SALEM, Ore. -- Wednesday was supposed to be payday---again---for veterans in the Salem area working for Tim Leatherby of Leatherby Tools.
At least some of those veterans are still waiting for paychecks.
Leatherby hired mostly veterans to renovate apartments for an apartment complex owner in Salem. But a number of those veterans told the KATU Problem Solvers that Leatherby did not give them their paychecks on payday as promised. Instead, they said, he told them story after story about where the money was and when it would arrive.
Leatherby told KATU on Friday that the money would be in veterans' hands Wednesday, Dec. 18.
"I'm catching up," Leatherby said at the time. "Everybody should be a fairly happy camper."
KATU went to the job site Wednesday to find out if Leatherby was following through on his promise and paying his workers. Leatherby was not there, so a reporter called him on the phone and asked him if he was paying them. He hung up.
One of the men who attended the KATU meeting with Leatherby on Friday left the job site Wednesday and came to speak to KATU's crew, who asked him if the workers were getting paid. His response was to show his middle finger, adding, "It's none of your (beep)-ing business, is it?"
Leatherby later emailed the Problem Solvers, who asked him again if he paid his workers as promised. He did not answer the question, but instead made rambling general statements, like this one: "I will make this very clear so that your small mind might understand but you might want to get someone to read it for you! You lied you did not tell the truth."
He added that he fell behind in paying because someone else was doing something wrong, though he did not offer any evidence to support his claim. At the time of the KATU interview on Friday, he said he was taking responsibility.
"It's my fault. Period. End of story," Leatherby said on Friday.
The families of some workers said Leatherby told them on the job site Wednesday that he was not paying the workers there but would instead come to their houses individually to pay them each one by one.
KATU asked Leatherby by email Wednesday evening to let it know when he paid his workers.