Former employees sue MainStay Suites for unpaid wages

Former employees sue MainStay Suites for unpaid wages

By Matt Grant. CREATED Jul 12, 2012

FORT MYERS - At least four former employees of MainStay Suites in south Fort Myers are suing to get the paychecks they say they never received.

Last November some MainStay employees told us they were being short-changed on their paychecks, or hadn't been paid in months.

Now, at least four former employees have filed a lawsuit trying to get that money back.

Ex-housekeeping supervisor Lisa Kushner says she was lucky to see a paycheck and when she did there was money missing.

"From day one," said Kushner, "our paychecks were always behind."

Kushner quit in June, after six months, and says the hotel owes her $4000.

"They shorted our hours," said Kushner. "If we worked 40 hours we rarely got paid for the 40 hours."

Nor did her boyfriend Philip Boyd. He worked at MainStay Suites as a handyman for four months and says he had problems being paid on time.

"I had to wait three months to get my first paycheck," said Boyd, who said when he was finally paid it was only for two weeks of work.

Boyd says he's owed about $1000.

Last December one employee told us she was owed $500 and the month before another employee said he was owed $1600.

"My account is $94 negative," the employee said. "So we're all hurting a little bit."

Now at least four employees are suing MainStay Suites and the group that owns the Fort Myers hotel, the St. Louis-based Roberts Companies, for unpaid wages and overtime.

"How much does that hurt" not getting paid?, asked Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant.

"A lot," said Kushner.

Because the Roberts Companies have filed for bankruptcy, Cape Coral attorney Bill Berke, who filed the lawsuit, admits he's fighting an uphill battle.

"It's going to be very hard to collect," said Berke, "because if they can't keep the hotels out of bankruptcy then they don't have any money."

"It's a tough case," he said. "But we're trying."

Trying for people like Kushner who says she needs the money to get by.

"I have nothing," she said. "They left me with basically a broke bank."

Choice Hotels, the parent company of MainStay Suites, says Roberts Companies is responsible.

“Choice Hotels International is a franchiser of several prominent hotel brands, including MainStay Suites, and as such, does not own or operate the franchised hotels," said spokesperson Rocco Loverro. "The daily operations and management of the company’s franchised locations are the responsibility and under the discretion of a property’s ownership.”

Fox 4 has tried calling the Roberts Companies since last December looking to get a hold of either CEO Michael Roberts or president Steve Roberts.

But every time we have tried calling a secretary says they are not available.

Our calls have not been returned.

Matt Grant