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Former Bow Truss Employees Allege Wage Theft In Class Action Lawsuit

By Stephen Gossett in News on Feb 27, 2017 7:22PM

Bow Truss Coffee Roasters

The strange Bow Truss saga took another major turn on Monday morning as ten former employees announced that they have filed a class-action wage-theft lawsuit against the coffee chain. The lawsuit targets the company and its management, including embattled founder Phil Tadros.

Alongside aldermen and other prominent local political figures, the employees announced the suit in front of a now-closed Bow Truss location on Monday. They allege that Tadros’ mishandling of the business led to regular bounced checks, and the suit seeks some $50,000 in damages.

Ten Bow Truss locations closed in January after employees refused to open the stores in protest of unpaid wages. Only the Loop and River North locations are currently operational.

State Sen. Daniel Bliss, Ald. Scott Waguespack and Ald. Ricardo Munoz joined former employees to help make public the legal action and stand in unison against alleged acts of wage theft.

Founder Phil Tadros told Chicagoist by email that the company has attempted to pay its outstanding late debts to employees. He said he believes the two ex-workers who spoke at the press conference—Ben Creech and Trumaine Hardy—were paid the money they were owed. Tadros also claimed that Creech and Hardy were not involved in the walkout and were either dismissed or left in September and August, respectively.

“We do not run or hide from our bills,” Tadros said.

The founder claimed in a followup email that all 10 complainants in the lawsuit "were paid in full."

Tadros also said he suspects that Marcus Lemonis is at least partially behind the legal claim and worked to prompt the January walkout. (The plaintiff camp reportedly denies the claim.) Tadros filed suit against Lemonis (also host of The Profit), seeking $26 million in damages, after Lemonis backed out of a deal to acquire the financially beleaguered company.

SEIU Local 1, which represents service employees, came out in support of the lawsuit on Monday.

This post has been updated.