The Palm’s family feud rages on with a bankruptcy filing by the chain steakhouse’s parent company in what one half of the family claims is an attempt to avoid the nearly $120 million payout they’re owed.
Just One More Restaurant, the company that licenses out the Palm name, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Florida on Thursday, CNBC reports, coming months after a judge ordered the chain restaurant to pay a massive amount of money in a ruling that she called “a textbook example of fiduciary misconduct.”
A Palm spokesperson tells Eater that “none of the operating Palm Restaurants are impacted by this action. This is a family dispute over the original Palm Restaurant, which is closed.”
But the opposing side alleges it’s much more. After a dramatic lawsuit between family members of the historic New York steakhouse — in which Garry Ganzi and Claire Breen, grandchildren of the founders, successfully sued their cousin Walter Ganzi Jr. and his partner Bruce Bozzi Sr. for locking them out of proper profits — Ganzi and Breen’s lawyers are now alleging that the bankruptcy filing is to avoid the damages.
“It is a clear stunt,” co-lead trial counsel for the plaintiffs Fred Newman says in a statement. “We are confident that the Bankruptcy Court will see through it.”
The Palm’s lawyers have not immediately returned Eater’s request for comment, but Leon Bayer, partner at bankruptcy law firm Bayer, Wishman, & Leotta, says that he suspects the filing is an attempt to slow down the payment while the Palm Restaurant Group pursues an appeal — ultimately trying to get the plaintiffs to “agree to a significant reduction in the judgment,” he says.
Ganzi and Breen were part owners of the original Palm that closed in 2015, and in the 1970s, Ganzi Jr. and Bozzi Sr. created a separate company that owns all the new locations outside of New York — leaving Ganzi and Breen out of profits and instead paying a licensing fee per location. There are now more than two dozen locations in the U.S. and Mexico of the steakhouse known for its caricature-filled walls, of which there are three in New York City.
The bankruptcy filing shows that the parent company owes between $10 million and $50 million to less than 50 people. Notably this number does not include the $120 million judgment, which if bankruptcy filings are to be believed, the company does not have.