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Mario Batali Settles for $5.25 Million in Tip Scamming Suit

USMagazine, Friday, March 9, 2012, 1:09pm (PST)

Celebrity TV chef Mario Batali and his associate Joseph Bastianich have agreed to pay $5.25 million to settle a lawsuit alleging they cheated workers out of their hard-earned money.

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Employees at New York City's Babbo and Del Posto filed suit in July 2010, claiming that Batali, 51, and Bastianich pocketed up to 5 percent from their nightly tip pool. The workers also alleged they were not paid federal minimum wage and did not receive compensation for overtime.

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"Mr. Batali, Mr. Bastianich, and their restaurants unlawfully confiscated a portion of their workers' hard-earned tips in order to supplement their own profits," employees said in their complaint (according to The Washington Post).

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The class-action settlement, which has yet to be approved by a judge, may compensate as many as 1,100 waiters, servers and bartenders who work or worked at Babbo, Del Posto, Bar Jamon, Casa Mono, Esca, Lupa, Otto and Tarry Lodge dating back to 2004, according to court documents.

Batali, who is good friends with actress Gwyneth Paltrow, also has a line of cookbooks and kitchenware.

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