Image

Dale Talde accused of conning partners out of millions in lawsuit

A former “Top Chef” contestant who has built a successful food empire scammed his partners in a restaurant near the Barclays Center out of millions of dollars, a new lawsuit charges.

Celebrity cook Dale Talde is accused of using the payroll and the equipment from the restaurant, Atlantic Social, to prop up his other businesses.

Brothers George and Steve Menexas filed the lawsuit on Tuesday in Brooklyn Supreme Court, demanding that Talde and two other business associates fork over $3.5 million.

The brothers said they teamed up with Talde and his Three Kings Restaurant Group to open Atlantic Social in February 2016. Talde was on two seasons of “Top Chef,” a popular reality TV food competition.

At the time, the brothers already had a Tony Roma’s restaurant franchise at the location but decided to revamp, according to the lawsuit. A lawyer introduced them to Talde and his two Three Kings partners, David Massoni and John Bush.

By June 2017, the brothers began to suspect that the venture was a recipe for disaster.

They said they realized that mismanagement and other economic factors were not to blame for the restaurant’s poor performance compared to Talde’s other eateries.

 

“This entire complaint is preposterous. We look forward to resolving this matter appropriately in arbitration, which is what the parties’ contracts require,” the group said in a statement to the Daily News.

Brothers George and Steve Menexas filed the lawsuit on Tuesday in Brooklyn Supreme Court, demanding that Talde and two other business associates fork over $3.5 million.
Brothers George and Steve Menexas filed the lawsuit on Tuesday in Brooklyn Supreme Court, demanding that Talde and two other business associates fork over $3.5 million.

The brothers said they teamed up with Talde and his Three Kings Restaurant Group to open Atlantic Social in February 2016. Talde was on two seasons of “Top Chef,” a popular reality TV food competition.

At the time, the brothers already had a Tony Roma’s restaurant franchise at the location but decided to revamp, according to the lawsuit. A lawyer introduced them to Talde and his two Three Kings partners, David Massoni and John Bush.

By June 2017, the brothers began to suspect that the venture was a recipe for disaster.

They said they realized that mismanagement and other economic factors were not to blame for the restaurant’s poor performance compared to Talde’s other eateries.

“This entire complaint is preposterous. We look forward to resolving this matter appropriately in arbitration, which is what the parties’ contracts require,” the group said in a statement to the Daily News.

“They are obviously doing this lawsuit in a transparent effort and bad faith effort to besmirch Dale Talde’s reputation in the press,” said Jeff Schreiber, a lawyer for Three Kings.

The Menexases said in their lawsuit that Talde, Massoni and Bush used Atlantic Social employees to perform work at their other restaurants — which are in Park Slope, Midtown, Jersey City and Miami. The Menexases are not partners in those ventures.

The lawsuit also says that Talde, Massoni and Bush got employees to quit Atlantic Social and go work at their other restaurants.

The brothers also accuse the trio of taking a $2,329 freezer from the bar of Atlantic Social last month and using it at one of their other businesses.

The lawsuit says Talde, Massoni and Bush also had the kitchen manager at Atlantic Social delete large amounts of information from the restaurant’s computer when they began to suspect that the brothers were on to their scheme.

“Because these actions were taken after Atlantic threatened litigation over operations at the restaurant, it is a textbook case of willful spoliation of evidence,” the lawsuit says.

The defendants later told the Menexases that the kitchen manager was fired. But the brothers said Talde continues to employ the axed manager at other businesses, including at a pop-up location in South Street Seaport.

“This is but one of many examples defendants rewarding their ‘soldiers’ who have taken direct action against plaintiffs in furtherance of the fraudulent scheme,” the lawsuit says.

Court records show that Atlantic Social is currently being sued for $60,639 over an unpaid bill from restaurant supplier Chef’s Warehouse.

A former Tony Roma’s employee also sued the Menexases’ holding company, Atlantic Yards Plaza LLC, in 2014, claiming she was not paid overtime.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s