John Delucie and Sean Largotta, the partners behind Crown, The Lion, and Bill's Food & Drink, may be feuding now, but they were on the same side of the fight when their staff filed a class action suit recently, alleging wage theft. The suit has now been settled, but not before the battling partners had to shell out $575,000 to some of their servers.
These servers had been paid $25 per hour when they served at private parties, but complained that the owners collected a 20 percent gratuity from customers that should rightfully have been theirs. "It was a great gig and we made good money, but there was still no doubt that this money belonged to us,'' one of the waiters, Kenyon Oster, tells Eater. "One night I was working a party with one other waiter and a guest came over to thank me and handed me the check with the gratuity on it. It was about $1500, which was a lot more than the $25 per hour, so I took a photo of it with my phone.'' The employees are scheduled to receive payment in two installments, the first of which will be in mid March. "It was a great place to work but there was a lot of arrogance and ego on their part, '' says Oster. "We knew we were going to sue them; it was just a matter of time.''