State files suit against Echo Park car wash *: The previous owners of the car wash at Sunset Boulevard and Alvarado street were named in a lawsuit filed today by State Attorney Jerry Brown, who claimed the car wash failed to pay its workers minimum wage and, on days when there was no business, workers didn’t get paid at all. The car wash, which was rechristened as the Sunset Auto Spa, was taken over by new owners this summer.
* UPDATE & CORRECTION: A previous version of the story said that the new owners, Sunset Car Wash LLC, which was named in the lawsuit, had also been charged for failing to pay minimum wage or not paying workers at all. That’s not correct. While named as a defendant, the lawsuit charges Sunset Car Wash for “withholding the unpaid wages” of the previous owner’s employees, which Sunset Car Wash “is liable for as a successor employer,” according to filing.
Robert Ahn of Sunset Car Wash, which purchased the car wash this summer, said in an email that his group had been erroneously added to the lawsuit and had not violated the laws in question. “Since our take over it is important to note that we abide by all applicable wage and hour laws and we successfully strive to maintain a good working relationships with our valued employees.
“We are only named in the second cause of action because we are a successor in interest and therefore allegedly inherit the liability,” Ahn said. “However, since we took over via foreclosure I don’t believe we have acquired this liability.”
The suit, which also names Sunset Auto Express, Inc. and Jonathan Kim as defendants, seeks $630,000 in back wages and a $2 million penalty.
“It looks like we were erroneously named in the lawsuit,” said Ahn. “We took over this car wash via foreclosure in August of 2009. You’ll note … that the incidents were between 2006 and 2008. We have NO connection whatsoever to [defendants] Sunset Auto Express, Inc. and Jonathan Kim. In fact, we are adverse parties and we filed an eviction action against them post foreclosure to obtain possession of the premises.