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State says Lighthouse Inn not cooperating in wage probe

New London - Owners of The Lighthouse Inn have been uncooperative in an investigation into charges that workers there were not being paid wages, the state Labor Department said Friday.

”We have a very active investigation; it's still in progress,” said department spokeswoman Nancy Steffens. “We have encountered some difficulty regarding the lack of cooperation from the owners.”

The Labor Department said failure to pay wages is considered a Class D felony and that anyone found guilty could be sentenced to up to five years in prison or $5,000 per offense.

The investigation by the Wage and Workplace Standards Division so far has focused on a group of workers that the inn's managing partner, Christopher Plummer, fired over a short period. But now, more recent employees have started complaining about not being paid.

Sixteen-year-old Natasha Perez of New London said problems with employees not getting paid boiled over last week when a group of about 10 workers appeared at the inn to receive paychecks on a Friday. Perez said Plummer told three workers they would be paid later, so they left, but the rest of the group, including some women Plummer had fired, still demanded their pay.

An attempt Friday night to reach Plummer at The Lighthouse Inn was unsuccessful.

Perez said her mother eventually called the police, who talked to Plummer. Plummer later paid Perez $640, though the high school student had expected more than $900, she said.

Perez said the Lighthouse Inn called her a few weeks ago to see if she was interested in a job. She hadn't heard about allegations against the inn before agreeing to the front-desk position.

After the incident with police, Perez said she quit her job immediately.

The department asked anyone with a wage complaint to call 860-263-6790.

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