FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer shared more information about his thoughts on what’s been happening at Bitwise during a news conference on Friday.

The news conference was about job opportunities for former Bitwise Industries workers.

“This is wrong all the way around and we’re trying to turn evil into good,” he said, emphasizing how the city must come together to lift the furloughed workers up. 

Dyer said that what Bitwise did to its employees is evil- and against the law, furloughing hundreds of employees without any warning. 

He said that what Bitwise did is also a direct violation of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN Act when they failed to notify him as the City’s Mayor 60 days before the furloughs were set to take place. 

“What’s unfolded over the past few weeks is something that we rarely see in any city across America. Not that businesses don’t close down, but the manner at which this business did shut their doors, and the abrupt notice given to employees and the locking of their email accounts and a number of other things,” he said. 

Dyer said he’s heard from landlords across Fresno who said former employees can’t pay rent. These furloughs come after paychecks bounced when the company switched away from direct deposits.

He said after the checks bounced, employees still went to work for another week, and so many hadn’t gotten paid in well over three weeks when they announced the furloughs. 

Fresno City Councilmember Mike Karbassi said while potentially defrauding investors and the city is one thing, he said what he did to their employees is the main issue. 

“What’s so troubling in this case is that Bitwise was able to raise a lot of money- the founders- by saying we employ vulnerable populations, yet these same vulnerable populations were victimized,” Karbassi said. 

Dyer also said like the employees,  he also hasn’t heard from the former CEOs Jake Soberal and Irma Olguin. 

“I think they performed a callous act to their employees, and they victimized their employees, and they potentially victimized investors and so I don’t have a necessarily an opinion of them, I can just tell you what happened. What was a result of their actions, and they have to live with what happened,” Dyer said.  

At the Fresno City Council this week, the council officially ended its partnership with Bitwise.

During the press conference Friday, Dyer said as a city they really hadn’t worked with Bitwise aside from recent grant money the city gave them. He said they believed in them, just like their employees did.