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.

Recent Stories

LES Cop Shooting Still Cold Case 8 Years Later

Eight years later, it remains a cold case. In the early morning hours of July 5, 2012, two cops sustained gunfire during a drug bust in the Seward Park Extension on Essex Street. The shooter is still wanted for attempted murder of a police officer, and remains at large. Officers Brian Groves and Eric Corniel chased a suspected […]

Vendors Return to the Market Line on the Lower East Side

As the city slowly attempts to normalize in the wake of COVID-19 lockdown, so too does Essex Crossing. Its underground food court – the Market Line – is now back to business. Several vendors returned and are open, albeit via pick up and delivery only. Those who live within a ten-mile radius of the Market […]

Mayor’s Borough-Based Jail Plan Defunded $473M and Now on Hold

Grassroots groups in diametric opposition to the city’s borough-based jail plan this week declared victory at its delay. For now. Last week, City Council and Mayor de Blasio approved the $88.1 billion budget for the 2021 fiscal year. Within the accompanying report, the city mentioned, “Planned commitments for new borough-based jails have been reduced by […]

Elizabeth Street Garden Reopens Post-Shutdown

At a time when city folk are clamoring for more open space, the Elizabeth Street Garden comes to the rescue. The one-acre sculpture park – nestled in the middle of Little Italy – reopened to the public over the weekend. Yet, with limited hours. Temporary visitation is weekends from 10:00am to 6:00pm. There are also […]

Beverly’s Bar Shutters After 7 Years on Essex Street

The pink neons have gone dark, as Essex Street loses one of its cool kid hangs. Beverly’s, the trendy art bar founded in late-2012 by Sweet Paradise veteran Leah Dixon, closed forever last week. Just shy of its eighth birthday. A leasing sign hangs awkwardly from the rolldown gate. “We are looking reality in the […]