UPDATE: Rubenstein Responds — Bastianich Calls Attorney “Antichrist,” Attorney Nonplussed
Richard Rubenstein responds to being called “The Hermann Göring of publicists.” Read below:
Restaurateur and noted garbage-talker Joe Bastianich has used his new book, “Restaurant Man,” to slam just about everybody and anybody –from the NY Post’s Steve Cuozzo to attorney Warren Estis, who Mr. Bastianich angrily refers to as “the fucking antichrist of of landlord-tenant lawyers.”
In a statement sent to The Commercial Observer, Mr. Estis had this to say:
“It is an honor to be in the prestigious club of those slammed by Bastianich. To have him mention me by name years after the case shows that I represented my client very well, and in many ways it is great marketing.”
In the book, Del Posto –Mr. Bastianich and business partner Mario Batali’s Italian fine dining restaurant in Chelsea– found itself in a jam when then-building co-owner Irwin Cohen sold 85 10th Avenue to private equity group to Somerset Partners in 2005 (who Mr. Bastianich refers to as “some hedge-fund jerk-offs”) for $300 million. Mr. Bastianich said Mr. Cohen sold it for $70 million.
“[T]the new landlords immediately launched a lawsuit,” Mr. Bastianich writes. “It was a full-on frontal attack with one purpose only: to chase us out of the building and close the restaurant.”
Somerset’s sole purpose for purchasing 85 10th Avenue, the site of a former Nabisco factory, was to flip it for a profit, and objected to Del Posto’s below-market rental rate, Mr. Bastianich claims.
“It was easily worth spending a few million to get us the fuck out,” he writes.
Then the vitriol kicks in:
“They hired Warren Estis, who is like the fucking antichrist of landlord-tenant lawyers. L&T litigation in New York is notoriously vicious and public, and these guys were just pure fucking evil. The hired multiple law firms and the Hermann Göring of publicists.”
That publicist is Richard Rubenstein, president of Rubenstein Public Relations, an insider tells The Commercial Observer. Mr. Rubenstein did not immediately respond to an email and phone call requesting comment.
Somerset would go on to sell 85 10th Avenue to Related Companies for $430 Million in 2007. Del Posto is still in business.
UPDATE (4:28 p.m.):
Richard Rubenstein, the president of Rubenstein Public Relations, offered his response to The Commercial Observer about being called the “Hermann Göring of publicists.”
“I think an apology is in order,” said Mr. Rubenstein. “It’s a hateful comment, which I am sure he really doesn’t mean.”
If referring to a Jewish publicist as “Göring,” a high-ranking member of the Nazi party in World War II, wasn’t ill-conceived enough: One of Mr. Rubenstein’s clients is The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a global Jewish human rights organization that “defends the safety of Jews worldwide, and teaches the lessons of the Holocaust for future generations,” according to its website.