March 09, 2012 8:34am PT by Erin Carlson
'The Chew's' Mario Batali to Pay $5.25 Million in Lawsuit by Restaurant Employees
Mario Batali, co-host of ABC's The Chew and owner of restaurants across the country, will pay a $5.25 million to settle a lawsuit alleging he helped himself to more than his fair share of employee tips.
The lawsuit against Batali and New York-based business partner Joseph Bastianich was filed in 2010 on behalf of 1,000-plus waiters, captains, busboys, bartenders and other staffers. According to The New York Times, the class-action settlement still needs a judge's stamp of approval.
Former staffers claimed Batali and Bastianich enforced a policy where they pocked between 4 to 5 percent of tips from wine sales. They had been told that money deducted went to research wines and replace broken glasses but there were no findings to support that assertion.
"The matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties," said a joint statement from attorneys for the employees and Batali.
The red-haired chef, who has a penchant for wearing orange Crocs, is a partner in New York's Eataly, as well as the owner of the city's Babbo, Bar Jamon and Otto, among other culinary hotspots. He recently went road-tripping through Spain with pal Gwyneth Paltrow for the PBS series On the Road Again.
He recently got in a bit of trouble for comparing Wall Street bankers to Hitler and Stalin, shortly thereafter issuing an apology amid a boycott of his restaurants.