brokered by TEI is approaching $1 million.

It was a little bit slow to begin with,” Fries said. “People were embarrassed and thought they were the only ones, thought they may have to write it off. Now, even some of the large operations with hundreds of trucks are starting to come forward.”

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer