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This Shady Chattanooga Accounting Firm Just Went Down in Flames and Still Owes Staff Months of Pay

what in the actual hell on a sign

Ed. note: the original story included quoted, attributed text from Chattanooga Times Free Press. We’ve removed this quote by their request after receiving a nasty email.

Chattanooga Times Free Press has written quite the story about legacy accounting firm Croft & Frost abruptly laying everyone off earlier this week after months of issues making payroll. Thanks to the tipsters who sent this over because holy shit.

According to emails seen by Chattanooga Times Free Press, the firm failed to pay its staff from May of this year until the firm closed down this past Tuesday. The email staff received on Tuesday announcing the firm’s closure cited “ongoing challenges and decline in our company’s financial performance.” Staff were told their overdue paychecks from August 11, August 25, and September 8 would be paid via direct deposit Friday.

Well let’s hope they don’t issue a press release about record-breaking revenues a few months from now like some firms like to do after layoffs. Something tells me that won’t be happening.

Croft & Frost’s former HR Director confirmed the closure on LinkedIn (and is also looking for a new job if anyone knows of any open HR positions):

It’s a sad day here in Chattanooga. CROFT & FROST has decided to shut it’s doors, which leaves a lot of really great employees without a job.

Recruiters – I can firsthand attest the entire team at C&F are the cream of the crop. If you are looking to hire any tax preparers, tax reviewers, client relationship staff, tax resolution staff, marketing staff, onboarding staff, IT staff, operations managers, business developers, etc. please consider these candidates first.

Special shout-out to Rocky Garza for being the best manager I have ever had the pleasure of working with. I’ll always look up to you and cherish the few months we had together.

And lastly, if anyone in my network is aware of any Human Resource positions, I am available for hire! Onward and upward!

CTFP says the trouble started showing in May when CEO Jonathan Frost — who has DFE’d all his social media — sent an email to employees saying the addition of 36 staff, several new product lines, and a new leadership team caused a “perfect storm” of issues. “When we make these changes as rapidly as we have, that will create a significant drain on cash flow,” the email said. “We will see more of the fruits of these changes over the next 6-12 months. Until then, we need to hold on and double down on our belief that we are moving in the right direction.” Rumors were flying within the firm that staff wouldn’t be paid so he was forced to address it two days after the mUh CaSH fLoW email. “There may be a slight delay on the payroll,” he said. “The only thing that can be guaranteed is that you will absolutely be compensated for all work performed, it may just be a few days late.” He also promised a bonus “as a sign of good faith” if people would just let the late paycheck thing go.

For the next three months leadership continued to send emails promising transparency and overdue paychecks. “As I am sure you have noticed, payroll today is delayed further,” said Frost in an email to staff on June 3. “However I believe we will have the funding next week and payroll will be released then.” Six days later he sent another email. “We will not be receiving payroll today,” he said, pledging that two overdue paychecks and bonuses would be paid out in a week. You can guess what happened next.

“I am writing to provide a clear and transparent update on payroll, for 7/14 and 7/28,” wrote HR at the end of July. “As you may know, we had anticipated receiving significant funds this week to cover several payrolls and stabilize our financial position. However, due to an unforeseen delay, we have yet to receive these funds. Let me assure you, the funds are coming. This situation is unfortunately beyond my control, as timing is everything with the amount of moving parts we have currently to get this fixed.”

Emails, and delays, continued through August. On September 8, HR once again told staff that “payrolls are ready to go as soon as the funds become available.” Everyone was laid off a few days later.

Our tipster tells us that the payroll issues have been going on since September 2022, not May of this year. We’ll be following up with someone who worked there shortly and will update accordingly.

A r/chattanooga discussion has more details from clients and ex-employees alike:

Croft and Frost ceases operations?
byu/Reasonable-Tailor918 inChattanooga

It’s not the first time the firm has been discussed on the local subreddit.

Is this JD Frost guy legit?
byu/_Maximum_thrust_ inChattanooga

Let’s not leave out Paul Croft, Founder & Executive Chairman of the dearly departed Croft & Frost because omg. From a bio on his website (saved on Scribd here):

Paul CroftPaul dreamed of earning a seven-figure income by the time he was forty, which became a reality at age thirty-seven. That dream became a reality due to establishing life-long relationships and enhancing the personal and financial goals of his clients. Paul’s unique ability to form these deep, impactful relationships has enriched his own personal and professional life in unimaginable ways. Paul’s main goal is to help the people around him grow personally, professionally, and financially through his life values and professional experience. Today Paul’s personal net worth is north of $700MM and he has goals of becoming a billionaire in the next year. Paul has high goals and expectations of himself but one of the things that drive him is to
inspire, provide wisdom, and share his experience for his employees and clients to also achieve higher levels of success.

In Paul’s free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife, son, family and friends, traveling, DJing (DJ PaulyC), and playing golf. Paul played hockey growing up, and he was ranked in the top 30 players in the state of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota (Minnkota) during his high school hockey career. Unfortunately, his Junior year he suffered from a traumatic back injury which did not stop him from being on the ice, but later discovered his passion for hockey had changed. Paul’s work ethic has proven to be the driver in all of his success, and his true passion for caring for others. Adding substantial value to people’s lives has led Paul to be a successful entrepreneur throughout his career.

His Insta, which boasts more than 2 million followers, is superconcentrated IV LinkedIn cringe.

Just to add some more flavor to a story that is already insane, Croft & Frost is headline sponsor of the 2nd annual Running Down Recidivism 5k run/walk taking place tomorrow September 16.

flyer for the 2nd annual Running Down Recidivism Run/Walk

The Wix-based Croft & Frost website has been yanked as of press time. Any of Croft & Frost’s 70-some employees are welcome to reach out with horror stories as well as resumes if we can help connect you with a new job that actually pays. This story deserves some more digging, just wanted to get out what we have for now.

9 thoughts on “This Shady Chattanooga Accounting Firm Just Went Down in Flames and Still Owes Staff Months of Pay

    1. If got a bunch of emails that shows how shady this croft guy is and how the “jump” method for preparing taxes is just fraud. I’ll find them and send them over. I’ll check with my attorney. I have one of their returns that proves the fraud. I’ll see if I’m legally able to send that to you too

  1. I would be remiss if I didn’t share that Mr. Frost’s uncle was arrested (and did jail time) for selling tax shelters in the lovely city of Chattanooga, TN. Fruit does not fall far from the tree.

  2. I’m out $5,000 that I just paid them to do my taxes. No taxes and no money! Scam artists it’s amazing that people can get away with this crap!
    Feel so bad for the employees also!

  3. I honestly don’t know how they lasted this long. I wanted to invite him to our TSCPA chapter meeting just to have him stand on stage to explain how the JUMP method isn’t a complete and utter scam. I have to think the state BOA was aware of his antics. I know one CPA who worked there less than a month, bailing out basically as soon as she’d lined up a new job. They both seemed to really want to be famous, my guess is they’re going to be but not for the reasons they hoped.

    1. I worked there for one week until I saw the blatant tax fraud they were doing. Writing off $30,000 in clothing for “branding expense”. “If you wore it on a Tik Tok once it’s a business expense”… I’m surprised they aren’t in jail yet.

  4. Frost is a member at the Chattanooga Golf and CC and the Honors Course.
    Initiation fees for CGCC and Honors course are $65,000 and $150,000, respectively and monthly dues are $1,000 at each club.

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