30-Year Business Closing, Workers Not Paid

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Absolute Sound has been open in Orange County for 30 years, but an anonymous caller told WFTV employees weren't getting paid. WFTV confronted the owner for answers and found out some customers are about to lose out on thousands of dollars in purchases because the owner is going bankrupt.

Christy Trueblood has spent the last 10 years working as a bookkeeper at Absolute Sound. Trueblood said she broke down in tears when she was notified she was out of a job and would not be getting her last paycheck. The store was going out of business.

"We were under the impression that he was regrouping and he was going to make it and everything was going to be fine, so we're very stunned, including myself," she said.

The company provided home theaters and sound equipment to businesses and private residences. The average system cost about $3,000 to $4,000. Trueblood said about 20 other employees are in the same boat and want to be paid.

"The company has folded. I have nothing. I have to look for ways to get my son's medication, because he has epilepsy," Trueblood said.

The owner is trying to liquidating his assets. He claims he wants to pay his employees.

Owner Charles O'Meara talked to WFTV and admitted he owed $30,000 to his employees. He said he also owes customers tens of thousands of dollars in product, but he just can't deliver.

"So what about the other customers? Are they going to get their equipment or their product? What's going to happen to them?" WFTV reporter Mary Nguyen asked.

"I don't know. I don't know. I'm filing personal bankruptcy. I'm losing everything. I'm losing my property," O'Meara said.

For Trueblood, she just hopes O'Meara will do the right thing and pay his employees.

"We were like a family. I was there for 10 years. All the employees were there for a long time. It's important for him to look out for us," she said.

O'Meara has a Ferrari. He claims he plans to sell it to help settle his debt.