SOUTHPORT, Ind. — Another Scotty’s Brewhouse shut down, and employees say their last paychecks are gone.
"They said they were working diligently as best as they can to get our money, but they couldn’t get us a time or date or if it would happen," Southport Scotty's manager Troy Brewer said.
Brewer said his employees contacted him Wednesday night saying franchise owner Todd Johnson came in to change the locks as they finished work that night. Besides owning the Scotty’s franchise, Johnson, and Johnson Hospitality Group LLC, also owns Mucky Duck Pub across the street.
In a letter to employees obtained by FOX59, Scotty's Brewhouse owner Due North Holdings LLC said they had no intention of closing the location, nor were they warned it may shut down. They letter states that since it is owned by a third party, Johnson Hospitality LLC can cease operations if they choose to. The letter also said the Southport location account has been cleared, so they could not pay employees.
"I had one of my closest friends move up to this area to work here, and now that this place closed down, she doesn’t have any jobs near here, or jobs that she can go to nearby," Brewer said of his fellow employees. "She is in fear of losing her new house."
Brewer said Scotty's offered to get them jobs at other restaurants, but because of several closing over the past year, the closest is 40 minutes away.
"As soon as I got the text my heart drops instantly," Brewer said. "I started to worry. I don’t have a job, what’s going to happen? Both sides obviously have something going on that neither wants to say or admit, and we are caught in the middle of that."
We reached out to Due North LLC and Todd Johnson, but have yet to reach either party. Employees at Mucky Duck Pub could not comment on the situation.
Law experts say Indiana statutes often favor business owners more than employees, however, employers must pay employees within 10 days of pay day by law. If this becomes a bankruptcy situation, it may further delay the process for employees to get their money.
"You have to get in line with other creditors, and while they may be bumped up the line because they earned the pay," Employment Law Attorney Stephanie Hahn said.
We will continue to keep you updated as we learn more about the situation.