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Minnesota trucking company abruptly closes, hundreds of employees left without work

Updated: July 14, 2019 11:28 AM

UPDATE 7/14: LME has released a new statement regarding employee pay. 

'Unfortunately our lender is in control of all finances. The lender must be paid all monies owed to the lender first before payment can be made to the employees. This process will take at least 90 days if not longer. Updates will be provided over time. -LME Inc'

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A Minnesota trucking company closed down for good without any warning on Friday, leaving hundreds of workers out of work.

According to LME, Inc.'s website, a statement went on to say that the company ceased operations due to "unforeseen circumstances."

The following is a full statement from the company:

"We apologize for the inconvenience of the situation but effective July 12, 2019 LME Inc. will no longer be making pickups or deliveries of freight due to unforeseen circumstances and have ceased operations. Our plan is to utilize an alternate carrier to assist in getting all freight delivered and some staff are remaining to help with that. Freight handled by the alternative carrier will be billed by the alternative carrier but with your LME rates applied to the invoice. There will be some delays in the transits of these moves and they may be significantly delayed in some remote locations. LME Inc."

Joe Habeck, a New Ulm resident and driver for LME Trucking for the past eight years out of its terminal in Courtland, said he was out driving Thursday when the company told him to come back, drop off the truck and eventually stated the company was closing. 

"They said, 'come back' and I said 'why' and they said 'can't tell you, just come back," he said. "Then they said, 'we're done, get your stuff and go home.'"

Habeck noted he was supposed to get paid on Friday but wasn't. He says he is owed about $2,400 still from the company in total.

"I have a new truck I just bought. Don't know how I'm going to pay that," Habeck said. "I have car insurance, a family to feed and no health insurance now. I'd like to know what happened and give me my money I am owed. I worked for it-- it's stealing from me, basically."

Habeck's emotions are running high, alike his former co-workers. 

"Honestly I'd like to cry but I don't know, I'm just in shock yet," he said. "They [co-workers] are all in shock [and] they don't know what to next."

LME Trucking's website says the company employed over 600 people in multiple states — listing 3M and John Deere as major accounts.

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Matt Belanger & Tommy Wiita

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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