Geoffrey Zakarian is a celebrity chef in his own right. He participates in four programs on the Food Network, including "Chopped", and has operated a number of high-profile restaurants over the years. He has two restaurants in fashionable New York hotels and even has a hand in hotels in Atlantic City and Miami Beach. In spite of all of this, Zakarian filed for personal bankruptcy in federal court in Bridgeport, Connecticut in early April of this year.
Zakarian's Chapter 7 petition listed 179 creditors, 152 of which are former cooks from Country, a restaurant at the Carlton Hotel in Midtown Manhattan that closed in the summer of 2008. These cooks are part of a class action lawsuit against Zakarian and his management firm that was filed on July 3rd of the same year that Country closed its doors. According to their claims, they were shortchanged, denied full overtime wages and were subjected to deductions for staff meals that never took place.
A key issue of concern in regard to the lawsuit against Zakarian is the fact that two of his former partners appear to support the chefs' claims. Adam Block, a former partner in Country, has filed an affidavit in support of the chefs. Moshe Lax, another partner, has said in a separate lawsuit that Zakarian violated labor laws.
According to the bankruptcy petition, Zakarian has liabilities of up to $1 million compared to a mere $50,000 in assets.
Filing for bankruptcy places an automatic stay on all collection efforts against a borrower, including any pending lawsuits. Scott A. Lucas, the plaintiffs' attorney in the case against Zakarian, has stated that he would work to have the class action suit move forward in spite of the bankruptcy filing.
Whether filing as a business or individual, handling bankruptcy proceedings can be a difficult undertaking without legal counsel. The largest bankruptcy firm in Long Island, Jacoby & Jacoby has handled more than 15,000 bankruptcy cases for clients through the years. The team has more than five decades of collective experience and is committed to helping debtors take advantage of the relief and protection that bankruptcy has to offer.
Contact a Long Island bankruptcy attorney at Jacoby & Jacoby today to discuss your case.