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  American Charged in Haiti Had Some Troubles in Idaho
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ContributorBrandonius Maximus 
Last EditedBrandonius Maximus  Feb 05, 2010 12:31pm
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MediaNewspaper - New York Times
News DateFriday, February 5, 2010 06:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionMERIDIAN, Idaho — The leader of the group of Americans charged on Thursday with abducting children in Haiti is an Idaho businesswoman with a complicated financial history that involves complaints from employees over unpaid wages, state liens on a company bank account and lawsuits in small claims court.

The leader, Laura Silsby, defaulted last July on the mortgage on a house in an unfinished subdivision here in Meridian, a suburb of Boise, according to the Ada County Tax Assessor’s Office. Yet in November, Ms. Silsby registered a new nonprofit, the New Life Children’s Refuge, at the address of the house, which she bought in 2008 for $358,000.

New Life Children’s Refuge is the name of the orphanage Ms. Silsby and the nine other Americans charged in Haiti said they had planned to establish in the Dominican Republic.

Ms. Silsby lost the house in Meridian to foreclosure on Dec. 7, records show, and it now stands empty, with signs in the yard promoting a foreclosure sale.

“I get mail for her all the time,” said LaChelle Bohner, who lives two doors down from the house. Ms. Bohner said the mail included collection notices.

Ms. Silsby and her business, Personal Shopper, which provides shopping services for Internet customers, have faced multiple legal claims.

According to state records and officials, Personal Shopper has been named 14 times in complaints from employees over unpaid wages. Among the reasons cited by the employees for having not been paid were “no money for payroll” and “fully investor funded and investors have been hit hard by the economy.”
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