NY Times on the Busted Chef

Today the NY Times writes about the Busted Chef drama:

New York Times: Charges and Closed Shops Rattle..: Yet while the new establishments drew sizable crowds and seemed to have a promising future, there were disturbing rumblings about Mr. Kaufman. More than a year ago, commenters on the Brooklyn Heights Blog accused him of financial sleight of hand and outright fraud. Some employees said their paychecks began bouncing about three months ago.

Some also said that Alan Young, an owner of the businesses, told them within the last few weeks that Mr. Kaufman no longer worked for him and should not be allowed on the premises.

“I thought Dan was an owner — we all did, because he passed himself off as one,” said Farrah Powell, a manager at the Wine Bar. “I never met the real owners until all of this came to light. I think that was by Dan’s design, so we’d have no one higher up to talk to about his behavior.”

…Julia Horowitz, who owns the Blue Pig in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., and was a partner in the Henry Street shop, said Mr. Kaufman was a “con man who bamboozled the whole community” even as he was given full autonomy to run the shops. But Mr. Brill said that Mr. Kaufman was a victim of corrupt business practices by others and described him as “almost a patsy.”

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  • http://adsformyself.blogspot.com Tim N.

    Chef Dan’s a crook? Wow, who knew?

    Guess he had as many identities in real life as he had on this blog. On the other hand, he now has plenty of time to perfect his recipies, his treatment for baldness, and his cancer cure.

  • E G

    I never connected to any of those establishments. However, it did irk me that the Time’s article never made mention of the Court St Busy Chef which was such and oddball establishment that never quite introduced or explained itself (as with all of the businesses that preceded it). Upon and somewhat accidental but closer examination I found uncomfortable employees and an entirely unappealing product line.

  • Just a Neighbor

    I miss the wine bar :( How do we reach out to the landlords if we want to discuss putting a business in there?

  • Beavis

    I miss the moldy lemons and limes in the window.

  • AB

    …and the cork collections.

    Clearly a lot of thought and cash went into the Wine Bar window displays.

  • beth

    Everytime I walk past that corner now (every day) I shake my head in disgust. I knew people lost their jobs because of this, but to read their names make it more real and more depressing.

  • Just a Neighbor

    That last line by Farrah really bothered me in the article – that she’s worried about putting Wine Bar down on her resume because she didn’t want to be associated with all of this. Anyone who’s spent more than a few minutes in her presence knows that she was genuinely excited to be there and that she (along with many of the others) was working her rear end off.. anyone with half a brain in the industry would know see that and applaud Farrah and her colleagues for trying to hang in there as long as they did. I wish them all the best in getting great jobs soon.

  • my2cents

    Yes, I never liked some of these establishments, but it is really sad to see so many people lose their jobs, and to have a row of blank shops to greet me when i get off the A train every day. Just a bad situation all around.

  • AB

    Well, was Kaufman a part-owner or not?

    There seem to be conflicting reports on this. Can anyone say for sure?

  • Senor Salsa

    Burritoville, Burritoville, Cranberry Corner for a Burritoville!

  • nigel

    The Times calls Chef Jerk “affable.” Didn’t most of us generally get a “sleazeball” feel from him rather than an “affable” one, long before there was any proof of said sleaziness?

  • MisterRememberwhen

    Well, the list of phony ‘owners’ got another name longer in the last couple of weeks, I see. I remember when – possibly a year ago – another was calling himself ‘owner’ that I know as fact was not the case. The thought that this particularly ‘bitter waitress’ could own a business and concentrate on it for more time than he takes to insert his prescription list into conversation was a hilarious assertion.

  • lori

    My husbandand I were one of the scam victims. Our AMEX was charged over $1500 in early July for an “internet catering order on busychef.com that was never delivered” according to the management office. They were nice enough over the phone, and AMEX credited us back the amount right away and closed the account, but still it was disconcerting. We’ve been boycotting the establishments since it happened and am glad there have been repercussions. The owners should have been more involved in their business. Gave us a good wake-up call regarding using our credit cards for smaller purchases. We’ll be paying a lot more in cash from now on.

  • Jazz

    You mean the guy who posts people’s credit card transactions on the internet was the other owner?

  • Cranky

    I hear you Nigel. That certainly was my feeling.

  • pineapple express

    Jazz that is an interesting link. I’m surprised no one has commented on it.

  • murphy