Blackfinn American Saloons in Addison and Arlington Are Closed. I Smell Some Stinky Business

I have a pile of emails from unhappy employees of both locations of Blackfinn American Saloon. Sure, people get upset when a business goes under, but people really get angry and type about it when they don’t get  paid. This group of ten people all claim they are owed money by Blackfinn owner Bill McCrorey. The strongest voice of them all comes from one of McCrorey’s former employee, TK Koen. He writes:

I am contacting you because of the article you did on in June of 2009 about Bill, Republic and his being in trouble for not paying employees and the TABC.

Well, he is at it again, but on a much grander scale. Bill has acquired both the Blackfinn in Arlington and Addison, a bar down town called Stone Street Martini Bar, Sanchitos in Plano and is trying to open Rare at Park and Central. But he has done it on the backs of good employees and vendors he has failed to pay. He closed Blackfinn in Arlington without paying the staff and owes money to much of the staff in Addison not to mention thousands in unpaid vendors including liquor vendors, which is a violation of TABC rules. He is deeply in debt to the state comptroller for not paying taxes and he hasn’t filled payroll taxes in some time.

You may remember McCrorey when he owned Las Colinas Prime. I wrote a series of reports detailing The Saga of Republic Turned Las Colinas Prime It was a nasty tale of unpaid employees, TABC violations, and pissed-off vendors told through one of the principals, Michael Costa.

I’ve contacted McCrorey and his company Visionary Restaurant Group (the mailbox is full). I just spoke with another partner this afternoon who confirmed Valient’s report. I will have more on Thursday. Stay tuned.

44 comments on “Blackfinn American Saloons in Addison and Arlington Are Closed. I Smell Some Stinky Business

  1. who are these people that do business that way? you wouldn’t let a customer walk out on a check, don’t stiff an employee on a time card. its that simple. its stealing.

  2. I worked for the blackfinn in addison for 2 1/2 years. The last 6 months were the worst possible. VRG (Bill) ran this place into the ground. He’s unprofessional, cheats people out of money and is a liar. I pray that no one ever comes into contact with this man. Good luck to all the previous employees of Blackfinn on getting your money back and to Bill, I hope he goes bankrupt:)

  3. This company took an amazing bar and turned it into an awful place to go and am awful work environment. Not only did they not pay their employees. The owner would allow his dad (Gary) to come in and drink and eat. Have the managers comp his entire tab and then would take money from the safe so he could have “walking around money” an absolute disc race for all those that worked so hard. Bill and the gm of his new location even came in one night and took all the champagne from the walk in…. They fired the only two managers that were worth anything, their CEO resigned Bc he could no longer work for such a disc race of a company. What a sad sad day it was the day that VRG took over Blackfinn Addison!

  4. This company took an amazing bar and turned it into an awful place to go and an awful work environment. Not only did they not pay their employees. The owner would allow his dad (Gary) to come in and drink and eat. Have the managers comp his entire tab and then would take money from the safe so he could have “walking around money” an absolute disgrace for all those that worked so hard. Bill and the gm of his new location even came in one night and took all the champagne from the walk in…. They fired the only two managers that were worth anything, their CEO resigned Bc he could no longer work for such a disgrace of a company. What a sad sad day it was the day that VRG took over Blackfinn Addison!

  5. Sorry corrected spelling below my phone didn’t understand the word disgrace…

  6. Obviously the “amazing bar” must have been in a financial bind of some sort prior to the take over. It’s unusual that bottom feeders purchase a prime business. That being said it appears these folks have lots of issues. The IRS will go after all the principals individuality and as a group. All their assets will be seized should they have any. This does not however help the employees. I would mention that it would suck to be an officer of this company who did not have anything to do with operations. The previous CEO will also have issues if payroll taxes were not paid under his watch.

  7. How is this company able to get liquor licenses and other permits with continued non-payment of taxes and liquor vendors?

  8. Ashley, is it true that you were given a 60″ TV for working at Blackfinn while they were dealing with issues and for being a good employee? I called the owner, who is not Bill McCrorey and he advised that all payroll was paid yesterday and that everyone got paid. He also said that when he went to the restaurant today that he found several checks that the managers had not passed out and was mailing them to everyone.

    If you got a TV, why are you so angry?

  9. We are one of those vendors still waiting to be paid. I have sent several email and still waiting for an answer. Not paying vendors is bad enough, but not paying the employees? The people that make your company what it is or what it was is just horrible.

  10. I was one of the approximate 30+ employees that were not paid our last payroll check from the Arlington location. The doors closed two days before the last payroll ended. Plus for two plus months we were given manual paychecks with no stub attached showing what was deducted at all. Towards the end was awful. With all that happened, it made it hard to stay positive and keep the employee morale going.

  11. They operated the Arlington location on an expired liquor license for a month until they were found out. When they weren’t able to receive liquor ad beer orders, they brought it in from the outside until they finally started giving he booze away with food.

  12. Sorry Tom, but you were lied to. Bill is the owner. They have not been paying payroll taxes OR employees. A large group of former employees, investors, and vendors are preparing for a lawsuit. As for the most recent payroll cycle, they issued pay checks knowing there was not enough money in their accounts to cover the checks, so allowed a few “key” employees to cash their checks, then transferred the remainder out of the account.

  13. A tv? I am not sure who you have a tv to, but if that is a way of VRG to make up for everything. That is pathetic. Is it a hush tv? Lol I’m sure that a tv would make some people turn their heads to the crap that went on up there, but I guess it will all be determined in the end

  14. I’m writing on behalf of all the employees of Arlington that where IGNORED when we went to VRG office to request our payment. We stood in the lobby for almost an hour and no one acknowledged our presence there. One of their directors walked right in front of us and didn’t say a word, knowing that we where Arlington employees. It was very disappointing and upsetting that they would treat us like this after all the hard work we put on that restaurant. Multiple emails have been sent and always the same answer : ‘We will make the checks this Monday” They have always been a very unreliable company, when they bought Blackfinn back in December they would not pay on time and when they did, some of the employees had to wait for days to deposit their checks because they had no funds. I hope they can sleep at night knowing that so many people have struggle to responsibly PAY WHAT THEY OWE thanks to them.

    For All employees that have been affected by this, here is some information from the TEXAS WORKFORCE COMMISSION’s website:

    ” The Texas Payday Law provides a specific process by which employees or ex-employees who feel they have not been properly paid may file claims for the wages they believe should have been paid to them. It is a claim-driven system – nothing happens until and unless a claim is filed. Unlike the U.S. Department of Labor, the Texas Workforce Commission does not conduct audits of employers’ payrolls or payroll practices. TWC simply accepts wage claims, investigates them, and makes rulings thereon. Following is a summary of the steps in the wage claim process.

    The claimant files a wage claim using an official form for that purpose (accessible online at http://www.twc.state.tx.us/ui/lablaw/ll1.pdf (English) and http://www.twc.state.tx.us/ui/lablaw/ll1s.pdf (Spanish)). The form asks for very specific information relating to the identities and contact information for the claimant and the employer, the wage agreement, the pay rate, the specific way in which the claimant believes he or she was not properly paid, and other information designed to give TWC’s Labor Law Department enough information to. The form must be signed and notarized by the claimant prior to its submission to the agency. The claim may be filed in person at any local TWC office or Workforce Solutions center, by mail, or by fax.”

  15. I was an employee of Blackfinn in Arlington and the general manager there was a registered sex offender. He also apparently beat up a bartender behind the bar during business hours.

  16. The last payday for Addison employees is this Monday, the 6th of may. I bet no one gets their checks!!!! If any of us do… I will put on a hot pink tutu and do a little dance!!! Lol

  17. Ashley?! I hope you find another job! & let me
    know where you go! You were an awesome
    bartender! id like to follow you! I went last night
    to see you & i saw it was closed :(

  18. Vrg is a group of liars, scumbags, and thieves. I’m still missing money from a bounced check and haven’t received my final check.

  19. Colin, I’ve been working on this story but I’m on a hard deadline for D Magazine and I haven’t had a lot of time to do follow up. It’s still a work in progress. Thanks.
    Nancy

  20. It’s very true. The general managers name is Bryan Armstrong and I am the bartender that he assaulted. Go ahead and give his name a google search.

  21. Correction: the GMs salary was horrendously cut so we lost our only “good guy.” The manager (not GM) YES indeed IS a registered sex offender and now he’s working at another one of their concepts-Copper Top Saloon. This sex offender DID beat up a bartender on front of the whole bar on a busy night and YES charges have been pressed. These a-holes ran a good company into the ground and used their employees to steal from the public to pad their own pockets. I was there. It’s all true!!!

  22. I’d also like to add that more than 10 of us have not been paid!! more than likely they owe is ALL money..and im sure its going to be a joy trying to get our hands on a W2 comr years end. After all the lies and bs we dealt with towards the end, many of us just want to wash our hands of it and move on. Any way you look at it, wrong is wrong. I hope they get a lethal dose of their own medicine!

  23. Amen. It’s sad cuz we had an amazing bar crew the last year or so and they just ran it into the ground.

  24. How would one of these unpaid employees receive their check? Or is it just toolittle too late?

  25. He’s now ripping off vendors, good hard working employees, hookers, and anyone in arms reach at the shops of park lane at Rare. :-(

    -Arthur

  26. Bryan Thomas Armstrong
    Date of Offense Apr 2 2002
    Offense Code 11990002
    Offense Description SEXUAL ASSLT CHILD
    Level and Degree of Offense FELONY – 2ND DEGREE
    Statute Citation of Disposed Offense 22.011(a)(2)
    372ND DISTRICT COURT FORT WORTH

    Stay classy Bryan.

  27. Bill did the same thing to me and all the other employees when he owned Run Amuck in Mckinney. Including the two checks that returned insufficient, Bill owes me just over 6k. I still have the time sheets from the last pay period before the water and electricity were shut off during business hours and doors closed for good, for all the former employees who did not get paid.

  28. Do your research and hit their parent company at Bar Management Group in Charlotte, NC. There are 9 other Blackfinns out there per google….find the loophole and fry all these cheating, lying, stealing, etc… a$$holes. The entire thing is a scheme.

  29. I used to work for Rare and this is EXACTLY how it was. He paid NONE of his employees on time, if at all! There’s particular construction workers and kitchen staff that have still yet to be paid, after 3-4 months!! Not including the servers and bartenders not getting paid until up to TWO weeks after payday only to be told, “hold the check and don’t cash it for a few days.” After a few days the checks still don’t clear. This is 100% the truth. This guy is a crook.