Wood Mode Plant Building

The front entrance of the Wood Mode plant complex in Kreamer.

Valley representatives will meet Thursday with several members of the state Attorney General's Office to discuss ongoing complaints of insurance fraud against the former owners of Wood-Mode Inc.

State Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver said the meeting involving state Rep. David Rowe, state Sen. John Gordner, Snyder County Commissioner Joe Kantz and Sunbury attorney Joel Wiest was arranged following renewed complaints by employees who were notified last week that their medical insurance coverage ended more than a month before the Kreamer plant suddenly closed on May 13 after 77 years in business.

Geisinger Health Plan informed them that their former employer, Robert and Brooks Gronlund, had stopped paying for health coverage on April 8 and said that any claims made after that date may not be covered.

Former employee Brian Wilson said the anger continues to mount months after the plant closure that put 938 out of work.

"For five weeks" employees paid for the coverage, he said, and now they're learning the Gronlunds apparently did not use the money to fund the benefit.

Culver said the meeting with the state, which will also include a discussion on the employee retirement fund, is an opportunity to find out "the next course of action. We're trying to see if there is something within the law that can be done."

Kantz's initial reaction to the news employees received from Geisinger was that a crime had been committed.

"I care immensely that this is looked at in the fullest," he said. "If there was any wrongdoing I just want to make sure that who you know doesn't supersede justice."

In mid-May, a few weeks after the Gronlunds abruptly closed the plant, Snyder County District Attorney Michael Piecuch received several complaints from employees about insurance fraud and turned them over to the state Attorney General's Office.

A representative acknowledged receiving the complaints last spring but no one has commented since on whether an investigation is ongoing.

"They keep investigations very close to the vest," said Wiest who doesn't expect any more will be disclosed on Thursday. "What I want to do is make sure they are aware of the extent" of the possible fraud which he believes may be criminal.

The custom cabinet manufacturing plant reopened as Wood-Mode LLC under new ownership in September when Bill French purchased the assets. He has since rehired 250 former Wood-Mode Inc. workers.

While many former Wood-Mode Inc. employees have found other jobs and some have retired, others "are still struggling to find their place," said Culver.

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