California Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown is pulling out all the stops in his quest for the Latino vote. After outing challenger Meg Whitman as a former employer of an undocumented housekeeper, on Monday he slapped the owners of TMZ hot-spot restaurant Koi for “worker exploitation” at eight car washes they own.
This could be really bad news for the Sikder family. Not just because they're being targeted by a $6.6 million state lawsuit, but because from this day on their high-end sushi will be affiliated with the suds and dirty rags of the car wash business. Fresh!
Canned quote alert:
“While Koi served up yellowtail tartare and Kobe beef carpaccio to Hollywood celebrities, the restaurant's owners routinely denied wages, breaks and overtime pay to workers at their unlicensed car washes,” Brown stated. “Today's lawsuit seeks to end this widespread pattern of worker exploitation.”
Brown's people in the Attorney General's office investigated the Sikder car washes — they're in Fair Oaks, Folsom, Irvine, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Santa Monica, San Ramon and Venice — and came to the conclusion that Latino workers were denied minimum wage and overtime, meal breaks in the month right before the election.
Good (political) work.
Brown's suit alleges that the washes told employees to show up for work but not to clock in until business picked up. The suit seeks back pay and civil penalties.
Sometimes workers' checks bounced, Brown states. And the car washes owe $1.8 million in liens, according to Brown's office.
Koi on La Cienega Boulevard is one of the places where TMZ cameraman camp out to catch celebs coming and going. But there are also locations in New York, Las Vegas and Bangkok.
Maybe TMZ shooters should camp out at the Sikder's Wash & Go Hand Wash in Irvine, where they could snap Sergio Diaz-Esquivel and Juvenal Diaz-Esquivel not getting the $14,708.24 awarded to them in a judgment over unpaid wages. The cash remains unpaid.
You know, celebs are quick to act righteous about their latest causes. A boycott of Koi sounds like it could be a pretty hot cause.