Wendy's owner pleads guilty to cheating employees

By John O'Brien | May 13, 2008


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (Legal Newsline) - The company that abruptly shut down 13 Wendy's restaurants in Massachusetts has pleaded guilty to not paying the employees who were left without jobs.

Robert Burda, owner of Sondocatt Investments, pleaded guilty to 10 counts of Non-Payment of Wages in Hampden County Superior Court. State Attorney General Martha Coakley had taken a special interest in the case.

She and Wendy's International established a $350,000 Gift Fund for the affected employees in September. It mailed checks to 406 former employees of the restaurants.

Sondocatt Investments was fined $50,000 total. Further charges against Burda will not be pursued.

Employees were sent home when the 13 restaurants abruptly closed July 20, 2007. Around 100 employees filed complaints with Coakley's Fair Labor Division, claiming their final checks from Sondocatt bounced.

Coakley has been criticized for another criminal prosecution of a business. A special prosecutor has been paid almost $1 million to bring charges against a company charged in the death of a female motorist who was killed in the collapse of a tunnel.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien via e-mail at john@legalnewsline.com.

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