17 Comments for this article

Tags: , ,

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Many people depend on a summer job to help pay for school. That’s the reason why some students worked at a new summer camp in Wilmington. But they haven’t been paid.

The camp’s director claims there’s a reason why.

The Student Athletic Basketball Academy (SABA) is a new summer program that started in June. From 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. it helps keeps kids off the streets. Tyshiea Robinson worked there as counselor.

“I was helping him with basketball coaching with the kids,” Robinson said. “The girls and I’d go out of town with them, and coach the kids, chaperone them.”

Leet Hamlet says he was hired as a maintenance man.

“I was supposed to keep the building in order, but I got there, he had me doing everything watching kids to taking out the trash, everything,” Hamlet said.

But when payday came there were no paychecks. After working for more than a month, Hamlet and Robinson both quit.

“My lease runs out this month, so I will have to move out in September,” Robinsons said. “I can’t renew my lease because of that, and I will have to go in my savings account and scrape my savings account to pay my bills, and I could’ve had another job.”

“I was scared at first, thinking he was going to fire me or say, ‘Son, you can’t ask me a question about this,'” Hamlet said. “But then I finally asked, ‘When we getting paid?’ he got mad at me fussing at me, like, don’t worry about the money.”

“He” is Clifton Thomas, the camp’s director. We went to the camp to find out why he hasn’t paid his employees.

“About two to three weeks before the program started I told each person, ‘I don’t know when you’ll get paid, but you will get paid,'” Thomas said. “I said, ‘We deal off grants and from DSS,’ and I said, ‘You know the money is guaranteed, but I don’t know when you’re going to get paid, but you will get paid.'”

He brought in a witness to back up his claim.

Thomas showed us his checkbook, where he gave each employee a couple hundred dollars out of his own account to help tide them over.

Robinson and hamilton don’t deny receiving that money, but swear Thomas promised them they would be paid in full on July 11. They have since filed claims with the Department of Labor.

Thomas says he has a pending $96,000 grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. Once he receives that, employees will be paid.

We spoke with Dawn Beasley, an investigative assistant with the Department of Labor. She says she has gathered information about this claim and has passed it along to a local investigator. We are waiting to hear back from that investigator to see where things stand.

Comment on this Story

  • Keenan

    This camp scares me, anytime a person work or volunteer with kids especially in a professional business a background check is suppose to be issued. I spoke with these children and they informed me that he never did one. They was hired on spot then did the application and w2 the next day.also that he only hires children now so he will not have to pay them. I know one girl thats suppose to get $100 every 2weeks but he cant even pay her that. This has got to be the WORSE program ever by far

  • Guest22

    He has some kids in there for free he got on family of 7 in for free and more thats a lot of money. On the flyer he have that they were providing breakfast lunch and snack but he sent a letter home to all the parents saying they had to bring their own food now

  • Guest

    when will these kids get paid…come there just kids are the people leting the kids kno whats going on i know they are hurt

  • SurfCityTom

    for a couple of reasons.

    1. Anything I might suggest is pure speculation on my part and not worth the air to repeat as I was not a party.

    2. That’s the job for the investigative reporter, as I suggested. Let WWAY’s investigative reporter establish contact and develop facts concerning the grant application statue.

    That could then lead to a review by the Raleigh AG’s office and the SBI.

    Scott — the ball remains in your corner.

  • GuestBill

    You should contact that foundation in let them know what’s going on

  • Guest


  • SurfCityTom

    The Reynolds Foundation is rock solid. It’s been around for over 100 years and has very deep pockets.

    In this economy, it is being bombarded with grant requests.

    It budgets an annual amount to be spent. Often, that amount is further budgeted by different activities or geographic areas.

    The gentleman interviewed indicated it was a “pending” grant. Guess what, that means it was not approved; it was being considered.

    Grant requests typically have a fiscal dateline for approval and distribution. Once approved, there’s no mystery about when the funds are dispursed.

    His further statement that the money was gauranteed does not hold water. Funds are gauranteed once the grant request has been approved. This one had not by his own words been approved; it was “pending”.

    Scott — this is a no brainer.

    Have someone call the Reynolds foundation for comment. I believe they are headquarterd in Winston Salem. Was a grant request filed? What does “pending” mean in the grant world? What is the status of this grant request?

    The folks at this foundaion would not tolerate the association of their name and reputation with this type of shennanigans if it is not on the up and up.

    Second — did any of the participants pay a fee to participate?

    Scott — I think you can see where this could lead based upon the answers?

    Now that would be investigative reporting.

  • Guest4

    It didnt come out HIS pocket the check of a hundred dollars had the COMPANY name on it it was from a basketball tournameng he had which is apart of the program. he’s lying i still work there an didnt receive money yet. He also gave us 150 that wasnt taxed that came from some of the kids parents that paid late yes its a bootlegged boys n girls club girls inc and brigade

  • SAD


  • GuestLee

    My main concern in all this is that Mr. Hamlet was hired as a maintenace man, but Mr. Thomas had him “watching kids”.

    Mr. Hamlet may be a nice man, but how does Mr. Thomas really know that? What if he had hired a maintenance man who was a pedofile? You don’t ask just anybody this day and time to “watch kids” without doing a thorough criminal background check.

    I’m sorry for these folks who didn’t get paid, but much more serious things could have happened here because of a lack of judgement by Mr. Thomas.

  • anne

    Another reason for putting things down in writing, then it doesn’t become a “he said, she said” type of incident. These types of things happen all the time. Especially when you are dealing with money coming from a third party (especially government) everything needs to be put down in writing so there is no misunderstanding. These people need to be paid ASAP and if he did pay some out of his own pocket – then I am glad he was showing that he meant what he said.

    Get these people paid and learn a lesson from it – GET IT IN WRITING! It will save alot of time later on and gives you a legal leg to stand on.

Related News