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Post date: January 22 2001

Record Stores Settle State Wage Violations

State Attorney General Spitzer today announced that he has reached a settlement with the owner of a chain of record stores in Jackson Heights and Elmhurst for violations of the New York State minimum wage and overtime laws.

Under terms of the Assurance of Discontinuance, Domingo Lopez, owner of Domingo Record Shop Corp., Domingo CD Discount Music Corp., Domingo Music Distributors Inc., Amigo Deli Corp. d/b/a/ Ingrid Records and Karla Records will pay $60,000 for underpaid wages to six workers. In addition to providing restitution, Mr. Lopez has agreed to end immediately the chain's improper wage payment practices, correct its bookkeeping methods and ensure compliance with federal and state labor laws in all Domingo record stores.

"As part of our comprehensive efforts to eradicate labor law abuses, we will continue to aggressively pursue cases on behalf of workers who are entitled to wages that are earned, most often, after many exhaustive hours of labor," said Attorney General Spitzer.

The Attorney General was joined by the five workers in making the announcement, who discussed using the restitution for a down-payment on a first house and funding college tuition, among other things.

The Attorney General's investigation found that from September of 1996 until January of 2000, Mr. Lopez employed at least six workers throughout his stores who were required to work, on average, ten to twelve hour days, six days a week for approximately $3.50 an hour, without overtime. In addition, Lopez failed to provide meal breaks to his employees and failed to maintain proper payroll records.

The settlement requires Lopez to assume individual liability for all unpaid wages and mandates severe penalties, totaling nearly $100,000, should he fail to comply with the settlement. One-third of the settlement is to be paid to the workers now and the remainder over the following eleven months.

The settlement also requires Lopez to submit copies of his business records, including general ledgers, paystubs, federal and state tax returns, and certified payroll records, for all businesses in which he is a shareholder, partner, owner or corporate officer for a period of three years on a semi-annual basis to the Attorney General's Office for review.

The case was handled by Assistant Attorneys General James W. Versocki and Carmen Torrent of the Labor Bureau, which is under the supervision of Bureau Chief M. Patricia Smith.