In response to “Modesto contractor walks off job, files for bankruptcy” (Aug. 27, Page A-1): I believe the article’s lack of information allows Applegate Johnston’s owners to be unfairly criticized.
There were several delays in the job which were out of Applegate’s control. A delay of almost a year was necessary when the site was found to be contaminated by lead after many of Applegate’s employees became ill. This was after San Jose told them the site was safe. The company could have been bitter. However, when they decided to close their doors on Friday, Applegate’s owners coordinated new jobs for almost every employee to begin the following Monday so they wouldn’t miss a paycheck. Applegate’s owners served on local boards such as the Red Shield, the Education Foundation. I believe suggesting they are simply running away from their problems is inaccurate.
Any business owner understands the inherent risk that comes with starting their own company and any decision they make is always easier in hindsight. However, very few individuals I know can develop a business while still in their teens, create jobs for hundreds of Modestans and do so for 17 years. That in itself is a success story.
Editor’s Note: The company’s owners did not respond to requests for information from The Modesto Bee or the San Jose Mercury News, limiting the material available for the news story.