The verdict is in from Jose Garces’s case before a U.S. Bankruptcy Court: a judge ruled in the Iron Chef’s favor, meaning that Garces is now free to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for his restaurant group and almost all of its restaurants.
After well-publicized financial woes, three key investors in Amada, Tinto, and Village Whiskey moved to block Garces’s move towards bankruptcy — ostensibly because that would mean they’d entirely lose their investments in his restaurants. Attorneys for investors Jim Sorkin and Maria and Tom Spinner claimed that the way Garces had obtained the votes to proceed with the bankruptcy had been illegitimate.
Garces didn’t mince words after the ruling: A statement from the chef said that the investors who instigated the court case “perpetrated a litigious sham based off contrived ignorance on how we have run our business for more than a decade”.
According to a representative for Garces, the chef will now proceed with the Chapter 11 filing that he initially tried to start at the beginning of May, although per the judge’s rulling, Philly taqueria Buena Onda cannot be included. An auction date for the Garces group’s assets will be set, likely for late June. At present, the group is sitting on a bid of $6.3 million from Louisiana food company Ballard Brands, but the representative notes that other groups will be invited to bid.
What does the ruling mean for the Garces Group’s restaurants in Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York? Nothing, for now: the restaurants are operating as normal and may well continue to do so as they are sold off. Exact details should emerge as a buyer (or buyers) for the restaurants are confirmed in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, here’s the full statement from Garces, with savage words for Sorkin and the Spinners.
Today is a proud day for me. This ruling proves that I have adhered to fair and legal business practices. It not only confirms claims made by these investors completely false, but also that they are the ones that have perpetrated a litigious sham based off contrived ignorance on how we have run our business for more than a decade.
The fact is that I have always - in good times and challenging - put our employees and the success of our entire enterprise at the forefront. These investors have proved with the rejection of lucrative deals that this was always only about them.
We eagerly look forward to completing this process, joining our new partners and building a successful future alongside them. With this victory, we can get back to focusing on what we do best - providing excellent food and hospitality to our loyal customers.