Inn owners owe $150K in back wages and penalties, says state - KPTV - FOX 12

View Point Inn owners owe $150K in back wages and penalties, says state

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The co-owners of the View Point Inn, damaged heavily in a fire on Sunday, owe former employees tens of thousands of dollars, according to the state's Bureau of Labor and Industries.

The historic building, built in 1924, caught fire Sunday when embers from the chimney landed on the roof. Much of the roof and top floor were heavily damaged.

Owners Geoff Thompson and Angelo Simione told Fox 12 earlier this week they let insurance lapse this spring and are relying on donations to fix the historic property.

"It doesn't surprise me that they would reach out and do that," said Kevin Peck, the inn's former manager.

Peck, who worked for the inn from July to November 2010, said the owners still owe him back wages.

"I think, my total time there, I got one paycheck from them," said Peck.

He said he kept working for the inn because, as a former business owner, he wanted to help them succeed.

"There is something that's really heart-wrenching and gut felt and you want what you're doing to succeed," said Peck.  "I could see that in them.  In doing that, I kind of wanted to give them that chance to do it, to make good."

Peck was among employees who filed 29 claims with the state Bureau of Labor and Industries in 2009 and 2010.

"We were always busy," said Thomas Andre, who worked as a prep cook for several months in 2010.  "I just couldn't see why we weren't getting paid."

Andre said Thompson and Simione would sometimes delay paychecks by a week or two weeks.

When the View Point Inn closed last fall, the state paid the majority of workers' claims out of what's called a wage security fund. 

The venue reopened the following February, but the owners did not reimburse the state, nor pay penalty wages the state determined they owned, said BOLI spokesman Bob Estabrook.

According to state documents, Simione and Thompson owe $150,254.10 in back wages and penalties.

Since the state caps wage security fund payments at $4,000, some employees say they are still out money.

Peck, who is among those employees, does not expect to receive it.

"No, not really," he said.  "They're really bad business people."

Fox 12 contacted Simione and Thompson, but both declined to speak about the unpaid wage claims.

Thompson filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June, a move which would have allowed him to continue operating the business.  His attorney has requested the proceedings be transferred to Chapter 7, which could mean liquidating Thompson's assets.

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