Celebrity chef and TV personality, Mario Batali took a break from touring the culinary delights of the Spanish countryside with Gwyneth Paltrow to settle a class action lawsuit filed against him and fellow restaurateur Joseph Bastianich.
The settlement agreement was entered into the record at the Federal Court for The Southern District of New York to the tune of $5.25 million.
The lawsuit stems from allegations made by employees at three of Batali's restaurants that the the top chef and his business partner were garnishing tips owed to their employees, an act that violates the Fair Labor Standards act.
Apparently, Batali and Bastianich were pocketing gratuities equal to 5% of nightly wine sales at Babbo, Casa Mono and Tarry Lodge. The complaint, which was filed against the pair in 2010, alleged that "Mr. Batali, Mr. Bastianich, and their restaurants unlawfully confiscated a portion of their workers' hard-earned tips in order to supplement their own profits."
The settlement agreement is still subject to the approval of a federal judge, but attorneys for both the defendants and the plaintiffs are confident that the terms will be upheld.
The $5.25 million sum is significant, but it begs the question: just how much wine were these guys moving?