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Duly Noted

Friday, Mar 9, 2012, 5:14 pm

Mario Batali to Pay $5.25 Million for Tip Skimming Scam

By Lindsay Beyerstein

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Mike Lee, Creative Commons.

Celebrity chef Mario Batali and his business partner must pay $5.25 million for stealing from their own employees:

As many as 1,100 waiters, bartenders, captains and other staff members of his New York restaurants including Babbo and Del Posto may be compensated, the Associated Press reports.

The class-action suit was filed in a Manhattan federal court in 2010, with claims that Batali and Bastianich had a standard policy of deducting as much as 4 to 5 percent of the tip pool each night. [WaPo]

That's illegal.

The WaPo quotes food columnist Jonathan Gold saying that this won't damage Batali's image in the industry because he's such a gifted chef.

Of course, if Batali had gotten caught stealing from investors, his career would be over.


Lindsay Beyerstein is an award-winning investigative journalist and In These Times staff writer who writes the blog Duly Noted. Her stories have appeared in Newsweek, Salon, Slate, The Nation, Ms. Magazine, and other publications. Her photographs have been published in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times' City Room. She also blogs at The Hillman Blog (, a publication of the Sidney Hillman Foundation, a non-profit that honors journalism in the public interest.

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