FBI agents scouring offices of downtown Austin club owner
By Gary Dinges | Thursday, March 22, 2012, 10:39 AM
Agents from the FBI, Internal Revenue Service and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission are at the offices of Yassine Enterprises, which operates several downtown nightclubs, this morning collecting documents as part of an investigation.
Agents were spotted hauling boxes into the Yassine offices at 213 W. Fourth St. shortly after 10 a.m.
An FBI spokesman called the investigation “usual and routine,” but said he could provide no additional details, while an IRS spokesman said the agency was conducting “official business.”
Austin police police were also on scene. A spokeswoman confirmed police had been called to the scene at the FBI’s request. She referred all other questions to the FBI’s spokesman, as did a spokeswoman for the TABC.
Yassine owns Pure, Spill, Kiss & Fly, Stack Burger Bar, Treasure Island, Hyde, Fuel, Malaia and Roial.
The company is the subject of a class-action lawsuit filed this year that alleges more than 200 employees were paid less than federal law requires.
It was not immediately clear if today’s searches are related to the suit.
Jake Webb, a one-time bartender at Roial, claims in legal documents that Yassine was “generally paying no wages at all to tipped employees,” such as bartenders and waiters.
“When (Webb) went to pick up his check, he was told bartenders don’t get paychecks,” Dan Byrne, one of Webb’s attorneys, told the American-Statesman in January. “After talking with him, we had an inkling this was a bigger deal.”
Yassine’s attorneys released this statement after learning of the suit: “Yassine is cooperating in the class action and is committed to complying with all laws regarding the payment of tipped employees.”