State says local pizza business owes workers money

Springfield workers owed more than $18K, lawsuit alleges.

The owner of a former Springfield pizza business owes its employees more than $18,000 in underpaid wages and damages after failing to pay its workers minimum wage, according to state agencies.

The Ohio Department of Commerce and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office filed a lawsuit against A&R Pizzeria LLC and WiseGuys Pizza & More this month, saying an investigation by the state determined that the the pizza company owed 26 of its workers $18,552.15 after failing to pay them minimum wage as required by law.

The minimum wage in Ohio is currently $7.85. Next year, Ohio’s minimum wage will increase 10 cents to $7.95.

The state notified WiseGuys Pizza and A&R Pizzeria LLC of its findings in a letter dated Sept. 19 and ordered the owner of the business to forward checks for each of the employees or former employees to the Department of Commerce, according to court documents obtained by the Springfield News-Sun.

The letter states that 30 days after the date of the letter any unpaid wages would be forwarded to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office for collection, according to court documents.

Assistant Attorney General Aaron Johnston said the investigation began after one of the employees listed in the complaint contacted the state in January.

Johnston said the investigation concerns payments to the workers from April to June of this year.

He said state officials has tried to reach the owner of the business multiple times but have only received a limited response and have not received any response to the lawsuit filed earlier this month.

Johnston said under Ohio law the workers are entitled to “two times the underpayment,” and officials want to collect dollar for dollar in money the employees are owed for overtime.

WiseGuys Pizza, formerly of 3451 E. National Road, was owned by Rick Allen.

Allen took over a Cousin Vinny’s Pizza at that location in September 2012. But after a “partner dispute,” Cousin Vinny’s owner Eugene Kettering reclaimed the business a few months later.

Allen, who still owns WiseGuys in Huber Heights, could not be reached for comment for this story.

Kettering told the Springfield News-Sun last year that customer dissatisfaction and confusion caused Cousin Vinny’s to reclaim both the Springfield and Fairborn locations.

“We apologize for that,” Kettering told the News-Sun then. “We had a lot of customers asking ‘when are we coming back, when are we coming back?’ We figured it was a good strategic business move to take back over the stores.”

Kettering could not be reached for comment on this story.

A manager at Cousin Vinny’s in Huber Heights said Cousin Vinny’s does not have a connection to the business practices at WiseGuys.

Johnston said if the owner of WiseGuys does not respond to the lawsuit, the state will seek a default judgment.

He said state’s objective is not to shut down the business, but help employees get the wages they earned.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Community News

For sale: ‘Scariest’ lodging in America, iconic Clown Motel
For sale: ‘Scariest’ lodging in America, iconic Clown Motel

The lobby is stuffed with clowns of all sorts. Like a scene from a circus, they are seemingly everywhere, even above the beds in each clown-themed room. After all, it is “The Clown Motel.” The iconic, albeit frightening to coulrophobes, lodging is up for sale, after 22 years owning it, Bob Perchetti is ready to sing a sad clown song and...
Bielski brother partisan celebrates 90th birthday
Bielski brother partisan celebrates 90th birthday

In his early years, Aron Bell of Palm Beach helped his brothers save more than 1,200 Jews escaping Nazis during World War II. Now, he gathers with friends and family to celebrate his 90th birthday. The story of the Bielski brothers has been translated into books, documentaries and a Hollywood film, “Defiance.” For three years, Aron...
Fisherman hooks great white from California pier
Fisherman hooks great white from California pier

A fisherman in California did not need a bigger rod and reel when he hooked a nearly 12-foot great white shark from a pier Sunday. Once he identified it as a white shark, which is protected, the fisherman cut it loose, according to KEYT. Video showed spectators and other fishermen congregate as the shark thrashed nearby, according to KEYT...
Bush’s recalls beans over defective cans
Bush’s recalls beans over defective cans

Bush Brothers and Company is voluntarily recalling certain varieties of beans because of defective cans that can leak or allow harmful bacteria to grow. Bush’s Brown Sugar Hickory Baked Beans, Country Style Baked Beans and Original Baked Beans in 28-ounce cans were recalled after an internal quality control check uncovered the issue. “We...
Chained dog dies trying to reach shade
Chained dog dies trying to reach shade

A 23-year-old South Carolina man has been arrested on animal cruelty charges after a chained dog wearing a belt as a collar choked to death trying to crawl to shade in his yard. Keon Torrence Gladden, of Great Falls, has been charged with one count of ill treatment of animals. A concerned neighbor called police to Gladden’s Walnut Street home...
More Stories