NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- A New Rochelle restaurant owner was convicted Tuesday of underpaying employees at his Manhattan steakhouse, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced.
Paul Hurley, 49, admitted he shortchanged 54 workers out of $100,000 at Desmond's Steakhouse, which bills itself as "New York City's Premiere Steakhouse" on its website.
A general manager is owed more than $30,000, and others are owed more than $2,000.
"Employers cannot finance their economic ventures on the backs of their employees,"Schneiderman said in a statement. "Asking employees to forego the payment of wages to aid a restaurant in its opening is unacceptable, and the failure to pay them for the back wages once the restaurant has established itself as a prime New York eatery is reprehensible."
Hurley was arraigned in October 2013. He pleaded guilty to several charges including scheme to defraud, a penalty that carries jail time. Hurley and his company, Portmarnock Restaurant Corp., will pay $100,000 to the Office of the Attorney General for distribution to the workers and $3,989 in unemployment insurance contributions to the state Department of Labor.
Hurley hired employees in 2012 for the restaurant's opening in February 2013. Employees were told they would be paid when the business became established. Many employees quit just a few months later after not getting paid.
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