Latitude 360 employee: Almost every check bounced

Employees claim evicted entertainment company owes them money

By Alicia Booth - Reporter/anchor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A little over a week ago, Latitude 360 was evicted from its building, leaving employees desperate to get their final paychecks.

Several of them showed up Monday at the closed entertainment complex across from the Avenues Mall on Philips Highway to try to get some answers -- and their money.

Latitude 360 was once a vibrant entertainment complex that attracted everyone from young families to visiting football teams.

Looking at it Monday, though, it was clear that the fun and games are over. Cleaning crews worked to spruce up the place for whatever business comes there next.

Outside, a steady stream of former employees showed up.

They had all heard Latitude 360's owner might be there. Each employee, including Karim Roberts, arrived with a bounced paycheck in hand, desperate to get paid for the time they worked.

"(My biggest concern is) having a place for my son to live and myself and my family,' Roberts said. "It's possible (I could lose my home) if I don't have money coming in in the next two to three weeks."

Former employees told News4Jax that bounced checks are nothing new for Latitude 360.

"Oh, almost every check I had bounced," Kyle Butler said. "You'd have to go to the safe and hopefully there'd be money in the safe. If there wasn't, you'd have to come back a different day and then get the money."

Alex Lassen, 20, said he never bothered cashing his checks because he knew they would bounce.

"It's very shady," Lassen said. "Like if I would get a paycheck I would take it to the back office. The manager would open the vault. They would give me whatever amount of money was on there and that's how we got paid."

News4Jax left messages at several numbers for Brent Brown, the founder and CEO of Latitude 360, and also called another 360 location in Pittsburgh and spoke to someone there, but Brown never responded to the requests for comment.

Meanwhile, the cleaning crew came across what appeared to be a box of paychecks, which will likely never be cashed by some angry people who said they can't even file for unemployment.

"There's really no point in us doing it," Melissa Roehm said. "From what I've heard from other employees, everybody's getting denied because there's no proof of us even working here."

A News4Jax legal analyst said that if the owner was not paying federal taxes, depending on the details, that could be a felony.

About 15 former employees are meeting with an attorney Tuesday about the situation. 

Copyright 2016 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.