Jay McLamb is helping the Feds go after Suzanne Clifton

Suzanne Clifton is not off the hook yet.  I was searching to see if Jay McLamb has been sentenced yet for his conviction on conspiring to defraud the U.S. government by falsifying forms filed with the IRS.  That’s when I discovered that according to this News and Observer article by Johnathan Cox which stated that his sentencing has been rescheduled for February because of his assistance in the federal investigation against Suzanne, the founder of The Castleton Group.  In response to my first blog posting, Should Suzanne Clifton face criminal charges?, on Oct. 7th one commenter said:

“The truth has come out about Suzanne. Jay said, under oath, she had no knowledge of the tax evasion”.

It doesn’t make much sense that Jay would state that she had no knowledge of the tax evasion but assist the Feds in an investigation.  Regardless, the trustee for the failed Castleton Group has filed a lawsuit against Suzanne for taking $3.09 million from the company before its bankruptcy.  Money is still due to individuals who paid towards their 401K that was never applied and worst of all the IRS may still come after businesses that trusted, hired and paid Castleton (i.e. Clifton) for the overdue employee taxes.  I personally know of one company and former client of Castletons that could not weather that storm easily.

All of this so this “Woman of the Year” could make sure she had 6,665 and 6,685 square foot beach houses.  That’s sick.  The worst thing that could happen to Clifon is not jail but to be forced to wear polyester pants while shopping with food stamps and return home to a 32 year-old single wide in a back firing 1988 Chrysler New Yorker.  Divide her personal assets among those she hurt the worst.  Greedy bitch.

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14 years ago

I would bet it has to do with other regulatory entities. The fact that she is being sued because of all the money she has taken from the company when the company has been on the brink of bankruptcy for 4 years – according to that article. If she took that money AND the company paid all their taxes, and benefits that would be one thing, not a good thing, but how on earth could she think that the company had that much profit to even remotely justify taking all that money? But I bet that is what is being looked at. The type of business they were – processing payroll, billing taxes and premiums, providing benefits and insurance. There are a lot of laws to comply with there.

14 years ago

Suzanne Clifton better not be off the hook yet. If she escapes this I will lose all faith in our judicial system, the Raleigh business community and some dude named Jay.

This “woman of the year” has used and abused the citizens of Raleigh for a long time. This site is filled with employees past and present who describe specific instances where her and her son have acted more like dictators than business owners.

They describe the son as a uneducated, underqualified, egomaniac that was handed a company to use as his own personal dating pool. They describe Suzanne as a down right mean woman who flaunts her stuff around her underpaid staff.

Woman of the year?? What, was Leona Helmsley busy?

I can’t help but think that Jay was nothing but a patsy in all this. I picture him sitting in her office being told what to do by Suzanne while her son was sitting on her shoulder pointing and cackling at him while eating gold plated peanuts from her pocket.

Sure Jay is working with authorities to save his own ass but at least he is working with authorities? I say go get em Jay. Save that ass! At least he will be able to provide a little vindication to all those clients and employees who have suffered through all this.

14 years ago

No one and I repeat no one should be exempted from the full punishment for their actions. So, do not assume Jay was some dumb little Johnston County hick that just jumped off the turnip truck. He knew or soon figured out that Suzanne, Castleton and himself were cheating hard working people for personal gain.

I’ve interacted with Jay many times and his arrogance and entitlement attitudes are unbelieveable. I am quite dissappointed that he has not yet been sentenced. He can help squeal on others from a jail cell as well as from him new rented abode!

Suzanne, Jay and others all knew that when they took their pay and their bonuses they were doing it at the expense of others. It makes my blood boil that this was allowed to go on as long as it did. I applaud the trustee for the Castleton Group for pressing the charges against Suzanne and I hope to see more!

In these tough economic times I wonder if some of Castleton’s thievery wasn’t the nail in some small business’ coffin? Oh yes but as ‘Jay’s Wife’ has so pointently stated in an earlier posting: “He truly cared for the clients and unfortunately made decisions to fund the 401K’s, the health insurance plans rather than taxes because he knew the immediate horrific impact it would have on “real people”. Obviously little do you know he sacrificed his own freedom for all these people that you say he never cared about. Perhaps the spouse that suffered a brain tumor is now healthy and well, the child with leukemia is resting soundly in his bed, both insured over the last 3 years because my husband chose to fund health plans instead of taxes when faced with those kinds of decisions while OUR children, ages 9, 13 and 15 will lie awake wondering about their father as he sits in a prison cell.”

Gosh don’t make me gag on my own tongue! How do they sleep at night?

Your opinion Todd? or anyone?
14 years ago

I read over the suit filed by Mr. Sparkman against Suzanne Clifton and I was hoping someone could provide some info on the following:

It states that Suzanne Clifton, Brooks Savage and Jay McLamb all sat on the board of Castelton Group but Brooks Savage (her son I would guess) is also listed as the CEO of Executive Staffing Group, the other company that was appearantly involved in the 548 transfers of over 5 million dollars back and forth. Does this mean that The Executive Staffing Group was basically used to “launder” the money so to speak?

It also states that an action has been filed against ESG because ESG remains indebted to Debtors for an amount exceeding $2,000,000 due to the ESG transfers. Has anyone seen or heard anything more about this “action” and what it is exactly?

Thank you.


14 years ago

Brooks Savage is Suzanne’s son by her first husband. She also has a son named Matt. At one time she owned a beach house at Wrightsville Beach…… When I worked for her in the early 90s, nobody did anything without her knowledge. The thing is, you support the company you work for and you do your job or you do the right thing and quit and go find another job. I did. She was on the board of Centura Bank for a long time. But then all the company funds went through them.

14 years ago

So when is Jay’s sentencing date? I think it will be a horrible injustice if Mr. “I didnt report $8M and dont know where it went” skips out of this mess with no real jail time.

14 years ago

Seriously? The Feds don’t play around. I think he will definitely do time as well as Suzanne. I have a friend who used to work there and Susanne apparently is working full time now “behind the scenes” at her other company, Executive Staffing Group. Funny that she is too chicken to put her name on their website, etc. That’s the company where it was reported by WRAL that they borrowed $ back and forth all the time. Her day will come and those tacky looking designer clothes that she wears will be real cute in her jail cell. (And maybe her tacky son will be with her).

14 years ago

Suzanne Clifton isn’t sorry people suffered from working with her companies and trusting her. She’s sorry she got caught. She’s sorry she has to explain herself. She’s sorry it’s over.

She is SATAN. Her son’s are satanic clowns. These problems couldn’t fall on more just shoulders.

Jon McLamb
13 years ago

For anyone who said my dad isn’t a good man. You must not know him. hes gone through deep depression these past 2 years. We have lost almost everything we have had. I’m sick of people thinking hes a bad man. people make mistakes. I’m sorry if u don’t see it the way i do but i really will miss him as he goes to jail today. Imagine if your dad was going to jail? How would u feel?

Jon McLamb
13 years ago

And whoever was talking about my dad that way i would like to know who you are. Show your name next time.

13 years ago

Jon, you should not pay for the sins of your father and I grieve for you in this time. BUT, you should learn greatly from your father’s mistakes! He was in a position of tremendous responsibility and he chose to take the wrong path. He could have quit, could have alerted the authorities earlier…he could have just said no – but he didn’t. I would be depressed too but I hope he does a great deal of soul searching and identifies what character flaw he has which allowed he to use such poor judgment.

Jon's Mom (Jay's wife)
13 years ago

You should be ashamed of yourself! Jon is a 15 year old child, yes a maturing young man…but still a child. I just became aware that Jon made comments on this blog. I didn’t even know he knew about this blog. When I confronted him this am, he said he googled his dad’s name and saw it.

Do not preach to my child about learning from his dad’s mistakes. That is NONE of your business.I think Jay and I have parented quite well so far and as long as Jay is gone, I will continue to help mold his character. YOU should have left his comments alone. He obviously is hurting, but again…he is a child!

If you truly grieve for him as you say you do, then STOP making comments about Jay! Give it a rest.
You could apologize to him here publicly, you know…because I am sure he will be looking again to see if someone has responded.

13 years ago

As someone that used to work there and after reading all of this, I can see what the company really is now. A lot of people on here are right as to the shams they are creating and trying to make themselves look good in the eyes of others. I say BS! Trying to pretend to be something that you are not is going to catch up with you or people will see right through you. Brooks trying to pretend that he is this good ole country boy, by reading the bible and going to church while at the same time hitting up on the people that he is trying to get business from. No, they are doing so great now and I can see why. Treating the staff like they do will come back. I wished I could start up a staffing agency that afforded me a house in the VI, FL, Wrightsville Beach and McGreggor Downs. If it smells fishy and looks fishy, then it is fishy.

As for Jay, I do not know man. I can see why you did what you did, but I would have documented everything that came from the higher ups. And Jon, I too am sorry and I know it will be hard for you and your family. But remember, your dad loves you and you need to be strong for him during this time. I just hope the truth comes out and exposes the real people behind all of this. Karma has a way of biting back and I think it is about to bite big time on ESG.

13 years ago

maybe if you knew Jay’s parents one would understand his conviction to live large at the expense of others.

13 years ago

Yes. I understand that Jay’s Dad has filed bankruptcy many times. Just like Jay was living big at others expense. When you fail you own it you do not tell more lies to get you less time in prison. The truth will be known.

13 years ago

Suzanne, Jack and Harry…stop spreading crap on here. The only person that was living “large” from Castleton was you Suzanne! Jay was doing financially okay before he ever stepped foot into Castleton. Jay has told NO lies to prosecutors and investigators. The proof is in 9K documents. The judge that heard Jay’s case clearly saw some of your scapegoating techniques, so she, herself, reduced his plea. And the best part is…that he has not yet even received the downward departure for his cooperation!

And I believe Judge Flanagan REALLY wants a piece of you because she asked the prosecutor completely out of the blue during Jay’s sentencing….I want to know where the CEO’s responsibility is in all this! The prosecutor replied that due to backlogs, they are still working on your case. She is holding him accountable. Judge Flanagan seems a reasonable and fair judge, definitely not your type Suzanne, and I believe if she gets a hold of you, she won’t for one minute buy your crap defense of “Jay did it; I was sick; I didn’t know anything”, I was taken advantage of, blah, blah, blah.” You were NOT sick during the time period of Jay’s case. “Dressing down, leaving your $36K diamond, your $30K watch, your David Yurman accessories at home won’t help either”. If I were you I wouldn’t even try to insult her intelligence like that!

Suzanne, for once in your life, why don’t you tell the truth about how your companies have ALWAYS had tax problems, how you took excessive money out of Castleton to fund your lifestyle even when you knew the DAILY cash balances and you knew that Castleton were $1million+ in overdraft on a regular basis; how you still continued to take more money out in the form of “loan repayments” when you KNEW how far in overdraft you were; how you told Jay you would never put another dime into Castleton and if Castleton got fixed, he would have to do it; how you were accused of devising an illegal wiretapping scheme when you had tax problems under Scott and Mick in 03-04, and that the wiretapping accusation was really the reason Castleton had to “settle” with Scott and Mick since your attorneys told you your private investigator was too risky to put on the stand. Suzanne, wiretapping alone, is a federal crime that carries prison time. And if I recall this was in 2004!

Suzanne and best of all, now tell the truth if you even know how, tell all of us how after you declared in early December 2007 that Castleton was fine and in business – when you really KNEW differently and knew it was a matter of DAYS before the company was going under, you paid YOURSELF an $18K “Bonus”, while you chose NOT to pay health claims, 401Ks etc. TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT THAT SUZANNE! For me, that best sums up your greed, narcissism and false sense of entitlement. Wanna talk about “LIVING at the EXPENSE of others?

And for goodness sake, Jack and Harry…what does the financial status/woes of one’s parents have to do with his/her own adult life. If one’s parents’ choices/fate are responsible for their child’s financial choices/fate, then Suzanne…Does that mean your poor upbringing made you be the money grubbing, selfish person you are today???

And for the record, I’m not aware of Jay’s parents filing bankruptcy but once, and that was because of a major farming loss. And guess what…if there were more who cares anyway? Let’s keep the eye on the ball here people…Jay’s punishment has been set, he is serving now and it will be over. Let’s all pop some popcorn, grab a blanket and sit back and wait to see what happens to Suzanne!

13 years ago

Anything new going on? I see the court date got pushed back. I am interested to see what happens next. I know there has been a lot of changes in ESG with firing/laying off. Is this the end of ESG? Will the CEO have to go out and get a real job with a real boss? What a joke he is.

Irish Eyes
13 years ago

Thank you so much for telling the truth about this situation. I truly hope Jay has his day in court to reveal all the dirty details. To anyone who even knew a little bit about these businesses, none of this is hard to believe!! Spin is a very very strong word for what was going on at these two companies. It is because of businesses like this that we are all in the mess that we are in! Frankly I am sick of the “ignorance” of CEO’s and a lack of personal accountability! You take the plums, well, it is time to take the hard knocks too! It is time for everyone to pay the piper!!

Sick of it
13 years ago

What I find interesting is that all of these “ex-employees” with unjust critisism and hate in their lives seem to have been TERMINATED. If the company was so bad then why didn’t you walk away with some grace and dignity? Why did you wait until they were forced to let you go? Firings and layoffs are a part of life if you can’t achieve the goals you originally agreed to? Now you want to come on this blog and badmouth an organization that gave you a chance? DJ, was the CEO such a joke when he was paying your bills? All of you need to take a look in the mirror and determine whether you like what you see. This is a free country and you could have walked away at anytime. If you knew these things were happening or even expected it as you all claim then you should have left! Funny how they become the enemy as soon as they stop paying you.

13 years ago

Paying the bills? Right… After the 1st week I was there and going from business to business and getting slammed because of Castleton, and then having them telling me the real deal, I knew I had to go. So yes I was looking while there, because as the saying goes, one in the hand is worth more than two in the bush. That is why when you, Christy/Brooks, have a lame excuse to let people go, including myself, we were not worried. I was going to resign on Friday anyway, because I had already accepted another position. You just denied me the opportunity to hit you first. Why do you think the other recruiter was not hurt to leave and it was okay for with her? She was tired of the place too. If you guys want to know the whole truth, there are a couple others that are looking to leave or already left. Plus if you guys were so eager to pay people on time, why did I have to call the State Labor Department just to get you to pay me? And yes you held out on some other monies, but I figure if you are that hard up for cash, keep it, use it for bail money or funeral expenses.

sick of it
13 years ago


So you were taking a paycheck from ESG while interviewing at other companies? I would say ESG’s “lame excuse” to fire you was totally justified. I wouldn’t expect anyone who has been terminated to be hurt by those actions…rather they should examine the reasons and try to avoid future failures. Anyone else looking to leave should do the same.

Good luck DJ. You will need it.

13 years ago

Thank you Todd, well said!

Sick of it – Hurt by your actions; not the least! Todd said it well with:

“You really don’t get it do you? A paycheck doesn’t make someone a companies exclusive property. I’ll talk to anyone who thinks they have a better position or opportunity for me.”

Everyone that I know of, if a better opportunity comes along or they are not happy with what they have, YES, they are going to look while they are still employed. What fool would leave one job without having another one lined up? Oh yeah!!! Someone that might live off there parent(s) coat tails or might have say… a million dollars stashed away. If you believe what you wrote, then yes, you are the FOOL, in my opinion. Terminated, yes I was, not a big deal to me, sad thing is that it took a little longer for me to realize what kind of people I was working for. All the “hearsay” about pay checks bouncing and money vanishing and the owners getting rich as I have heard, I figured it would not happen to me. Guess what? IT DID!! Yes everybody, my former employer, ESG, withheld moneys from my paycheck! I have the proof in writing and so does the NC Dept of Labor! It happen to me! Please tell me why, sick of it, that they felt the need to not pay me? Tell me why they felt the need to withhold, still today, travel expenses? Pack of smokes gone up in price? Lawyer bills coming due? Bail money needed to be stashed away, just in case? Dog died? Dog gone….

Look “Sick of it” I’m in a better place now. And as for Luck, I think ESG will need it a lot more than me since “It’s an industry that’s failing for the greater good of all job seekers.”