On Friday we reported that Cecilia Shim and Laurence Brown, formerly employees of Chelsea’s 1OAK, had brought a workplace discrimination suit against the club, alleging that a manager had told them “[Owner] Scott [Sartiano] has a thing about Asians, he wants all white girls.”
John “JE” Englebert of nearby clubs Prime and Suzie Wong leapt to the fore, issuing a press release inviting Shim and any other girls fired by 1OAK “to come into my venues for an interview.”
We asked Englebert if he had made this offer directly to the ex-employees. He said he had not, but “if you can get in touch with them on my behalf that would be great.”
While Englebert tells Runnin’ Scared he “personally never met Scott, nor did I ever hear people speak badly of him,” he isn’t surprised to hear the offensive alleged statements. “This is New York City,” he informed us, “and anything can happen and does.”
He believes Shim et alia would be happier at his “bigger establishments” where “more money is generated at the end of the day” than at 1OAK. “My employees are like my family,” he adds. “I dont judge people from their ethnic background.”
We suspect Englebert is having some fun at his rivals’ expense. In May he “upstaged” 1OAK, per New York‘s Grub Street, by offering to buy Lindsay Lohan a new fur coat to replace the one that had been lifted at the club. He’s got a keen nose for publicity ops: when Belmar, New Jersey mayor Kenneth Pringle insulted Englebert’s native Staten Island, the impresario in his capacity as “President of the Staten Island Good Neighborhood Association” simultaneously called for a “boycott” of the municipality and invited Pringle “to spend 24 hours in the crown island jewel of New York” as his guest.
But it’s fun for us, too. Mostly this gig is about following grubby politicians, lurid crime stories, and other bloggers. We won’t scoff at a little club-war glamour.