Officers claim company won't pay them for extra duty job

Friday, November 16, 2018
Officers claim company won't pay them for extra duty job
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To make extra money, law enforcement officers frequently work extra jobs off hours. But some officers say they are owed for those extra jobs.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- To make extra money, law enforcement officers frequently work extra jobs off hours.

You've probably seen these guys out on the road and may not have paid much attention. They're all law enforcement officers, but when they're out riding to make sure those wide loads and big cranes stay safe, they're actually working second jobs off-duty.

Some are working for a company called Police Motor Escorts, run by a former Houston police officer and his wife, Harry and Lesli Zamora.

Lesli Zamora wasn't much in a talking mood the day we found her at home in Jersey Village. She never did open the door or answer any questions, instead sending us to their lawyer.

How much are the officers owed?

"At last count, we were over $30,000," Jarrel Caldwell said. "A lot of money."

Joseph Hollaway said he's owed a little under half that.

"About $12,300-something dollars," Hollaway said.

They are just two of the eight officers currently suing the Zamoras and Police Motor Escorts for more than $100,000 in what they claim are unpaid wages.

"He is a fellow officer and you want to try to believe what they're saying," Caldwell said. "You want to give them an opportunity until such time, the lies become clear, concise and conclusive evidence that you're lying."

The Zamoras weren't at a recent court hearing, but their new lawyer was.

"We're sitting on the opposing side of the street," attorney Patrick Bates said.

He claimed he wanted to work with the officers to find a solution.

"I'd be happy to team up," Bates said.

But so far, nothing's changed for the officers.

"Your client is a police officer. It isn't too late for your client to do the right thing," the officer's attorney Jourdain Poupore said.

In court documents, the Zamoras and their company argue they've paid many of the disputed claims; the Zamoras say they haven't been paid by some customers and argue officers agreed not to be paid until that happens, and say officers should follow the process they agreed to: requiring them to pay the company to investigate unpaid rides, instead of filing a lawsuit.

The officers say it is the latest in a string of explanations from the couple.

"There were a myriad of excuses," Caldwell said.

In their lawsuit, the officers allege the Zamoras told them their bank was holding up payment and that the FBI and Federal Reserve were investigating fraudulent activity on their accounts by some unknown person. The officers question if the Feds were ever really on the case.

One officer and their lawyer tell us that at one point in the suit, the company actually turned over a photo of a check in a mailbox as some proof of payment. It didn't satisfy his alleged debt. The officers are sticking by their claim and hope to get paid soon.

"I keep a spreadsheet on there. The thing I do every day, the amount I did for that day," Hollway said.

The lawyer for the company sent along a statement that said, in part: "The Zamoras are not frauds. Also, the Plaintiffs may be good police officers, but that doesn't mean we have to agree with their accounting-which is wrong. Even fantastic police officers can be terrible at math."

The two sides are due back in court just after Thanksgiving.

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