ORLANDO, Fla. Jan 11 2017 - A company that provided guards at airport rental car lots across the state during the busy holiday travel season is under state investigation after it was discovered that the company wasn’t licensed.
Investigative reporter Karla Ray found out that company has since skipped town, leaving dozens of employees unpaid.
The security guards worked hundreds of hours at the Orlando-Sanford International Airport and Orlando International Airport for a company named GuardNow.
“Making sure everything is secure, as far as the parking lot for Hertz, Dollar, Thrifty,” former guard Cat Rajnauth said.
Rajnauth said GuardNow promised $20 an hour to those working through the holidays. Right away, though, checks weren’t being written on time.
“Nobody wants to work for free in America, period,” Rajnauth said.
Employees showed us checks that were issued, and then bounced.
“Check my account and, boom, it’s bounced back, and now I owe my bank $500,” former employee Dukens Montrose said. “I started paying bills with it.”
State investigators said GuardNow had no license to operate as a security company in Florida.
Once the Department of Consumer Affairs launched an investigation, and notified the car rental companies who subcontracted GuardNow, the positions and promise of pay disappeared.
“They flew the coop, that was it,” Rajnauth said.
9 Investigates searched state records and found GuardNow filed paperwork to operate as a business in Florida in October.
9 Investigates went to the company’s last-known address inside an office building off Aloma in Winter Park, where through a letter slot we could see the office was cleaned out.
“I’ve been working in the United States about seven years. I’ve never heard anything like this,” Montrose said.
Workers filed a fraud complaint with the State Attorney General’s office, holding out hope that with the help of a lawyer, and 9 Investigates, they might get paid; but even 9 Investigates’ calls to the company’s California headquarters were sent to voicemail.
“How do you do that in Florida, in an airport, anywhere in our airports? Not only that, bamboozle so many employees,” Rajnauth said.
The CEO of the Sanford airport said the contracts for security at car rental locations are handled directly by those companies and are not housed in a secure area. In this case, officials for the parent company, Hertz, said that a subcontractor handled the hiring of GuardNow.