News broke late last night that three of Portland's high-profile restaurateurs have entered a legal battle worth $1.6 million: As the filed complaint below shows, Ramzy Hattar, co-owner of Kachka and River Pig Saloon, is suing ChefStable owner Kurt Huffman and Lardo chef Rick Gencarelli for control of two of the three Lardo locations (Lardo West and Lardo East).
Hattar, Huffman, and Gencarelli all have stakes in Lardo, with Hattar controlling 10% of the company, and Hattar's lawsuit alleges that Huffman and Gencarelli aimed to cut Hattar out of the newest Lardo location, Lardo North. The lawsuit also alleges that Huffman and Gencarelli diverted $200,000 of Lardo West and Lardo East's assets into Lardo North and the Philippe's Bread bakery without Hattar's knowledge, and that Huffman and Gencarelli tried to take away Hattar's voting rights for Lardo West and Lardo East. This comes on the heels of Frice Bakery's sudden closure in its shared space with Philippe's Bread.
Hattar has not commented on the lawsuit. Huffman, speaking with WWeek, denied both of the lawsuit's allegations, blaming the lawsuit on a management dispute. The founder of ChefStable, Huffman has stakes in sixteen Portland restaurants, including St. Jack, Oven & Shaker, and Ox. Huffman also told WWeek that Gencarelli owns all intellectual property rights to Lardo and that Hattar is endangering the health of Lardo by filing the lawsuit.
If Hattar wins, he could be awarded the ability to buy both Lardo West and Lardo East, valued at $700,000 and $900,000 respectively, and a ten-percent stake in Lardo North.