This story has been updated.
PORT CHESTER--A Port Chester restaurateur was in custody Friday after a warrant for her arrest was issued for failure to appear in Village Justice Court.
The business owner failed to pay her former workers the first installment of $47,000 she admitted to withholding from them illegally, according to authorities.
Port Chester Village Justice Peter Sisca issued a warrant for the arrest of Elisa Parto, owner of Elisa’s Food & Plus, a restaurant on Poningo St., after she failed to appear in court Thursday for sentencing.
Parto surrendered Friday, and her passport was confiscated. She was held in lieu of $2,000 bail and faces a possible year in jail when sentenced on April 17.
Parto paid six former cooks, cleaners and cashiers $11,000 Friday in the first installment of $47,000 in owed wages and penalties she was supposed to pay them Thursday under the terms of a plea bargain reached in December with the state Attorney General's Office.
As part of the deal, Parto agreed to pay an additional $1,000 a month to the workers for the term of a three-month sentence of probation, authorities said.
Parto’s problems began when an employee reached out to community workers from the nonprofit Don Bosco Workers’ Center to complain that she had illegally withheld about two weeks’ wages. They soon discovered that Parto had not paid overtime or minimum wage to at least six of her workers.
Don Bosco organizers Gonzalo Cruz and Perla Zuniga brought the case to the attention of the Attorney General’s Office as part of the nonprofit’s “No Pay, No Way” campaign to fight for workers’ rights in Westchester.
Parto’s attorney, Jeffrey Galperin, did not return calls for comment.
Christian Arango is a member of SUNY Purchase College’s Community Reporting Team.
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