JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Action News Jax has obtained emails from within Latitude 360 confirming that employees were fired because they complained that they weren’t being paid, and that the venue was constantly running out of food and money.
For months, we've been telling you about how the one-time popular bowling and entertainment venue was mired in financial trouble. On Jan. 6, Action News Jax was the first to tell you they had been shut down for good, evicted by their landlord in the midst of several other lawsuits.
A security officer is now staked out in front of Latitude 360. He asked an Action News Jax crew to leave the property when we went by.
When Latitude 360 was open, the manager would complete end-of-the-night summaries and send them to owner Brent Brown and the upper management group.A summary, dated Dec. 30, 2015, says Latitude 360 "86’d most of our menu items because of the lack of staff and resources that we were provided with."Another summary, dated Jan. 1, 2016, says "We had no burgers, wings, chicken…" and "[Owner] Brent [Brown] has left us stranded with no support!”
The Director of Venue Operations emailed Brown and corporate asking for help saying "We are bleeding out,” and "I was forced to terminate an employee based on work performance because we cannot pay him."Action News Jax showed the emails to Shayla Stephens, who spent nearly four years with the company, working as a hostess and server before moving up to the corporate office.“[That] does not surprise me,” Stephens said. “And that's not shocking."
Action News Jax asked if Latitude 360 ownership was choosing between feeding customers and paying employees.
“Yes,” Stephens answered. “And it always came down to [feeding] customers.”
Colburn followed up, asking Stephens why she stayed.
“[I had] faith in Brent Brown,” Stephens said. “Brent Brown had a good poker face.”
Action News Jax asked why employees didn’t come forward until now.
"If we were to seek legal help, or talk to anybody, we would be terminated,” Stephens answered.
Action News Jax made multiple attempts to reach Latitude 360 owner Brent Brown for his side of the story. So far, our calls have not been returned.