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News and notes from City Hall, Bernalillo County and local politics

ABQ willing to file minimum wage lawsuit

Route 66 Malt Shop owner Eric Szeman speaks to protesters outside his business earlier this month. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)
Route 66 Malt Shop owner Eric Szeman speaks to protesters outside his business earlier this month. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)
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City Attorney David Tourek reversed course on Tuesday and said he’s willing to go to court to against the Route 66 Malt Shop to enforce the new minimum wage.

Tourek said he still doesn’t have the resources to bring numerous lawsuits on behalf of private employees against their employers, but he’s willing to make an exception for malt shop employee Kevin O’Leary.

“No one has come to help him,” Tourek said.

Tourek said he will meet with O’Leary tomorrow.

Tourek said he expected private attorneys to step forward to help O’Leary. He is now talking to a legal-assistance group to see if it can help other employees who say they aren’t being paid the new wage.

The debate over carrying out the ordinance sharpened last week when the owner of the Route 66 Malt Shop in Nob Hill announced that his employees had signed paperwork agreeing to work at the old, lesser wage. Eric Szeman said he would be forced to go out of business if he had to comply with the wage hike.

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