Investor in Defunct Grand Street ‘Comfort Diner’ Says Former Owner Cheated Her out of $75K

Posted on: April 28th, 2017 at 9:46 am by
The Comfort Diner, June 2015

The Comfort Diner, June 2015

While Saluggi’s East pizzeria struggles to make its own mark on Grand Street, its predecessor is again in the mud. An investor in the bygone Comfort Diner claims in a lawsuit filed last week that the former owner cheated her out of $75,000 when he neglected to mention his massive $700,000 debt of back taxes.

Judith Dauber invested the funds in 2014, but alleges former owner Ira Freehof never reimbursed her after the Comfort went belly up a year later, with more than $100,000 of rent owed to the Seward Park Co-op landlord.

“Ms. Dauber thought she was investing in a sister restaurant to the Comfort Diner’s 45th Street location,” her lawyer, Lee Jacobs, said in a statement to DNAinfo. “Her investment was squandered by the Defendants with no explanation as to what happened to it. Ms. Dauber looks forward to her day in Court to vindicate her rights.”

saluggis-grand-3

Dauber’s lawyer further alleges in the lawsuit that Freehof was well aware of his tax situation before seeking investors. The state reportedly issued warrants against Freehof for at least $665,626 in unpaid taxes dating back to 2004, according to public records.

The suit also claims that Freehof hustled everyone by saying he was the owner of the 45th Street original location, but, according to the publication, may have been paid “as an off the books employee” in an effort to “avoid debtors from collecting against his assets.”

Dauber is seeking $75,000, plus legal fees, accounting information for both the failed Grand Street restaurant and East 45th Street location; and for Freehof to disclose details on all his “concealed” assets and debts.

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