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December 30, 2013

Worries growing about Indiana Beach's future

(Continued)

"At times, it feels like you're getting kicked in the knees," Moser said of the rumors. "We're trying, we really are. ... You're not going to make everyone happy, but I'm trying here."

Earl Spackman founded Ideal Beach on Lake Shafer in 1926. In 1945, Thomas Spackman, his son, took over. He changed the name to Indiana Beach seven years later.

During his tenure, Spackman secured the park's place as the major funnel of tourist dollars into the Monticello economy.

Spackman announced his intent to sell the park in 2001, said Cathy Juntgen, one of his two daughters and Steve Juntgen's wife.

"It took a long time to find a buyer," Cathy Juntgen said. "We had maybe three or four other people interested. Unfortunately, we didn't know Morgan that well — and their situation. Unfortunately, they ended up being the buyers."

The sale, for an unspecified sum, was announced in 2008. At the time, Tom Spackman called it a "good deal for the community."

Included in the deal was a guarantee that Cathy Juntgen would be employed at the park for at least a year after the sale. She was a campground manager with the company before being laid off, along with her husband, in October 2010. She was rehired the following year.

Juntgen eventually quit last May, saying her job had become less about campground management and more about "collection and sales."

"I feel like they're sacrificing customer service for the almighty dollar," Cathy Juntgen said.

During the Juntgens' time working at the Morgan-owned Indiana Beach, she said, the park went through annual layoffs each October. These weren't seasonal employees common at summer hotspots such as Indiana Beach, she said.

Vendors — such as Coca-Cola — increasingly were paid through collect-on-delivery, Cathy Juntgen said, a payment method favored by vendors who fear that a purchasing company may default on a payment. In a COD transaction, vendors require the purchaser to pay at the time of delivery, rather than maintain a line of credit.

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