UPDATED -- The east-side Twin Peaks has temporarily closed due to an investigation over the possible hiring of illegal immigrants.
“There’s a federal investigation for employment of illegal immigrants,” says Rusty Rathbun, who has two Twin Peaks franchises in Wichita.
The Twin Peaks on 21st Street just east of Rock Road “is the one that’s under the direct investigation,” he says.
“My employees called me this morning and said that ICE was at that location,” Rathbun says of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Homeland Security Investigations, which is part of ICE, “executed search warrants at the restaurants as part of an ongoing federal criminal investigation,” according to U.S. Attorney spokesman Jim Cross.
“I can’t speak to the nature of the investigation,” Cross says.
Rathbun says he hasn’t knowingly hired illegal immigrants.
“I can assure you we had no idea that we have hired illegal immigrants,” he says. “We don’t do that.”
Rathbun says as far as he knows, the east Twin Peaks will be closed for a couple of days. A car show that was scheduled there this weekend has been canceled.
The west Twin Peaks near Maple and Ridge Road remains open.
Investigators seized computers, employee files and point-of-sale systems, which is why Rathbun says he had to close the business.
Rathbun says he’s trying to reach the investigator in charge.
“We want to visit with her and say, ‘Hey, is there anything else we can do to be proactive?’”
He says he also wants to know if he can move food from the east location to the west one.
Rathbun says he can’t imagine the investigation is related to the biker brawl that killed nine people in Waco, Texas, in May.
“I don’t believe it has anything to do with it. I really don’t.”
Rathbun says he’s not sure what will happen if the investigation does prove his restaurant is employing workers who are here illegally.
“I don’t know. This is the first time that anything like this has happened to me.”