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The Carlton Hotel, a Landmark in the City of Atascadero, California Sued
 Over Alleged Labor Code Violations, Including Failure to Pay Wages

By Melanie Cleveland, The Tribune, San Luis Obispo, Calif.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

March 8, 2010 --California's Labor Commissioner has filed a lawsuit against David Weyrich's Carlton Hotel Investments LLC for labor violations involving more than $100,000 in lost wages and penalties.

The hotel is accused of six labor code violations, including failure to pay wages when due, failure to pay minimum wages and failure to pay overtime.

The lawsuit, filed today by the state Department of Industrial Relations in Paso Robles' Superior Court, alleges the violations involve an estimated 60 workers employed by the hotel since October 2009, according to court documents.

This is the second blow leveled by the state against the Carlton Hotel within about a month.

On Feb. 3, the Board of Equalization revoked the Carlton's bar and restaurant seller's permit, which caused it to shut down, because of its failure to pay the state taxes.

Weyrich has been attempting to keep the hotel afloat in spite of crushing debts that have forced him to surrender key properties to foreclosure, including Villa Toscana, his luxury bed-and-breakfast inn in Paso Robles.

The Carlton, originally built as an annex to the Atascadero Inn in 1929, owes millions of dollars to its creditor R.E. Loans, which also is in default, according to a spokesman for the lender, Barney Ng.

The property -- assessed at nearly $14 million -- has $451,865 in current and back property taxes due to San Luis Obispo County. Weyrich also owes personal income taxes of nearly $465,000, according to Brenda Voet of the state Franchise Tax Board.

Over the last year, The Carlton has been under increasing pressure from former employees, who filed at least 18 wage claims with the state. Their allegations include not being paid weekly wages or being given checks that bounced, according to documents filed with the state's Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.

Weyrich has not responded to The Tribune's request for comment.

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Copyright (c) 2010, The Tribune, San Luis Obispo, Calif.

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