Smark Enterprises LLC Amber C Payden Smark Think Smark Seven Integrated Strategies LLC Curator Creative LLC Ex employee still owed wages. Not the only one. Chicago Illinois
I worked with Think Smark briefly in 2020. I was hired to help build the business marketing and bring it to life online so customers can begin coming in and generate revenue. This business is framed as a small startup.
The goal of Think Smark is to have people sign up for pricy online workshops taught by business professionals in just a few sessions. Each workshop is catered to an area on how to run your small business I.e. Marketing, Sales, HR, Design, Legal, Public Relations etc. The business professionals are people the owner knows in her network. They've worked in their respected fields for a good time and have knowledge to pass on. Smark strives to be as big as Tesla, Apple, Amazon etc.
The team worked a lot bringing this to life for Smark. In the beginning, we were promised great pay and it was enjoyable working with the team. Being unemployed in a pandemic, this sounded like a great opportunity. It was at first...
Our first pay was delayed a month (after waiting one month to be paid initially) because the owner claimed she was taken advantage of by another client of hers and her resources were not there. We felt bad and stayed in hopes she was really gonna get us paid.
4 weeks later we were all set up with an ADP account and were officially paid. Except one employee, who's bank information was incorrectly added and then the owner knowingly wrote two bounced checks over $8K.
In that time, two weeks passed and it was time for our second deposit. We were told just a couple days before that the money would not be there and we would have to wait again to be paid. The reason being an investor has not commited to the company yet and our first payment was actually credit loaned out from ADP. There was never money.
Those few days passed and we never heard an update. The owner even hired a new contractor in that time and promised them amazing pay as well. This was confusing as we all knew what was happing with our own pay. When we attempted to confront her about it, she lashed out on one of us when she was called out for a lack of empathy.
She eventually met with us online, and said to wait a little longer. After that meeting she made us decide if we would still want to work for the company or resign after being paid out. I thought that was so weird.
End of december approaches and the investor is still not able to make a decision. First week of January passes and we do not hear another update. We eventually reach out and had another meeting.
In this meeting, she still had no information. She told us she needed to make money. No regards for us really and gave us a few options on how to move forward. "You can file a state claim, that is your right." We could chat with her on working for free with the promise of more equity in the company once it generates revenue. The third option - "You can get a lawyer, but I do not know how far that will get you haha."
I mentioned to her the PPP loan program. She said she applied and that it would give her capital for the company. Again not directly promising we would all be paid what is owed. In the mean time my coworker who had the bounced checks was teaming up with a lawyer on their end.
It is now February 2021, we have not heard from the owner since that Jan 8th meeting. In that time we found out she had a company in 2018 with 8 employees who did not get paid out due to investing issues. An ex accountant whom she owes money to as well as other people she worked with. It is a pattern.
We filed a state wage claim and contacted the IRS because we never received our W2 form. When that happened, the owner locked us out of the company email. This was her attempt to terminate us from the company. We did nothing wrong but wait to be paid out the money we were owed. Thousands of dollars.
Days before taxes are due for corporations in March, we all receive our W2 forms along with a list of company property she demanded be returned to her or else she would take further action against us. We had no choice but to respond to her email because she incorrectly filled all of our W2 forms out. We returned her property and never heard from her again after that.
Here we are in September 2021. Lawyers are working on a settlement for one of us. Others are too afraid to take more action. Our state wage claims were all returned to sender even though we have knowledge of her address.
She knows how to play us. How to drag the system so people give up. Thats what she does.
I hope that if you encounter this company that you steer very clear from them. There is no honesty or benefit working with Smark Enterprises.