Docks at the Capital in hot water?

FAYETTEVILLE The roughly 55 employees say they've been loyal to Docks at the Capitol for the past several months as the company has operated with financial difficulties.

Docks was poised to be the cornerstone of downtown revitalization, but in less than three years Docks at the Capitol has gone from a bright bustling business with people everywhere, to a dark gloomy game room.

"I don't really think it was marketed correctly," Former Operations Manager Mark Hackler said. "I think they kind of pigeon-holed themselves as like a night time entertainment complex, rather than a family entertainment complex."

Hackler worked for the company for two and a half years. He was among the protesters Friday who say they have not been paid for the past five weeks.

"And after four to five weeks, a month of working 60 and 70 hours a week with no pay, unfortunately several people just had to start the job search and abandon all the work they had put in here," he said.

Docks owes more than half a million dollars in federal and state payroll and sales taxes.

"I know these are families that are suffering from this situation and we're very concerned about that," said Doctor Melvin Henderson, who owns the business. "I'm a little concerned about the way that they're going about trying to get some remedy, but our intent is to take care of all of our obligations."

In addition to the payroll issues, North American Savings Bank says it's owed $4.3 million on a defaulted loan.

The business is currently closed to the public, but trying to take care of its contracts for private events.

"Right now it's because I said so," Henderson said. "We're in the process of trying to get this management situation handled so that we can operate and that we can generate the revenues to meet our responsibilities."

The big problem for the former employees is that many of them were not registered as employees, so they can't even apply for unemployment benefits.

Meanwhile, a foreclosure hearing with the bank set for August 12.

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