EAST NAPLES, Fla - The sound of laughter is no longer coming from an East Naples comedy club. The owners of Wise Guys shut the doors last week and now more than a dozen employees say they are still owed money.
Wise Guys Supper and Comedy Club opened its doors in April. "Our expectations were we were going to do something Naples has never seen," says Patrick Osthoff. "That was the idea and it didn't work. The money ran out."
Osthoff was hired as the Executive Sous Chef. He's says he's he is still owed $2,500 and more than a dozen other employees haven't been paid either.
"There's a lot of people that need this money. My family needs it. I have a baby, I need to pay bills, now I don't know what to do. It's off season, there's no jobs," says Osthoff.
Comedian Chris Christiansen says they all have reached out to the owners Clyde and Madonna Wilcox. They were told they'll get paid, but still haven't seen a penny.
"The waitress's are calling me up saying Chris I'm going to lose my rent, I'm going to lose this, in going to lose that and he doesn't pay. Give the people their money. He kept telling me I'm going to get a loan, I'm going to do This. He didn't do anything," says Christiansen.
We tried calling the owners for answers, but we found their cell phones were disconnected. We also tried to go to their home in Estero, but they live in a gated community.
"There's a chance they may not get paid," says attorney John Thomas Cardillo.
Cardillo says theoretically laws are in place to protect employees, but in reality, it comes down to the corporations assets. "You have to determine if its still in existence and if they have any assets to pay them."
The employees tell WINK News the checks they did receive were written from an umbrella company Wilcox also owns called Ultimate Talent Agency based in Missouri.
"They've been around for over a year. I spoke to the labor board and they told me if a place is open under a year there's nothing you can do, you can't get any money. If they're closed you can't get any money but since they've been open for more than a year were all going to file with the us dept of labor board to get our money," says Osthoff.