Take a beefy celebrity chef, add a small dash of a wannabe entrepreneur, then stir, stir and stir and you have the recipe for the ongoing, escalating legal quagmire between Gordon Ramsay and Serendipity 3 operator Rowen Seibel at Caesars Palace.
Eater Vegas has been plotting the trajectory of the complaints, which began when the pair's Fat Cow restaurant shuttered in March at The Grove shopping center in Los Angeles. Seibel, who had invested money and was managing the place, sued Ramsay for $10.8 million amidst claims the closing was part of master plan by the chef to win full control and ultimately re-brand the concept.
Ramsay counter claimed, citing Seibel's "fraudulent scheme to freeload upon the renown and acumen of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay." He also added Seibel was "inept," "self-dealing," "incompetent and dishonest." Plus, the operator "begged to be included," but "proved egregiously inept in its management."
The cases are working their parallel way through the New York County Civil Supreme Court system, with the next appearances before Justice Marcy S. Friedman scheduled for Feb. 26.
Now, TMZ is reporting the landlord of the Fat Cow is chasing his own lost income and wants Ramsay to pay up. As insurance, Ramsay has preemptively filed legal papers demanding Seibel pay "$300K in legal fees" and "if necessary, cough up half of the money if he loses the landlord's suit." That amount could hit seven figures. The Ramsay team claim this 50/50 split in costs was approved in the legal papers Seibel signed when he invested in the venture.
As Eater Vegas has documented, Seibel is no stranger to being on the sharp end of a pricey legal battle, but the tactics of this particular war of attrition, piling on even more expensive legal bills, is a savvy pincer movement for the very confident Ramsay forces.