Matrix founder’s sons return to tackle financial troubles

The company faced lawsuits, some claiming unpaid bills
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Saturday, November 1, 2003

CENTERVILLE, Ohio - A systems integrator who ran into some financial troubles under the direction of former management is now getting back on track, after the two sons of the founder of Matrix Systems have rejoined the company and its day-to-day operations.

The trouble began earlier this year when the state of Ohio levied a lien against the company for unpaid taxes and AT&T and Fifth Third Bank filed lawsuits claiming unpaid bills. A number of other lawsuits were also filed against Matrix Systems from a software provider and a staffing agency, to name a few.

Up until recently, James and Jeff Young, the sons of Matrix founder James Young, who started the company in 1979, were unaware of the problems. After their mother, Joyce Young, who used to run the company, passed away four years ago,

the business was left in management’s hands to run.

But an employee recently informed the two that weekly reports from a key employee who is no longer with the company were being heavily edited and did not include all the details on what was really happening at the 100-employee company.

“You can imagine it’s a classic absentee landlord or owner story,” said Jeff Young, who left a job as a musician and recording artist to return to the company. “Luckily we were brought back into the fray in time.”

According to James and Jeff Young, many of the lawsuits have been or are in the process of being resolved. Some were due to a lack of communication between Matrix and a service provider, such as AT&T claiming the company owed $19,000 for unpaid long-distance bills, but it turned out to be an error on AT&T’s part. The telephone company continued to bill Matrix for a toll free line that was canceled three years ago, according to James Young, who runs a manufacturing company in Colorado.

Two former employees also filed lawsuits against the firm. One, filed by James Moses, the former president of Matrix who claimed age discrimination, has since been settled. Another, filed by Stephen Koranda, who also claims age discrimination and is seeking $100,000, has not been settled.

All the while the industry has been overrun with rumors that Matrix Systems is going out of business. Those rumors, said Jeff Young, “have been greatly exaggerated.”

Since rejoining the company, the two brothers have spent time sending letters and meeting with clients to assure them their security system business is solid. Already, the company has $7 million in backlogged business.

Both brothers have yet to decide if they’ll remain on board at the company, but already they are seeing some progress. “Every day there’s a piece of the puzzle and progress made,” said James Young. “This week alone we’re looking at adding well over a million dollars to the backlog.”