'Too Many Services' failed to pay at all, suit says

Ann Knef Feb. 1, 2007, 7:42am

A Fairview Heights man who claims his employer failed to turn over child support payments being deducted from his paycheck for 12 years is suing.

Russell Buhr claims he discovered in January 2006 that money he thought was going to Becky Bales or to the state to comply with a 1994 order for withholding, in fact was not getting to the rightful recipient.

Buhr worked for Too Many Services in East St. Louis.

According to a suit filed Jan. 26 in St. Clair County Circuit Court, Buhr was found in arrears and a civil contempt charge was lodged against him.

"The plaintiff's income tax returns were withheld from him and paid toward his child support arrearages, all to his permanent detriment in a sum in the excess of $50,000," the complaint states.

Buhr is represented by Steven E. Katzman of Katzman & Associates in Belleville.

Mitchell Fries, an executive officer of Too Many Services, also is named as a defendant.

Buhr claims that when he first became aware of the problem, Fries knowingly made false statements, "namely, that the monies had been paid to the state of Illinois and/or Becky Bales, when in fact they had not been," the complaint states.

The suit claims Buhr had to hire an attorney to defend against the contempt charge.

"The plaintiff has a right to the monies that were deducted from his paycheck and not paid to the state of Illinois and/or Becky Bales," the complaint states.

He is seeking at least $25,000 in compensatory damages and in excess of $50,000 in punitive damages, plus costs.

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