A husband-and-wife cattle business claims they got a bum steer from embattled restaurateur Ken Friedman when he stiffed them out of nearly $40,000 in custom butchered beef, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in Manhattan Supreme Court.
Friedman’s food empire has been in free-fall since he was accused by employees of sexual harassment in a December New York Times article.
The DeBoers provided up to 12 steers a week to Biergarten, LLC, an umbrella company for the restaurants run by Friedman, chef April Bloomfield and investor Ed Scheetz.
The payments were being made to the upstate cattle farmers until June when they stopped, according to the suit. That was six months after the Times bombshell report that Friedman groped, kissed and even bit staffers regularly.
Since that report, top staffers have quit and Bloomfield and Friedman have begun to break up their partnership. Beef orders started dropping off.
Whitegold Butchers, one of their restaurants, shutdown in early August with an outstanding bill of $37,5133.39.
The couple, who have four adolescent children, said that everyone is ignoring their calls and letters, leaving them no choice but to file a lawsuit.
“They’re almost putting us under,” Derrick DeBoer said. “We both had to go back to work to make ends meet.”
He said that one underling offered to settle the bill for $5,000.
“I just laughed at her,” he said.
Friedman, Bloomfield and Scheetz did not respond to requests for comment.