This story has been updated.
PORT CHESTER, N.Y. -- Elisa Parto, the Port Chester restaurateur who pled guilty in December to state wage-theft charges, was taken into custody again Thursday after failing to appear for a probation hearing.
Parto, owner of Elisa’s Food and Plus on Poningo Street, admitted to cheating six former cooks, cleaners and cashiers of $47,000 in wages. As part of her plea deal, she agreed to pay the workers $11,000 plus $1,000 a month over the course of a three-year probation.
Thursday marked the second time Parto was arrested in the case. She failed to appear for a court arraignment on March 10 and was arrested the next day in her restaurant. Shortly afterwards, she paid the $11,000 installment and was released on $2,000 bail under orders to see the probation board prior to her sentencing hearing.
When Parto appeared in Port Chester Village Justice Court for sentencing this Thursday, she was arrested for failing to meet with probation officials.
“I don’t think you are taking this matter seriously,” Port Chester Village Justice Peter Sisca told Parto. “I now hope you see how serious this court is.”
Sisca set bail at $15,000. He said that as a result of Parto’s failure to comply with the terms of her plea bargain, he would not rule out jail time when he sentences her on April 14.
Parto’s business problems came to light when one of her employees turned to the non-profit Don Bosco Workers’ Center in Port Chester to help recover owed wages. Organizers there soon discovered that Parto had not paid overtime or minimum wage to at least workers.
The case, championed by Don Bosco’s “No pay, No way” campaign against wage-theft in Westchester, was prosecuted by Assistant New York Attorney General Matthew Ross.
On Friday, Parto was still in custody and had not made bail. Her attorney. Jeffrey Galperin of Port Chester, said she is attempting to raise the money but is "not a wealthy woman."
Christian Arango is a member of SUNY Purchase College's Community Reporting Team.
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