Coraworks, CORA, CORA LLC / NON-PAYMENT of Wages, Unethical behavior toward the Disabled.
Update to Cora story by news reporter out of Wisconsin:
CORA accused of not paying workers
State paid company nearly $200, 000
Updated: Tuesday, 09 Feb 2010, 5:37 PM CST
Published : Tuesday, 09 Feb 2010, 5:37 PM CST
Reporter: Lou Hillman
Denise Mundt and Terri Ryan have never met each other, but these two women are telling a very similar horror story about their time working for the same company.
"As soon as we asked for our money, we were let go, " said Mundt.
"I'm hurt that they used us like that, all of us, " said Ryan.
The company is called CORA. It stands for Creating Opportunities by Recognizing Abilities. Based in New Jersey, CORA was set up to provide adults with special needs the opportunity to job train and work from their homes. Most of the work is data entry and can be done on the computer.
"That's why they thought this would be a perfect fit for all of us who are disabled that literally can't be outside of our home but still feel important because we are doing a job, " said Mundt.
Mundt has physical problems that prevent her from standing for long periods of time. While showing us what was her work area at her home in Fond du Lac, she broke down crying, thinking about what could have been.
"This was my perfect fit, this was my ideal job and it's gone."
Gone because Mundt quit CORA in December. She said she had problems getting paid.
"It wasn't just two days late or a week late, it was months, " said Mundt.
For others, the paychecks still haven't arrived. Terri Ryan of Peshtigo quit CORA in September. She is still owed more than $1, 000.
"It is my intention to pay everything that should be paid for people that honestly worked, " said Ilene Morris-Sambur, CORA's founder and CEO.
Morris-Sambur said those who haven't been paid performed poorly, even saying they ruined the company's reputation.
"Many people that are disabled and I am disabled... I have 3 different disabilities... I am blown away by the fact that these people feel that they are owed something, " said Morris-Sambur.
But Denise Mundt and Terri Ryan say they did good work and deserve to be paid. They're not alone.
FOX 11 has been able to track down at least nineteen other people from all over Wisconsin who worked for CORA. All are either owed money, had trouble getting paid, or received bad checks.
So, how did all these people here in Wisconsin end up working for the same troubled company in New Jersey? The answer may surprise you. They all tell FOX 11 they were found out about the job through the state Department of Workforce Development.
Not only were special needs workers being referred to CORA, the state even paid the company about $3, 500 for each person hired. The money was meant to provide training and job placement with CORA or another company.
But former employees say they never received any training -- instead, claiming the company put them to work right away on CORA's contracts. They say the state's money, nearly $200, 000, never went where it was intended.
"That does make me angry. If they're going to start dishing out taxpayers money for something like this it should be well investigated, " said Terri Ryan.
A spokesman for the Department of Workforce Development released a statement saying "we are very concerned with the situation involving CORA" and that the state "terminated the contract in June 2009 due to the organization's failure to fulfill obligations."
While many of the former CORA employees have since found work elsewhere, they feel the need to speak out against the company and it’s CEO.
"What she's done is wrong. She has scammed so many people out of their money and by the time these people find out, it's too late, " said Mundt.
Many say the opportunity felt too good to be true... they now say it was.
We're told there have been several hundred complaints against CORA to the New Jersey Department of Labor. Those complaints are from all over the country. New Jersey officials tell us they can't comment because the case remains open.