A state agency is now involved in a dispute about unpaid wages at Flav’s Fried Chicken. However, according to the owners and one employee, those wages have been paid.
Pat Stewart, of the Iowa Division of Labor Services, confirmed to the Clinton Herald on Tuesday that FFC is being investigated by the wage payment collection and minimum wage staff of the department.
Three former workers came forward last week saying that some of the restaurant’s paychecks are bouncing. Flavor Flav and Nick Cimino, co-owners of the establishment, do not deny the checks bounced, but said the money has been paid to the employees.
“It happened but it will never happen again,” Cimino said. “Have they all been taken care of? It speaks for itself. We still have more than 20 employees. I’m not denying they got their checks bounced. Something happened, but I took care of all my employees. And if a couple of checks are out there that I don’t know about, I’ll take care of those.
“Is FFC in trouble? No.”
Flav supplied three checks to the Herald that were endorsed by three former employees, saying the employees gave back the checks for cash. Kelly Butler, one of those employees who came forward about not getting paid, said she was paid in cash Saturday, March 26, after being told no money was in the business’ account during a trip to a Rock Falls, Ill., bank. On Sunday, she was also able to cash a paycheck delivered from FFC.
“When Nick first found out about their checks, they brought their checks to me and Nick immediately gave them cash,” Flav said.
Flav indicated that he has only heard from three employees about missed payments. Attempts to reach the other two employees who made claims about unpaid wages by the Herald were unsuccessful.
Butler, who did not report her allegations to the Iowa Division of Labor Services, said that several people have made wage claims. Stewart declined to say how many claims have been made.
Within the last two weeks, Stewart said the department sent out a letter informing Cimino and Flav about the wage claims. Cimino said his bookkeeper has taken care of those issues.
“Mistakes are going to happen in the restaurant business all the time,” Flav said. “Mistakes were made to be corrected and we corrected this mistake.”
If a case cannot be settled or mediated, the department may file suit against FFC for wages, liquidated damages, court costs and attorney fees.
Flav and Cimino said a glitch in the credit card machine, in which the credit card transactions were not being processed by the bank on time, caused the issues.
“Almost everybody pays in debit,” Cimino said. “You can imagine the amount of money that did not go into the account.”
Nick Cicero, the officer investigating the case, could not be reached for comment.
Flav, a reality TV star and Public Enemy group member, and Cimino, an area restaurateur, opened up FFC in January. Cimino said plans are in the works of opening more FFC locations in Davenport, Cedar Rapids and Las Vegas.