Eater Houston has obtained court documents showing that Ruggles Grill, named in the lawsuit as Molzan, Inc., is suing the general manager that was part of Saturday's walk-out.
The litigation, which was filed on the same day as the walk-out, Saturday, December 3, lists the causes of action as "misappropriation," "business disparagement" and "interference with employee relations." Concerning the last claim, the suit alleges that the walk-out caused "damage and public humiliation to Ruggles Grill."
Eater interviewed former Ruggles Grill general manager and defendant in the lawsuit, Jodi (who preferred we not use his last name), who claims that Ruggles Grill owner, Bruce Molzan has a history of accusing managers of theft.
"Those documents that he said I took. I took them so I could photocopy them and I will drop them off to our accountants," said Jodi, in reference to the "misappropriation" charges.
"I'm sorry that everyone has to go through this, but it's time for Bruce [Molzan] to wake up."
Jodi also told us, "I want everybody from Ruggles to know that I love them dearly. I love my staff. It was the best staff I've ever had in my entire life. Whatever they do, just don't give up," adding, "I want Mr. Molzan to know he can't buy them [former staff] off. He offered to pay them and started writing checks. Suddenly the money appeared. The staff won't take the checks. They can't be bought. He treats his employees horrible, and he'll tell you that they're just a number. This time it's going to bite him in the ass."
Jodi and some of his former staff are also exploring legal action and plan to meet with the District Attorney sometime today.
A representative for Ruggles Grill could not be reached for comment, but Bruce Molzan is quoted in an article on Culturemap saying, "Someone on the management team was collecting cash tips and instead of handing them out he was putting them in his pocket."
Within that same article, Molzan also claimed the same (unnamed) manager "corrupted computer files and sales records to cover his tracks."
UPDATED: Bruce Molzan did contact Eater and gave us the following statement.
Almost 99 percent of all the people in my kitchen have been with me for over 25-years. They wouldn't work for somebody who did something like that. They're all here, they're all paid, and the only people that we're talking about are people who worked directly under him [the general manager], and for some mysterious reason, all their money started disappearing. I've had my ups, I've had my downs, but let me tell you, this is all [allegations of withholding tips] ridiculously false.
· Five Employees Stage Walk-Out of Ruggles Grill [EHOU]
· Amid Staff Walkout Drama, Big Changes for Ruggles Grill [Culturemap]
· All Lawsuit Coverage on Eater Houston [EHOU]
Photo: Interior, Ruggles Grill. [Ruggles Grill/Facebook]