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Chef Mario Batali -- Accused of Playing Hide the Tip

8/17/2010 6:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Celebrity super chef Mario Batali is the target of a new, meaty lawsuit -- in which former employees from one of his Los Angeles restaurants claim the "Iron Chef" screwed them out of serious tip money.

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According to a lawsuit filed today in L.A. County Superior Court, a former bartender and a former server at Mario's famous Pizzeria Mozza restaurant claim Batali and his business partner ran a tip-stealing scheme.

So how did the scheme work? According to the ex-employees, Batali and his partner created something called a "Wine Program" -- into which they funneled a certain percentage of tips that were paid by credit card ... and kept it for themselves.

The employees claim the practice was also going down at Batali's higher-end restaurant next door, Osteria Mozza.  The employees go on to claim that they weren't provided with adequate breaks and that they weren't paid promptly upon being let go. They're looking for unspecified damages ... which means, 'a lot.'

If you think you've heard this story before -- it's because Batali was just hit with a lawsuit on the other coast for allegedly running a similar scheme at his famous NY eatery, Babbo.

A rep for Batali had no comment.

79 COMMENTS

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Previous 15 Comments | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
76.

GuitarSlinger    

That fatass has always come off as an arrogant ******* to me. I know, innocent until proven guilty, but if he is guilty I hope they hit him hard...real hard.

Those hard working people are lining his pocket and he is 'allegedly' stealing money from them to buy the gallons of lard he must eat every day.

What a loser.

1437 days ago
77.

Jessica    

Sounds like he's the perfect person to replace "All My Children." He has a great reputation to carry the Disney name! ABC/Disney are already dragging their name through the dirt by alienating their millions of soap fans, so he is just what they need.

1189 days ago
78.

Jimmy    

Don't like you or your recipes anymore. Actually I never liked your recipes. But now I don't like you anymore too. You now are a big fat ah as far as I'm concerned. For what you did you should be ashamed of yourself. YOU SUCK.

843 days ago
79.

FRANKIE ITALIANO!!    

MARIO IS A, REAL PHONY AND A, REAL HILLBILLIE LOW LIFE ! WHITETRASH THIS FAT **** HEAD IS FULL OF ****! I, COULD PUT RINGS AROUND THIS FAT PHONY PIG! IN THE CULINARY ARTS TO SAY THE LEAST AND ANY EVERTHING ELSE THIS PIG CAN DO !CHEF FRANCO! NAPOLI! HEY MARIO COME ON MESS WITH ME FAT BOY! WHERES DADY'S MONEY AND HIS FRIENDS IN PASITANO ITALY ! YOU GROSS LOOKING BASTARD YOU CAN'NT REAL COOK YOU JUST KNOW HOW TO BULL **** PEOPLE!

677 days ago
Previous 15 Comments | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

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