Powerhouse French chef used partner’s cash for holidays, expenses: lawsuit

New York Post 2 days ago

A three-star Michelin chef allegedly burned through millions of his Manhattan restaurant partner’s money paying for jaunts to his own French vacation home and expenses for a Paris eatery, according to a lawsuit.

Poultry maestro Antoine Westermann, who presides over several restaurants in France and is known for asking to be removed from the Michelin guide, was allegedly so freewheeling with businessman’s cash as the pair opened Le Coq Rico in Manhattan, he ballooned the eatery’s $2.4 million budget to a fowl $6.9 million, Francis Staub claims.

Westerman charged Staub $19,000 for his travel to East Hampton and Woodstock as well as Grignan, France, where he has a vacation house; spent $16,000 for employees to work on one of his Paris eateries and another $200,000 on marketing; paid $350,000 for Le Coq Rico’s woodwork; insisted on using architects in both New York and France, and charged $40,000 for miscellaneous expenses, Staub said in court papers.

Staub is seeking unspecified damages. A lawyer for Westermann didn’t return a message.

Westermann, lauded for his focus on chicken, was booted without public explanation from the East 20th Street eatery in 2018, and quickly sued Westhaub II LLC, the corporate entity he and Staub used to open Le Coq Rico, for continuing to use his name and image in promoting the eatery.

“Lackluster financial performance” got Westermann the boot, Staub now claims in his own lawsuit against the chef.


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