Santa Monica Lookout
Santa Monica Files Criminal Complaint Against Wilshire West Car Wash
By Lookout Staff
January 24, 2013 – The City of Santa Monica on Wednesday filed a criminal complaint against Wilshire West Car Wash that charges the company has cheated employees out of their wages over the past four years
The 11-count complaint against the car wash at 2320 Wilshire Boulevard and its parent company, Maxxam Enterprises III, LLC., charges the owner and managers with criminal conspiracy and grand theft.
The four are accused falsifying time records to reflect fewer hours worked and meal breaks while the workers were on duty, said Adam Radinsky, who heads Santa Monica’s Consumer Protection Unit.
The complaint also accuses the company of coercing employees into signing false declarations stating they had received paid breaks, forcing employees to pay for cable television they were not allowed to watch on the job and forcing employees to pay a regular fee for towel laundering, Radinsky said.
The company is also accused of breaking the law by “failing to give employees a paid rest period for every four hours worked” and “failing to give employees a meal break for shifts of at least five hours,” Radinsky said.
The company threatened, harassed and punished employees who questioned the defendants' “unlawful behavior,” he said.
Each of the 11 charged offenses is a misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of one year in County Jail and maximum fines of between $1,000 and $10,000 per offense.
The case arose out of a joint investigation by Santa Monica's Consumer Protection Unit, the California Labor Commissioner's Office, and the U.S. Department of Labor.
The defendants will be arraigned in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Airport courthouse, on February 26, 2013.
The Labor Commissioner and City Attorney’s Offices are continuing to investigate the case. Employees or other witnesses with information about Wilshire West and its labor practices should contact the City Attorney's Consumer Protection Unit (310-458-8327).
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