Busted Chef Update: The Eagle Gets Into It

The Brooklyn Eagle finally posted their “Busted Chef” story:

Several employees spoke to the Eagle on condition of anonymity. One said that other employees may have been in on the scheme, and had been fired. He added that workers’ checks had bounced multiple times, although not recently.

According to the Eagle, Kaufman was merely a manager:

“He [Kaufman] was hired to get these restaurants into shape after they opened,” he said. He added that one of the reasons for the alleged credit-card fraud, in addition to personal gain, may have been to inflate sales figures.

The employee also said that “Kaufman was the manager, but he represented himself as the owner.”

However, that can’t be entirely true — He had to have had more than a simple managerial role. We know for a fact (from a source in Vermont) that Uncommon Grounds, the first incarnation of The Wine Bar On Henry, was named after Kaufman’s favorite hangout in Burlington, Vermont, and Busy Chef is the name of another place in Burlington, Vermont Busy Chef, where chefs prepare ready-made gourmet meals for on-the-go customers (sound familiar?). It sounds like he had a larger role than manager.

The Eagle mentions “The actual owners, whom he described as two men named Alan Young and one whose first name was David, haven’t yet contacted anyone on staff about the situation, he added.” Alan Young is a local lawyer who has been involved in the various “Corner of Cranberry” places as well as several other local ventures in the past (usually partnered with Ghorchian). The “David” we presume is David Seatts, the other name listed on the pending liquor license for Busy Chef on Court Street (under the guise of Blue Pig). David Seatts owns and operates the Tavern On Nostrand, in Crown Heights, where Mr. Young’s name is attached to the liquor license. According to the Time Out NY description, David worked as a contractor for a decade, “doing face-lifts on Brooklyn mainstays like Chez Henry and Cafe Buon Gusto”.

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  • mickdaquick

    I think it would be both instructive & therapeutic if everyone came clean on their Dan Kaufman stories. My eyes almost popped out of my head when I saw what he has been accused of…

    Shock has settled into recognition of a potential mental illness in our midst.

    In my interaction, he was initially helpful ( I live above one of his[?] concerns, and he attended to the issues ]. But then I realized he was just buttering me up for the Coup de Grace… A noisy bar beneath me.

    Since then he has been an armchair nemesis. And to see what has happened since our rather menial dispute is fascinating.

    Does any one from Vermont, Boston, NYC, or beyond have anything to add to this ever-expanding cess-pool of understanding?

    And will the “Corner of Cranberry” ownership ever be VETTED[prosecuted]???

    (Just Sayin’, Yo…)

  • http://BrooklynHeightsBlog Karl

    I, for one, have read enough. Obviously Dan has problems and personally I don’t see the added benefit of kicking the guy any more when he has fallen so far already.

    If you get enjoyment from reading more misery, there are plenty of books that will fill that need.

  • CJP

    Actually I’m still kind of curious about all of this. I remember reading the initial posts in recent months about the stores in question and thinking “why do so many people have so much negativity about these businesses?”

    But turns out where there’s smoke there’s fire. I never patronized any of the stores; I never had a beef with any employee or the owner; and yes it’s a tragedy for the employees who are clearly getting painted with the same brush.

    The accusations are serious and the consequences for those victimized by his alleged actions are major. I for one am riveted by this story and it’s sufficient to divert me away from scooter lady, dog poop man and the car-alarm nastygram.

    And yes, I do have a life!

  • Cranky

    I’m curious too CJP. Karl = Dan – after all he did make bail. lol.

    Well I just wonder if his arrest had anything to do with the erroneous credit/debit card charges that were happening to a lot of people a few months ago. Maybe he was part of that ring. As it happened to me and 2 friends of mine who have patronized the establishments, I will be watching the story carefully.

    That being said, just because he’s a b***hole (and I speak from personal experience) doesn’t mean I will be holding it against any of the establishments. Who knows, if they get a real manager in there, the stores could improve quality and be successful. Every time I patronized one of those places, the staff wasn’t the problem…it was food quality and D.K.

    I only went to the wine bar because Amanda was in there. The staff was nice too though.

  • sorry

    Yeah, I remember apologizing to Karl many months ago, because he was defending Chef D, and we all thought he was D himself. The fact of it is, Karl (or whomever you are) many, many people trusted this guy, spent tousands of dollars on his businesses, and tens of thousands of dollars were stolen from the trusting people, everyone now has the right to hear as much as they want about this guy’s past and present dealings. As said many times to many other people on many other issues, if you dont want to read, just pass the threads by. Bring on the dirt!

  • GHB

    “I don’t see the added benefit of kicking the guy any more when he has fallen so far already.”
    Really? You don’t? That miserable bastard ripped of many, many people. He deserves whatever comes to him.

  • Cranky

    LOL love the new graphic. hehehehe.

  • what a mess

    thankful his little girl never got to know him….or what a shame that would have been

  • 80 Cranberry Resident

    Wow, so much hatred. I think Dan Kaufman is a prince — my dealings with him have always been great. Dan was extremely responsive to my complaint about the noise from the ventilation system in his kitchen. He had the fan replaced within a week of my complaint. The noise and vibration problems vanished immediately and have never returned. Day to day, I have always found Dan to be a cheerful, helpful “fixture” in the neighborhood. I miss seeing him around and I wish him all the best. And to all those folks who posted nasty comments about the food at Busy Chef, I have a suggestion — try the brownies, yum!

  • Jazz

    80CR, clearly you don’t understand the first rule of the grifter: make friends by solving a problem for them.

  • Stacy & Dan

    A few months ago, the waitress at the Oven ran Dan’s credit card through, we got another drink, and then she ran the full bill through. We were only given the second credit card receipt to sign. It took 3 weeks of phone calls and visits in person before they finally gave us the refund. Now I see this wasn’t a mistake. It was part of scam. Check your credit card bills!!!

  • Troubled Reader

    There is a lot to be said for paying with cash!

  • real talk

    yes its true dan did play a part in name of the comapny and as for the checks they”re still bouncing all over the place and now they”re sayin that busychef oven blue pig and winebar are under a new management ( not true ) i was told a lot of people help dan do the things he was doin and now they”re in the top positions( question- could it be they”re puttin together a new scan ) stay tune because this is the only web-site thats gonna have the news first………………

  • lpnf

    I am so tired of the bull that people are writing, and I just have to set the record straight. ….Dan Kaufman was not a owner of any of the henry street establishments. In fact he started out as a cook and quickly charmed his way up the ladder. He became the man in charge merely because the owners of the establishments lacked the time and expertise to run the restaurants on Henry Street.

    Dan proved to be a liar and a manipulator. He used credit card charges to buffer the accounts to allude the owners to the bigger
    issue. The fact that he was stealing money from the accounts and the cash registers at the end of the night. In addition to his sticky fingers, he neglected to pay suppliers as well as employees. When he did pay in checks they all bounced. In fact several employees were in arrears for weeks!

    And FYI, it was a scheme set in motion by the employees of these establishments that provided the proof to the owners and the authorities and led to his subsequent arrest. All employees that were suspected of being allies with Dan were immediately fired.

    And yes. The businesses are under new management. Mr Kaufman is no longer affiliated with the companies, and there are no schemes to scam people out of their money.Employees are merely trying to keep their jobs.

    We are so busy gossiping about Dan and his double dipping, that we fail to see the bigger problems. Innocent and hard working people are out of jobs, others left behind to pick up the pieces. The owners left in severe debt. (You have no idea of the enormity of the stuff Dan masterminded)

    Maybe we should spend the time to talk about the real issues and STOP making stuff up along the way.

    P.S. I should know I was a victim of Kaufman !!!


    following a link from above , why would someone apply for a liquor license 2 years ago under “the guise” of an ice cream shop at an address they only opened according to bhb a couple of months ago ? i think the mystery gets deeper , no ?

  • Jazz

    Samantha – It was originally called The Blue Pig Party Space. Oh yes.

  • intheknow

    Young and Seatts are even shadier then Kaufman.

  • sam

    lpnf – if people do not have ” the time nor the expertise ” to run a business then they have no business opening a business to begin with and so many businesses in such a relatively short time span . i heard they were opening up places in and around manhattan and such so ……..

  • Middagh St. Resident

    I just returned from a trip to find an over $400 charge to my credit card from Busy Chef. The June billing date on the bill was for a date prior to the evening we patronized Oven. My credit card company advised me to go on line to find out information about Busy Chef. I was startled to find your sidebar about contacting the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office. I did. Subsequently, I’ve had to cancel my credit card and contact my bank to check for identity theft.

    I don’t consider any report or comment on your blog about this “kicking him while he’s down.” If he is down, it is because he tried to take what was not his.