Skip to main content

Owner of 7 Minneapolis restaurants accused of withholding wages

The state attorney general's office is investigating.

The owner of Tiny Diner, Barbette, Pat's Tap, Red Stag Supperclub and other local eateries is under investigation following reports of withheld wages.

Employees of Bartmann Group, which is led by Kim Bartmann, say they haven't been paid for the work they did the week before the coronavirus forced their restaurants to close. 

They've now launched a petition demanding Bartmann pay them the wages and tips they're owed. It says the restaurateur notified them by email that their paychecks "would not be available," and that "a time and date when these checks would be made available was not given."

On Friday, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced that he's asking Bartmann to turn over financial documents relating to the controversy, according to a statement from his office. 

The statement gives her until April 3 to respond. 

In an interview with City Pages on Monday, Bartmann said her restaurants had been "struggling," but that things were "going a lot better than they had in a while" until the coronavirus slammed the local restaurant industry. 

"I don't know what I can tell you for a soundbite," she told the publication. "It's a complicated and emotional situation."

The email that set this off has been leaked to Twitter; in it, Bartmann says she "shouldn't have been running things so close to the edge":

"The average small business has about 16 days of liquidity; this time of year, I have about 5," she writes, adding that "those days got eaten up by the coronavirus and a sudden, steep drop in sales over the weekend, which usually pays our payroll."

She also writes that she's doing "everything humanly possible to make it right," including applying for small business disaster loans, pursuing catering contracts and selling gift cards to make up for the shortfall.

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

But according to the Star Tribune, employees of one Bartmann restaurant, Tiny Diner, say "the idea that sales were down because of the virus doesn’t ring true," as there was plenty of business at the eatery before it closed.

“At the very least, she should have been able to pay us our tip money,” one worker told the paper.

The petition organized by the employees, which has garnered nearly all of the 3,000 signatures it set out for, says this constitutes wage theft.

The Bartmann Groups owns nine operations in all; seven restaurants, a wine bar and Bread & Pickle, the concession stand at Lake Harriet. 

 

Next Up

police tape, crime scene

Brooklyn Park man pleads guilty in 2020 fatal drive-by shooting

Devon Manley will be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years.

Screen Shot 2020-06-16 at 7.48.35 AM

Man gets 10 years for fatal pawn shop fire during Minneapolis riots

The incident, which took place during riots in May 2020,  resulted in one man's death.

Rep. Ilhan Omar

Election officials dismiss conservative group's complaint against Rep. Ilhan Omar

The group alleged that she used campaign funds on her future husband's consulting firm.

Screen Shot 2022-01-15 at 9.53.04 AM

Reports: 6 names surface in Vikings' search for new head coach

Six names have surfaced Saturday in the Minnesota Vikings' hunt for a new head coach.

Pexels - face mask covid holding

Minnetonka approves mask mandate in emergency ordinance

The mandate officially goes into effect Monday night.

snow, measuring snow, snow totals

Here are the snow totals from Friday's winter storm in Minnesota

There was a sharp gradient around the Twin Cities, with the highest amounts in southwestern Minnesota.

Mats Zuccarello

Zuccarello scores twice, Wild win third straight

A team effort helped Minnesota dispatch the Ducks.

Rep. Tou Xiong

State lawmaker Tou Xiong apologizes after driving under the influence

The state representative was pulled over on the night of Jan. 8.

St Lukes Duluth GSV Pro

Duluth hospital requiring visitors to show vax proof, neg. test

The health care system is also tightening visitor guidelines.

ridgeview urgent care facebook

Ridgeview halting urgent care at a Twin Cities site 'until further notice'

The organization cited "growing emergency medical needs" at the facility.

polley freeborn county jail roster jan 2022 resize

Charges: MN high school counselor sexually assaulted student

The 16-year-old victim had regularly gone to him for academic help and other support, authorities say.

Proctor football

Proctor investigation: Senior charged with sexually assaulting teammate

The criminal charges come after a monthslong review of the allegations.

Related

Masjid Al-Nur mosque vandalism.

Mosque in north Minneapolis vandalized with hate speech

This is the mosque attended by MN Attorney General Keith Ellison.

restaurant

Popular Minneapolis restaurant group agrees to pay workers $230K in missing wages

The Bartmann Group laid off workers during the COVID-19 shutdown but did not pay workers their last paychecks.

restaurant

Monticello restaurant will pay profits to state after violating COVID order

The Minnesota Attorney General's Office has settled a lawsuit it filed against Cornerstone Cafe in Monticello.

Screen Shot 2020-05-17 at 10.33.50 PM

AG Ellison sues Stearns County bar owner who plans to open

Bars and restaurants are still subject to a mandatory shutdown due to COVID-19.

flickr-mall-of-america-mitchell-hirsch-march-2019

Mall of America owners facing opposition on request for tax aid

State legislators are divided on whether to help MOA.

Theresa Olson

76 charges accuse ex-owner, staff of abuse at northern MN care home

Ten people have been charged in a case brought by the Minnesota Attorney General.

Grandma's Saloon & Grill

Iconic Duluth restaurant cuts services after worker gets COVID-19

A large part of the restaurant and bar is temporarily closed.

Restaurant owner accused of sexually assaulting underage employee

The Lake City Family Restaurant owner is charged with 3rd degree criminal sexual conduct.