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One If By Land Legal Battle Won, Venue To Focus on Updates

New York Business has the story of seven years of legal battles at One if By Land, Two if By Sea, where questions of ownership and management have been the backdrop for the venue's plummet in popularity from at high as Zagat's 15th most popular to its 2007 ranking of 41st. Instead of invest money in the restaurant, owners had been forced to spend revenues on legal services. The crux:

[Mr. Braiger's spurned sisters, Leonore Spinell and Adele Wooters] claimed that Mr. Goujjane, a married father of two, had used a sexual relationship with their brother to gain control of his assets. They also accused him of tampering with the will.

"We had hoped to keep the restaurant in the family," Ms. Spinell said through her lawyer, Marc Mandel.

The ensuing battle drained the restaurant of cash for reinvestment at a time when the city's dining landscape was rapidly changing. With the rise of celebrity chefs such as Mario Batali, new entries, like his Babbo, siphoned business from mainstays like One if by Land.

Now, it appears that the battle is finally over and Noury Goujjane -- and not members of One founder Armand Braiger's family -- owns the joint. Improvements and updates are planned.
· Ugly legal battle burns landmark restaurant [Crain's NYB]