Idaho Lumber Mill Closing Without Paying Employees


By Tami Tremblay, KBOI

Emmett, Idaho ( KBOI ) An Emmett lumber mill is closing down without paying employees, even with millions of dollars of tax money to help get it running. Now Emerald Forest Products employees are looking for answers.

"They said maybe sometimes next week, which is not right I need to pay bills."

Not everyone we talked with in Emmett wanted to be on camera in fear of retaliation from the company.

"Here at the gate for Emerald Forest Products, there are a couple of signs you can't see very well because of this tree but they indicate alot of stimulus money from the federal government...

"Project funded for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act...putting America to work."

"That guy was given alot of money to get this place going and now it's just done... It's not right."

We found out in 2009...

The company, run by Dick Vinson, was given 8 million dollars in federal stimulus money to help build the mill...It was a big celebration when it finally opened in 2010..

Emmett's own lt. Governor Brad Little spoke with passion...*from chamber website "these kind of jobs are incredibly important to Idaho. Incredibly important to Emmett and are incredibly important to America."

He told us today the closure is a terrible blow to Emmett... State schools will also be at a loss because the revenue from timber ground goes to them.

Little says he would like to see the mill up and running again, but with the state's involvement, not the federal government's.

Little said the state can keep better tabs on how it's run. He has already talked with other lawmakers and hopes to be able to start moving forward on a plan next week to get the mill open again.

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