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NYC Pizzeria Bosses Arrested for Alleged Employee Wage Theft

The accusations, amounting to over $20,000 in unpaid wages, have sent ripples through the city's culinary landscape.
Cover Image Source: Grimaldi's Pizzeria | YouTube | FOX 5 New York
Cover Image Source: Grimaldi's Pizzeria | YouTube | FOX 5 New York

The beloved Grimaldi's Pizzeria, nestled in the heart of New York City, finds itself in hot waters as its owner, Anthony Piscina, and manager, Frank Santora, face serious allegations of employee wage theft. The accusations, amounting to over $20,000 in unpaid wages, have sent ripples through the city's culinary landscape, tarnishing the reputation of an establishment revered for its mouthwatering pizzas.

Pexels | Maksim Goncharenok
Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Maksim Goncharenok

District Attorney Alvin Bragg's announcement of the indictment sent shockwaves through the community, shedding light on a dark underbelly of labor exploitation within the iconic pizzeria. "We allege that Grimaldi's gave their employees paychecks that bounced and convinced their employees to continue working through partial payments," he said.

"They offered employees far less than what is required under the New York state minimum wage law," he added.

Moreover, the attorney revealed the distressing extent of the exploitation by showcasing text messages exchanged between employees and their employers, illustrating desperate pleas for overdue wages. "Time and time again failed to pay their workers any wages together," he added.


The harrowing messages paint a picture of financial desperation, with one employee reaching out multiple times, begging for payment that never materialized. Despite assurances and promises, the workers found themselves trapped in a cycle of broken trust and financial uncertainty, exacerbating their already precarious situations.

"Hi, sir. can you pay me my payment today for 2 weeks I need money please," an employee texted. "Yes, today," the owner replied. Over a week later, the employee texted, "Can you pay me today please," but there was no response. Another week passed by, and the employee texted again, "Can you pay me today please." He did not receive a response this time as well. 

Furthermore, the majority of the victims were Spanish-speaking employees, potentially highlighting issues of vulnerability and language barriers in accessing justice. This underscores the broader systemic challenges faced by immigrant workers in asserting their rights and seeking recourse against unscrupulous employers.


In response to the allegations, Piscina and Santora have vehemently denied any wrongdoing, with their lawyer, Gerard Marrone, attributing the discrepancies to a misunderstanding. Marrone contends that his clients were unaware of the situation. 

"My clients run multiple locations of Grimaldi's Famous Pizza, and they probably don't even know. They have a payroll company that does the work for them, so they were totally unaware of any of this," he said.

Kampus Production | Pexels
Image Source: Photo by Kampus Production | Pexels

As the legal proceedings unfold, the future of Grimaldi hangs in the balance; its once pristine reputation is now marred by allegations of exploitation and deceit. With both Piscina and Santora pleading not guilty, the case promises to be protracted and contentious, with implications reaching far beyond the confines of the courtroom.

In the wake of these revelations, District Attorney Bragg has urged any additional victims to come forward, signaling a commitment to seeking justice for those affected by wage theft. The city's Worker Protection Unit stands ready to assist Grimaldi's employees in reclaiming their rightful earnings and holding accountable those responsible for their exploitation.