Restaurant staff suing employers is rampant in New York these days. The latest victim/culprit is Geoffrey Zakarian, who is being sued for $1 million by kitchen workers who toiled under him at the now-defunct Country. The effects of the lawsuit have already taken their toll: The chef and restaurateur has filed for personal bankruptcy.
According to the Times, 179 creditors were listed on his bankruptcy petition and 152 of them are ex-cooks at Country. Zakarian is being charged with everything from failing to pay overtime to falsifying pay records, but the most damning part of the case is that a former partner in the restaurant is on the plaintiffs’ side. Adam Block blamed Zakarian’s “narcissistic behavior and arrogance” on the restaurant’s failure and the ensuing labor violation claims. The lawsuit should not affect Zakarian’s two more recent openings, the Lambs Club restaurant in the Chatwal Hotel and the National in the Benjamin Hotel. Unless, of course, the employees there get any ideas …
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 27, 2011