Friends (3) – Dear Danny – A Long Letter From Fred Chion About Interamerica, Inc. – May, 1940

This is the last page of a letter written by Fred Chion, a friend and co-worker of Dan’s, in Venezuela. He fills Dan in on some of the happening of Interamerica, Inc., after Dan left to return to Trumbull.

Dan, with co-workers, in the field surveying for Interamerica, Inc. in Venezuela

Now comes the payoff or “the boomerang strikes back”.  Max had given to Dick during a trip that he took to the states last December, a letter which stated that Mr. Richard A.  Wiberley (Dick) was the manager of the company and that all actions by him during Mr. Maxudian’s absence from this country was binding and that his decision was final in all matters pertaining to the company.  Using this letter at it’s worth, Dick applied for payment due to the company from the ministry and imagine his surprise when he was handed the money in cash.  He paid all of us off, all that was coming to him and then he sent a cable to Max saying that he had collected the money from the ministry and that we were leaving the company and the house at the end of the month of July.  Boy …. You should have then seen the cable grams from Max arriving fast and furious.  But it was too late.  Another stroke of good fortune was that in order to ensure our money, we had taken all the valuable equipment from the office, intending to hold it until we were paid in full and the very next day, Herrera Oroposa’s lawyer came into the office with a judgment against the company and attached all the office equipment in satisfaction of the debt due to him still from the days of the eminent Explorer RUDOLPH THE GREAT AND ONLY.  Anyhoe, at least we did Max a good turn, unless somebody else now finds the equipment and gets a judgment against it.  Which brings in Bush.  As I have previously said, Bush had left for the states in the earlier part of February because his wife was sick, and Max had faithfully promised him that his money would be safe with him, Max, and that he would send him a check to cover for all his past salary (six months).  During the middle of June, imagine our surprise when who should walk in the office but Bush asking for Max and his pay.  Max had completely forgotten to even inform him that he was in the states, let alone pay him for past services.  Naturally Bush was highly incensed and was ready to tell Max, if he saw him, where to get off.  He wrote to Max in the states but received no reply.  He then hired a lawyer and was ready to take action against the company when just about at that time, Richard pulled the rabbit out of the magician’s hat. Soooo……. Bush was also paid off in full, then we had a dinner to celebrate the event and everyone was happy except, I believe, that Mr. Karnopp will not be so happy.  You see …. Max owes Karnopp about 6 months’ salary and after we had paid off all just and most pressing claims, besides our salaries, there was exactly Bs. 120.30 left.  This is some chapter, hey what ……

Ricci is going home this coming Friday, in the meantime we are trying to form a company to do the surveys because the director of the MOP told Dick and I that under no consideration would another contract be given to Interamerica, Inc., that Mr. Maxudian had caused too much trouble and that he had called the minister of the MOP a thief and whatnot, that they did not again want to deal with such a person and that he was told this about six months ago.  Besides this, there are a few very good possibilities here, so that for the time being, I’m going to spend a little time here to see what develops.  I’ve already turned down a job offered to me by the Compania Nacional de Construction, you know, that American outfit that was in Barquisimeto.  Furthermore, I have an almost sure promise of a job, as does Dick, for a job in Panama with a Californian outfit who is going to do work for the government over there.  This was the company that Max tried to get interested in our work, telling them that he already had the contract for construction but that he did not have the equipment nor the capital and he strung them along for a period of two months before they finally smelt a rat, went to the MOP and the president of Venezuela, and left again for the sunny fields of California, where they say, there are very few Armenians.  It did Richard and I a world of good because we made very good contacts with them and this is the result.

Well, that’s about all I can tell you except that it is too bad we do not have a writer in this group to write the history of this company.  It would be so unbelieving that it would not even make a good fiction story.  I do not know how long I shall be in Venezuela and I therefore do not expect an answer to this letter of mine in this country.  Hold on and maybe in a few weeks I shall write to you again and then you will be able to answer me.  Remember me to your father and receive the very best from an old man (grown old in the service of Interamerica, Inc. – mostly RED)

So long toots, see you in the Army.

Best regards from the whole family.

FRED THE EXTRAORDINAIRE

(but who came out alright in the end)

This gives you an idea of the troubles both Lad and Dan had in getting their back pay after they left the company. Dan to return to Trumbull and Lad to employment with the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company in Venezuela. It was a long and tedious battle.

Tomorrow and Sunday, the last two posts of “Liquid Heaven”, Special Pictures and Memories, about our Family Island Retreat.

Judy Guion

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4 thoughts on “Friends (3) – Dear Danny – A Long Letter From Fred Chion About Interamerica, Inc. – May, 1940

  1. Pure Glory says:

    This is quite a letter. Wonderful that Dick was able to get the back pay for those that were there. Know it was not so easy for Lad and Dan.

    • Judy Guion says:

      Pure Glory – Thank you for taking the time to comment on this post. This letter adds so much more information to the story of Interamerica, Inc. in Venezuela. I do not know if Uncle Ted Human, who hired his nephews, Lad and Dan, for the project was ever able to collect the money owed to him from Max and the company. Uncle Ted was a Civil Engineer and in charge of the project of building a road from Caracas to Maracaibo, through the northern mountains of Venezuela. He had a life-threatening car accident only about 2 months after Lad arrived.
      It was a very hard learning experience for all three men in the family.

      • Pure Glory says:

        From all the letters I have read regarding the lack of pay, I am sure it was very difficult. Your grandfather also tried to get the funds for his sons. This must have placed quite a burden on all of them.

        • Judy Guion says:

          Pure Glory – Absolutely. Grandpa was quite strapped by financial issue due to the death of his wife and her medical bills. Both Lad and Dan had been contributing to the family income for several years. The lack of pay was a hardship for the entire family.

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