This is an odd case of Lisa Vanderpump's restaurant Villa Blanca being sued by a former waitress who alleges that the manager harassed her and created a hostile work environment. What seems straightforward (and we know these types of claims are filed all the time by employees), took a rather odd turn when you get into the details of the case – including allegations that evidence went missing and accusations that the owners mismanaged a rather simple employee request thus turning it into a much bigger deal. Add to that, Lisa herself made a rather intriguing Tweet about the results of the case.
Let's break this down! First of all did Ken Todd have a senior moment when it came to disciplining an employee, which led to things winding up in court? Karina Bustillos, a former server, filed a suit against Villa Blanca claiming manager Michael Govia claiming that in 2012 he attempted to kiss her and on another occasion twisted her wrists when she asked for change to distribute tips at the end of her shift. These types of incidents created a hostile work environment and she took her complaints to her employers, Lisa and Ken.
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According to the Beverly Hill Courier, Govia was found innocent of harassment and battery, however Bustillos is still seeking punitive damages from the restaurant. There's a holdup there as the parties argue over whether or not Villa Blanca needs to provide tax returns to establish the restaurant's net worth.
However, Bustillos was awarded $6,250 and Villa Blanca was found to have acted "with malice" in their treatment of Bustillo's claims. Because of alleged harassment she quit and blames Villa Blanca for not doing anything in response to her complaints. Bustillos previously tried to get $5M from Lisa and Ken, then said she was willing to settle for $40,000 if Lisa admitted her restaurant was unsanitary (Lisa refused and the case ended up in trial). Bustillos was also fired numerous times before ultimately quitting. Basically she was Villa Blanca's Kristen Doute!
Tamara Tattles was able to obtain a transcript from the trial and found that Govia was found "not guilty" because the main piece of evidence against him (video surveillance footage from the restaurant security cameras) disappeared. General manager Andrew Morrison testified that Ken was responsible for making sure the footage disappeared when Bustillos filed her lawsuit. Um…
Apparently after Bustillos complained about Govia's treatment she was given two days leave with pay while Ken and Morrison attempted to figure out what was going on. However, Morrison testified that Ken and daughter Pandora Sabo (neé Todd) then decided not to pay Bustillos the $300 she was owed for the missing shifts. Additionally she requested to only work shifts where Morrison was the manager, thus avoiding Govia, but Ken and Pandora refused to accommodate her request by rearranging her schedule. In response Bustillos decided to quit – and file a suit against her former employers.
Morrison claims Ken destroyed (or lost/misplaced) the surveillance tapes to avoid the media getting ahold of them and having their reputations damaged. Lisa was already starring on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills at the time. You can read a complete transcript of his testimony at Tamara Tattles.
Fun Fact: Scheana Marie also testified as a character witness.
Lisa tweeted that Villa Blanca was victorious because Govia (who is still employed by Villa Blanca) was found not guilty.
Hmmm… this is all rather interesting to me. Did Ken and Pandora act "with malice" by covering up Govia's behavior (allegedly)? Or is this just the case of a spurned employee looking for a payout?
[Photo Credit: Instagram]
TELL US – DID VILLA BLANCA "WIN" OR IS THIS THE CASE OF A SPURNED EMPLOYEE LOOKING FOR A HANDOUT?