Update: Jason Zink sells Don't Know Tavern following lawsuit loss
Jason Zink has sold Don't Know Tavern, the South Baltimore bar he's owned for four years, likely the result of the financial burden of a lawsuit he lost in March.
A federal judge ruled then Zink was in violation of federal labor law by participating in the tip pool of his employees at Don't Know and No Idea, Zink's other bar.
Zink told the Daily Record at the time attorneys' fees on the lawsuit could exceed $100,000.
Writing on Facebook, Zink said June 26 will be his last shift at the bar.
"As many of you have already heard, I have sold Don't Know Tavern. I want to personally invite you to my last shift there and to have a drink with me," he said.
He did not mention the lawsuit. Zink has not responded to requests for comment. It is not clear who's Don't Know's new owner, or if the bar will close temporarily.
(Update: Contrary to what he wrote on Facebook, Zink clarified via e-mail the bar's sale is not yet final, and that he will have more to say about its future and the lawsuit next week.)
Three of Zink's employees filed suit in 2009, charging Zink's participation in the pool meant they were owed $10,000 together.
Federal judge Richard Bennett ruled in their favor in March, saying the Fair Labor Standards Act allows bar owners to pay their staff less than minimum wage as long as employees collect tips. Owners like Zink, Bennett said, are not allowed to be part of that pool even if he worked as a bartender.
The lawsuit could have ramifications for other bars and restaurants since the labor rights of an owner who also works as an employee had not been previously addressed in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, Bennett said in his opinion. Damages on the Zink lawsuit have not been settled yet.
On his last day as an owner, Zink is making at least one magnanimous gesture. A free buffet will be provided for guests.Photo: Don't Know Tavern (600block)