Kismet Advocacy LLC owner speaks out after employees leave company over bad checks, former worker responds

Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 10:35 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Dozens of employees have still not been paid after walking out of the Kismet Advocacy LLC building in Green Bay back in early July after their checks kept bouncing. Now, the owner is saying it’s her fault.

It’s a story Action 2 News has been following since the walkout when a few employees reached out to us, on condition of anonymity, saying they haven’t been paid for weeks. The company was supposed to be closed for 30 days following the employees’ departure, but it’s been more than a month and workers still haven’t received a paycheck.

We’re told they were pushed to make the hard decision to leave the company, because if it were up to them, they would still be working with their clients who need behavioral health services.

“Our checks were supposed to be direct deposited. They weren’t. They were paper checks. It was excuse, after excuse, after excuse why they weren’t being direct deposited. Our checks were bouncing,” said a former employee. “And it now has been over 30 days, and she hasn’t reopened. She hasn’t done anything.”

They say the owner, Amy Jo Timm, is hard to reach.

“It’s just, there’s absolutely no contact with her. She’s not messaging people back,” said a former employee.

After several phone calls, Amy Jo Timm called Action 2 News around 3 p.m. Wednesday. She said she is waiting for significant invoices from 2022, and it falls on her for mishandling billings due to personal reasons.

“At the end of the day, this falls on me. And it was me not doing the double checking--the checks and balances that I was required to do. And that is why this staff is suffering,” said Timm.

She said distractions from her personal life are to blame and plans to pay her employees. When Action 2 News asked when that could be, she didn’t have an answer. But she did say she also has not been paid, and added that she has used all the money she had to pay her employees.

“My cell phone got shut off. My WPS got shut off as well. One of my vehicles was repossessed,” she said.

Action 2 News asked her about the delinquent tax warrants filed against her company by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. She said some of those have been refunded and is now using Facebook Marketplace to liquidate company assets to keep the building running.

Michelle Smith, a former employee who decided to give up her anonymity, said Timm keeps changing the stories and giving different excuses. Smith said she has worked with Timm since before the company was founded, and the red flags began appearing earlier this year.

Smith said employees also had health care insurance deducted from their paychecks, but they never received the benefits.

“There is plenty of money coming form the county. She should be able to pay all of us and still be able to have savings for the company,” said Smith.

She said Timm keeps changing the story and offering different excuses. She’s tired of it.

“I don’t have money. I eventually got another job. I’ve had to borrow money. I wasn’t able to get my medications. I’m really frustrated that this is still going on,” said Smith.

She added that she had to borrow money from her mother as well and that no one should have to do that.

Timm said she is trying to fix things.

“Sincerely, I am very sorry for the lack of attention that was required that led to this. I thought it would get fixed. I thought it would get fixed. I thought it would get fixed. And when it didn’t, it affected every single one...every single employee who’s worked here,” said Timm.

However Smith, didn’t accept the apology.

“I don’t know how you can live with yourself knowing that this is what you did. What you did to families and what you did to staff,” said Smith.

Smith said she feels horrible for the families needing the company’s behavioral health services.

Tim said the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development served her a subpoena. She now has to submit evidence to back up her claims on August 30th.

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