Workers still waiting to get paid by out of business restaurant

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SCOTTSDALE - Two Valley restaurants shut down without warning and workers say they're still waiting to get paid.

Paycheck problems have plagued the business since it began.

Going against the odds, Regions Bistro and Bar opened a restaurant in North Scottsdale in February and then another location on Mill Avenue in Tempe in March.

All along, at least a dozen employees at both locations say their paychecks came up short.

"Payroll policies, it tells me I gotta pick up my paycheck every other Friday between 2 and 5 pm," Travis Bradford said.

Bradford said rarely, if ever, did that happen while working for Regions Bistro and Bar.

"We had great, great staff, great food, always had high quality food but never any money," he said.

Regions shut down last week after being open for just three months.

Since day one Bradford and his fellow chefs, bartenders and waitresses tell 3 On Your Side they got the runaround when it came to getting paid.

"Every single Friday, it'll be Monday, then Tuesday, then Wednesday, never get paid," he said.

The group of former co-workers showed 3 On Your Side that when Regions would cut paychecks those checks would bounce.

"Bills end up getting late, I get late fees, I can't pay some of my bills because I don't have the money to pay for it because my checks get bounced," Bradford said.

Time after time, waitress Vanessa Sousa said management assured her the company's kinks were being worked out.

"Every company has their problems to start off with and then it's one after the other and the same thing and you just get tired of it," she said.

For Bradford, this job was more than just a paycheck.

He wants to become a chef and was counting on the position to fulfill a graduation requirement at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute.

"That may withhold my graduation date," he said.

Now Bradford and the rest of the staff are stuck searching for new jobs, while battling bill collectors on a daily basis.

"It makes me upset because I work really hard and I'm very dedicated to the craft of becoming a chef, and to work and not be paid is just, I can't fathom it," Bradford said.

This afternoon, 3 On You Side received a statement from Regions' owner, Pat Coughlin.

"Due to several factors, not the least of which is the general state of the economy, the restaurants are now closed.

The company was in the process of securing re-capitalization when the landlords exercised their rights to close the doors of the restaurants. It is the intent of the Regions Company to fully honor all payroll issues as soon as possible. However, the company is insolvent and currently not capable of paying these obligations, and it is not known at this point if the restaurants will re-open. Nonetheless, it is hoped that within ten days these payroll matters will be resolved."

3 On You Side will continue to follow this story and bring you any new developments.