Lisa Vanderpump and Ken Todd are facing criticism for not following through on a $490,000 settlement that was granted to Ernest R. Bennick and other workers. These workers claimed the pair had refused to provide them with food breaks, overtime pay, and other benefits.
Ernest argued in court documents that Lisa and Ken, the former Real Housewives of Beverly Hills couple, falsely claimed that Pump, which closed in July, had “no assets.” This was more than three years after the class action lawsuit was filed against them and their Pump LLC, alleging they also violated labor codes.
According to court documents obtained by The U.S. Sun on November 3, Ernest filed a motion on behalf of himself and others in August for the approval of the settlement amount, which includes $171,500 in attorneys’ fees and $7,500 for his “extensive efforts in prosecuting this case.”
In the case against Lisa and Ken, who are also seen on Vanderpump Rules, it was estimated that over 14,000 worker hours had been clocked between August 6, 2016, and December 1, 2022, and the amount owed was suspected to be nearly $2 million.
In response to Ernest’s motion, Lisa and Ken’s attorney said that Pump “does not intend to perform the terms of the mediated settlement agreement, but would be willing to discuss alternatives with Plaintiff’s counsel.”
The attorney also mentioned the closing of Pump, noting it was shuttered due to “on-going back rent and future rent issues with the restaurant’s landlord, coupled with the Covid-19 closure period and an overall downturn in business,” and stating that the company has “no assets remaining.”
“The Company is working through and re-negotiating several hundred thousand dollars in unpaid rent and vendor invoices as part of the wind-down process,” the attorney added.
But Ernest snapped back when the lawyer finished speaking, calling Lisa and Todd’s assertions “false” and “self-serving”.
Apparently in reference to earlier claims this year that Pump would be reopening next to TomTom (which it hasn’t done yet), the defendants said, “Defendants omit the fact that the restaurant re-opened in or around August 2023, at a new location.”
Ernest refuted claims that Lisa and Ken fired their remaining staff members, pointing to an interview that Lisa described as “brazen and troublesome” in which she stated, “The staff at PUMP will come over to the new version of PUMP.” Many of these devoted workers have been with PUMP for more than ten years.
He then blasted Ken for bragging that he is a “multimillionaire individual,” noting that he and Lisa can “clearly pay to fund the Settlement” but “don’t want to.”
“In fact, this is the third lawsuit against a restaurant that Todd and Vanderpump own, and Todd has a history of trying to skirt around his legal obligations—including orders from the court—in order to fund settlements,” the plaintiff went on. “In fact, in a different case, Todd disregarded a court order and only paid the employer’s share of taxes when the court threatened to impose sanctions.”
“While Todd may be a famous personality and television star, neither he nor anyone else is above the law. Yet Todd seems to, at times, think that he is above the law and can skirt his legal duties, violate court orders, or do as he pleases no matter who the victim of his legal failures is,” he added.
The report went on to state that while Lisa and Ken signed “an enforceable Settlement Agreement to resolve this putative class action,” the case could still go to trial.