The Real Deal Miami

BurgerFi restaurateur accused of using partners’ funds for competing venture

April 30, 2012 03:00PM

From left: David Manero and a BurgerFi location

Celebrated South Florida restaurateur David Manero has been accused of diverting money away from business partners in the restaurants he opened to use for personal gain and to open competing eateries. The Palm Beach Post reported three lawsuits have been filed against Manero by former associates, including two in Palm Beach County Circuit Court and one in U.S. District Court.

One of the Palm Beach County lawsuits claims that Manero and his wife collected $73,500 from vendor Southern Wine & Spirits that should have gone to the restaurants. It also alleges that Manero used a trip to California to scout locations for BurgerFi to instead open up a new burger venture called Urbun Burger, and again Southern Wine funds meant for BurgerFi were paid to Urbun. The other charges that Manero did not repay a $165,000 loan extended to them in 2009 by business partners.

The U.S. District Court suit claims that Manero “hijacked the domain names” vicandangelos.com and theofficedelray.com to use as bargaining chips for payment from his Vic & Angelo’s and Office restaurants.

The suits were filed by different combinations of John Rosatti and Lee Goldberg, who were partners of Manero in two South Florida Vic & Angelo’s locations, the Office in Delray Beach and BurgerFi. [Palm Beach Post]