NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

June 20, 2013

Local carnival co. faces suit over low wages

SEABROOK — Local businessman Gene Dean and his amusement park ride company is facing a potential class action civil suit claiming that for years he’s failed to pay hundreds of his workers their required legal wages.

According to the court document filed Monday in Suffolk Superior Count in Massachusetts, the plaintiff charges that the defendants, Eugene J. Dean III and Norma Dean, work their employees seven days a week, sometimes for 14 to 22 hours a day, while paying a set, substandard salary instead of an hourly wage as is legally required.

Fiesta Shows employs approximately 200 individuals as maintenance workers responsible for assembling, dismantling and operating the company’s amusement park rides, while paying a flat rate of pay on a weekly basis no matter how many hours employees work, according to court documents.

Contacted for comment on the claims lodged in the suit, Dean said his policy is not to comment on the specific allegations brought in pending litigation, but he released the following statement concerning Fiesta Shows policy in general.

“Our small family business has worked for more than 50 years to bring a fun-filled experience to our customers and a positive workplace to our employees.”

Registered as E.J. Amusements of New Hampshire, Inc., but doing business as Fiesta Shows, the company named in the suit was incorporated by Eugene J., Mary and Norma Dean in 1996, according to N.H. Secretary of State’s corporate records, with an address of 15 Pine St. in Seabrook. However, the Deans list their home addresses as Salisbury on those corporate documents.

In addition, Gene Dean has been a major business and property owner in Salisbury, including the Beach Center, for decades.

The case was brought to Boston law firm Lichten and Liss-Riordan by an organization in Mexico that represents Mexican workers who travel to the United States to work and encounter problems, according to Shannon Liss-Riordan. Her firm specializes in wage and hour class action labor disputes, she said.

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