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.”
I'm no longer affiliated w/jennifersWay online ordering. Just storefront bakery. 4 more info check out Jennifer's way Facebook page #celiac— Jennifer'sWay Bakery (@JWayBakeryNYC) February 21, 2016
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)