CHICAGO (CBS)–Relief could be on the way to nearly 100 employees who owe thousands in unpaid medical bills after their former employer filed for bankruptcy.
Home Owners Bargain Outlet (HOBO) shuttered the doors of its five Chicago-area stores and two Milwaukee locations after the discount home improvement chain filed for bankruptcy last fall.
The company’s closing left employees stuck with medical bills no longer covered by their company-sponsored health plans.
Lisa Donnelly and Kathy Newton walked into federal court Tuesday with one objective—to get their bills paid.
When HOBO’s owners, Kathleen and Leo Schmidt, filed for bankrupty, Donnelly and Newton were among 350 employees who lost their jobs.
Former employees took to Facebook in January to complain about the unpaid bills.
The balances range, employees say, with one claiming she owes at least $168,000.
CBS 2 visited the Schmidt’s $2 million Lake Forest home in January to inquire about the bills, but the couple wasn’t there.
In February, a court motion was filed to “satisfy the open healthcare claims of employees”.
Attorney Mark Melickian, who represents HOBO, refused to comment.
The bankruptcy filing indicates 91 open claims from employees totaling $210,000. The documents show a cap of $1 million to cover the bills.
In court, Melickian said HOBO wanted to pay the bills now because it was “beginning to cause a hardship” for former employees.
A judge is expected to grant the order next week.