Nick Fox reports that Geoffrey Zakarian, TV chef, owner of The Lambs Club and The National, and premier room service provider at the Borgata Resort & Casino, has filed for bankruptcy in an attempt to avoid fighting a class action suit with almost one hundred of his former chefs at Country, his restaurant that closed in 2008. There are a lot of ins and outs on this one, but basically, all his old chefs are seeking $1 million in damages and $250,00 in penalties for failing to pay them overtime, falsifying records, and deducting uneaten family meals from their pay.
Meanwhile his old partners, who have the workers' backs after settling with them in a different suit, are pretty much accusing him of bankrupting the restaurant by giving away too many meals to friends and family, expensing high end dinners on the company's credit card, taking four percent off the top of an unprofitable restaurant, failing to pay the proper taxes, and adding his wife to the payroll to the tune of $70,000 a year. For his part, Zakarian admits no wrongdoing.
In the bankruptcy filing, he lists assets of no more than $50,000 and liabilities of up to $1 million, though the Times notes that in addition to his two New York restaurants and his Atlantic City deal, he has a new spot opening in Miami Beach and rents a $3 million four-bedroom house in Greenwich, Connecticut. And he's on the next iteration of The Next Iron Chef.
· Star Chef, Facing a Suit, Files for Bankruptcy [NYT]
· All Coverage of Geoffrey Zakarian [~ENY~]