BRISTOL, Va. - Fed up and flat broke, some Virginia Intermont College employees wonder if they'll ever get paid.
We're also learning the college owes the City of Bristol for delinquent real estate tax; that, plus the money the college owes BVU for the electric bill, leaves some employees feeling like they'll never see the money they're owed.
Virginia Intermont College's campus is quiet. The students are out for the summer, and the staff is wondering if they could be out of jobs. "We lose our accreditation July 1, which pretty much means you're not going to an accredited school. Most of the students I've talked to don't want to stay," says Angie Elkins.
Angie Elkins tells us she's been at VI for nine years. She was a part-time employee, teaching sociology and criminal justice until her last paycheck bounced. "My March paycheck bounced, so I haven't been paid since February ,which is really hard to deal with. The school owes me a little over $3,000 right now in back pay," she said.
Elkins isn't the only one. We've received several calls to the newsroom from employees telling us they haven't been paid either. "I'm lucky that I have some family and friends that have really been able to help me out and keep me going so I don't lose my car or anything like that. But it wouldn't take more than two months for people to lose their homes, their cars, or whatever," she said.
We were told the school was not able to pay employees on Friday, but we're told checks were supposed to go out Monday.
Elkins says she still hasn't received a check. "All I got is [from them] was, 'We'll fix it as soon as possible.' That doesn't pay bills," she said.
We also learned VI owes the City of Bristol, Virginia a little more than $10,000 in delinquent real estate taxes from 2013. "I'm ready, willing and able to negotiate with the taxpayers as far as their payments. They're monthly payments, but the key thing is they do have to pay their taxes, the penalty, and the interest," adds Bristol treasurer Angel Harris.
Harris tells us the college will first receive a delinquent notice. Then, if it doesn't call to set up a payment plan, they will be turned over to a collection agency.
Bill Buchanan with the Bristol Historical Association tells us they received information that VI was trying to auction off the Tennessee Ernie Ford archives that are at the school. He says the Ford Estate found out and notified VI they own the archives and have control over where the collection goes, and that the college isn't allowed to sell it.
Buchanan tells us they are hopeful the collection will stay in Bristol.
Right now, school leaders we've contacted will not comment on their finances.