Café Tropical Closed 8 Weeks Ago. Employees Say They’re Still Missing Thousands in Pay

Café Tropical, a Cuban coffee shop in Silver Lake, California, closed its doors almost two months after it closed due to debts and a family dispute. The decision to close left baristas and cooks out of work and missing paychecks they were still owed. Miguel Alarcon, a barista who worked at Café Tropical for a dozen years, said that problems began at the restaurant months before the shuttering. Checks to employees were bouncing, and vendors were complaining about not getting paid.

The issues came amid a lawsuit filed against owner Daniel Navarro’s mother in 2022. Gladys Navarro claimed in the suit that her son illicitly used money from the family business to fund Café Tropical. Daniel Navarro has failed to pay his mother and sister more than $350,000 he owes in connection with the suit, according to court documents.

A group is raising money on GoFundMe to try to pay employees who have struggled to get answers from the owner. Ciara Keane, a Silver Lake resident who organized the GoFundMe, said Navarro changed his number after the closure. The goal is to pay the employees the $1,000 many are owed as well as another $1,000 for the time they were unemployed after the closure.

The group has raised nearly $10,000, but still needs more than $50,000 in additional contributions to pay the 33 employees who lost their jobs and had their final paychecks bounce. The goal is to pay the employees the $1,000 many are owed as well as another $1,000 for the time they were unemployed after the closure.

Keane moved to Los Angeles from Miami four years ago and recognized the important role Café Tropical played for the sober community and older generations of Silver Lake residents who saw the restaurant as one of the last vestiges of the pre-gentrification days in the trendy neighborhood.

Read More @ LA Times

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