Steak 954 Owners Sued in Class-Action Lawsuit

Updated at 10:48 p.m. to include comment from Steak 954 spokesman Chad Fabrikant

A class-action federal lawsuit filed on Friday alleges that Starr Restaurants Hotel Group stiffed employees on overtime wages. Starr Restaurants, according to its website, is the parent company of Steak 954 in Fort Lauderdale and Makoto in Bal Harbour.

The suit was filed by a man named Jean Valsin, who claimed to be an hourly paid cook based in Deerfield Beach. Valsin alleged that he was regularly docked for 30-minute lunch breaks that he never took.

According to the lawsuit, Valsin and other employees racked up overtime yet were never paid time-and-a-half wages as they should have been because of the lunch-break snafu.

Starr Restaurants is based in Delaware. In addition to Steak 954 and Makoto, the company operates more than two dozen restaurants in Philadelphia, New York, and New Jersey.

It's unclear if employees from the company's other restaurants have or will step forward and join the class-action suit.

Chad Fabrikant, a spokesman for Steak 954 and Makoto, said, "There is absolutely no basis for any of these claims."

Camar Jones, a Boca Raton attorney representing Valsin, did not return a call seeking comment. 

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Chris Sweeney