More than 200 workers who lost their jobs following the collapse of a Cedar Falls business empire are invited to Hawkeye Community College today for advice in starting anew. Peregrine Financial Group filed for bankruptcy last week and federal officials are trying to piece together what may be a $200 million fraud scheme.
Jeanne Wright is a program coordinator for Workforce Development who’s based at Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo. She’s helped organize this afternoon’s meeting for the displaced workers.
“You still have your mortgage payments. Maybe you’ve lost your insurance for your family, so we invite Consumer Credit Corporation. They come in. They talk with you about how to handle that,” Wright says. “We invite (the Iowa Department of Human Services). They may inform the crowd about HAWK-I, which is a program to insure children.”
The meeting will be held on the main campus of Hawkeye Community College. It starts at one o’clock. A federal grant is helping finance the effort.
“We have been awarded $12,000,” she says, “and the intent of this is for immediate job-search assistance, so we will be able to offer dedicated resume classes, job search classes, how to use IowaJobs.org to effectively find work.”
Wright says the workers will also be walked through the process of applying for unemployment benefits.
In addition to the Cedar Falls-based brokerage, Russell Wasendorf, Sr. owned several businesses in the Cedar Falls/Waterloo area, including an upscale restaurant, a publishing group and an aircraft company. Airline pilots, IT specialists, daycare workers and restaurant staff are faced with the prospect of searching for work and trying to recover lost wages and commissions.
Wasendorf was charged Friday with filing false bank statements with federal regulators. He’s due in federal court in Cedar Rapids this afternoon for a bail hearing. Wasendorf’s assets have been frozen and the court-appointed receiver is making plans to sell Wasendorf’s jet, a condo in Chicago and Wasendorf’s personal wine collection. The bottles are stored in Wasendorf’s Cedar Falls restaurant and the collection is valued at $100,000.