WKYT Investigates | State investigating Lexington food delivery business

Published: Feb. 2, 2017 at 3:13 PM EST
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"They're cheating people out of their money," explained one plaintiff in a lawsuit against the food delivery business LexEatIn. "I just want the money I was owed for working there," she said.

LexEatIn is a delivery service for restaurants that don't deliver. Kentucky's Labor Cabinet is currently investigating the business. It also currently has multiple lawsuits filed against them by former employees.

"Honestly, I just want my wages back, and I want them to put a stop to anything they are doing wrong," the plaintiff said. She didn't want her identity shown but said she worked for LexEatIn for a couple of weeks. She was told she'd make good money from hourly wages and tips. "It was very important. It was the only job I had at the moment. I thought it was reliable. I was expecting to get paid $15 to $20 an hour." She said, though, on average, she made $5.27 an hour. And she said that check ended up being canceled after she decided to quit.

Joey Rayan has been working for LexEatIn since April. "The fact that people are suing is ridiculous," he laughed. "Like really? People are coming up with lawsuits over this? It's like what?" Rayan said he's made good money for the past ten months and has no complaints about the job. "It's just like working in the restaurant industry. You're not going to have these highly skilled workers that are going to understand the contracts they are signing. But everything is laid out very clear for me, so I've never had any curve ball thrown at me," Rayan said.

The Kentucky Labor Cabinet has been trying to get LexEatIn's time and payroll records since the summer of 2015. So far, they've gotten nothing.

The Secretary of State's Office shows the owner of the business to be Robert Hamilton. However, no one WKYT interviewed about the story has ever spoken to or seen him. Audrey Trobaugh runs the business and answered WKYT's Miranda Combs' questions via email. Regarding employees claims of not being paid, she wrote that drivers delivering food are independent contractors and are not employees of LexEatIn. Trobaugh said WKYT should look at the credibility of the plaintiffs before drawing conclusions. She also said she hasn't turned over payroll information to the Labor Cabinet because, again, the drivers are independent contractors and the Labor Cabinet only regulates employee/employer relationships. The Labor Cabinet does not oversee independent contractors, she wrote.

WKYT showed up for one of several court dates on the calendar for Trobaugh involving LexEatIn. She didn't show up. Attorney Robert Abell represents one of the former employees, "...I expected someone to show up on behalf of LexEatIn in all candor." He said, "There's two things we've got going on, unpaid wages and unpaid overtime."

Trobaugh also said in her email that Robert Hamilton is no longer a part of the ownership of LexEatIn. Two restaurants have also filed lawsuits against the business, mostly over the contractual agreements.

The Labor Cabinet cannot comment on open investigations. WKYT learned there are six complaints filed with the Labor Cabinet.