CENTURY CITY (CBSLA.com)  —  Former PennySaver employees on Friday marched outside the corporate headquarters of OpenGate Capital in Century City.

The former employees told CBS2’s Adrianna Weingold that they were hoping someone from corporate would hear their cries and pay them.

“We just want our money that’s due to us. They closed the doors on us with no notice, no final paycheck no accrued vacation no commission, they’re holding up our 401(k)s,” said Ester Mendoza.

OpenGate purchased PennySaver a year and a half ago and abruptly shut it down May 22, leaving nearly 700 employees without a job, and without a final paycheck.

“OpenGate is like a locust they go to many different companies, do the same thing and move on,” said Danci Berg-Stresser.

Last week, PennySaver filed for bankruptcy in Delaware.

OpenGate has stayed tight lipped about the massive shutdown that’s hurt many families across California. The only official word from the company came through a crisis management firm, that said:

“OpenGate worked diligently to try to resolve the issues confronting PennySaver. Despite the best efforts of PennySaver, its employees and management, due to circumstances beyond the Company’s control, PennySaver was not able to continue operations.”

The employees marching outside the multi-billion dollar company today — and the hundreds who crowded into the old PennySaver warehouse last week– want more. They say their paychecks bounced, their 401(ks)s are frozen and their health insurance is about to run out.

“It was heartbreaking, after 22 years it’s a family,” said Michael Whisner, a former PennySaver manager.

“We can’t pay our bills, we live paycheck to paycheck,” Mendoza said.

Employees have filed a class action lawsuit against OpenGate and told Weingold they won’t stop fighting until they get the money they feel they are owed.


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