Many people have read All The President's Men, which covers the investigation into the Watergate scandal that eventually forced President Nixon to resign. Less people have read Final Days, the sequel, which chronicles the final months of the administration and the eventual decision to step down. But those who have read that novel will undoubtedly see similarities between that tale of executive confusion and misdirection and what's been going on at Unique Performance, which until recently was creating ersatz Elanores for wealthy car collectors.
A follow up report from CBS-11 in Dallas, which broke the story, confirms what we heard from an ex-employee about the company not paying wages. The company apparently owes something like $40,000 in back pay to employees.
The picture painted of the final days by the former employees at Unique Performance is bleak, with management apparently telling employees that they should continue to make cars and that they would be paid "probably in an hour, probably by the end of today, three o'clock today, four o'clock today and nothing, but please keep building this cars."
A lawyer for Doug Hasty, the CEO of Unique Performance, said "Many of those matters are in bankruptcy court and the decisions about who gets paid what and when belong to the bankruptcy court and the bankruptcy trustees." So who knows when or if these people will get paid.
Though businesses frequently go under and in many cases don't tell employees about what's going on until the end, this particular story is so gripping because of how easy it all seemed. There's such a strong desire for specialized cars, specifically muscle cars, that a small company was able to convince dozens of buyers to put down hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars for cars endorsed by Chip Foose and Carroll Shelby, two names intimately associated with American muscle car performance.
And though the original intention of the company was probably not to deceive, the money involved seemed to allow the deception to go on for months before finally coming to a head with the police raid last month. We even did a story in January about Foose Mustangs going on sale at Ford dealerships, though it looks like the company might have been experiencing problems before then.
It's a sad story and the victims seem to be both the unpaid employees that built the cars and the wealthy customers who may never see them. [CBS 11]