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Employees: Defunct Raleigh eatery owes unpaid wages

Posted October 13, 2008
Updated October 14, 2008

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— A battle is brewing between the owners of an upscale Raleigh eatery and their former employees. Prime Only Steakhouse & Sushi Bar, 505 W. Jones Street, closed unexpectedly earlier this month.

Employees say the owners are refusing to pay them money they are owed.

A Prime Only owner says the bad economy forced the restaurant to shut down.

"I was disappointed, not necessarily the fact that it closed and I wouldn't be able to get another job, but because I wasn't compensated for multiple times that I worked,” former Prime Only bartender Kristen Stoneman said.

Stoneman says her last two pay checks bounced and she is owed $300.

"I have $30,000 in school loans. I just graduated, so I picked up two extra jobs on top of my full-time job to pay for those loans,” Stoneman said.

Former workers say collectively they are owed as much as $6,000.

"We did our job. We performed our task, therefore, we should be compensated for it, and by law you are supposed to be,” former Prime Only employee Dennis Carter said.

Carter says he sent a text message to the majority owner of the corporation, Richard Bryant, asking for the more than $800 he says he is owed.

The text he got back read: "U will get it as we wrap up biz...Call off the news media."

Bryant's attorney told WRAL News Monday evening that there was no money left in the corporation.

The Secretary of State's office lists the business as Prime Only Steak, Seafood & Sushi Bar, LLC. It lists a James Soules at the restaurant's address as the registered agent for the company, but does not list shareholders. A restaurant Web site listed Soules as the executive chef of Prime Only.

Many valuables inside the leased building were reportedly recently stolen. Raleigh police are investigating the burglary claim.

“I just hoped that they are fair to everybody and that they pay everybody the money they deserve. We obviously worked hard and made the restaurant work for as long as it did,” Stoneman said.

Bryant still runs another business in downtown Raleigh. Because Prime Only was operated by a separate corporation, his attorney said, he is not personally liable for any of the money owed and has no intentions of paying it. It is not unusual for corporations to be set up to own businesses and to separate the business's assets from the individuals.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • HongKongPhooey Oct 24, 2008

    Why doesn't someone just create a blog about this story and quite voting to keep it on the Golo top-voted list. I am sick of seeing it!

  • FragmentFour Oct 23, 2008

    The courthouse seems the best remedy for bounced paychecks. It's a lead pipe cinch that the management isn't going to volunteer to make them good.

  • stupiditydeservesnosympathy Oct 23, 2008

    Hate to say it but Raleigh doesn't need another steakhouse. Prime only was in a BAD location. The only real business in the area is the lunch time crowd.

    Also, if you keep working for someone whose checks bounce you're stupid.

  • alwayslovingu30 Oct 21, 2008

    U.S. plumbing or raleigh doesnt pay its employees either.they lay U off and give U the number to the labor board.and they wont help U at all.They tell U to sue them in civil court.
    They wont U to sign A contract stating that U R respopnsible for half of the supplies U put in A house and U dont get paid until they do.This company is full of its self.it shouldnt be much longer the repo man will be looking to pick up some trucks they let people drive them home so the repo man cant find them infect truth

  • Tax Man Oct 21, 2008

    DrCarter - Hey man, take all your bounced checks over to the Wake County Courthouse - believe it is on the 9th floor - the bad check court! Fill out the paperwork - make sure you put down the name of the person who signed the checks - they will go after them criminally - actually give them 30 days to pay up, plus the court costs - if they don't then the sheriff will go arrest them! Worked for me many times - plus you do not have to pay any out of pocket costs - you need to go to the labor commission - wage and hours division - for the unpaid hours. Good luck - Have you been to the ESC for a job? Ask about their retraining programs - I agree IT/computers/Nursing/Medical will give you a better career path.

  • Xiaoding Oct 20, 2008

    Never, EVER, work at an eatery that bounces checks. One check bounces, walkout!

  • superman Oct 20, 2008

    Anyone who would continue to work for a business and their first payroll check bounced is not very smart. Fooled me once and then twice and then three times. Gosh, I have some beach property in Alaska.

  • Go Georgia Tech Oct 20, 2008

    drcarter- word of advice- go back to school and get a degree in a field that is hiring (nursing,IT). If your resume is written in the same manner your post here are, I would not hire you either. This is the time- make a change for the better, utilize grants and build a future for you and your family.

  • drcarter1972 Oct 17, 2008

    to handle with care i'm owed money i started my position may 1st ..i only got paid from the 15-30 cause i was told the first two weeks were held back, then 78$ in tips, and then my other 4 days in salary that comes to a total of 893.26$ so tell mre how i'm not telling the truth..and to get another job i've been trying to get one for 2 weeks now and got nothing. did you know many of us that lost our jobs half to 3/4 are still unemployed? and as far as WRAL my father worked for that company for 20 yrs. untill his death so i know alot of there employee's.. and to them with the economy the way it is they wanted a story about how the staff isn't getting paid..;alot of us are on umemploement and some that couldn't get it are screwed one girl had to move her power and cable were shut off let alone couldn't pay here rent.. if we could get jobs trust me i woul;d be all over it but i got nothing at the end of the day..NOTHING !!!

  • NCSULandscaper Oct 17, 2008

    hmmm anyone who would keep investing into a failing business is a terrible investor and businessman............dont worry everyone will get paid back in full, i fnot in money then in karma