Despite several years of embattled restaurateur Serge Becker identifying himself repeatedly to the media as the primary co-owner of La Esquina, as well as duping convicted international drug smuggler Cordell Lochin into believing he was also a co-owner, the real owners James Gersten and Derek Sanders have come clean with an announcement dissociating themselves from Becker. It doesn’t mention why they never came forward to publicly address numerous public accusations of rape, assault & battery and terroristic threats against their customers including Argentine journalist Alberto Armendáriz, by staff including alleged threats to commit rape by La Esquina doorman Dominic Chianese, Jr., an aspiring actor, stand-up comedian and son of Sopranos actor Dominic Chianese.
Gersten and Sanders also repeatedly refused to acknowledge or accept certified letters sent to them by the lawyer of a least one La Esquina complainant (guess which one). Then-City Council Speaker Christine Quinn also called attention to these issues, including the fact that the owners were hiring security staff who were not licensed security guards as New York City law requires.
Gersten and Sanders’ wives have yet to publicly weigh in on the rape allegations at their husbands’ establishments, but certainly Michelle is enjoying her lovely new home paid for by her husband’s victimized customers.
Why Becker took the heat for Gersten and Sanders by pretending to be the La Esquina owner while they remained silent during these controversies, and why he duped Lochin into going along for the ride, remains a mystery…