On the evening of Jan. 27th, Leah Freeman (Elle Freem) showed up in person to the house of one of our members– the official mailing address of the Committee to received registered mail from Deli Sokolow’s owners. She gave a letter, with no return mailing address, stating she was no longer associated with Deli Sokolow and to no longer contact her about issues related to the company.
This letter provided us with no information on how this came to be, or legal documentation of her no longer being an owner of Deli Sokolow.
We regularly checked the Registaire des Entreprises database, which continued to list her and Shayne Gryn as owners of the company.
On March 5th, the day of our demonstration, Deli Sokolow’s business registry was changed to remove her as an owner.
In light of this, we would like to state that while we were employed from April 2015 – November 21st 2016, we worked for Leah.
Employees were not paid, received pay late, were not given vacation pay, notice of closure and severance indemnities, and did not receive insurance compensation when they were injured at work because the owners did not sign the paperwork. This is still the case.
We tried for months to get both Leah and Shayne to take action on this, through numerous avenues:
While the Deli was still open and before the formation of the Committee, our members individually text messaged and spoke with Leah, making her aware that they were owed wages, vacation pay, and indemnities. Leah initially replied to text messages, defaulting the responsibility to Shayne – saying he would ensure that we received these. We did not.
When we followed up with Leah about not being paid, she stopped replying to our individual text messages and emails. This contradicts her public statement, where she said “I have and will continue to respond to all texts and facebook messages sent to me personally by former employees answering questions they have”.
In January, the Committee sent Leah a letter by email – she did not provide us with a home mailing address to which to send registered mail- stating our demands, amounts owed to us, and requesting her presence at a meeting with us to discuss the situation, get transparency, and understand how she (along with Shayne) intended to ensure we received the money we worked for. Neither she nor Shayne met with us, nor acknowledged the meeting request.
This was her responsibility then, and since the Deli’s closure. We are still having to deal with the consequences now.
While Leah Freeman has been legally removed as owner of Deli Sokolow, we believe she has a moral obligation to set this situation right and be accountable to us.
We will continue to use legal avenues to get the information we need on this situation.