HERCULES -- Sala Restaurant, which closed last week after its electrical power was cut off, owes the city more than $100,000 for rent, loan debt service and unpaid utility bills, according to the most recent calculation by Hercules' finance director.
At least two employees say the restaurant, in the Civic Arts building overlooking San Pablo Bay, owes them, too.
Laura Davies, a former server and part-time manager, seeks more than $6,000 for what she says are unpaid wages, overtime and penalties; she says Sala Restaurant owes several other former employees as well, including about $7,000 to one former co-worker.
Davies and another former worker each filed a complaint against Sala with the state Department of Industrial Relations' Division of Labor Standards and Enforcement alleging unpaid wages. Davies was supposed to have a conference with a Sala representative at the agency's Oakland office Nov. 20, but no one from the restaurant's side showed up, she said.
Another employee was supposed to have a conference with the restaurant at the Oakland office Wednesday, but again no one from the restaurant or the corporation listed as its owner showed up, said Kerry Lewis, a state deputy labor commissioner.
Notices for both conferences were mailed to Water Lily DBA Sala Restaurant, Lewis said; one of the notices came back, she said.
California Secretary of State records show Water Lily's address as 1991 Railroad Ave., Hercules, the location of Sala Restaurant. The sole officer listed is Glen Cole, who is a co-principal of the restaurant -- the other co-principal is the restaurant's namesake, Prathumrat "Kay" Sala.
The listed agent for notification purposes is Gary J. Mugg, in Dublin.
Mugg is an attorney and a real estate broker; the address for service of process is the same as Mugg's law and real estate office in Dublin.
Mugg, contacted by phone Thursday, told this newspaper he could not comment because of attorney-client privilege. An email to Cole and a phone message left at the restaurant's special events number earlier this week were not returned.
Hercules Finance Director Nickie Mastay said earlier this week that Sala Restaurant owes the city about $112,000, including $52,441 in unpaid debt payments on a $230,000 loan from the former Hercules Redevelopment Agency. That loan, at 4.5 percent a year for 10 years, is for tenant improvements and was approved unanimously by the City Council in January 2010.
The 2,100-square-foot restaurant is in the third year of a five-year lease on the Hercules-owned Civic Arts building, with two five-year renewal options. The starting rent was $3,465 a month, or $41,580 a year. Possible cost-of-living increases starting in the third year were capped at 2.5 percent.
The approximate $112,000 Sala owes the city also includes unpaid bills from the city-owned Hercules Municipal Utility and for garbage collection, Mastay said.
The city had invested $1.67 million in the building as of June 2009 to rehabilitate it and prepare it for leasing to a restaurant; the amount does not include the $230,000 loan granted in 2010.
Contact Tom Lochner at 510-262-2760. Follow him at Twitter.com/tomlochner.