Houston Beer Festival vendors worried about payment

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A huge weekend for beer lovers is just around the corner - the Houston Beer Festival. But some people who worked last year's festival say they haven't been paid a dime.

"Last year I was hired to bartend the Houston Beer Festival for two days: Saturday and Sunday," says Kevin Funchess. "I worked two 12 hour shifts at $12 an hour."

We introduced you to Kevin Funchess after the festival didn't pay him last year. He says he was told several times that his check would be in the mail --- most recently in a February email.

"As of today, we still have not, those who worked the beer fest for 2014 have not gotten paid. So happened I checked yesterday and we're having another Houston Beer Festival next month."

Adelbert's Brewery out of Austin tells us the Festival owes them more than $1,500. And Ice Express got a bad check for $23,000 in July. The man who was behind the festival, Timothy Hudson, is charged with theft for that bad check.

This year it returns to Downtown Houston with the same name, but different management.

"We're here to save the event and make it much better than it was before," says RoShelle Salinas with the Houston Beer Festival.

That includes making sure people get their money. Salinas tells Eyewitness News the've already sent checks to about 75 people and vendors who weren't paid last year.

"We want it to be great so we're going to put this out of our pocket right now and make sure these people are paid and that we are in good standing with the city of Houston," Salinas said.

And the businesses that make the festival a success. They've offered some of the breweries that weren't paid last year a free booth this year.

Walking into his new job at Paul's Kitchen, Funchess says he'll pass this year.

"If I couldn't get paid that same day, I would be a little reluctant to do it," Funches said.

Funchess called late Wednesday evening to say the festival called for his information and that they should be sending his check soon.

They've also set up an email address for anyone who worked last year and didn't get paid. Write to community-relations@houstonbeerfestival.com.
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