Michael Shah slapped with suit over Sons of Essex

July 31, 2013 11:30AM

Michael Shah, CEO of DelShah Capital, is facing a $20 million lawsuit from a former partner at Lower East Side eatery Sons of Essex who alleges he was pushed out of the venture, the New York Daily News reported.

Restaurateur Matthew Levine claimed that Shah and another partner allowed accountant Victor Jung – convicted for embezzling $1.3 million from NBC Universal in 2008 – to steal from Sons of Essex. Levine also said Shah filed fraudulent paperwork and used restaurant resources to host fundraisers for mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio and Public Advocate candidate Reshma Saujani, the Daily News said. Additionally, the lawsuit alleged that the partners used Levine’s name to build the restaurant.

Shah told the newspaper that Levine was fired in March because he did not meet financial benchmarks and made unauthorized expenditures.

“Matt Levine drafted this narrative of half-truths and outright lies, sent it to me and demanded $5.5 million in 48 hours or else he would file it,” Shah said in a statement. “It looks like he has decided to pursue an avenue of public slander.”

Shah has been in court for other reasons recently. A New York federal judge threw out a securities fraud suit brought by DelShah Capital against Zamir Equities that arose out of a commercial-to-residential condominium conversion at Setai Wall Street, as reported in May. [NYDN]Mark Maurer