Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

April 23, 2013

Former Lon Morris employees ponder contacting charitable groups for back pay

Ragan continues to blame the AG for the problem

JACKSONVILLE — As many as 30 former Lon Morris College employees – joined by City Attorney Joe Angle – gathered at Jacksonville’s First United Methodist Church Saturday to discuss recovering back wages the LMC bankruptcy estate owes them from the spring of 2012.

Both Dawn Ragan, the estate's plan agent and liquidating trustee, and Houston attorney Hugh Ray III have repeatedly told reporters that agreements had been reached with several Methodist charitable foundations to help with back pay. However, although months have passed, none of the promised payments have yet been made.

On Saturday, the LMC employees learned a lot about an excellent alternative course of action.

“Joe Angle, who was generous with his time and expertise, suggested that contacting the charitable foundations holding the monies earmarked for this disbursement would be a good first step in determining exactly why the funds have not yet been released,” explained Michelle Zenor, a former associate professor of English at LMC.

Angle was there as a concerned citizen and not in any official city capacity.

A formal liquidation plan from the LMC bankruptcy estate was approved by a federal judge in February. Nothing was included in any official paperwork addressing payment payment for employees.

Ragan said last week she hopes former LMC employees can be paid their back wages in a few weeks. She is blaming the office of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott for the delay.

But AG representatives have continually said this is not true.

Ragan said last week she “agreed to a settlement with two foundations prior to confirmation wherein the foundations would contribute at least $500,000 to be used specifically to pay the employee back wages.”

Ragan contends the foundations of which she speaks want the Texas Attorney General to approve and sign off on the deal. However, she contends, the AG is dragging its feet.

Kelley denies that is the case.

“The timing of if or when she will pay employees their back wages is totally up to her,” Kelley recently stated.

Incidentally, those alums wishing to recover their transcripts from the dissolved institution can access the website http://www.beabearcat.com.

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