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Ex-Employee Slams T.I. With New Lawsuit In Restaurant Fiasco

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Jun. 1 2017, Published 9:57 a.m. ET

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Getting your Trinity Audio player ready... has exclusively learned that T.I. is accused of paying himself an excessive salary from his now-closed Atlanta restaurant and diverting business funds for his personal use — even though he allegedly knew his decision would cause his employees to lose out on receiving their owed wages and overtime.

Former employee Avery Lee originally filed suit against T.I., also known as Clifford Joseph Harris Jr., and the musician's business partner, Charles Hughes, in November 2015.

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Lee was an employee at 36-year-old T.I.'s Atlanta-area restaurant Scales 925 and in the lawsuit he accuses his former bosses of willfully and knowingly failing to fully compensate him for his wages and overtime hours last year.

Lee was awarded a default judgment of $27,486, plus $7,000 in attorney fees, against Scales 925.

However, Lee's new complaint, filed at the end of May, explains he has not yet collected on the money and he is now suing T.I. to hold him personally liable for the $34,000 he is still owed.

The suit claims Hughes used the Scales 925 bank account as his own, and, at the same time, skipped out on paying workers. Lee also alleges that even T.I. continued to pay himself and take profits despite the dire financial condition the business was in at the time.

The restaurant eventually was closed in 2016 following a number of other lawsuits being filed against the business.

"The extravagant expenditures by Hughes and Harris in up-fitting the premises for Scales, and upon information and belief, Hughes and Harris in paying for their own personal luxuries with corporate funds and continuing to pay themselves unreasonably high salary, while concealing the insolvency of Scales, drove Scales to financial ruin," read Lee's suit.

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Lee claims in legal documents that the co-owners could have decided not to draw an excessive salary when Scales was losing money and he says they failed to pursue a less expensive rental space, which could have saved money.

Lee alleges T.I. committed fraud and he is demanding the court hold him personally liable for the $34,000 judgment since the former employee can't collect on the money from Scales 925 LLC due to the fact that the business was dissolved.

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