Matt Levine Sues Sons of Essex Partners For $20 Million
Nightlife operator Matt Levine files a lawsuit against his former partners, after their working relationship went sour.
According to the Daily News, the high profile restauranteur, who was the public face of Lower East Side venues Sons of Essex and Cocktail Bodega, filed the $20 million suit last week in state Supreme Court. The partnership split made headlines this past April, when Cocktail Bodega was shuttered and a war of words ensued between Levine and Michael Shah, the real estate investor backing he restaurants.
Here’s how the News reported the story:
Matthew Levine is suing his former partners at the lower East Side celebrity hangout Sons of Essex and other hot spots for $20 million, saying they used his good name to build a foodie empire and then tossed him out with the trash. Levine claims Michael Shah allowed a convicted felon to steal from the businesses, filed fraudulent paperwork and used restaurant resources to host fundraisers for mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio and public advocate candidate Reshma Saujani (the candidates reportedly paid for the events)… Shah, 35, let accountant Victor Jung cook the books to filch cash, says the lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court last week, noting that Jung served time in federal prison for embezzling $1.3 million from NBC Universal in 2008. Jung also broke laws by moving booze between restaurants and allowing customers to smoke cigarettes and marijuana in one of the venues, the lawsuit alleges. Then Shah gave Levine the boot, freezing him out this March.