Businesses sanctioned for holding back child support - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Businesses sanctioned for holding back child support


Madison (WKOW) -- State officials said several Dane County businesses were slapped with contempt of court orders this year for failing to forward child support after deducting money from worker paychecks, including one Madison business called a chronic violator in court papers.

   Watertown's Danielle Brach told 27 News for nearly five years, income assignments from the paychecks of her daughter's father at JT Whitney's BrewPub were sometimes months late, and only delivered when Dane County officials filed court actions against business owner David Bookstaff.

   "He continually used the excuse he was changing bookkeepers,"  Brach told 27 News.

   When contacted by 27 News, Bookstaff assigned blame to others.

   "It was a problem with our payroll companies,"  Bookstaff said.  "I'm told it's all corrected."

   But a Madison mother told 27 News nearly $500 from the JT Whitney paycheck of the father of her children has been deducted, but has not been forwarded to child support officials.  

   Some court records involving child support are not available to review due to confidentiality rules involving minors and paternity.

   27 News did review nearly a half dozen cases involving employees of Bookstaff's JT Whitney, and found several contempt of court orders against Bookstaff from both the summer and fall for failure to forward garnished wages to the state's child support trust fund.

   Dane County child support legal director Brad Longsdon told 27 News he cannot discuss specific cases, but said his staff pursues collection through the courts if a business develops a pattern of failure to turn over income assignments.

   "Very rarely could we make it to a point where a case with no response, would just lie."

   In a Oct. 30, 2008 contempt order against Bookstaff, court notes indicate a lingering problem with Bookstaff's firm.   "This has been a chronic problem with JT Whitney's employee accounts."

   Brach said last resort court action after mediation, letters, and other contacts fail leaves families without needed child support for sometimes weeks on end.   Brach said Bookstaff routinely ignored attempts to get his compliance from child support officials.

   "He wouldn't return phone calls.   It was horrible."

   "I think he's a dishonest man,"  Brach told 27 News.   "I think he's stealing from children out there who really need the support."

   "Nothing was intentional,"  Bookstaff told 27 News.   "I'm involved now to make sure it's all rectified and handled."

   During the period of the court cases involving Bookstaff which 27 News reviewed, Bookstaff opened a separate restaurant in Oregon, which he continues to operate.

   State officials identified these other Dane County firms as also being the subject of contempt of court orders over failure to deliver worker income assignments to child support officials:

   *  Badger Electric, Oregon

   *  Rock's Main St. Tap, Sun Prairie

   *  Strandlie Trucking, Stoughton

   Brach said the father of her daughter was recently hired by an Iowa County restaurant.   Brach said the income assignment for child support from his first several paychecks have all been turned in late to child support officials.   By law, businesses are required to forward garnished wages within five days of their payroll deduction.

   "Something needs to be changed here."  





Powered by Frankly