Restaurant under investigation after employees claim they were never paid

Restaurant under investigation after employees claim they were never paid

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The North Carolina Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Bureau is investigating the actions of Port City Craft House, after receiving complaints from employees claiming the company has failed to pay them.

Victoria Scurlock said she found out about the job opening through a Craiglist ad and joined the staff as a server in October.

After a few weeks without pay, she grew suspicious.

"I realized at that point when I wasn't receiving credit card tips that I probably wasn't going to be receiving a paycheck either," Scurlock said.

Scurlock said servers were asked to bring in personal money to make change; however after weeks without pay, her bank account was nearly depleted.

"I told Brian [the owner] I don't have $20 in my bank account to bring in here. I don't have any money," Scurlock said.

Scurlock and fellow employees Phil Martin and Landon Terry said when they questioned the owner about their lack of payment, they were met with excuses.

"He would tell everyone it would be Monday, then Monday would come around and he would say it will be next Monday. It kept getting pushed back and back," Terry said.

WECT spoke with Brian Betts the owner of Port City Craft House. He refused to go on camera, but repeatedly said "I've made mistakes."

Betts admitted he may have hired too many people and was trying to fix the problem. When WECT asked Betts to confirm whether or not his employees were receiving paychecks he said again, "I've made mistakes, and that's all I'm going to say."

Scurlock, Martin, and Terry have ceased working at the restaurant and filed complaints with the Department of Labor. The DOL has received five employee complaints since December first.

Terry said he's weary of future employers as he begins his new job search.

"I will definitely be more cautious of businesses that just recently opened because it is difficult to open a business. It's very expensive. Some people underestimate the cost."

Port City Craft House is located at 29 Van Campen Blvd in Wilmington.

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