Photo: 190111-news-dogbonenopay Dog bone company owner disputes back pay

The dog chew maker Better Bones Inc, which set up shop in a mill complex in Swanzey, is in trouble with the state for allegedly not paying employees.

SWANZEY — The owner of a dog bone manufacturing company is disputing a Department of Labor report that he owes employees more than $28,000 in back pay.

“The whole report is one big sham,” said Angelo Nastovski, owner of Better Bones Inc., which opened late last year in the mills building complex on South Winchester Street.

The New Hampshire Department of Labor issued Nastovski a report Tuesday showing he owes three employees a little more than $28,000 for work they did in eight pay periods in September and October.

Nastovski said it is untrue the he owes any employees wages because he never had any employees to begin with.

“None of these people have ever been employed by me,” he said.

Holly Morin, who is owed more than $15,000, according to the state’s report, disagrees with Nastovski’s statement.

Morin said she worked evenings for Better Bones, selling the dog chew products to pet stores while maintaining her own full-time employment during the day.

“I’m the one who got it into Achille Agway,” she said. Achille Agway has five locations in New Hampshire and one in Vermont.

Nastovski maintains he never hired Morin or anyone, despite the state report that found Better Bones had seven employees.

He said Morin would come in after hours to the business, but that doesn’t make her an employee.

“I didn’t hire her,” he said.

After an investigation by the Department of Labor last year, Nastovski claims he was told there were no issues. Then the state issued its findings on Tuesday.

Rudolph Ogden, the deputy commissioner for the New Hampshire Department of Labor, said the state is aware that Nastovski claims he had no employees.

“That is really at the crux of the dispute here,” Ogden said. “The feeling of the department, after the inspection, is that there were individuals engaged in employment. I understand (Nastovski) may disagree with that, but that is something we will have to sort through in terms of adjudication of this matter.”

Morin said she has emails, texts messages and phone records to prove she was hired to sell the dog chew products, and that she was supposed to be the sales manager for the business.

Nastovski has 30 days to respond to the state’s report.