Banner Tool owners target of employee action

Unpaid wages and insurance premium misappropriations alleged

Employees of Banner Tool & Engineering filed complaints March 24 with the US Department of Labor and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development against the owners of the stalled company over unpaid wages and insurance claims.

According to the complaints, owners Keith Akers and David Leist had canceled employees’ self-funded insurance coverage in January. The claim alleges that, in violation of the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which regulates self-funded plans, employees were not told they no longer had coverage, and continued to pay the premium while unpaid claims dating from as far back as October of 2001 started to accumulate.

Employees are seeking $67,188.51 in unpaid claims and fraudulently collected premiums.

The employees are also seeking $54,274.82 in unpaid wages and vacation. Overall, employees hope to collect $206,318.78 from Leist and Akers.

Leist and Akers were equal co-owners of the company according to a former employee. Akers served as treasurer and was primarily responsible for the finances. Akers has since filed for personal bankruptcy. Leist served as president of the company and dealt with customers and prospects.

April 12, 2002 Small Business Times, Milwaukee

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Andrew is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, he is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, their son, Zach, and their dog, Hokey. He is an avid sports fan and is a member of the Muskego Athletic Association board of directors.

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