Florida address for president of Charlotte bus company that Feds - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Florida address for president of Charlotte bus company that Feds shutdown.

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Federal transportation officials say a Florida man is president of the Charlotte bus company that investigators put out of service. 

Federal transportation investigators shutdown 52 bus companies across the country, including Spaulding Charters and Tours Inc in Charlotte, because of safety concerns.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration {FMCSA}, Spaulding Charters and Tours INC operates out of an Eastway Drive address in Charlotte.

Federal officials say Li Yun Huang from Orlando, Florida is listed as President of Spaulding Charters and Tours Inc.

A spokesperson for FMCSA said the company was shutdown for

--Using drivers that were unfit to operate a motor coach due to lack of training, experience, or medical qualifications;
--Non-compliance with the Hours-of-Service (HOS) regulations to prevent fatigue; and
--Failing to implement a random controlled substances and/or an alcohol testing program.

Records show the "out of service" date is 11/09/2013.

The compliance review began in August. Federal officials say the company was given 45 days to appeal or contest findings in the audit.

According to a spokesperson for FMCSA, the deadline of 11/9/2013 passed without the company appealing.

Does the company that owns Spaulding Charters and Tours operate another bus company in Charlotte?

WBTV went to the Eastway Drive address and found a sign on the door that says 'Sorry we missed you.' No one answered the phone.

We also found an address for Spaulding Charters and Tours that is a house in East Charlotte.

A man who answered the door said  "this bus company you're looking for - they're using Spaulding name illegally. That's what they're doing."

Tom Spaulding said he used to own the bus company but closed it a year ago because of health concerns.

Tom Spaulding said he notified federal transportation officials.

"The federal government knew all about it because the lady had been here and everything" Spaulding said. "So they knew all about it. We let them know we're closed and everything plus my insurance company and everything."

Tom Spaulding says the people now operating Spaulding Charters and Tours "got my {D-O-T} Department of Transportation number.

He says filed a complaint with CMPD last month. WBTV checked with police, who couldn't find a report.

A source familiar with the charters and tours industry in Charlotte tells WBTV he saw the new operators "picking up passengers about a month ago on Billy Graham Parkway near I-85."

Lee Helms runs Sunway Charters. He says last year he bought the previous Spaulding Charters and Tours buses from the company that financed them for Tom Spaulding. Helms says he spent about $100,000 to rebuild the buses.

"New front end, all new seats, new engine, transmission, springs. It's pretty much a new bus now" says Helms.

Helms says federal investigators paid him a visit to see if his paperwork was in order.

Sources say transportation officials want to know what's going on with Spaulding Charters and Tours, and whether the D-O-T was sold.

Helms, who has been in the charter and tour business since 1999, says "it's illegal. D-O-T number is your D-O-T number. It's not yours to sell. I can't go out and sell it. It's the Federal Government's number."

Helms says "it used to be anybody could get a D-O-T number. Now, D-O-T number is very hard to get. It used to be you just go online and apply for one and go right in the bus business. Now it's a lot more - they look at you a lot harder than they used to."

WBTV checked with the North Carolina Secretary of State's Office. Records show that while Li Yun Huang - the president of Spaulding Charters and Tours Inc - has a Florida address, the registered agent for the company is from Gastonia, NC.

WBTV went to the Gastonia address but no one answered the door.

Federal officials said the shutdown was part of what they called "Operation Quick Strike."

Investigators said they spent eight months focusing on "unsafe motorcoach companies."  

The FMCSA said "company-wide failures to adequately maintain their buses, inadequate drug and alcohol driver testing programs and widespread hours-of-service violations were among the reasons companies were shut down."

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