Bad to Worse: Wasserbahn Employees Won’t Receive Unemployment
Early this month, we shared that Wasserbahn Waterpark and Hotel in Williamsburg, Iowa would be closing permanently.
Reportedly, "Former operator Thomas Smock, was allegedly delinquent on his financial responsibilities and owner Yule Park will reportedly be tearing the building down."
The buildings and park that previously occupied the space will be turned into a truck stop.
Not only was the public shocked by the sudden closure of the once-beloved resort, but employees at the facilities were not expecting the announcement either.
In a follow-up story, it was detailed that "Paychecks are bouncing for many and some are left looking for new housing, including an employee who was reportedly hired to manage the resort."
The story continued: "What came as an even bigger surprise to them is they felt like recent business had been booming at Wasserbahn. Smock had obtained over $141,000 in pandemic relief funding, and reservations were picking up. Now, staff members are confused about the next steps after having laid down roots, counting on an income and life as a result of their association with Wasserbahn."
Now, things have gotten much worse for those that worked at the hotel and waterpark. As shared by Ruth Wheeler, who lives in the hotel with her two sons, many who have applied for unemployment had their requests denied. This is what she told KCRG:
I applied I believe it was the second week of March for it and about a week later I was sent a letter saying that I was denied. ... We’re just begging, pleading, screaming for help from people and no one is helping us.
The story says that the letter Wheeler received went into detail, claiming the denial is because the 'employer's business did not permanently close, it actually was sold to a new owner.'
This is contrary to the initial reports from the hotel saying that it was permanently closed, and the fact that there is currently an auction posted online that says 'Owners have closed this entire facility and are moving fast to liquidate all of the assets.'
Among the other multitude of employees, many say they were denied an unemployment check because Wasserbahn didn't report their payment to the state. This is what John George, a former employee who did ultimately receive benefits said:
I was told when I was on the phone with workforce that he only had five people listed as employees. And I know when the doors were shut we were approximately 50.
Staff also says they have not received their final paychecks from their previous employer, Smock. Smock has filed for a new business in Florida.
Wheeler added this:
He’s down in Florida with his new bar open and we’re sitting here stranded, strapped.
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