A former general manager at Miami’s landmark Versailles Cuban restaurant has filed a lawsuit claiming he was retaliated against after reporting undocumented workers.
Ex-GM Rigoberto Hernandez and former waiter Adriam Mena are suing the restaurant and its owner, Felipe A. Valls Sr. Besides the retaliation claim, there also are allegations of inflating tips reports to avoid wage and hour requirements and understating income to avoid federal and state income taxes.
The plaintiffs are represented in the Miami-Dade Circuit Court lawsuit by Miami attorneys Pelayo Duran and Roderick Hannah.
The former restaurant workers claim Valls and his son made disparaging remarks about Hernandez and Mena’s masculinity, and they were fired after they refused to participate in illegal activities.
The suit also alleges it was a regular practice at Versailles to void and discount bills for prominent members of the community, such as U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Letinen, U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart and Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado.
Hernandez and Mena are seeking compensation for loss of back pay and benefits as well as damages for emotional distress, humiliation and loss of dignity and punitive damages.
Responding after deadline, Versailles attorney Reynaldo Velazquez, a partner with Ford & Harrison in Miami, said Wednesday that he advised his client not to speak. But he denied “all allegations of unlawful conduct” and said the restaurant “will vigorously defend” itself.