Geoffrey Zakarian Files for Bankruptcy to Dodge Class-Action Lawsuit

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Photo: Melissa Hom

The Times is reporting that Geoffrey Zakarian, he of Chopped, Next Iron Chef, the Lambs Club, and New York Diet alum status, has filed for personal bankruptcy. According to the story, "Of the 179 creditors listed in the Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition he filed on April 6 in federal court in Bridgeport, Conn., 152 are former cooks at Country." Why so many cooks? They're part of a class-action lawsuit against Zakarian that alleges "when he was an owner of the restaurant and its chef, he failed to pay the workers time and a half for overtime, falsified pay records to shortchange them and deducted from their paychecks for staff meals they were not given." The cooks are seeking $1 million in damages and $250,000 in penalties. But the bankruptcy filing "automatically puts a hold on any litigation ... including the class action lawsuit." Zakarian himself isn't commenting, but says he hasn't done anything wrong. [NYT]