Queenstown burrito bar staff claim they are still owed thousands of dollars by its owner who has skipped town.
Shotover Street’s Kartell Burrito closed earlier this month after owner Justin Fitzgerald failed to return from a holiday to Australia.
One chef, who did not want to be named, says he is owed about $4500.
“Justin always said he was going to pay me on a certain day, then another day, but he never did,” he says.
“It was six weeks’ work, a lot of money.
“I had to ask my parents for money – it was humiliating.”
Mountain Scene understands Fitzgerald phoned a kitchen hand and told him to shut up shop, leaving up to five staff out of pocket.
The rented kitchen equipment was repossessed by firm Silver Chef on January 7. The premises is now up for lease.
Former Kartell staffer Nisah Razad, 24, says she’s owed 40 hours’ wages for work during Christmas and New Year – about $600.
Razad says: “Either he deliberately f…..d me over or he thought his business would be able to make it over the busy season and it didn’t, so he f….d off anyway.
“I haven’t heard anything from him.
“It’s annoying but I’m over it now though. I was depending a lot on that money and working two jobs over the busy bank holidays was hard.”
This month, Queenstowner Georgina Cunningham – co-director of local branding firm Swordfox Design – told Mountain Scene her firm had done some work for Kartell and was owed a considerable amount.
“We’ve been proactively working with Kartell to get the best resolution for all parties. It’s disappointing to learn they have closed,” she said at the time.
Fitzgerald opened the Mexican fast food joint with partner Rebekah Robinson last July. Fitzgerald did not respond to phone calls or emails.