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Statement from Joe Riley

Editor's note: An on-line comment referred to in the following letter was removed from the Sun Tribune Web site before the letter was received.

February 16, 2010

This is in response to the recent on-line articles that have been sent to the Morris Sun and Tribune regarding the recent petition being circulated. First of all, it was not John nor I who started this petition process throughout the Morris business community. I have only recently learned of the petition from comments of people in the area and the articles in the Morris paper on 2-13-2010. I want it to be clear to everyone, that neither Chris Riley, John or myself had any part in starting this petition. Our employees are 100% responsible for this process but this petition does make it clear to me that the 140 employees, who now work for Riley Bros., do consider this a reputable company in which to be employed, contrary to what Roy from Barnesville thinks.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. If someone thinks we are criminals, I won't try to change their mind but I do have a problem with accusations that are not true. Roy, from Barnesville, stated in his article that Chris has failed with two companies, leaving a tremendous amount of unsettled debt. This is not a true statement. In 1998, we started a company, Riley Bros. Utility Service Co., which was 1/3 owned by Chris Riley, 1/3 by John Riley and 1/3 by myself and, yes, this company did not do well. So, in 2003, we sold the equipment, which was owned by this company and ended the service of this company. But, to my knowledge, there wasn't one person who was owed any money when the company was discontinued.

In the early 80's, we also had a company called Riley Bros. Railroad Service. This was owned by John and myself. This company, also, did not do well, so after approximately 3 years of service, we sold the equipment and discontinued service and again, not one person was owed any money at the time.

If someone thinks we are criminals and want to slander our company, they have a right to their opinion. The bottom line is, we have run a reputable company for 35 years. We think we treat our employees fairly. We pay our bills and provide a needed service for the people who live in West Central Minnesota and, yes, we did commit a crime, which we pled guilty to in November. We are now awaiting sentencing, which should happen in April or May of 2010. Whether or not we agree with it, we will accept it and move on with life. This case is now approximately 7 years old and we just want to get it over with.

Joe Riley