I often wonder what happened in old stories, so I looked for the resolution of one was published two years ago last week. I’m a pretty decent researcher, but all I could find is the original news stories, and occasionally a comment about the story. So I dug deeper.
Let’s start with that story, from the 4 April 2021 issue:
An Ever Widening Platform
Andreas Flaten of Fayetteville, Ga., gave his boss two weeks’ notice that he was quitting A-OK Walker Luxury Autoworks in Peachtree City due to the company’s “toxic work environment.” On his last day he dropped off his uniforms — washed. But the owner didn’t pay him then, and didn’t pay him in January as promised, Flaten said. After months he told Walker he was going to call a lawyer over his missing $915, and very quickly the money was dropped off — a pile of pennies in Flaten’s driveway. They had oil dumped over them to make them hard to cash in, and a note on top reading “F–k you.” A reporter asked Miles Walker for his side of the story. “I don’t know if I did that or not,” Walker claimed. “I don’t really remember.” Wait, really? “It doesn’t matter, he got paid. That’s all that matters. He’s a f—–g weenie for even bringing it up.” Why’s that? “Because you guys give him a platform,” he said. “You guys are what’s wrong with the world. Get the f— off my property.” Coin recycler Coinstar not only picked up the pennies, they made a donation to two charities of Flaten’s choice. (RC/WGCL Atlanta, AP) …Walker seems a little unclear about what’s wrong with the world.
There was an update in the news that was good enough to make it into a follow-up story, in the 9 January 2022 issue:
A Penny Saved
In April, Miles Walker, owner of A-OK Walker Luxury Autoworks in Peachtree City, Ga., castigated an employee who quit due to the company’s “toxic work environment,” because the man wanted to get his final pay, $915. Walker sent him the money: 91,515 pennies soaked in oil, in the middle of his driveway. At the end of the year, the U.S. Department of Labor filed suit in federal court against Walker and his company, saying he retaliated against the employee, Andreas Flaten, in how he was paid and in postings on the company web site. (Example, in defending the penny caper: “Let us just say that maybe he stole? Maybe he killed a dog? Maybe he killed a cat? Maybe he was lazy? Maybe he was a butcher? Maybe he liked self-gratifying himself in clients’ cars? Whatever you want to think is your prerogative.”) The company also owes employees tens of thousands in back wages and unpaid overtime, the DOL says. Flaten says he declined to sue for himself. “I’m over it, but I’m definitely happy to see that justice is being served,” he said. (Washington Post, The Hill) …Maybe Walker is a jerk? A cheat? A bastard? Whatever you want to think is your prerogative.
When looking last week, amazingly enough I found the guy is still in business! Even though Yelp has removed 81 bad reviews from people who were reacting to the news story rather than actual experience with having their car serviced at the shop, their average review is still …one star. Not a huge surprise, I guess.
Plus, I noticed this on their web site: “And yes we accept pennies as payment! They are cash! 10%processing fees do apply.” (Quoted verbatim, including the missing space.) That saves him from being labeled a hypocrite, I suppose, but 10% penalty? Did he overpay his employee by 10% when he paid in pennies? (I doubt it. Hypocrite!)
But that’s where the trail ended. So last week I wrote to one of the press contacts at the U.S. Dept. of Labor to say I was doing a follow-up on the story, and what is the status? The press release didn’t name the court where the suit was filed, so I asked about that, too, and what the case number is. They replied within hours saying they’d find out and get back to me, and this morning they did. Now that’s good efficiency!
So far the second update isn’t a lot, but at least it’s gratifying:
“The parties are still in litigation, so there is nothing more to report currently,” the DOL found. “The case number is 3:21-cv-00220-TCB. It is in the [U.S. District Court for the] Northern District of Georgia, Newnan Division.”
First: Yes, after well over a year, Walker is still facing plenty of trouble, including fines and settlements. And you can be sure that the lawyer he hired isn’t accepting pennies.
Second: Thanks to getting the case citation, I was able to get a copy of the lawsuit, which is available for download here:
Should you choose to read it, you’ll see it’s definitely not True Stella Awards material.
More, Likely, to Come
This whole thing is, to my mind, a great example of what’s heavily infecting Americans lately: an attitude of “I’m right, everybody else is wrong. Except for the people in my family|political party|church|whatever.”
That’s simply …unlikely, no matter what the subject. Something to think about, eh? I wonder if Walker has?
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4 Comments on ““He’s a F—–g Weenie””
The fact the us government can sue someone for paying an employee in pennies shows how out of balance our currency is. We really need a do-over. A penny paid for a loaf of bread when it was first minted.
Sure, but a daily wage was typically 7-20 cents. But really, the case isn’t about the pennies. -rc
Don’t you have Legal Tender in the USA? In the United Kingdom we have the following:
The maximum amounts for which coins are accepted as legal tender in the UK are as follows:
For £2 and £1 coins: any amount
For 50p and 20p coins: up to £10
For 10p and 5p coins: up to £5
For 2p and 1p coins: up to 20 pence
What do those limits have to do with the existence of “legal tender”? If anything, it sounds like an exception — “It’s legal tender, except when….” -rc
Not sure on the exact values here in Australia, but there are similar limits to prevent just this sort of thing happening*, which as in the case Randy reports on, is just low grade bullying, often of the most junior staff in organisations.
It wouldn’t have mattered if he paid in 10c or 25c coins, it’s still petty bullying for no reason. The oil poured on the coins is totally unnecessary, and is a health hazard to the recipient and the environment.
This Sth Aussie road warrior ended up paying twice, once in coins which were not accepted, and again by cash/cheque.
*having said that, many smaller shops are happy to take several dollars in assorted change, as it saves them some of the bank charges on cash handling.
I love that he had to pay again. -rc
Any idea who took care of the “oil spill”? If I was Mr. Walker, I’d be concerned about the EPA getting on my case.
I assume it was Flaten and/or his girlfriend, who apparently helped him clean up. But yeah, that would be a complicating factor. -rc