Once over 500 employees strong, company owned by N.H. House Majority Leader now has none
This story was originally produced by the NH Business Review. NHPR is republishing it in partnership with the Granite State News Collaborative. We have lightly edited the piece for style and clarity.
When New Hampshire House Majority Leader Jason Osborne, a Republican from Auburn, last ran for his seat in 2020, he boasted on his campaign website that he “brought over 100 good and high-paying jobs to our community.”
Those jobs are now gone.
Osborne’s company fired the last of his 20 New Hampshire employees on March 2 without notice, as he did with 500 others in his hometown of Defiance, Ohio, and around the country, despite $4 million in Paycheck Protection Program funding granted in 2020 to retain employees.
His company, Mammoth Tech Inc. – formerly Credit Adjustment Inc. – is facing a class action suit for failing to give that notice, a lawsuit by its Manchester landlord for not paying rent, a $1 million judgement for stiffing a staffing agency, another $181,000 judgment for reneging on a management company, not to mention two disability discrimination suits filed by a former pregnant employees, one settled and one ongoing.
“They could care less for their employees,” said Danielle Sullivan, a former Mammoth manager from Raymond, who had a hearing Wednesday morning on her claim for over $5,000 of back pay and vacation time she says she’s owed.
Sullivan, who worked for the company for 10 years, described working 15-hour days without being acknowledged.
Jason Osborne fired her via a mass email, in which he announced shortly before noon on March 2 that the company will “terminate” its entire workforce by the end of that day.
Sullivan, who was “the last one in the office to survive,” said this was “definitely a hardship. I had no idea of what I was going to do next. We based our lives on our two incomes.”
But it wasn’t the worst thing that happened that day, she said. One employee threatened to commit suicide.
“Osborne knew exactly what he did. I reached out to him on company Teams, on Facebook, basically begging him for our vacation pay,” she said. “He showed no compassion whatsoever.”
Jason Osborne didn’t return NH Business Review messages, but he did call his father, Michael Osborne, who founded the company in 1964 and is still the CEO. Michael Osborne told NH Business Review that his son asked him not to talk to the press.
“A lot will come out in the future, not whatever you’ve been hearing. Truth and justice will win.”Michael Osborne, who founded the company in 1964 and is still the CEO
“So I’m not going to talk,” he said. “But a lot will come out in the future, not whatever you’ve been hearing. Truth and justice will win. God bless you.”
In corporate filings, Michael is listed as the company president, and Jason as director. Lisa Bloomfield, Jason’s sister, is listed as another officer. Bloomfield, according to several sources, stepped back from the company, and Jason – as his name at the bottom of the mass layoff email attests – took a much more active role in the company, said Rachel Youngker, a manager who worked out of the Ohio office for 11 years before she too was fired on March 2.
“Jason kind of took over a year ago and forced out everybody else. There were two other presidents after they got rid of Lisa. There was a lot of family drama,” Youngker said.
According to sources familiar with the company, Michael and Jason Osborne have 90 percent ownership of the company and 100 percent of the voting shares.
The company started out small – six employees when founded. But it expanded rapidly in 2015 as one of the 11 companies that the U.S. Department of Education Default Collection Services contracts with, and got a five-year renewal in 2019, according to a 2021 press release issued after the company changed its name to Mammoth Tech Inc.
The value of those contracts reached its peak value – about $70 million – in 2020, according to the website USAspending.gov.
It was in 2015 that it entered into a staffing agreement with Firstsource Advantage LLC, located in Amherst, N.Y., that would help provide collection services to help pay the student debt.
In those heady days of early 2020, the company opened a new headquarters in Defiance, which donated 24 acres for its expansion, and gave it a tax increment financing break on its property taxes to help finance infrastructure.
The building cost about $3.5 million, said Youngker. Some 220 people worked there before COVID hit.
The lease on the Manchester office at 228 Maple St. started in 2013, and after 2015 the company expanded, taking two more floors in the building, according to a lawsuit by building owner ZJIBV Properties LLC.
It’s not clear how many people were working there before COVID. Osborne, on his campaign website, said he created 100 jobs. Some put the number more at 150 or even 200. But in March 2020, the workers there, like so many others, went remote. And they never returned.
Also in March 2020, the Department of Education initiated a moratorium on student debt collection. And at some point – no one is exactly sure why or when – the company lost its loan collection contract.
“The DOE just pulled it,” said Youngker. The DOE did not respond to questions by deadline.
Soon – despite the $4 million PPP boost in April 2020 – the layoffs began. By the first quarter of 2021, the New Hampshire office was down to 80 workers, according to the state Department of Labor.
Some workers switched to other contracts, which Sullivan said was called BPO, or business processing outsourcing. She helped North Carolina process its unemployment claims. Then there was the Chipotle restaurant chain contract, a customer service job.
“Mainly, we were dealing with customers angry about their food or delivery drivers. Not the most fun job in the world,” Sullivan said. In Defiance, callers were doing much the same for the El Pollo Loco Mexican food chain.
The name change had marked a shift away from primarily debt collection. So was the hiring of Hutter Capital Partners International Inc., a Barbados firm contracted to provide “an initiation study focusing on the optimization of people, process and technology across subcontracted sites and corporate locations,” according to its complaint against Mammoth.
The next month, Mammoth outsourced a chief operations officer job to Hutter, to “support the organizational achievement of its short- and long-term strategic plans” for $100,000 plus disbursement.
The moves didn’t keep the company alive.
Hutter said the company defaulted on Feb. 7, 2022, and won its default judgment back in March. Firstsource sent its first demand for payment for staffing services in March 2022, and won its judgment on June 27.
In New Hampshire, Mammoth’s dispute with its landlord began early.
In August 2021, it notified ZJBV Properties that it was vacating the properties and no longer paying rent, citing a breach of the HVAC maintenance obligations, which the landlord denied. Discovery was supposed to begin in April, but Mammoth didn’t reply. In June, it too filed for a default judgment, and the judge gave it until Tuesday before granting it. On Tuesday, the judge denied the default judgment, but ordered the company to start answering the landlord’s questions in early August.
In the class action suit, filed in Ohio federal court, Theresa Leinger, an employee, alleges that Mammoth violated the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act for not giving workers the required 60-day notice before a layoff. The complaint includes all 520 workers, the 60 who were in the Ohio office, and all remote workers. It seeks two months’ pay, plus back benefits and vacation pay.
In his mass email, Jason Osborne alludes to the WARN Act, but said the 60-day notice “was not possible in these circumstances, because the Company was actively seeking capital or business which, if obtained, would have enabled the Company to avoid the closure. Management believed that, had we given such notice on or before March 2, 2022, it may have affected the Company’s likelihood of success in its efforts”
He gave the same reason to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services’ Dislocated Worker Unit.
New Hampshire has a state WARN law, too. But since there were fewer than 100 workers in the state, it doesn’t apply, said Deputy Labor Commissioner Rudy Ogden. If it did, the exception that the company itself didn’t know it was shutting down until the last minute might apply. But as soon as it did know, it was required to give notice.
There is some indication that Mammoth did know, at least a few days before. In an email, Youngker said she found out at the end of February from some higher executives who let it slip out that the company would shut down on March 18.
“It was a very clear that they were shutting down and no possibility of reopening,” she wrote in an email.
But Youngker also wrote that “it was made very clear that if word got out, Jason and Mike have said they would sue anyone that released the information.” She said she released it anyway.
“Then Jason found out that people knew about the company closing and that’s when he sent the email terminating everyone,” Youngker wrote in an email.
In an interview, Youngker said, “they were so wrong to us.” She was thinking about leaving the company, “but they begged me to stay.” A month later, she was fired.
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