Serge Becker: Drug-Dealing ‘Consultant’ Is Not a Co-Owner of the Box, La Esquina

Guest of a Guest broke the story yesterday that Cordell Lochin — thought be a partner in Serge Becker’s joints La Esquina, 205, and the Box — will be sentenced on October 10 for importing more than 100 kilos of weed and dealing it in New York in 2004 and 2005. There’s been speculation that the August 24 raid of the Box and La Esquina was related to this, and we’ve heard rumors that Cordell was recently arrested again — but the Box’s publicist, Nadine Johnson, tells us neither of these things are correct (a check with NYPD turned up no recent arrests). She also describes Cordell as a consultant and not a partner in the Box, as reported in a recent Observer profile and other places: “We had taken the decision to call him a partner, but he isn’t a real partner or employee for the Box or La Esquina.” Serge Becker did not know about Cordell’s past until ten days ago, when his case went to trial, Johnson says. She also issued an emphatic statement to Grub Street on behalf of Becker further disavowing Cordell’s ownership stake.

Cordell Lochin has been an indispensable advisor of my restaurant consulting firm, SB LLC, for these last two and half years. When he brought to my attention that he was in legal trouble for a youthful mistake of years ago, it came as a shock. This earlier bad judgment should not destroy all the positive things he has accomplished since then.

He has proven that he was more than ready to write a more constructive chapter to his life story. He is a uniquely gifted social connector with a keen understanding of the subtle dynamics of a very fickle business. He is taking responsibility for his actions and is ready to pay his debt to society. Our heart goes out to his family and close friends in this time of distress.

Any insinuation of Cordell's involvement as an investor, owner, or employee with our clients La Esquina and The Box is incorrect. Although it makes for salacious news, it couldn't be further from the truth.

So will Becker ban Cordell from the empire? Not necessarily. “All the partners are willing to give him a second chance when he comes out,” Johnson tells us. Of course, New York City nightlife is fickle: Who knows whether the Box will still be open then?

Cordell Lochin in Trouble With a Capital “T” [Guest of a Guest]
Related: Behind the Box