Soho Retailer Charged With Violations Of The Labor Law Payroll Record Keeping Requirements

State Attorney General Spitzer announced today the arraignment of a Manhattan retail store owner on two misdemeanor charges stemming from his failure to maintain the payroll records required by law.

Henry Ishay, an officer of X-Treem Vibe Inc., operates the Manhattan store Yellow Rat Bastard, located at 478 Broadway, New York, New York. The Yellow Rat Bastard store sells apparel merchandise and accessories from well-know labels. In addition, the Yellow Rat Bastard store sells clothing and accessories with the "Yellow Rat Bastard" label, a trademark registered to X-Treem Vibe Inc.

"For the last 10 years, Henry Ishay has run a successful business empire of retail stores in New York City. Mr. Ishay's failure to comply with the minimum record keeping requirements of the law is inexcusable and punishable under the law,"said Spitzer. "This office will continue to enforce the provisions of the labor law and will prosecute those individuals who violate them."

The Office of the Attorney General began investigating X-Treem Vibe Inc. and Henry Ishay in approximately June 2006, after receiving complaints from employees of the Yellow Rat Bastard store regarding sub-minimum wages. X-Treem Vibe Inc. and Henry Ishay were served with subpoenas requiring, among other things, the production of payroll documents that the Labor Law requires to be maintained for a period of at least three years. In response to the subpoena X-Treem Vibe Inc. and Henry Ishay failed to produce weekly payroll documentation for almost every employee of the Yellow Rat Bastard store and admitted, through counsel, that they did not have any additional payroll information.

The Attorney General's office is currently investigating the employees' allegations of wage underpayments against Mr. Ishay and the retail stores he operates.

On October 25, 2006, Henry Ishay was charged in Manhattan criminal court with violations of Labor Law 198-a(2) and Labor Law 662(3). The charges in the case are mere accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven otherwise by a court of law.

The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Richard Balletta of the AG's Labor Bureau, and Investigator Steven Pratt of the AG's Investigations Bureau. The case is being supervised by M. Patricia Smith, Attorney in Charge of the Labor Bureau.

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