Truckers, employees await answers after GMJ shuts doors

| Monday, October 24, 2011

All but three trucks had made it home by Monday, Oct. 24, after Sports Associated, the company they drove for, abruptly shut its doors a few days earlier.

In fact, the plug was pulled on several companies operating under the umbrella of GMJ Co. Inc., which includes Sports Associated, Topeka Transfer and Storage Inc., and O’Neil Relocation, among others. Employees and truck drivers for the GMJ companies found out Friday morning that the company was closing.

Roger Grisham, vice president of transportation and warehousing for Kansas City, KS-based Sports Associated, told Land Line he was back in the office on Monday, even though his paycheck didn’t clear either.

“It wasn’t a pretty picture around here this weekend,” he told Land Line. “I am here to help the drivers and get the customers taken care of the best I can.”

He said that many of the Kenworth trucks were leased through Paccar Leasing Co., headquartered in Bellevue, WA. Grisham said PacLease “covered the fuel” to get many of the trucks home.

In addition to answering the phones, Grisham said he was clearing out his office because, after 25 years working for the company, Monday was his last day.

He said that GMJ’s Chief Executive Officer George Hersh was in the office on Monday morning and told him he was planning to meet with Kaw Valley Bank in Topeka, KS, which Grisham said had their line of credit.

“I asked him if he was going to get the drivers paid, and he said, ‘That’s what I am trying to do, get their payroll cleared from last week,’” Grisham said.

As of press time there was no word on when or if the drivers and employees will get paid what they are owed.

“I am going to wait and see what I can tell the drivers, if they will get paid or not,” Grisham said. “Right now, all I can guarantee them is that they will have fuel to get home.”

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