Democratic Congressional Candidate Aaron Woolf (NY-21), actively campaigning on a platform of raising the minimum wage, had to settle a claim by nearly two dozen employees at his Brooklyn eatery who said they were stiffed out of their pay. The “higher wages” candidate and his business, Urban Rustic, were deemed “liable to some extent for the wage violations” against employees.
Via the Daily News:
Aaron Woolf, a part-time Upper East Sider who is running for Congress upstate, wants to raise the minimum wage — but he didn’t always pay it to employees at a Brooklyn eatery he owns, legal filings show.
Woolf, a Democrat, is running in the 21st congressional district in northern New York, where he also has a home, against Elise Stefanik, a former aide to President George W. Bush, to replace retiring Democrat Rep. Bill Owens. The race offers Republicans one of their few chances to gain a House seat in the northeast.
Woolf, 50, touts his role as a socially conscious documentary film maker. His campaign also cites his work “championing small business” as the proprietor of Urban Rustic, a Williamsburg market and eatery.
But Woolf’s public pitch is complicated by issues at Urban Rustic, which includes a grocery store and a separately located restaurant called Lodge.
In 2010, Urban Rustic settled a suit by two former cooks, Arturo Prudente and Alfredo Ramirez, who said Lodge stiffed them and about 20 others by ignoring a law requiring time-and-a-half pay for overtime.
Woolf’s campaign is touting support for a raise the minimum wage petition, in which he states “More money in workers’ pockets means more spending in our small businesses.”
How can a Congressman talk about putting more money in workers’ pockets while simultaneously having to settle a court case to actually put more money in his own workers’ pockets?
It isn’t just his own employees that Woolf’s business stiffed – it’s also the federal government. Urban Rustic has been hit with unpaid tax bills every year from 2008 to 2011.
Shouldn’t Woolf pay his fair share?
NRC spokesman Ian Prior released the following statement:
The more we all learn about Manhattan multimillionaire Aaron Woolf the more we all have to scratch our heads and wonder why this guy is qualified to run a lemonade stand, never mind represent the North Country in Congress. Whether he is being sued for stiffing employees of their wages, receiving 83 health code violations, or getting hit with warrants for unpaid taxes, Woolf has proven his experience as a small business owner is the last thing he should be touting on the campaign trail.
Perhaps Woolf could issue a press release to let the constituents in the 21st district know about his higher wages hypocrisy.
Cross-posted at the Mental Recession