Since Q4 of 2012 we have been noticing a disturbing trend within the Property Preservation Industry (PPI). The attrition normally attributed to the labor sector of the PPI; the Contractors, is creeping up more and more on the radar with respect to the Companies whom dispatch work orders and never do the work: Order Mills. We all remember the Article we wrote on US Best Repairs and the anticipation of W-2 layoffs a couple of months ago. REAMS LLC (WordPress Blog identical here), an Order Mill spun up on the US Department of Housing and Urban Development‘s (HUD) Management and Marketing (M&M) side as a by product to Innotion Enterprise Incorporated (IEI), have gotten on the attrition band wagon with respect to their W-2 field personnel personnel. This is actually an enormous exposé; the relationship between IEI and REAMS LLC on the HUD M&M, we are currently working on. Make no mistake it will read like a Who’s Who; the Service Contract Act (SCA) issues alone will be monumental in my opinion! Did we forget to mention that Sources have stated that W-2 employees never had health care benefits? We submitted the question for an official response. Yeah, stay tuned for that upcoming Article in the Industry Insider Section! We might even comp HUD a free Subscription so that they are able to closely examine it.
Tonight, though, we are going to talk a little bit about Berghorst Enterprises . Heather Berghorst is listed as the Registered Agent (RA) on a 13 March 2013 Formation Document. In addition to being Berghorst Enterprises’ RA, Berghorst is seated upon Board of Directors of the National Association of Mortgage Field Services (NAMFS) as a Regional Representative. NAMFS states,
Heather entered the Mortgage Field Services industry in 2001 as Co-Owner and President of Berghorst Enterprises, a Michigan-based company. Under Heather’s direction, the business has grown into a regional company, servicing much of the Midwest area of the United States. Her responsibilities within the company include finance, business development and general oversight of vendor and office operations. Heather is an active member of NAMFS, with a specific passion for training and education within the industry. She is a member of the National Association of Professional Women, the Project Management Institute of Michigan and the Holland Chamber of Commerce. Heather lives with her husband Doug and two sons in Holland, MI.
We began to take a closer look at Berghorst Enterprises after several Contractors inquired to us about Berghorst Enterprises’ paying them “… anywhere from 75 to 120 day net.” This struck us as rather excessive so we reached out to a Source at Berghorst Enterprises and verified it. We also inquired as to the comments other Contractors were making about some of their “…friends getting Pink Slips.” Surprisingly, our Source speaking on condition of anonymity stated,
I think that the contractors should be happy that Berghorst is being fiscally responsible and laying off staff. It was not an easy decision for management to make, however I understand that it was necessary.
Normally, this would be business as usual in any Corporate environment; however, we were curious whether or not Berghorst Enterprises were responsible for Compliance under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act (WARN). This is where the story really, really picked up traction.
We called the Michigan Department of Regulatory Affairs (LARA) and spoke with Stephanie Beckhorn’s office whom dealt with Statistics. Her Secretary, in turn, transferred us to the Michigan Workforce Development Agency, Bureau of Statistics. There we spoke with Maggie Sayles whom is the Rapid Response Coordinator (RRC). Sayles is in charge of the Geographical Quadrant associated with Ottawa County, MI, as Berghorst Enterprises is located in Holland, MI, and Ottawa is the County Holland is situated in. By coincidence Sayles was entering data into the Data Sets associated with WARN Provisions. She stated that nothing had been sent to her as of 11 June 2012. Sayles further opined that, “Holland is a pretty small area without a lot of jobs. Normally, when any Company is going to lay off they reach out to us as we assist both [the Company] and the workers in preparing for benefits and retraining if necessary. WARN [Notifications] generally isn’t mandatory unless certain thresholds are met, though.”
So, we were curious what might be actually going on. We went back to LARA and pulled Berghorst Enterprises’ Limited Liability Corporation records. What we found was interesting. On or about 13 March 2013, Berghorst Enterprises spun up an Assumed Name. The new Company was named Heritage Home Solutions (HHS). Now, remember that workers are being laid off as best we can tell while at the same time a new Company is being spun up. Not illegal, interesting. HHS seems to be an odd fellow when one looks from the outside in with respect to Berghorst Enterprises.
What really, really made us take note was when we began to walk down Berghorst Enterprises’ Financial Memory Lane. We reached out to a great Source at ProPublica as we had a hunch that they would have information on Berghorst Enterprises’ Play Book, and most Regional and National Order Mills’ Play Books. Yeah, grab hold of your seats folks! Back in 2009, Berghorst Enterprises went to the Public Well by and through the Small Business Administration (SBA). One HELL OF A GREAT CHRISTMAS GIFT as it rolled out on 24 December 2009! Berghorst Enterprises tapped the Taxpayers for a TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY SIX THOUSAND DOLLAR ($266,000.00) loan. Specifically,
TO ASSIST SMALL BUSINESS CONCERNS BY PROVIDING LONG TERM FINANCING THROUGH THE SALE OF DEBENTURES TO THE PRIVATE SECTOR
Wow! Now, I do not care how you spin that, TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS is a hell of a lot of money for me to be loaning to Berghorst Enterprises. You see, I am a Taxpayer! That money, though, didn’t seem to be enough! Berghorst Enterprises went back to the Public Trough for yet another loan on 26 March 2010 — not three MONTHS had passed!!!! This loan, though, was a bit different and the language is concerning,
TO AID SMALL BUSINESSES WHICH ARE UNABLE TO OBTAIN FINANCING IN THE PRIVATE CREDIT MARKETPLACE
Folks, this is a tremendous amount …of information to digest. We are actually putting this into a Series. We invite Berghorst Enterprises to contact us should they choose to opine. We are making public our findings for educational purposes only. We have not yet reached any conclusions with respect to items such as financial solvency or otherwise. What we do believe is that Contractors should be knowledgeable with respect to the Company(s) they do business with. In a time where Companies are demanding more and more information from Contractors there is no reason for Contractors not to be provided with the same. For any Company to be recalcitrant with respect to the release of public information in regards to their activities would strike at the very foundations of the Trust they demand of their Contractors.