Sunday, March 13, 2016

Report: Jennifer's Way Bakery involved in $43 million lawsuit

Actress Jennifer Esposito is being sued by her investors, including her soon-to-be-ex husband, over her gluten-free food empire, which includes the bakery on East 10th Street between Avenue A and First Avenue, the Post reports.

According to the Post, Esposito and investors Lawrence Wenner and David Drake got together in 2014 to expand the business with a commercial plant in Queens to bake and ship orders from her website. (The baked goods are made in-house on East 10th Street.)

Per the paper:

Wenner and Drake sank $250,000 each into the business and then loaned $1 million to the enterprise, court papers say.

Esposito was supposed to transfer ownership of the East Village bakery to the newly formed company, Jennifer’s Way Inc., which she failed to do, court papers allege.

The investors contend Esposito was difficult to work with, in one instance nixing the use of a corn-based ingredient because “she personally was allergic to corn, and not because it posed any sort of danger to those suffering from celiac disease.”

There are more sordid details in the article, including that Esposito was served with a restraining order against bad-mouthing her investors on social media.

Espositio's lawyer said the case was baseless and she was "misled by her investors, and has done nothing wrong to warrant a lawsuit."

She offers more details in a blog post from March 1:

It is with great sadness to say this but as you know me by now, my #1 goal was to always be transparent in my mission to create a safe place for us celiacs and allergy sufferers.

As founder and creator of Jennifer’s Way Bakery and its associated products and recipes, and as a person suffering from celiac disease, my mission was to always bring you the highest quality, the purest and the safest products I could possibly create. From my storefront bakery in Manhattan, I am able to ensure that my products were not only solely my inventions, but that they were also safe for celiac sufferers to consume.

Unfortunately, for the time being, the larger brand of Jennifer’s Way products, the products you purchase online, has sadly been taken out of my control. I will not and cannot get into the gory details at this juncture, but keeping with my brand’s connotation, I owe my loyal customers a duty to notify them of these concerns.

Please know that I am in the process of and will regain control of my products and when I do, I will be sure to report to you. For now, however, I cannot endorse something I have been pushed out of with a clear conscious

Jennifer’s Way Bakery in NYC (263 East 10th St) is still alive and kicking with my wonderful loyal staff continuing to bring you the safest product run by this celiac herself.

The gluten-free, dairy-free, refined-sugar free, soy-free, peanut-free, allergy-friendly, organic bakery opened on March 2, 2013.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Actress Jennifer Esposito's Jennifer's Way Bakery opening soon on East 10th Street (46 comments)


nygrump said...

...bad money chases good...

Anonymous said...

It's unfortunate that small businesses are no longer allowed to exist without being part of a larger global empire.

Gojira said...

Wish I could care. But, nope.

cmarrtyy said...

Greed v. Greed. Who cares... really.

Anonymous said...

Hate to say it, but this place has always had the stink of drama. Just read the 10,000-word comments from the nutty JE fanboy in the previous thread linked at the bottom of this post.

Giovanni said...

Yet another "let's start a franchise and get rich quick" story. Remember Organic Avenue? They were losing up to $1 million per month and none of their stores made a profit. DF Mavens took a year building a beautiful franchise storefront and closed down a year later. Empire Biscuit was going to be the next big thing but then closes down for days and months at a time. Now Fairway is gong bankrupt, after doing an IPO the stock is down to 44 cents and their debt is rated at the same level as junk bonds. Sounds like Jennifer had delusions of grandeur about a food fad that has too much competition and will probably soon be over. She should have just opened a gluten free cocktail bar.

Anonymous said...

Why do I hear Elizabeth Hasselbeck's whiny voice why I read this? Safe space.... Go build Jennifer's Safe Room in the basement.

Anonymous said...

Ha. Another drama. Like Lula's Sweet Apothecary. There's always more than that which meets the eye. Every business has its sordid story and we should reserve judgment until we know both sides.

Anonymous said...

43 mil is a lot of fuckin wheat-free cupcakes or whatever. An almost unthinkable quantity. Okay, so they sunk a million and a half in this venture. Where they getting this 43 mil figure from. Speciality dietetic baked goods yo. Delusions of grandeur on both sides.

Anonymous said...

It's funny all these sweet little cupcake shops are so F'd up behind the scenes.

Anonymous said...

Giovanni nailed this one.
I glad that I was not the only one that groaned when ready words like "safe place" when describing a bakery.

Anonymous said...

All I know is, I had the best chocolate chip cookie of my life here.
And I'm no "celiac."

Scuba Diva said...

Sounds like Jennifer had delusions of grandeur about a food fad that has too much competition and will probably soon be over.

As long as there are people with celiac disease, it's not a "fad."

Anonymous said...

Sorry Scuba but Gluten Free a fad for everyone who does not have celiac disease, which is the majority of people buying these products.