The scandalous restaurant news just keeps rolling in this week (we’re looking at you, Chiarello and Qui), this time with Farina in the Mission having an issue of its own. According to Mission Local, the Italian restaurant, previously owned by Farina Focaccia LLC, was convicted in two California labor board judgments of owing around 30 former employees wages, tips, interest and penalties ranging from $860 to more than $22,000, totaling more than $335,000. To date, the restaurant has reportedly paid only around $63,000 of that money.
Farina not only reportedly owes money to former employees and the state (which has reportedly taken to standing at the cash register for full days to collect right as the money comes in), but also to other businesses. Seven businesses have reportedly won judgments since 2012 awarding them between $5,000 and $30,000 for unpaid invoices, and court documents allegedly show that the city is owed more than $30,000 in parking taxes. There are still outstanding court cases from other businesses and former employees, too.
According to Emily Thiagaraj, an attorney representing two former Farina employees, collecting the money has been "very frustrating," she told Mission Local. Thiagaraj said that the restaurant changed its ownership LLC to Global Trading & Marketing in January 2015, thus circumventing the system — but that the people involved may be the same. "It seems like they’re just really trying to avoid liability by changing ownership, even though the company is the exact same," she told Mission Local. Since court documents must accurately name the company that owes the money, changing the name can make that process tricky, something that Farina is allegedly taking advantage of.
Unfortunately, the sheriff’s department chief of staff Eileen Hirst told Mission Local that, "If there’s no money to collect and no business coming in, then the judgment will not be satisfied." Which would be especially bad news for former employees like Gustavo Palma, a homeless Guatemalan immigrant who has taken to protesting in front of the restaurant for the $1,200 that he is allegedly owed.
Stay tuned for more details.