When Pic-Nic closed its Chapel Street doors, the restaurant also shut down the livelihoods of the more than 40 employees who worked there. Not only are they without a job, they're without a paycheck this holiday season.
“Christmas season, I'm hurt, can't buy any gifts, can't do anything,” said Elijah Thompson.
Thompson said he was shocked when Pic-Nic owners "JD" Coleates and Jeremiah Kobelka shut down the restaurant after about two weeks in business. But he, like other employees, was even more shocked when his paycheck bounced.
“I'm expecting to go to work, and they call a meeting and tell everybody the place is about to close down, and people received bounced checks, no answers, everything is a mystery right now,” said Thompson.
“I haven't been paid, I've just been paid one paycheck, my second paycheck bounced,” said Christina Andrioti.
The employees are out thousands of dollars and so are contractors and investors who helped get the restaurant up and running. Employees said this is a clear case of fraud and that both restaurant owners scammed investors for the money.
Employees call the two owners are criminals, who have a history of scamming businesses and employees. A police report for this case has already been filed.
“We're looking into the legal options for these workers to recover the wages that they're owed, but right now, we're just trying to get the message out about what happened,” said Megan Fountain, a volunteer with the New Haven Workers Association.
Neither Coleates or Kobelka could be reached for comment.