LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The Huddle House restaurant on U.S. 98 unexpectedly closed, and employees said they were not notified and have not received their paychecks.
"I literally showed up for work and (there) was no one here," said Rosna Sloan, now a former employee. "The doors were locked. I was scheduled to come in at 6 o'clock. (There) was no one here. They had taped something on the door talking about new management or whatever. Nobody called me that's supposed to hand over the paychecks that the place was even closed."
Mickey Smith is another one of the almost 30 people who lost his job with no explanation and still has not been paid.
"Came in overnight, stole our payroll," Smith said. "Stole the money that we work for, (and) closed the store down without our notification. Ran off with everything without notifying his employees that he was closing. We want our money, and we want our money now. Not only do we want our money, we got people that got families. We got people who got kids. They need to work. This is totally unfair."
Sloan said, "I don't have a job, and I haven't been paid. They owe me two checks."
Aside from not receiving recent checks, Smith and Sloan said they previously had problems verifying the validity of the paychecks they did receive and often could not find a business that would cash their checks.
"You go places trying to cash your check, and Walmart (doesn't) even want to cash your check," Sloan said. "You know Walmart will cash anybody's check. They won't cash these checks. They even gave us a check that didn't have a serial code at the bottom before. We have to come up here, and they have to pay us because we can't go (anywhere) else. Now I've got bad credit because of a check that I worked for. It's no good. That falls back on me because you got my information on this check. You don't have yours. You have mine."
Smith agreed saying, "We have damaged our name, our credibility, in the city of Hattiesburg. We can't even get a paycheck cashed anywhere. If you go anywhere, we got checks, employees got checks that (have) bounced all over Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and it's a shame."
Smith places the blame on the man he said owns the building's lease, and said his actions are criminal. WDAM 7 reached out to Huddle House's director of Franchise Development for Mississippi, but received no comment.
"This man ran off with our paychecks," Smith said. "Not only one paycheck, he owes us more than one paycheck, and we want our money. It's not right. Not only do we want our money, we want our jobs."