Former workers at Latitude 39 denied unemployment pay; state investigating

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Former employees from a Castleton hotspot are furious. 

The workers from Latitude 39 are out of a job, but can't collect unemployment. Now, they suspect fraud as the state steps in to investigate.

RELATED: Latitude 360 closes in Indianapolis

"I can no longer go to my bank with a Latitude check. They told me, 'Do not bring it back'," said Biance Montgomery, the former lead bowling host there.

"Broken promises and now I can't support my family.  To be honest, I'm facing eviction," said former chef Steve Gibbs.

Caught in the downpour of trouble at Latitude 39, former employees locked out of where they once worked, are now locked out of their pay and unemployment checks, too.

"It got denied," explained Donna Beard, who filed for unemployment insurance after Latitude 39 abruptly shut down.

Beard was hired as a server in June, but says there's no record of it with the state. She told Eyewitness News what the State Department of Workforce Development told her.

"Latitude wasn't showing up. They had previous records of where I worked before, but nothing about Latitude," said Beard.

"Sounds fishy," added Gibbs, who held the Executive Chef role for three years. 

He now wonders if it's fraudulent. 

RELATED: Latitude 360 gets warning from Department of Revenue

"We were all denied. Said they didn't pay the taxes, they didn't do something right," explained Gibbs, who told 13 Investigates he wasn't listed as an employee for Latitude, either.

According to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, failing to pay unemployment insurance for qualified employees is illegal.

"I've never worked at a place like that before," said Beard.

Spokesman Joe Frank told 13 investigates it is investigating Latitude.
    
"It is an ongoing investigation. The specifics are confidential by law, but we are working to assist those negatively affected," he said. "If employers do not participate in the system, according to law, the people hurt the most directly are their employees."

Latitude's problems began with a lawsuit for failing to pay more than $3 million in rent. The hotspot was also hit with alleged copyright violations for not paying for licensed music.

A week ago, the venue shut down as part of a rent settlement. Latitude promised to pay its overdue property taxes and payed $250,000 to walk away, leaving it's employees standing in the rain.

"We want to get paid, we want to get our W-2s and just be done with it," said Gibbs.

Latitude's Carmel attorney, Too Keller, sent a statement saying:

"Latitude 360 reached a settlement with its landlord with very little time to execute an orderly closing of Latitude 360. Currently, management at Latitude 360 is doing everything it can to help its former employees in both Indianapolis and Jacksonville."

Contact the Department of Workforce Development