In December, Ramzy Hattar — the restaurateur who owns stakes in Lardo, Kachka and River Pig Saloon — hoped to amicably settle the lawsuit he filed against ChefStable restaurateur Kurt Huffman and Lardo's Rick Gencarelli. As you may recall, Hattar alleged that he was cut out of ownership in Lardo when Huffman and Gencarelli created two new LLCs. The suit aimed to make ChefStable turn over both Lardo East and West (valued at $1.6M), along with ten percent ownership in Lardo North.
Instead of a resolution, that fight has escalated in a big way. Last night, Willamette Week reported that Hattar filed another lawsuit at the Multnomah County District Court, this one seeking $9 million in damages, including accusations of "breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, and—unusually—breach of federal racketeering laws, extending from the use of wire transfers and the U.S. Postal Service." WWeek also reports that Hattar "alleges Lardo funds were used to pay rents owed by Grassa and Ración, and to pay back debts incurred by Corazon."
"Anyone looking for a little background on those restaurants should know that Corazon shuttered three months after opening in 2012 to eventually become Lardo West and Gencarelli's Grassa. Ración suffered the same fate as Corazon late last year and is slated to be a still-yet-unnamed Gencarelli beer bar."
Adding to the ripple effect of the lawsuit, this morning Right at the Fork podcaster and Portland Food Adventure's (PFA) Chris Angelus said that the lawsuit has forced Gencarelli to back out of a planned trip to Italy that PFA had organized for later this year. PFA's preview dinner for that trip—which had been scheduled with Gencarelli for tonight at Grassa—has also been cancelled.
Stay tuned as this story develops.