Wednesday, May 22, 2013
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Boss's Burgers was chained shut by the owners of the former Daybreak Snack Shop after notice was posted that the new restaurant had failed to apply for a license.
July 17, 2012
MONMOUTH -- A dispute between lessees of a downtown storefront sparked the abrupt closure of Boss's Burgers on June 22.
Some of the 17 employees of the establishment, meanwhile, have sounded off against owner Shaun Bell, claiming they have been stiffed on several weeks worth of pay.
Rachael Heiselt, a Boss's cook, said she's owed nearly $1,300 and recently had to file for unemployment.
"I want to know how (Bell) feels about employees right now who actually don't have places to live because of this ... or are struggling to eat," Heiselt said. "How can you be OK with leaving other people hanging?"
In e-mails to the Itemizer-Observer, Bell said he intends to reopen the eatery when "all of this is taken care of."
"It's our position to pay everyone," he said. We're "trying to right a wrong as soon as possible."
At least part of the ordeal centers on Bell not having a restaurant license when he opened on May 28.
Bell was attempting to take over the lease from, and buy, the previous business at 423 E. Main St., the Daybreak Snack Shop. According to Polk County Public Health records, Daybreak still has an active restaurant license at the site and Talwinder Dhaliwal is listed as the representative.
Bell said he believed that the Daybreak license would carry over to his own restaurant.
"That was where we were wrong," Bell said.
Jim Solvedt, a county environmental health supervisor, said he made an impromptu visit to the eatery in mid-June, warned staff it was operating without a license and requested it apply for one immediately.
Solvedt said the Daybreak owners contacted him to inquire if Bell had received his license. Solvedt said when a week passed and Bell still hadn't provided an application, he posted a notice to the public on the front door on June 22. Heiselt said employees went home immediately after.
Bell said he and the Daybreak owners had a disagreement over the contract for the business space; the latter party wound up chaining Boss's doors shut on either June 22 or June 23.
Bell said he applied for a restaurant license before that happened, though as of press time, Solvedt said his department still hasn't received a request from Bell.
Bell said the closure has stopped all revenue flow and prevents him from cutting checks for workers. He said he was unsuccessful in taking out a personal loan to cover payroll.
"I understand the frustrating position" for the employees, he said. "They will be paid for the few weeks we were open."
Bell's former staff is skeptical. Heiselt said Bell told her and others about seeking financing, but nobody has received a paycheck for the time Boss's was open.
Heiselt claimed Bell has recently ducked his old workers' requests for updates; a cell number on Bell's business card is no longer in service, while Boss's Facebook page has been taken down.
"I feel like I've been lied to," Heiselt said.
Frank Primley, Boss's executive chef, said he's owed $1,600 for more than two weeks work.
"I have two kids (in my household) and child support for my biological child that I can't pay now," he said.
Primley said he's been talking to an attorney regarding civil action.
"I don't expect to see any money from Shaun," he said. "But I do want to get the word out there."
Ironically, Primley noted he was a line cook at the Willamette Burger Company in Salem prior to coming to Boss's in early June; employees of that burger joint picketed when the restaurant shut down on July 5 without notice and didn't issue final paychecks.
Nonpayment to employees is considered a civil matter, not criminal, and is nothing Monmouth Police Department would investigate, Sgt. Kim Dorn said.