A server who works catered events at the Financial District Beekman Hotel has filed a wage lawsuit against celebrity chef Tom Colicchio and his company that runs private dining events at Temple Court, his restaurant inside the hotel.
Kevin Jenkins, who has worked for “Crafted Beekman LLC” since May 2018, according to the complaint, is seeking class action status on behalf of at least 40 current or former employees, alleging that Colicchio’s company knowingly stole their tips. Notorious restaurant attorney Maimon Kirschenbaum is on the case, where Jenkins aims to reel in those lost wages for himself and others who have worked there over the past six years.
Colicchio tells Eater that tips are not collected at these events: Employees are paid a fixed hourly wage of $25 at private events.
The chef has a restaurant called Temple Court inside the Beekman Hotel, one of many places he runs under his Crafted Hospitality restaurant group. The lawsuit specifically alleges that Colicchio’s niece Jennifer, who helps manage catered events at Temple Court, among other managers, kept tips that were meant for event service staff.
On top of that, Jenkins claims that event goers were charged a $500 “staffing fee” and a 23 percent “administrative fee” in addition to their regular bills — money that should’ve been distributed amongst the servers and bartenders working that event, but was not, according to the lawsuit.
According to the lawsuit, under New York law, places that charge “administrative” fees must clearly disclose that the charge is not a gratuity. And since the catering company failed to do so on its invoices and guest checks, the lawsuit claims that those charges should’ve been handled as tips for the staff.
When contacted for comment, Colicchio told Eater that the private event contract explicitly states that the 23 percent administrative fee, as well as any other fees, including room rental and entertainment charges, are not gratuities distributed to service staff, but rather charges applied to overhead, operating, and administrative costs. “We believe that we operate above-board,” he says.
The Beekman Hotel, located at 123 Nassau St., near Beekman Street, and is also home to Keith McNally’s French brasserie Augustine.