UPDATE: Employees who fought for final paychecks paid

Manager talks to The 41 Investigators
Posted at 5:39 PM, Dec 12, 2016
and last updated 2017-01-12 18:32:12-05

UPDATE 1/12: The employees at Bruce Smith Drugs have been paid.

Penny Carminucci said she’s happy her battle for wages is over.

“I find myself just feeling like a weight has been lifted,” Carminucci said. “I did not want to have to fight this fight.”

No word on if or when the store will reopen.

ORIGINAL STORY: More than a month after Bruce Smith Drugs closed its doors, employees are still waiting for their last paychecks.

Deeply rooted in the Prairie Village neighborhood, Bruce Smith Drugs served the community for more than 60 years. When the store closed on Nov. 7, it shocked the community and left employees devastated.

To make matters worse, Penny Carminucci, who worked at the business for more than two decades, said she was told by management that she wouldn't receive payment for her last two weeks of work.

"To lose those relationships and then to go out this way has been very difficult and pretty painful," Carminucci said. "It's heartbreaking."

Employees of Bruce Smith Drug Store

Art Weeks, who was a part-time employee at the store, said he was never told he wouldn't receive his paycheck, but that he hasn't been given a clear answer as to when he'll be paid. He said he wants, "a specified date."

The 41 Action News investigators tracked down the manager for answers.

Debbie Richmond, whose father owns the store she helped run, said they plan to pay the employees what they're owed.

However, she said it's impossible for her to say when the employees will get paid, because she doesn't have access to any of the company's accounts.

"Unfortunately, the bank has control over all the accounts and the assets of the store," Richmond said. "If I can't access the account to process the payroll, I'm incapable of doing it."

Debbie Richmond helped her father run Bruce Smith Drug Store.

Richmond told the 41 Action News investigators she saddened at what's become of her family's business. She said her father has had multiple offers to sell the store over the years, but, that he kept it for one reason.

"He kept those doors open to keep those employees employed," She said. "We would and will always get those employees taken care of. We never had the intent that we were not going to pay the people."

Richmond also said there are plans to reopen the store, though she couldn't say when, she hopes to bring back all of the employees.

Still, Carminucci is tired of waiting for her paycheck. She's filing a claim for wages with the Kansas Department of Labor.

"I had to deplete my savings completely to pay my bills." Carminucci said. "We have worked very, very hard. It has been very personal for all of us."



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