RANGELEY (NEWS CENTER Maine) – A Mainer is suing the Australian company that has agreed to buy Saddleback Mountain.
The Australian developer planning to buy the mountain, Majella Group CEO Sebastian Monsour, hasn’t yet closed the sale.
A contractor and two former Majella employees in Australia told NEWS CENTER Maine they weren't paid by Majella for months of work.
An audio recording from September appears to show Monsour telling his employees he can’t pay them on time because, at the time, the company was “asset rich, cash poor.” He says on the tape, “I have a very, very, very small amount of funds. We will be late on payroll for everyone for the first time this week.”
That Majella pay delay has allegedly now made its way to Maine.
A Mainer and former Majella employee who worked at Saddleback is suing the company - for almost $30,000 he says he is owed.
The plaintiff is Perry Williams, a Rangeley resident who was hired as a consultant for Majella on January 1, 2017.
The lawsuit says Williams and Majella agreed upon $5,000 a month for his consulting services on the Saddleback Mountain Project.
He says he was paid until February 17th, 2017, and then the payments stopped.
On June 28th, Majella CEO Sebastian Monsour announced the company would buy Saddleback Mountain, which at the time had sat idle for two ski seasons.
According to the lawsuit, ten days later on July 8th, Perry Williams signed on with Majella as an official employee.
He agreed to a salary of $110,000 a year plus benefits - but allegedly still hadn't been paid for those five months of consulting services.
Starting on July 14th, the lawsuit says Majella paid Williams just over $2,000 dollars every week. He claims that stopped on October 27th.
On November 9th, Williams was let go, his position eliminated.
A letter from that day demanding wages shows Perry Williams was owed $29,711.54. According to those documents, Majella agreed - that letter is signed by Majella Aussie CEO Sebastian Monsour and U.S. CEO Fred Lamontagne.
Williams claims that on the date he filed the lawsuit, January 31, 2018, he still hadn’t been paid what he was owed.
Majella has requested multiple extensions for a response - and has a final deadline of May 11, according to the Superior Court Justice.
Here's a list of people NEWS CENTER Maine has reached out to multiple times regarding what we've learned regarding the Majella Group and the Saddleback sale:
- Sebastian Monsour, Majella's Australian CEO
- Fred Lamontagne, Majella's U.S. CEO
- Jim Quimby, Majella Employee at Saddleback
- Chris Farmer, Berry family advisor
- Bill and Irene Berry, Saddleback Owners
- Mark Berry, Saddleback Owner
All of our requests for comment have been denied or ignored.
Sebastian Monsour did respond to the Bangor Daily News' request for comment on Thursday. The BDN quoted Monsour regarding allegations that he is only buying the mountain to get involved in a U.S. foreign investor immigration program. In the September audio recording of a Majella staff meeting obtained by NEWS CENTER Maine, Monsour can be heard saying, “I just want to point out that opening the mountain at Saddleback for the Saddleback Resort is not a primary concern for us. Getting Saddleback is. The EB-5 program is the reason we are actually buying Saddleback.”
In response to this recording, Monsour told the BDN, "We were looking into the EB-5 program, but it is not a priority funding model for Majella and we are [finalizing] other funding models that make more sense for Majella to get this deal done and the mountain reopened. It should also be clarified the any EB-5 program or approval requires job creation and that Saddleback would have to be operational and running for use in any EB-5 program and not the other way around."
When the paper asked Sebastian to comment on the audio recording in which he says he's going to miss payroll, he said he wouldn't comment on internal meetings or financial statements.