Former waitstaff of Rye Golf Club scored a major victory Thursday, July 28 after a judge granted a motion for class action status in a lawsuit seeking uncompensated overtime and tips.
According to attorney Brent Pelton, of Pelton and Associates—the firm representing more than 50 former Rye Golf Club staff members in the suit—the judge’s decision is a major affirmation for the group’s claim.
“The judge accepted our view,” Pelton told the Review. “Essentially, he gave the workers everything they were asking for.”
The lawsuit, which is seeking more than $4 million in damages, uncompensated overtime and gratuities, stems from a financial scandal at the city-owned golf club dating back to 2012. At that time, Scott Yandrasevich, then the club’s general manager, was caught embezzling approximately $270,000 through a series of shell companies he had set up.
Yandrasevich was sentenced to one year in state prison and has since been released on parole.
The biggest of the shell companies, RM Staffing, used by Yandrasevich to funnel funds, staffed many of the plaintiffs who have joined the class action suit. And according to Pelton, the former staff members are eager to receive the money they believe they’re owed.
“The workers who were having their tips misappropriated haven’t received a dime,” Pelton said. “The delay causes financial damage every week.”
City Attorney Kristen Wilson, however, says the city isn’t to blame for any perceived delay.
“The wheels of justice sometimes turn very slowly,” she said regarding the judicial process. “There’s been no finding of liability here and no award.”
Currently, Pelton is seeking a summary judgment for his clients; a move which he says will both expedite the process and narrow the focus of the lawsuit.
The decision to grant a class action status comes several months after a successful claim won by the city against its insurance carrier Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America, which awarded the city $1.55 million in February vindicating the city’s belief that Yandrasevich had stolen much more than the $270,000 he was convicted for.
According to the decision rendered on July 28, the two parties’ next meeting will be in November for a pretrial conference.