Sammy's Grill locations in Baton Rouge, Prairieville face eviction
UPDATE: The Advocate reports that the landlord for Sammy's Grill locations in Baton Rouge and Prairieville is seeking to evict the local restaurant due to unpaid rent. Click here for the latest.
PRAIRIEVILLE - It's been a stressful Christmas for many Sammy's Grill employees who say they only received a portion of their paychecks Monday.
Lashun Richardson is just one of the employees who say they're fed up. Over the last few months, 2 On Your Side has heard from about a dozen employees who are frustrated with their employer after checks continue to bounce.
"This is it you know, I've had enough," said Richardson.
Richardson has been a cook at Sammy's Grill in Prairieville since April. Soon after his start date, he says things started getting dicey. When he only received a quarter of his paycheck Monday, Richardson said it was the last straw and he'll be looking for employment elsewhere.
"You got half these people not getting paid, you're not paying your managers," he said.
For months, Richardson says checks have been bouncing and during the month of December pay has been inconsistent, putting a strain on his pocketbook. A handful of Sammy's Grill employees went looking for the rest of their paychecks Thursday but didn't have much luck. Thursday morning, doors of the Prairieville restaurant were locked and a sign on the door said they'd be closed for lunch but would be opening for dinner. It also apologized for the inconvenience and said, "we appreciate your loyalty and patience while we work out some kinks."
Another sign near the business entrance says "business is booming" and the store is hiring. Even Sammy's Grille owner Sammy Nagem tells us that's not the case. Nagem told 2 On Your Side it's had a rough few months and sales are down about 35 percent in the last two months.
Richardson says he's stuck with the business so long because of promises made in the past.
"I'm here the day after Christmas and I'm hearing the same thing, we're going to see what we can do, and I'm like I've got bills to pay," he said. "My rent's due, my car note's due."
Nagem says he's going to keep the restaurants open and plans to reopen the Central Sammy's Grill in the New Year. That store was forced to close before Thanksgiving when a pipe burst. As far as the pay-check problem, Nagem says he's still working through the current financial issues and ask for support from his customers. He offered the following statement to WBRZ.
To overcome our current financial issues, we are striving to continue to operate as we have for the past 32 years, taking great care of our guests, which will help us re-establish the great working environment we have provided for the hundreds of college students, working mothers, veterans, those transitioning back into society, and high school students on their first jobs that we employ. Over the years we have supported and continue to support our employees and our community in times of need and now we are asking for the support of our patrons, local businesses, and media in our time of need.
At the time this story was published, Richardson says he still had not heard back from Sammy's management and he has not received the rest of his paycheck.
The Prairieville location did not open for dinner Thursday night.
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