In a scathing take-down, Chef David Burke(formerly executive chef of Fishtail and David Burke Kitchen), has been sued by his former business partner, Jeffrey Citron, who together formed the David Burke Group’s holding company, Watershed Ventures, in 2008. In the lawsuit, Citron cites that Burke “habitually betrayed” his trust, went behind his back to break contracts, and stiffed him revenue, according to the New York Post. He has been described by his former partner as a “money-hungry backstabber.”
Watershed Ventures and KEC Holdings will officially be suing the chef for $1.6 million for the money he paid to Burke over a six-year period, as well as damages.
“When he thought no one was looking, he simply took for himself, out of naked greed, lucrative business projects that he was required to try to land for the benefit,” the lawsuit says.
According to Citron, Burke secretly made side deals with Bowlmor and the U.S. Tennis Association, even though any money he made on outside ventures was to be shared with his business partners, according to the Watershed contract. He also apparently treated company funds like “his own personal piggy bank,” dipping into investors’ money to hire a limo driver and charging personal expenses on a company credit card.
David Burke officially left his own restaurant group in May 2014, citing “operational differences.” A spokesman for Burke said, “The Watershed Group is improperly holding itself out as the ‘David Burke Group.'”
This is not the first time Burke has been involved in a lawsuit: last year, he was sued for discrimination by a former employee.
The Daily Meal has reached out to the David Burke Group for comment.