The fight over Bad Bob's BBQ went from the dining room to the courtroom today and for now, the former owner of the restaurant will retain control of the restaurant.
Earlier this month, a judge granted a temporary restraining order to Mayuri Patel, which among other things, gave her control of the day-to-day operations of Bad Bob's BBQ. A judge indefinitely extended the temporary restraining order against her in-laws Thursday in court after they agreed to continue to let her control the business. That order will remain in effect until the judge rules otherwise.
"They did not treat employees, they being my father-in-law and mother-in-law, Arun and Pratima Patel, did not treat employees or pay them well or do things the way they should've and now we can," Mayuri said after the hearing.
The attorneys representing her in-laws chose not to comment about Thursday's temporary decision, but Terry Hall did. Hall is the one who originally tipped us off about the problems at Bad Bob's BBQ. The restaurant's marketing manager had remained anonymous until today, afraid she'd lose her job. For the first time, Hall publicly shared her relief.
"I feel really good, I do," Hall said. "I feel that the time I stuck it out is now justified to some extent. I'm not going to be under all this stress and now employees that I fought so hard for will now get the pay that they earned."
The U.S. Department of Labor previously said Bad Bob's BBQ, formerly Kemosabee's, failed to pay 22 employees thousands in minimum wage back pay. Since we first started reporting this story, Mayuri Patel has paid two of the employees back a combined $6,000 and has promised to pay back the rest too. Although she's spent the last several years in New Jersey, she is now back in the Tri-Cities and ready to take back the restaurant.
"I will be treating the employees fairly and paying them what they are owed."