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…
The beleagured La Esquina shuttered yet again. Shocking.
“Serge Becker’s La Esquina was inspected last Friday because of a recent complaint that the kitchen exhaust was venting into a residential window. When the inspector showed up, the cellar restaurant was found to have combustible wood ceilings and inadequate egress for its customers. Three days later, today actually, La Esquina was slapped with the vacate order. A tipster with a reservation in the near future just received a call from the restaurant, which told her that all reservations have been canceled due to ‘uncontrollable circumstances.’” Read the full article at eater.com.
UPDATE: Two months later it would emerge that Serge Becker is not and never was the owner of La Esquina. He was protecting the real owners, a pair of standup guys named James Gersten and Derek Sanders, so they are the real culprits here. Even the city’s Department of Buildings had been duped at the time. Gersten and Sanders also aided and abetted Becker in duping convicted international drug smuggler Cordell Lochin into thinking he was a co-owner. The lack of exits at this establishment is just the tip of the iceberg. Gersten and Sanders also used Becker and Lochin to dodge multiple allegations of rape, threats of rape, and assault and battery at La Esquina and dodged letters served on them by at least one complainant’s (that would be me) lawyer. I’m just glad they’re having fun and building dream homes with their beautiful wives and children.