State has its say about Bremerton food truck builder

January 7, 2016 by abenson2015

Erin Alice Haltom is a Bremerton food truck builder who owes thousands of dollars to customers.

Now she says she’s filing for bankruptcy.

That isn’t the best news for Mike Guanlao. Haltom owes him $12,000 for a food truck deal that went south.

“I wasn’t surprised. I really appreciate letting the world know about her. But I didn’t think all of the sudden the story would come out and then I’d have a check for $12,000,” Guanlao said.

I first told you about Haltom and her company, Pacific Mobile Kitchens, in November.

I had heard from many of her customers who had questions about their money and the months-long delays with their trucks.

Cynthia Mora of Kitsap County paid $13,000 for her truck in 2013. Almost two years later, she got a mechanic and a tow truck and pulled it out of the shop.

Simply put, she was tired of the wait and the excuses, “Her employees quit. Her employees didn’t show up for work. Her children were sick. She was going to be out of town. It just went on and on,” Mora said.

Guanlao’s case was similar to Mora’s. But he decided to check out her story with Labor and Industries, the agency that regulates food trucks.

He just wanted to know if Haltom had actually filed plans for his truck.

“I called L&I to see if they’d even submitted the plans and they didn’t even have the plans,” Guanlao said.

Craig Sedlacek at Labor and Industries says it’s not the first time he’s received a call like this from a Pacific Mobile Kitchens customer.

“The ones that have been calling, they’re ones that we have not received plans yet. There’s been commitments or statements made that, ‘Oh, the plans have been submitted to L&I. I just haven’t got them back.’ The customer will call and then come to find out that no, the plans have not been submitted for review yet,” Sedlacek said.

I asked Haltom about the delays in a previous interview.

She said, “We only have about 50 percent of our trucks that are behind. We are actually complete with a lot of them on time.”

But this is how she addressed the issue on her Facebook page: “And this is the point in the day when I get as drunk as I (expletive) can and tell all our customers they are dirty (expletive) savages who need to learn when to shut up and wait for us to do their jobs. You have been told.”

Now Haltom says she is going to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. That means Guanlao will now have to go to federal court to get his money. What she has offered to do recently is to replace a damaged fan in his truck in lieu of payment. And to that and the bankruptcy, he says, like the name of his food truck, Kiss My Grits.