ATLANTA -- Dozens of Georgia workers are desperate for help after being promised jobs, food and lodging in Missouri only to be left out in the cold with no way home.
"It's eleven of us out here, we don't even have a way back to Atlanta. We don't know where we're going to sleep at, we don't know anything," Barceneas Cosby said after being a promised a construction job in Columbia, Missouri.
"We sent a total of about 35 guys up there," said Bobby Blanks of Everything Staffing LLC.
Blanks just started up his job placement agency in December and has already runinto some bad luck. Hetold 11Aliveon January 14th thathe signed a deal with a company called Black Sparta and a man named Ruben Jones. Jones was advertising on Craigslist for house framers so Blanks contacted him and the two worked out a deal.
Black Sparta would pay the workers $1000/week and put them up in housing and feed them until their first check. Blanks would sign them up and get 20 percent of their pay.
"We never even got to start. We went to the job site, and they said they wanted us to start the next day, and we couldn't even get started," Robert Harris from Rometold us, after struggling to get back to Atlanta over the weekend. He and aboutnine others made it back home. Harris says he and his wife had to sell their wedding rings to get the money. Now he wants someone to pay.
We went looking for the man behind Black Sparta. However, the company's address listed on Georgia's Corporation database took us to the Metro Extended stay in Stone Mountain. A desk clerk said that Jones moved out in early November. The number that the placement agency had for Jones was disconnected.
Blanks says he has no money to help the workers get back home but has been reaching out to churches and charities in Columbia and the Atlanta area for help.
11Alive reached out to the company behind the Missouri construction project, Aspen Heights, and has received encouraging news. The company will try to help the stranded workers get back home.
Here's a statement sent to 11Alive:
Aspen Heights is researching the facts and details pertaining to the group of individuals who responded to a staffing agency inquiry unaffiliated with Aspen Heights. This particular issue is directly between a staffing agency, construction subcontractor and its employees; however, we are looking into ways to help the individuals that are stranded in Columbia, Mo. At this time, the individuals affected have not reached out to Aspen Heights for support.
Stuart Watkins/Aspen Heights