WESTMINSTER, Colo. — They made WestyFest in Westminster a success two weekends ago, but some workers hired by a vendor say they still haven't been paid.
Daylyna Hampton is among them. She says she put in 18 hours at $20 an hour during the Oct. 22 Halloween event.
Mark Wonder with Empire Events hired her and roughly 46 other workers to help with food stands, games and cleanup. The City of Westminster paid Wonder more than $13,000 to hire the workers.
According to Wonder's Craigslist ad, workers were supposed to be paid Oct. 24-25 through Apple Cash, Cash App, Venmo or Zelle. But when those days came and went, Hampton contacted Denver7.
"It really did seem legit. It didn't seem, at the time, we were being swindled. But now, it's a different story," Hampton said last Thursday. "At this point, like, I already chalked it up as a loss. If it does come through, that'd be great. But I'll never work for him again."
On Thursday, Oct. 27, Denver7 spoke with Wonder, who said he had suffered an emergency that prevented him from making the payments. He said he would continue paying people the following morning. However, several days later, Hampton said she still hadn't been paid.
Denver7 reached back out to Wonder, who then blamed it on an issue with his bookkeeping software, QuickBooks. He was told the issue should be resolved by Tuesday.
Now Wednesday, Hampton told Denver7 she and her friends who worked the event still haven't received a dime from Wonder, more than a week after they were supposed to receive payment. Denver7 spoke with Wonder by Zoom, who still blames QuickBooks for the delay. He understands his workers' frustration.
"If we could have survived COVID and had the surplus of money, we wouldn't be having this problem right now," Wonder said. "I'm definitely not going to be here to rob them. I'm not here to take anything away from anyone. That's not what we're here to do."
A spokesperson with the City of Westminster said they had no idea Wonder hadn't paid his workers until Denver7 reached out. The spokesperson confirmed the city is cutting ties with Wonder.
"The City was not aware of this issue, and we are taking the matter seriously. The vendor was promptly paid $13,480 for their services, and we have made it very clear to the vendor that we expect them to pay their employees. Vendors who do not compensate their employees promptly will not [be] eligible to work with the City in the future."
Back in 2019, Denver7 reported on Wonder for not paying his workers in a timely manner. He was doing work under the name Diamond Standard Events at the time.
Wonder said he doesn't know when he'll be able to pay the workers. Denver7 plans to follow-up with him and Hampton in the coming days.
Editor's note: Contact7 seeks out audience tips and feedback to help people in need, resolve problems and hold the powerful accountable. If you know of a community need our call center could address, or have a story idea for our investigative team to pursue, please email us at email@example.com or call (303) 832-7777. Find more Contact7 stories here.