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Former employees of St. Pete restaurant closed due to death threats claim they are victims

Pinellas County

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Former employees of a St. Petersburg restaurant that temporarily shut down due to death threats are speaking out and saying the owner was caught. When we spoke with the owner last week, she cried and said a video address to employees that leaked and went viral was taken out of context, but the former employees we spoke with think she meant every word.

The Getaway on Gandy Boulevard is going on about a week of being shut down due to alleged death threats in response to the video.

Over the past few days, we’ve spoken with dozens of former employees who were upset to see the owner crying on camera in our original story. The former employees tell us they’re the ones who feel they’ve been victimized by the way she treated them.

“I mean, it was just always one thing after another,” Brandy Rabon said.

She worked for Karina Tashkin’s for six months as a bartender and server. Rabon says she never felt valued as an employee. 8 On Your Side heard from dozens of other employees who say the same thing.

“There’s zero concern or disregard for the employees and the tears are just that – just tears,” Rabon said. “If that’s really how she felt, the initial video wouldn’t have been put out the way it was put out.”

Karina Tashkin and her husband Scott are co-owners of The Getaway.

The video Karina posted said, in part, “When the (coronavirus) began and the shutdowns began of restaurants, we didn’t have to pay you. Not even the last paycheck. But we did.”

When 8 On Your Side spoke with Tashkin last week, she said she was receiving death threats.

“It’s tough, it’s tough. It risks everything that I have.”

She told us the video was taken out of context and she meant they could have laid employees off in weeks prior, not that they would not pay employees.

The many former employees who spoke with 8 On Your Side disagree. We heard from multiple former employees who tell us they think Tashkin has always viewed employees as expendable.

“A lot of former employees probably feel highly upset, especially the ones still there,” Rabon said. “You put your time into that company. I took the time to work for her and bend over backward for her. I got treated like dirt and I’m gone now. But for the people still there and to be treated that way, it makes it that much worse.”

8 On Your Side asked Tashkin to go on camera again Monday but she declined. She says she disagrees with much of what was said but can’t help what former disgruntled employees say.

Tashkin says she’s ready to focus on re-opening her business. She tells us she gave away dozens of free Easter meals to current and former employees on Sunday.

She also says death threats are starting to fade away. She hopes to have The Getaway open for to-go orders by next week.

Tashkin says she is excited to welcome back all former employees who want to come back to work.

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