Dept. of Labor opens investigation into some golf courses

by: Holly Maynard Updated:

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MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. - There are new developments in a Nine Investigates report, in which employees at local golf courses said they had not been paid for several weeks. 

Eyewitness News has learned the Department of Labor has opened an investigation into some of the courses.  The department could not confirm specifics of the investigation, but did acknowledge that courses were being investigated.  Since May, Nine Investigates has detailed complaints by employees at some of the seven courses in the Charlotte area run by the Carolina Trail.

We also have new information about one of those courses, The Tradition Golf Club, which is located on Prosperity Church Road and owned by Mecklenburg County.  The Parks and Rec Department said after seeing previous stories by Channel 9 detailing alleged financial problems at the course and complaints by citizens, they inspected the course and found violations. 

"It's severe in the eyes of the golfer, it is severe in the eyes of the county as well," said James Alsop.

One of the main problems:  a fungus growing on a couple of the greens that was expected to get worse.

"With the severe heat and mid-afternoon thunderstorms and humid conditions, it does cause the fungus to multiply quickly," Alsop said.

Alsop also said he sent a letter to Jeff Silverstein, whose company runs the course.  He said since then the fungus, and most of the other problems noted, have been fixed.

Silverstein is the head of the seven golf courses in the Charlotte area run by the Carolina Trail.  Earlier this month, after employees at several of the courses told us their paychecks were weeks late, he assured us they had been paid.  Several employees then emailed Channel 9 saying that was not the case, including one woman who agreed to speak with us if we didn't show her face and altered her voice. 

"No one is being paid.  It's against the law and there's got to be justice somewhere for these people," she said. 

Some employees said they did get paychecks, but they bounced.  Others said they were told if they talked to the media, they'd be fired.

We called and emailed Jeff Silverstein on Friday but did not hear back from him by news time.