The war of words is heating up between Paul Wahlberg, brother of actors Mark and Donnie Wahlberg, and Edward St. Croix, Paul’s former business partner in restaurant chains Wahlburgers and Alma Nove.
St. Croix’s counter lawsuit against his former business associate of the Hingham, Mass., restaurants alleges that wrongful conduct within their business was not on his part, but rather it was Wahlberg, CEO Rick Vanzura, and Wahlberg’s brothers who engaged in wrongful activity.
The suit states that Wahlberg participated in an apparently romantic relationship with a 19-year-old employee, exposing the company to sexual harassment liability and litigation, contrary to complaints about St. Croix’s own performance.
Wahlburgers is a burger concept restaurant in Hingham, Mass., in the Hingham Shipyard commercial complex. The Wahlberg brothers have been in the midst of expanding the restaurant concept, looking to open up additional locations throughout the state, according to The Patriot Ledger.
Alma Nove, founded by Wahlberg and co-owned by brothers Mark and Donnie Wahlberg, is a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant located on the harbor with an extensive wine, microbrew, and cocktail list.
According to the counter suit, St. Croix (along with Alma Nove’s head of resources) confronted Wahlberg regarding his conduct but "upon information and belief, Wahlberg’s subsequent freeze out of St. Croix may have been motivated by anger over being called upon to account for a cease his own unlawful conduct."
The lawsuit was filed Jan. 10, 2013 in Plymouth County, Mass., in response to an earlier lawsuit in October 2012, where his former business partners and Vanzura claimed he mismanaged funds and lived lavishly off restaurant accounts, previously reported by the Boston Globe.
St. Croix’s lawsuit also alleges that Wahlberg conspired with his brother Mark to force Alma Nove to pay for renting him a private jet for his personal use, in turn causing Alma Nove to bill the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation to hide from the foundation’s donors about the personal use of the private yet.
It goes on to say that Wahlberg paid his wife a "salary" and his mother $300 per week in cash from restaurant funds without reporting payment on required tax forms. "St. Croix warned Wahlberg he should not make these payments to his mother, but Wahlberg continued to do so," according to the suit.
Additionally, he used his restaurant’s funds to pay his wife’s American Express bill with personal expenses each month, and misappropriated money to pay payroll for Wahlburgers.
A spokeswoman for Wahlberg declined to comment on the recent allegations. Tara Myslinski, St. Croix’s attorney, did not return calls.
The original lawsuit against St. Croix alleged mismanagement on his part, claiming that Alma Nove was operating at a loss, despite its $4.5 million in revenue from its first year in business. It seeks to remove St. Croix from his position without any additional money being offered to him.