Out of pocket!

Staff owed thousands after Chad’s West Coast Grill has lease terminated

A former manager at Chad’s West Coast Grill and Bar figures she is owed nearly $2,000, including severance pay, after the Courtenay eatery was shut down because owner Chad Huff was behind in rent.

“But that’s not including the other 17 people who worked there,” said Sheryl Alexander, who was given six hours notice before her shift that she no longer had a job.

She sought assistance from the BC Labour Relations Board, but was told the board “can do nothing for us” because a trustee is involved in the restaurant.

“They’re trying to find someone to buy it. Everything within that building has to do with a trustee.”

A notice from Consolidated Civil Enforcement says the locks on the doors at Chad’s have been changed. The landlord, Noort Investments, terminated the lease in September. The restaurant had operated at the plaza at 29th and Kilpatrick Avenue.

Alexander worked at Chad’s for about 2 1/2 years.

“It was great,” she said. “We had great managers. Chad was not really involved in our restaurant.”

Alexander has nothing but kind words for Huff’s ex-wife, Julie, whom she said has nothing to do with the mess.

“She’s a fantastic person,” Alexander said. “She’s always been a great employer, always there to help us when Chad wasn’t, and she’s done everything she could to try to help us with this situation.”

“I don’t really know what’s going on,” Julie said. “It’s me, myself and I left in this community, and I’m sort of taking the brunt of it.”

There is another Chad’s restaurant in Port Coquitlam, which Huff and his partners sold. The new owners told Alexander that she and other former employees would receive back pay. But again, she has received no answers.

“It’s a big mess of goodness,” she said. “It’s frustrating for all of us. No answers from anybody. We’ve all been left in the dark.”

If Chad declares bankruptcy, Alexander and company can apply to WEPP (Wage Earner Protection Program).

“But chances are we won’t see anything,” she said.

To top it off, she said Chad incorrectly filled out the Records of Employment, preventing her from receiving unemployment insurance.

Chad Huff has been unavailable for comment since the Sept. 12 closure of the restaurant.