Former Sports55 employee explains behind the scenes operation of company

SEVERNA PARK, Md. - ABC2 Investigators were first to tell you about customers who say they've played the waiting game with an Anne Arundel County uniform company, Sports55.  But in an ABC2News Exclusive, a former employee told us what's really happening behind the scenes.

ABC2 Investigators are protecting the employee's identity.  He worked at Sports55 for about a year and was fired.  But he says he's been threatened by the company over speaking with us.

In July, we introduced you to athletes and coaches who say they paid for uniforms, but received incomplete orders weeks after they were promised.

Kevin Thomas ordered uniforms from Sports55.  He says, "It's been 15 weeks and all we have is the jersey and half the hats."

A former Sports55 employee details order backups months beyond what customers are often told.  This employee and others say the bosses at Sports55 told them to keep putting off angry customers who wondered why they continued to wait.

The employee says, "It was one of those things where, ' Let's just try to keep the customer happy even when we know it hasn't even been started yet.'  It could be another 6-12 weeks, but we were told, 'Hey, just tell them it's in the shipping area.  They should get a tracking number any day now.'"

E-mails obtained by ABC2 Investigators show that's exactly what many customers were told.  When they questioned, they got more runaround on the timing of their delivery."

A company spokesperson told us they do their best to meet estimated delivery windows, but it's tough in the busy season.

Sports55 Spokesperson John Eberl says those complaining are a tiny fraction of the thousands of orders it handles.

The former Sports55 employee says, "As a salesman, you see money coming in.  Question is, 'where is the money going?'"

It's a valid question for the employee, who showed us a bounced paycheck.  This one written from a Sports55 account for just $385 didn't clear, getting rejected by the bank.

He claims his bosses would offer a smaller amount of cash to get him through until they could cover the check.  

"I'm very disappointed in the company.  I'm very disappointed in the owners of the company.  I think they mean to do the right, but they're just so far in the hole, they don't know how to get out."

ABC2 Investigators asked the company spokesperson about the bounced paychecks.  Eberl says his lawyer told him not to comment.


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