Mr. Hartman, isn’t it time to make things right?

In late 2002, I was working for MRH Technology Group. The company makes software called Tour de Force, an addin for Microsoft Outlook and is owned and operated by Matt Hartman. Things were tough, late checks had become routine, but by the end of the year, pay checks had been missed completely without much warning.

The problem with working in conditions where your pay is routinely late, is that you teach yourself to understand that your payday is very flexible. When the paycheck becomes later than normal, you convince yourself that it will work itself out and that your next two checks will be very close together. Unfortunately, reality always came to the rescue during my years working for the MRH Technology Group.

During late October after a check was missed completely, Matt Hartman sent an email to the staff detailing an arrangement that employees would be paid partial paychecks based on the “ability” of the company to pay. Any remaining amount would be “deferred” and paid when the company was able. Several months passed in which we received only part of our pay. That led into years of hoping that the next payday would include the money that we were promised from late 2002.

At this point, I still thought that the company could succeed, so you are willing to put up with a couple more months. After all, Matt Hartman said that the money would be repaid when the company was able.

This is where I have to take personal responsibility. At some point I knew that Matt Hartman and the MRH Technology Group had no intention of ever paying my back pay, but I stayed with the company. Fear is a powerful motivator. I feared losing my current job, no matter how bad things seemed to be. After all, having a lousy job was better than having no job, right? If you want to know the answer to that question, I recommend reading “Who Stole My Cheese”.

I did end up leaving in late 2006 and it was the best decision I have made in many years. Almost six years have passed since Mr. Hartman made a commitment to me. Six long years and he still owes me short of $6,000 but has been unable to come up with that much cash.

Sadly, the company’s revenue when I left was around $400,000. According to Inside CRM, MRH Technology Group now makes .7 Million and has 8 employees (InsideCRM Details). The company had 8 employees when I left in 2006, so I can conclude that the company has grown financially by $300,000 and yet they still don’t have a couple thousand dollars to pay past debts. I should say that debt is not technically fair, as Matt Hartman has stated numerous times, that it would only be paid back if the company could. He never saw this as a contract which I believe is fair. Nevertheless, the company is able to pay and has been able to pay for quite some time. So, why not? Mr. Hartman, Why not?

Below is the email referenced above:

Good afternoon everyone!

I am very sorry that we have been faced with the current financial dilemma but under the circumstances I am very appreciative for all of your continued commitment to the success of Tour de Force. I am hopeful that in time we will all be rewarded for our commitment.

The purpose of this e-mail is to confirm the choice that all of you have made and to also address the current payroll period for October 20th.

First, for the period on October 16 – November 15th everyone will be paid base upon the performance of the company. We will pay all fixed expenses such as rent, insurance and general operating expenses as a first priority. On or about November 20th all excess cash that is available will be used to cover payroll. Everyone’s payroll for the period will be based upon their proportion of the entire staff payroll and then applied to the available cash at that time. Any shortfall from your current pay rate will be accrued as deferred compensation and paid at a future date based upon the availability of funds by MRH. This message shall serve as confirmation to everyone that they are working at MRH under the conditions outlined above. If there are any questions regarding this e-mail they should be addressed in person with me at your earliest convenience.

As for the payroll from 10/20, if you have not received your check yet you will be receiving it within the next few days. We had been promised a check on Friday so I did not make arrangements to transfer funds for today. I spoke to the client and they have promised a check was mailed on Friday so I am assuming that we will have the check on Tuesday. This will take care off most of you and then I will ask a couple of people to hold their checks until Friday when another check was promised to arrive. The check on Friday will allow us to remain current on our bills and have our insurance taken care of by the end of the month. After that, besides a few minor bills over the next month, we will begin to accumulate for next months payroll.

In closing I would like to thank each of you for sharing in the sacrifice necessary to keep MRH alive. I promise to work along side each of you and to never ask you to do anything that I would not do myself.
Have a great day!

Matt Hartman
MRH Technology Group
1219 West Main Cross Street, Suite 222
Findlay, Ohio 45840
Phone: 419-425-4800**Fax: 419-425-4850