Cold water and empty promises in the last days of Raleigh Wahlburgers

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- There is some good news about job prospects for some of the suddenly unemployed workers at the Wahlburgers in downtown Raleigh, which abruptly shut down amid allegations of gross mismanagement.

There are also new details about failed health inspections that helped bring Wahlburgers down.

But first, former workers are sending a message to the celebrities whose name used to sit on an awning on Fayetteville Street:



On New Years Day, Mark Wahlberg posted a holiday message to Wahlburger workers on the company's corporate Facebook page:



Back in Raleigh, Katy Nester and Luke Anders said their attempts to get the celebrity family's attention on social media have gone nowhere.

"I've literally reached out to Mark and Donnie Wahlberg on Twitter, we've tagged them on Facebook, I've messaged him on Instagram -- all the ways you would try and get in touch with a celebrity," Nester said. "It just doesn't seem the Wahlbergs care."

Anders added, "You would think with a company with your name on it that you would take a little more pride in it. But actions prove a lot louder than words here."

As first reported by our newsgathering partners at the News & Observer, state health inspection records show the Wahlburgers Raleigh franchise was forced to shut down because the water in the restaurant's dishwasher failed to reach the required temperatures. In a last-chance inspection on Dec. 17, the water only reached 52 degrees.

"(Inspectors) were like, get it fixed, get it inspected and you guys can reopen," Nester said. "And then two weeks after that, we were shut down."

While a closure notice about "plumbing issues" was posted on the door in mid-December, Nester and Anders said staffers were told not to worry.

"We were told that we were going to reopen, that we would have nothing to worry about," said Anders. "We were told that our jobs were still secure. But clearly, our jobs were very insecure."

Like many of the suddenly-out-of-work staffers at the franchise - Nester and Anders' final paychecks on Dec. 28 bounced.

And while they haven't heard from Greg Pranzo, the franchise owner, Pizza la Stella, a block away, has reached out to help.

Anders and Nester recently interviewed there. They both accepted job offers.

"It's really nice to have this great outreach from the Raleigh community," Anders said. "We are very appreciative of everything this community has done in sticking their neck out for us."

Wahlburgers Corporate told ABC11 that it is conducting an internal review of the operations here and franchise owner Pranzo.

ABC11's calls and emails to Pranzo have not been returned.

Nester and Anders said theirs haven't been either, as they try to recoup the money they're owed.
Copyright © 2019 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.