Former Bronco's star, Vance Johnson, is giving his side of the story about suddenly closing his Grand Junction restaurant and ignoring employee's efforts to contact him.
We wanted to hear directly from Johnson about when and how he plans to pay frustrated employees, waiting for their final paychecks.
To the staff at Vance’s Epicurious, the restaurant's closure was sudden and unexpected.
"They’re not letting anyone know what's going on," former server, Jessica Jenkins, said.
"I didn’t have any notice to go look for a new job or anything," former manager, Eden Glass, said.
But the restaurant’s owner, former football star Vance Johnson, says weeks ago he knew his business was failing.
"Without another investor coming aboard and myself traveling so much, we would be looking at closing the doors early,” Johnson said. “That was about five or six weeks prior to closing."
Simply put, Vance's Epicurious wasn't bringing in enough money. Checks were bouncing, business was slow, and so Johnson locked the door.
"I was forced to do the only action that was available to me and that was to close the restaurant down," Johnson explained.
Employees say they had no notice and couldn't get in touch with Johnson to get answers. That’s when they contacted us.
"I was told about the interviews that were on television,” Johnson said. “I was obviously hurt and I felt bad for them."
Johnson says he sent a message to Epicurious staff, apologizing for not answering their attempts to contact him and asking for their patience.
"I didn't want to seem like a person to try to call someone or do anything outside of saying, you're going to get paid but it's going to be slow,” Johnson said. “I apologize that everyone is in this position."
Johnson says he didn't have a backup plan for a failing restaurant. Without needed financial investors, it’s going to take time before his employees get those last checks.
"I’m in a situation now that is really unfortunate. Even if I could pawn a Super Bowl ring, I plan on paying the employees,” Johnson said.
Johnson says his next step is working with his bookkeeper to arrange how to get his employees paid.
At this point, he's not sure how long that's going to take, but again he's asking for understanding and patience.