HUTN, Inc. entered into an incentive agreement with the city when it moved into downtown Springfield offices 2½ years ago. According to the agreement, EF Hutton is supposed to submit the number of employees hired in that time frame, their names, addresses, job functions and job titles.
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The agreement states the business is also supposed to submit the new employees’ compensation, the amount of municipal income taxes withheld from each employee, and whether the employee was already employed in Springfield or a Springfield resident in late 2016 when EF Hutton moved in.
The deadline to file the information was March 15, according to the contract between the company and the city.
Also, the company pledged to create 415 jobs when it first moved in. But a form HUTN Inc. submitted to the city is unclear on how many full-time workers are currently employed. Space where the form asks “number of full-time employees currently employed at the facility” is left blank.
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HUTN Inc. CEO Chris Daniels said in an interview that the business is in the process of making changes and negotiations to put the business on stronger financial ground.
He declined to go into detail and said more information might be announced within a week or two. A press release earlier this year by EF Hutton says its leaders are attempting to swap debt for equity in the company.
“The company is considering a range of alternatives for capital funding including, but not limited to, sale of stock, notes and convertible securities,” the release says.
Daniels said due to the ongoing process, he was unable to answer questions about the number of employees working for the company in downtown Springfield or why it hasn’t sent information to the city.
The firm is a financial services company that opened in the former Credit Life Building, a building it acquired as part of its deal to locate in Springfield. The company changed the name of the building to EF Hutton Tower and changed the address to 1 Main St. Its subsidiaries include EF Hutton Inc. and Megga Inc.
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As an incentive to get the company to locate in downtown Springfield, the city agreed to an employment incentive contract with EF Hutton America. The city agreed to pay the company each year an amount equal to half of the net new income tax generated as a result of the project, said Tom Franzen, Springfield assistant city manager and director of economic development.
“The amount of the grant is calculated by our treasury department by comparing annual reports and actual income tax withholding,” he said.
According to the agreement contract, EF Hutton is required to submit a report to the city between Feb. 1 and March 15 every year with information about how many employees the business has hired to work in Springfield the previous year.
EF Hutton submitted an annual reporting form earlier this year which stated they hired 32 new employees in 2018. However, the form also asks for the “number of full-time employees currently employed at the facility” and the answer to that is left blank on the form.
The form also says the business has a total annual payroll of $1.75 million with the new employees making up about $761,000 of the payroll, according to the filing.
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Attached to the form is a document listing 32 names, their hiring dates, their addresses and how much they earn.
Eight of the addresses are in and around Miami, Fla., one is in Saratoga Calif. and the rest are in communities around the Miami Valley. It is not clear from the document if the new employees worked or lived in Springfield in late 2016 or if they are still working at EF Hutton.
An email sent by the city to Daniels on March 8 asks him to provide more information.
“In order for the treasury to calculate the amount of payment to EF Hutton for the employment incentive program, you will need to provide the information as outlined in … the agreement,” the email says.
Franzen said the city has not received a response from EF Hutton.
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The annual reporting file says HUTN Inc. invested about $131,000 in equipment in 2018 and $220,000 into the building.
According to city records, EF Hutton received incentive payments previously. In 2016, over the last few months of the year, the business received $882 from the city. In 2017, the business received about $14,600 from the city.
In the 2017 report, EF Hutton reported hiring 60 employees. It says it had 32 full-time employees working at 1 Main St. at the end of 2017.
FACTS AND FIGURES
$14,604.66: money dispersed by the city to EF Hutton as part of employee incentive agreement in 2017
$882.88: money dispersed by the city to EF Hutton as part of employee incentive agreement in 2016
32: employees hired by EF Hutton in 2018, according to an employee incentive agreement annual report in 2018
The Springfield News-Sun has closely tracked the development of HUTN, INC. and its subsidiaries since the company first announced its move to downtown Springfield in 2016, including stories examining its possible impact on downtown and its new products.