The celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito filed a countersuit Monday against investors in his television restaurant, accusing them of cooking the eatery’s books and then cutting him out of the business in a dispute over earnings.
DiSpirito was sued in February by his investors, a group called China Grill Management, who accused him of poor operation of the restaurant, Rocco’s on 22nd Street, and cited hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses.
The investors say they put up more than $3 million so DiSpirito could open the Italian restaurant, which would be the site and subject of NBC’s reality series “The Restaurant.”
DiSpirito claims the investors kept the restaurant’s books and controlled all its costs and expenses.
“The CGM parties have used this control to manipulate the restaurant’s financial records to make it appear that the restaurant had greater operational losses than it actually suffered,” DiSpirito’s court papers say.
The investors’ lawyer, Laurance Kaiser, denied the allegation.
The show, which premiered last summer, followed the chef and his staff through the opening and operation of the restaurant.