Frenchy's store owner accused of making threats, 'over the top' treatment of employees
Israt Khan, focus of social media backlash, refuses to respond to allegations
Dozens of aggravated people have taken to social media with complaints about the owner of a St. John's business.
Israt Khan, who owns and operates Frenchy's Thrift Boutique in the Torbay Road Mall, is the subject of a Facebook group that now has nearly 900 members.
The group, Boycott Frenchys Boutique/Thrift Store, was created by Michael Walsh of St. John's, after he noticed several posts on Frenchy's own Facebook page from customers and employees who felt they had been wrongly treated by Khan.
Walsh told CBC what really shocked him were replies that Khan made on some of the posts, many of which he considers threatening.
"There were comments she made about publicly executing someone's wife, it was just stuff that was over the top — really personal attacks," he said.
"After reading so much of it I just suggested to someone, 'Maybe we should start a group, where all of the people who didn't get paid and stuff can have somewhere to talk to other people who are owed money.'"
Once the boycott group was created and hundreds of people began to join, the accusations against Khan started to flood in, including from many customers and some who had previously worked for her at Frenchy's.
The allegations include Khan not paying her employees for time worked, wrongly accusing staff and customers of stealing, creating unsafe working conditions and harassing former employees and others who spoke out about her or the store.
CBC News repeatedly reached out to Khan for a response, but the store owner continued to reply by saying she would only give a response if she received $25,000.
The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary would not confirm or deny receiving complaints both from Khan about former employees, as well as from those who felt threatened by her remarks.
Comments deemed as threats
While group members have contacted the RNC and the Labour Relations Board, Walsh said he and others continue to be harassed by Khan.
"She just tries to get people fired or kicked out of school, or whatever she can to just attack the public," he said.
In one case, a Memorial University student — who wished not to be identified — reached out to CBC, claiming that after a spat with Khan, she even called university administration to make complaints about him.
Walsh said one of Khan's posts was directed against his own mother, Lorraine, with Khan saying, "I am preparing nuclear gun for Rat Lorraine to spray the gas," something Walsh feels can only be interpreted as a threat.
In response to the boycott group, Khan launched another Facebook group of her own, called "Messages from the members of the Boycott Frenchy's Group." In there, she posted screenshots of people's Facebook profiles, adding her own comments. The profiles Khan was using were all members of the boycott group, and her log-in information was clearly visible in the screenshots.
In one such incident, Khan posted a photo of boycott group member Crystal O'Connor holding her baby daughter, with a caption reading, "Rat is holding mice, I need to spray more cure to prevent mice infestation." O'Connor later told CBC News she feels bullied by Khan.
In yet another screenshot shared with CBC, Khan makes what Walsh and others consider a serious threat, specifically targeted toward someone at a children's athletics centre in St. John's.
The centre mentioned in the post later confirmed that staff have been shown a photo of Khan, and have been instructed not to let her in the building if she tries to enter.
Former employee 'total wreck' after facing wrath of Khan
Many of the complaints against Khan are from former employees, including Deanne Adams of St. John's.
"This woman treated me with total disrespect, yelling at me all the time — and even threatened to have me beaten," Adams said.
"I was a total wreck after this whole ordeal and I couldn't even go to a public place without thinking she had someone following me."
In one instance, Adams believes she even got bedbug bites from handling unwashed, used clothing that Khan put up for sale right after they were donated. Adams also said that Khan refused to let her or other staff use the only bathroom in the store, claiming it was for "management."
While those examples were traumatic enough for the former employee, Adams said Khan crossed a line when she sent her a text saying, "I can understand why you were beaten by your ex husband," and other hurtful comments.
Adams said she was relieved to see a boycott group had been set up on Facebook, and was reassured to see there were others who were going through the same ordeal.
Dozens of other people, including customers and former employees, have reached out to CBC News with accusations against Khan, but the store owner continues to demand money in return for a response.
The RNC continues to say it cannot confirm or deny calls pertaining to Khan or her store.