Gordon Ramsay, the television celebrity chef, failed to pay for thousands of pounds of wine for his former flagship New York restaurant, an American lawsuit claims.
Wineberry America, a wine merchant company, is suing the 43 year-old over almost $41,000 (€32,000) of alcohol that was ordered and delivered to The London NYC restaurant.
The company, an importer and wholesaler of fine wines, was “fraudulently induced” to provide alcohol to the Michelin two-starred restaurant, according to court papers filed with the Supreme Court of New York.
The legal papers, filed with the court on Monday, accused Ramsay and the Blackstone Group, which now operates the midtown Manhattan hotel in which it is housed, of never having any “intention” of paying for the goods.
A spokeswoman for Ramsay said all bills would be paid.
"Generally, the claims ... arise from (the) defendants' failure to honour their debts for goods and wind products provided by (the company)," the suit states.
"(The) defendants never, in any way, indicated ... that is should cease its performance, for any reason. (They) fraudulently induced (Wineberry) to provide continued goods and wine products … with the promise to pay.
"(They) continued to order and accept (their) goods and wine products, which they continued to resell within their hotel and restaurant premises, with no intent of paying their debts accrued."
The lawsuit comes six months after The Daily Telegraph disclosed that Ramsay, star of the TV series Hell’s Kitchen, had quietly sold off his flagship foreign restaurant after three years of money problems.
The father of four, who stars in three US TV reality shows, had reportedly invested £5 million into the venture but ever since it opened in December 2006, it suffered from lukewarm reviews and empty tables.
The latest legal case is another blow for the chef, who has seen his business empire suffer during the recent economic downturn.
In November he faced winding-up orders for four of his restaurants in the High Court over undisclosed debts to the taxman.
His latest accounts for his British company, Gordon Ramsay Holdings International, for the year to August 2008 – which were filed with Companies House in January – show that the chef was, at one point, close to going out of business. He admitted it had been a “kick in the ----”.
Ramsay also suffered another setback that same month, after he lost a Michelin star at Claridges hotel in London.
A spokeswoman for Ramsay said: "We are in the process of working through any outstanding claims in regards to The London NYC and all bills will be paid in due course."
Spokesmen for the Wineberry and The Blackstone Group were unavailable for comment.
Executives for the restaurant in New York were also not available for comment.
The case is due in court at a later date.