Say It Ain't So, Elise!

Our current U.S. Representative, Elise Stefanik, leapt on her white horse to help me out when I discovered a problem with my Social Security account a few years ago. Then, just a few months later, she jumped off and abandoned me and my cause that she had championed.

Here’s how it played out:

I had worked many years delivering pizza, mostly for Pizza Hut in West Palm Beach. I got full time hours and overtime, and with regular raises and delivery payments and tips I earned over $25,000 every year. I listed my tips every night when I checked out on the computer and then declared my tips on my 1040 every year and paid taxes on them.

Over the years I declared $100,000 in tips and paid income tax on them. Pizza Hut officials had told us that the reason we had to list our tips when we punched out was so that we’d get credit for them on our Social Security accounts. Now, I have discovered that Pizza Hut never even turned this information over to the IRS or the SSA and so if I start collecting Social Security my checks will be about $300 a month less than I expected and earned.

I shouldn’t have trusted Pizza Hut as I had personal knowledge and experience at being lied to by that company and losing money as a result. Pizza Hut had originally hired me and thousands of other drivers with promises that we would receive decent health insurance and participate in an “accident-free-hours” bonus program where we would get regular bonuses whenever we passed a milestone without an accident. These milestones added up to more than $60,000 over the years until we qualified (at about 15 years) for a brand new car!

Needless to say, Pizza Hut ended the program looong before anyone actually earned the promised vehicle. (You see, there is no law that requires corporations to tell the truth to their employees; there are no unions to look out for the interests of the employees, as companies have engaged in fake information projects over the decades to keep down the rights and compensation of employees.)

And then Pizza Hut sold us out to a franchise operator who immediately cancelled our health insurance because he could not afford it. Without warning hundreds of loyal Pizza Hut employees discovered that the corporation wasn’t loyal to US because we lost not only a good, affordable, Aetna health plan but many of the victims were single moms and older people and folks with pre-existing conditions who were forced to buy hugely expensive replacement plans as single individuals that ridered out the pre-existing conditions.

And what did the Pizza Hut managers say about this when I complained? Two different manages, months apart both said: “If you don’t like it why don’t you get another job?” Company policy, I guess.

The new franchise owner got another job himself at the State Prison making license plates as he was discovered embezzling $200,000 of company money to buy himself and his wife lifetime memberships in Donald Trump’s nearby golf course. When Pizza Hut tried to get Trump to return the stolen money Trump replied that the contract “clearly states” all memberships are final and no refunds are allowed.

When I discovered my tip information was never given to the Social Security Administration I called the Plattsburgh office and was told it would be no problem as all I needed to do was send them copies of my tax returns that showed I had paid the taxes on the extra income, which I did. But Pizza Hut resisted. The replacement franchise owner, ADF Companies of New Jersey, said it didn’t even have the figures that we were forced to put in but it did send me my final paycheck from ten years earlier that I forgot to pick up, but didn’t explain what it was doing with MY money, which they kept all that time until getting cold feet when the Feds got involved.

I sued Pizza Hut three times, winning the first two easily and the third, which was supposed to be a class action on behalf of all current and former employees who were being cheated by a “flaw” in Pizza Hut’s computer program that took away money from employees who were entitled to it. I was abandoned by my lawyer who quit the case because I refused an offer of settlement that required a non-disclosure agreement. I became my own lawyer in Federal Court, made motions and WON!

Eight months after I notified the SSA it sent a letter explaining that since the figures on my account matched the figures Pizza Hut sent I did not deserve to be credited with my tip income that I reported and paid income taxes on. The following day my blood pressure, already high, got even higher and blew out a heart valve necessitating emergency heart surgery that cost at least a million but since I could no longer afford my private health insurance, the tax-payers picked up my tab. Thanks, folks.

Enter Elise Stefanik “my” Representative in Washington. At first she was real enthusiastic to help me out but then I sent her an angry letter criticizing her vote on Obamacare and haven’t heard from her since. She refuses to follow up or even answer my letters. And I’m a registered Republican!

I asked her point blank if she has ever received donations from Pizza Hut or Pepsico. No reply.

I asked her what the law actually says about how tips should be treated re Social Security. No reply.

I asked her to specifically ask Pizza Hut and ADF Companies about their policy on tips and social security and why they required the info about this at check out time. No reply.

Sounds like she is not up to the job. I hope we get a more honest and concerned Representative next year so I can afford to retire.