Shrimp farm pays employees after WPBF investigation
An aquaculture shrimp farm has finally paid dozens of employees a partial paycheck after WPBF 25 News pressed the company to find out why they hadn't been paid in over a month.
Florida Organic Aquaculture has been touted by Fellsmere city officials, Indian River County commissioners, and even Governor Rick Scott as a promising job creator that could become an economic boon for the area.
Two years after the ribbon cutting, WPBF 25 News learned that employees had not been paid in six weeks. When we called CEO Cliff Morris seeking comment, he confirmed 60 employees had not received a paycheck in over a month.
Morris told WPBF 25 News he didn't have money to pay employees because a foreign investor in the Middle East had tried to wire transfer a large sum, but the investor's country blocked the transfer. Morris said he did not know when he would be able to pay his employees.
Morris agreed to an on-camera interview the next morning but ended up canceling hours before, saying his attorneys advised him not to do it.
In a written statement released later on Thursday afternoon, Morris said he had now paid his employees a partial paycheck and would make "every effort to expedite release of funds" that will allow them to pay their employees in full.
Morris said the company has no plans to suspend operations and expansion plans are still planned for next year.
Morris has a second business that helps get green cards for foreign investors through the EB-5 federal program.
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