WSVN — Some people chose a career to make money. Some people chose one to make a difference.
Kevin Hutchinson: “I never grew up with a male role model in my classroom.”
In case you aren’t sure, Kevin Hutchinson doesn’t want kids to just see just a successful male in a classroom, but a successful male who is a minority.
Kevin Hutchinson: “I want to be a teacher because I look around me and where I come from a lot of us aren’t being represented in the school system.
Kevin grew up in a poor neighborhood in Homestead. Today he is a junior at FIU determined to be a special education teacher and to help pay for it, taking a job as a tutor.
Kevin Hutchinson: “The pay was decent, $13 an hour in this economy, great pay,”
Kevin was hired as an independent contractor by a company chosen by the State of Florida.
Kevin started tutoring kids with special needs late last year. When we sat down with him in June, he still had not gotten a paycheck.
Kevin Hutchinson: “Zero, none at all.”
Kevin says he contacted the company that hired him, over and over.
Kevin Hutchinson: “Through communication I’ve e-mailed them, I’ve called them, I leave voice mails.”
The company owed Kevin $1,170 but while he has waited months for a paycheck. He has not stopped tutoring the students for a simple reason.
Kevin Hutchinson: “I’m holding up my part of the bargain because i’m a man of integrity. I won’t leave these children because I understand I’ve built a relationship with them and I don’t want to abandon them.”
Kevin is a role model to these kids who see a person who still lives in a tough neighborhood just like they do. But the bottom line, Kevin needs his paychecks.
Kevin Hutchinson: “Money does make the world go around but the children are worth more than the money they owe to me.”
Well Howard, Kevin is tutoring kids as an independent contractor for a company hired by the state, what can he do?
Howard Finkelstein: “Because he did the work he is entitled to be paid by the company even though they are working under a government contract. If they don’t pay he can’t go to court because he is an independent contractor and his agreement with the company requires that he do arbitration where odds are he will win.”
On June 13 we contacted the tutoring company that hired Kevin. The owner told us our information was false, that Kevin had been paid, that this is slander and defamation.
Then their attorney wrote a letter that blamed Kevin for not providing the proper banking information until February, that the company had to conduct a self audit to ensure that Kevin had performed his duties in December and January and that further delayed his payments.
On June 14 and 17 money was deposited into Kevin’s account, those two deposits totaled the $1,170 Kevin was owed.
The attorney said Kevin getting paid had nothing to do with Help Me Howard getting involved.
Howard Finkelstein: “Kevin was considered an independent contractor so his options were different than a normal employee. If you are an employee and don’t get paid, in Miami-Dade and Broward County file a complaint with the county or federal government. In almost every other county in Florida, just file a complaint with the federal government and they will help make sure you get the money you are owed.”
Kevin is now looking for work, hopefully tutoring kids to help him get thru school because the teaching he did this year re-affirmed he is making a difference.
Kevin Hutchinson: “I have caregivers telling me my nephew just adores you. They not only see you as a student but as a role model.
Howard mentioned contacting Miami-Dade, Broward or the U.S. Department of Labor if you are having trouble collecting a paycheck. But if you live in Dade or Broward contact the county first. They are much better at getting your paychecks for you than the feds. We have been told a few times the people in Washington are sometimes a little slow in responding.
Paying for a problem you cant afford to bare? Wanna cash in? We could never qualify as a teacher, but howard did tutor a group on the law once … once.
Contact Help Me Howard:
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at firstname.lastname@example.org