By Emily Codik
By Valeria Nekhim
By Hannah Sentenac
By Valeria Nekhim
By Carla Torres
By Emily Codik
By Carina Ost
By Laine Doss
South Miami Cuban restaurant Barrio Latino is bustling when a black 2010 Acura pulls up across the street. A lean, young man with caramel skin, a round nose, and spiky black hair steps onto the sidewalk. It's 8 p.m. — four hours until his 39th birthday — but Eddie Santana still looks like a doe-eyed Miami Dade College student.
In reality, he's anything but innocent.
Eddie leaves the car running and jogs across Sunset Drive. It's a Sunday in late November, and the eatery has been open only a couple of weeks. He's here to pick up $60 in wages for training as a waiter. When he steps through the door, however, owner Edwin Scheer comes tearing around the bar like a linebacker escaping a block. Neighboring restaurants have warned the short, stocky Cuban-American with a salt-and-pepper goatee about the would-be waiter's habit of suing his employers.
101 Miracle Mile
Miami, FL 33134
Category: Breweries and Wineries
Region: Coral Gables/South Miami
201 Miracle Mile
Coral Gables, FL 33134
Region: Coral Gables/South Miami
"Get out," Scheer says to Eddie, gripping him by the shoulder and guiding him toward the exit. "I told you not to come back here."
"Where's my paycheck?" Eddie shouts. "You owe me!"
In an instant, the two are out on the street. Customers look up from their ropa vieja and ceviche to see Santana and Scheer pressed chest to chest, spittle and obscenities flying. Suddenly, Santana turns and walks back to his car. He opens the passenger door and reaches under the seat. Then he sprints back across the road toward Scheer with his right hand low and to his side, as if holding a handgun.
Scheer bolts toward his restaurant. But before he can reach the door, something whizzes past his head and across the busy patio before exploding against the restaurant's hurricane-proof glass with a deafening boom. Hearing what they think is a gunshot, customers scream and hit the floor. Eddie gets back in his car and screeches off.
He doesn't make it very far. An off-duty police officer eating next door hears the bang and dials 911. Cops pull Eddie over a few blocks from Barrio Latino and arrest him on charges of assault with a "deadly missile," which turned out to be a water bottle.
The spat is far from over. Scheer made the mistake of messing with Miami's most infamous — and litigious — waiter. After posting bail, Santana hit Barrio Latino with a lawsuit alleging unpaid wages, false arrest, and false imprisonment. Even as he faces criminal charges, Santana is seeking tens of thousands from Scheer.
"He's going to have to pay for what happened," Eddie angrily says of the November incident. "I spent my birthday in jail for nothing. He deserves to go bankrupt paying me for what he did."
To fellow waiters, Eddie is an unlikely if not unlikable hero who calls out Miami restaurants on the hundreds of ways they steal from employees. He terms himself a "revolutionary." But to Scheer and countless other restaurant owners in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, he's a scam artist who does nothing but sue his employers.
The truth is that in the past nine years, Eddie has filed 30 lawsuits against companies — nearly all restaurants and bars — for everything from illegal tip pools to excessive uniform costs. He's netted $144,924.79 after attorney fees from 20 separate settlements. And from the nine suits still pending, he hopes to make another $100,000, if not more. The guy even sued his own brother.
But word has spread about Eddie, leaving him practically unemployable. And he might soon repeat the ten-month stint he did in the slammer several years ago. His biggest adversary might end up being himself.
"This guy's crazy," Scheer says of Eddie. "Actually, he's not crazy. He's fucking smart."
Eddie Santana is all smiles as he leaves Miller's Ale House in Coral Gables. It's a warm February afternoon, but he's swaddled in a black dress coat over slacks and a polo shirt with the Ale House logo. A sign outside the faux mom-and-pop pub says it doesn't open until Sunday, but Eddie can already smell another lawsuit cooking.
"They're not even open yet and they're already slipping up," he says gleefully as he and a New Times writer head west on Miracle Mile. "They make us go to shift meetings without letting us clock in first. That's unpaid labor. And they're forcing us to give part of our tips to people who shouldn't be getting any. You can't do that shit.
"The restaurant industry here in Miami is shady as hell," he continues. Eddie has just finished a full shift, but he's buzzing with manic energy. "Managers cut corners all the time. They make you pay for your uniform, which they're not supposed to do. They make you buy a new shirt, shoes, pants, a crumber, a bottle opener, even an apron. Then they undercount your hours and take your tips. All that is illegal. All of it."
A few minutes later, he enters Seasons 52, a fancy Gables bar and grill. He sits at an elegant wooden bar next to giant vats of organic, homemade grapefruit vodka and pages through a clownishly oversize menu.
"Eddie, didn't you sue this place?" New Times asks.
My question is why the restaurant managers never checked his references, we have all Have had bad bosses or jobs we didn't like. The difference is most people get a different job. This guy is the reason that restaurants have to charge the prices they do. Once this scam is over for him, he will be the guy that slips on his own pepe in the men's room and sues
Restaurants are notorious for breaking wage laws, discrimination, harassment and retaliation. Too few people enforce their legal rights.
Employers have a legal obligation to know the laws that apply to their business, & should be trained to properly handle employee situations and issues. All of that guy's lawsuits does not even chip off a quarter of the amount of major violations that occur on a regular daily basis.
OK, I'm ready to come out of the closet. I'm actually gay and just cruising looking for a hard dick to suck it's OK if I have to get that in prison, any takers?
The picture of this guy featured in the article gives it all away - douche. If you don't want to work hard for a living then don't, but don't make claims about being concerned with principal when it's clear you're modivated by greed and laziness. And if he wasn't a drug addict (which he clearly is) he wouldn't be mixing benzos with alcohol - and since doctors don't prescribe multiple varieties of benzos to one person (ie the xanex and clonopin he was showing off), it's clear he's shopping around for doctors...JUNKIE!!! I wouldn't even let him step foot into my restaurant, period. Just a matter of time before he sues the wrong person and ends up in a bodybag where he belongs.
Esantana44 you suck!!!!!you suck!!!!!!!
For someone who doesn't care what other people think you sure are taking a lot of this personally & you should. I guess you tooo stupid to know why this peiece was even written. it was to show how much of a slime ball you are. Its certantly not to glorify your actions.....like i said your too stupid to pick up on tone of the article.
its because of stupid people like you that want to sue for any little thing that are putting viable companies out of business & PEOPLE OUT OF WORK.
I read this weeks ago and the only reason i came back was to see if you were still trying to defend your cruddy personality. I've been in the industry for over 15 years. Get a backbone, grow up & move on and let somebody who really wants a job get one.
please do all of us hard workers a favor and go fall off the face of the earth. Thanks :-)
"Fall off the face of the earth"??? Thats not a very nice thing to say about someone!!! Be carefull what you wish for because it might happen to you. You came back to this artical NOT because you want to see if Eddie is trying to defend himself. You came back because your obsessed with Eddie and wish you had the spot light like he has!!!! With ALL the business that he's SUED obviously are still in business and doing JUST fine!!!! So you have NOOOOO idea what your talking about because your soooooo STUPID to realize that!!!! HaHaHaHa!!!!! So why don't you GROW up and MOVE on and stop OBSESSING over Eddie!!!!!!
this guy should be blacklisted everywhere. he's a total douche. he's not in the right. he's purposely going around provoking people so he finds some stupid thing to either fabricate or exaggerate and sues. this is why miami is turning into a piece of s**t, because of people like him.
dude, he sued his own brother. I understand helping the situation, but this guys a scum bag through and through.
It's curious to see how so many people don't see the positive side here - he's making managers think twice before they're ripping off their own staff. Sure, he may get rich in the process and that might be his only motivation, but he's in the right!
Being a waiter has to be one of the most stress full jobs.Working in the kitchen especially in a restaurant that brings in a lot of business is so much work that at the end of the day your physically and mentally exhausted. They make you work hard for that tip/salary
As someone who's worked in a So. Fla. restaurant in the past, whatever makes these scam artists afraid to pull this kind of crap on staff who work their ass off for $4/hr + tips is fine with me.
Everything you do in life is for personal gain and personal gain only
the bonus here is that it ALSO helps other people.
I think he's doing a great job...bring restaurant owners to justice especially in Miami..so many shady business owners down here..you guys dont even know!
Waiters File Minimum Wage Lawsuit Against Hard Rock CafeJanuary 21, 20110 Two waiters at a Hard Rock Café in Florida have just filed a tip pooling lawsuit against the company, claiming Hard Rock didn’t pay them minimum wage. They are seeking class-action status for the case based on the number of potential servers affected. The waiters and waitresses assert that the “tip pooling” policy at the restaurant required servers and bartenders to share their tips with kitchen staff, denying them fair wages.
there is no morality in business (or anywhere else in America, for that matter)The only assessment ever done is: While this action harm me financially?While this poorly made chair cause me to be sued?Referring to the DOL, the SEC or the EEOC is a JOKE. Our regulatory bodies have stood by while warned specifically of the likes of Bernie Madoff etc - and done NOTHING.
Whistle blower laws specifically allow for a portion of the damages to go to the whistle blower. For the customers who "end up paying more for a meal out"? Give me a fking break - I'd rather not eat any 'fight club clam chowder' (
eddie should be commended....go for the jugular eddie!!!!
don't hate the player, hate the game...fools!
Let’s take for example two national restaurant chains that my firm has recently filed EEOC complaints against; Houston’s (now Hillstone’s) and Seasons 52.
I have been a big fan of Houston’s ever since they opened their store in Coral Gables. However, over the last eight or nine years I have noticed that EVERY server is under 30. How on earth can that be? Well, after speaking with several very qualified over forty servers who have filled out applications and were interviewed, and after speaking with several former managers, I can say that in my opinion, Houston’s discriminates against over forty (40) server applicants. Why, I can only guess because they want to keep the staff young. Why do they need a young staff? To make people feel “good” about eating at Houston’s; “You don’t want some old person serving you, do you?” A few of the significant monetary benefits to the company might be:
1. Lower health and Workers’ Compensation insurance rates;2. Server staff is easier to control;3. Fewer employee lawsuits.
Remember, when you run a large corporation, the bottom line is what keeps you employed at the top.
If you would like more information about age discrimination, contact us. We are always available to answer questions to help keep you informed. If you have specific knowledge about either Houston’s or Seasons 52 we would like to speak with you too. Remember, we are all getting older and having the safety net of working in the restaurant business is nice; if you can get hired when you are over 40!
Some of our other age discrimination cases:
Wowies Sports Bar and GrillTarpon Bend Coral GablesMatteo’s RestaurantPosted by Lowell Kuvin, Esq. at 9:06 PM 0 comments Labels: ADEA AGE Wowies Sports Bar Tarpon Bend Matteo's Restaurant Discrimination Houston's Seasons 52 Restaurant law florida EEOC Thursday, January 6, 2011Are Tip Pools Legal In Florida?
I worked in the service industry for over 25 years before I went to law school to become “a server with a law degree.” During my 25 years I only worked in a tip pool very seldom, and I can tell you I always disliked it (Adel and Sharif). I firmly believe that tip pools are akin to communism; easy for the government/management to regulate but it strangles individual who strives to make more.
That being said, are they legal in Florida? The plain answer is, Yes. However, any participants in the tip pool must contribute their tips to the pool (Maitre D’s); they cannot just draw from it. Or, persons who share from the pool (Bussers, Food Runners) must have more than minimum contact with guests/customers. A service bartender in the kitchen who has no contact with guests cannot participate in tip sharing while a bartender who works the service bar in the dining room may participate.
Considering he won lawsuits in court, that means his employers were doing something illegal. The fact that you are mad at him for enforcing the law seems to indicate that you prefer criminal enterprises running in a way that breaks the law.
Too bad that an obviously very bright guy is squandering his God given gifts; he's clearly smart enough to do something useful with his life
Maryland Restaurant Lawyer Food, Beverage, and Restaurant Law in the Old Line StateSkip to contentHomeAbout Sean T. Morris ← Issues for Outdoor Patio Liquor LicensesMiami Waiter: Restaurant Workers’ Rights Crusader or Con Artist?Posted on March 9, 2011 by Sean T. Morris| Leave a comment The New Times of Miami has a fascinating story in this week’s issue about a South Florida waiter, Eddie Santana, who has made it a habit — a very lucrative habit — to sue restaurant owners for various infractions, mainly involving employment issues. Among the lawsuits he’s brought are cases alleging:
■Improper tip pooling (see my earlier post on this issue here);■Undercounting hours;■Failing to pay required wages for training and shift meetings;■Sexual harassment;■Retaliatory dismissal; and■Assault.Depending on who is asked, Santana is either a crusader for restaurant worker’s rights, or a con artist out for his own personal gain. As one waiter who knows Santana says:
“Eddie is on a rampage with these lawsuits; he’s on a mission,” [The waiter] says. “I can’t believe he’s doing this, sometimes. But then again, maybe he’s doing a public service by putting all these restaurants in check.”
Says another waiter who has worked with Santana:
“Personally, I think he’s [bleep]ing nuts, …. I’m not going to sit here and lie to you that Eddie is a great guy changing the restaurant world, because he’s not. He’s doing this for personal gain. He finds a reason for the restaurants to fire him; then he sues. He knows all the tip-offs and how to file for retaliation or discrimination.”
If you think this description of Santana’s tactics is less than charitable, consider this conclusion from that same waiter:
“That’s what these restaurants do: They break the law…. So you can always find something to catch them on.”
This story (which is great and which you should absolutely read in its entirety) should provide a cautionary tale to restaurant owners and managers everywhere. Maybe Eddie Santana himself is safely ensconced down in Florida, but others like him may be lurking and ready to pounce. The only way to steer clear of the dangers someone like him poses is to not give him any basis upon which to sue.
obviously the dude is shady as hell, but if restaurant owners and managers weren't equally shady or worse he wouldn't be able to do what he's doing and anybody who disagrees has never worked in a restaurant
It's curious to see how so many people don't see the positive side here - he's making managers think twice before they're ripping off their own staff. Sure, he may get rich in the process and that might be his only motivation, but he's in the right, isn't he
miami web design 1 day ago
I think it's justified, what he is doing is something that every employer should do..especially in Miami where everyone is cutting corners in the business.
Jaredswilliams 1 day ago
He actually isn't an immigrant, it says he was born in California. His parents are immigrants. If you're going to be racist, don't be ignorant. It just affirms what everyone thinks about ignorant racists.
Stan 7 hours ago
This guy is great. Interesting story.
Reading some of the previous comments reinforces my assessment that a great many Americans have no clue about living under rule of law. A good many of you should be deported to a place more to you liking. Somalia comes to mind, no reason rugged individualists who hate the law can't thrive there. Lol.
I hope Eddie continues to thrive while crushing these scumbags.
All you restaurant waiters and bartenders should google roussell vs brinker international(chilis) then scroll down to the 5th heading which says"Flsa class action defense cases-roussell v brinker international" go to the bottom of the page and click on the link"download pdf file" for the lawsuit that was filed by me and see what the charges were.I won this case and got $60,000.00.Eddie is right,it adds up after time(illegal tip out and skimming of your $4.23 an hour and not paying you for training or paying you $4.23 an hour during training whih is illegal.SO FIGHT BACK .
I don't know this guy Eddie but he seems like a guy who keeps it real.Man if somebody was messing with me or my money,you better believe I would be going after them.Now that I know my rights and some law because of Eddie,I'm going to sue some of my former and current employers and people who dare to ever touch me.Hey Eddie don't worry about some of these negative comments on here, they are just jealous or they probably know you and just never liked you,Just brush that stuff off.Like they say,the day that you should start worrying is the day people stop talking crap about you.Your obviously important if they are talking about you.I see you doing big things with a story like this like writing your own book,going on shows,being in the news and even being in a movie.Good luck man and keep your head up.
This guy deserves to get his ass kicked. He's a lazy loser and addict. Before I read this story, I had heard of this moron. What a loser, even reading his posts you can tell that he is a low class loser. A friend of mine who worked with this guy in two different places told me that he is a coke-head and cheap ASS! One day we were sitting at a bar and he was telling me the story and the bartender tells us that "Cheap ASS Eddie" comes in there are all the time and tips nothing. After reading this story I can't wait for the follow-up story to this where he is in jail and the reporter is questioning Mr. Cheap ASS as some huge inmate is ramming him in the ass and makes him his bitch! Maybe the reporter can ask the guy ramming him in the ass if his butt is tight or loose? (I'm sure he will say loose, since everyone knows that Eddie plays catcher all the time!) Eddie you are a loser and deserve nothing less than prison.
I worked with this guy before and he is a total scumbag. In Kendall his nickname is CHEAP EDDIE and everyone knows why. He walks out on tabs, trys to get free drinks and DOESN'T tip. And everyone who knows him knows exactly where all that money is going. Just remember Eddie, karma is a bitch!
Kelly all that MONEY is being invested,thats why I got a brand new car paid cash and my own place and six figures.What do you got?Your a stupid RED NECK,LOL.Thats right I dont tip trash and people who give bad service.
I know eddie very well and I know that he doesnt tip ugly girls like you live in cutler ridge.And you must of worked withhim at on the border because I know your skanky white trashy ass.Y dont u wory about ur kid(s) and not about everyone else LOSER
I have had the displeasure of working with this individuals on two separate occasions. Both times he was either terminated for not doing his job to set standards or he left for GREENER pastures. To use his quote "I will treat my employees with RESPECT and PAY them for there actual hours worked," he was a sub par employee that was more concerned about answering his cellphone and eating than doing his job . His other quote of "I would pay these employees above $7.25 an hour and not $4.23 an hour because I am no a CHEAP ASS like you," is quite funny because he has the pleasure of owning the title of CHEAP EDDY in many restaurant circles. Being in the restaurant industry, Eddie knows that a majority of servers, bartenders, etc make much more than that 4.23 he quoted. Most earn between $10-25ph, depending on restaurant and he knows that being in the biz so long. Good luck on your new adventure in another state, owning your own restaurant, and having staff of employees like yourself. Maybe you will get lucky and not be out sued.
Why dont you identify yourself you LIAR and DRAMA QUEEN.And tell the people on here where you work and where we worked together?You are just saying that because you just pobably just was jealous of me and you did not like me.If you were a REAL MAN and step to the plate and tell me who you are.It seems like the only people who are bashing me is the people who have worked with me and/or dont like me.If you see the people who havent worked with me or they like me have a different opinion on this(in my favor).I guess I am important if you HATERS are talking SMACK about me.I cant please everybody out there.I new there would be mixed reactions.OH WELL.
This is so true, I have worked in so many restaurants in Miami and it is very shady. I have had to pay for uniforms and have had tips withheld, I should sue a few places too. This guy is smart, and restaurant owners and managers need to stop exploiting their employees.