Problems continue to mount for a group of St. John restaurants formerly owned by Michael San Filippo.
San Filippo purchased Integrated Assets Inc., which owned Chloe and Bernards, Chateau Bordeaux, Paradiso and Asolare, from Winston Bennett in late 2005. At the time, he also owned The Balcony himself and was a partner in the purveyor company Quality Foods.
The distribution company folded last year and Chateau Bordeaux closed its doors after the lease expired last winter. All of the restaurants experienced a declined business and employees had paychecks bounce for months, according to several Integrated workers.
While the fate of the restaurants was still in limbo, San Filippo abruptly left his leased St. Thomas home and St. John business in July.
Since then, Bennett has returned to Love City trying to pull Asolare, Chloe and Bernards and Paradiso into shape for the approaching high season, according to the restauranteur.
“The restaurants will be staying open — unless the world comes to an end — that is the intention,” Bennett previously told St. John Tradewinds. “I’ve been doing what I can to help keep the restaurants open. I’ve been putting in my own money to keep them going.”
It seems, however, that the Balcony won’t be serving customers on its Wharfisde Village deck overlooking Cruz Bay harbor this season. The restaurant was issued an eviction notice on Tuesday, October 13, which prompted several senior waitresses to quit, according to an employee.
Balcony employees have had as much difficulty getting paychecks as employees at San Filippo’s other restaurants, explained an employee.
“My last two paychecks bounced and in the months that I have been here, I always had to beg for my checks,” said a former employee, who asked not to be identified.
With San Filippo off-island, Integrated employee Coby Copper took over payroll duties, according to the employee. Copper, however, wasn’t authorized to write checks on the compnay account, the employee added.
“I just got my payroll check and I watched Coby forge Michael’s name,” said the employee. “When I went to cash it, they said they couldn’t because the signature wasn’t authentic.”