Nadel & Ciarlo, P.C.

Co-owner disputes can get ugly in New York, La Marina at stake

New York is full of trendy dives, award-winning restaurants and some of the best nightlife in the United States. Unfortunately, New York businesses, no matter how successful, are not exempt from potentially damaging disputes such as co-owner disputes. One business currently feeling the heat of such a dispute is the well-known celebrity hangout, La Marina.

La Marina is co-owned by the two initial founders, Jerald Tenenbaum and Joshua Rosen, and two additional separate parties. Before celebrating the second anniversary of the business, the two initial owners already were in dispute with the fourth partner, Chris Villano. This dispute occurred as the result of Villano suffering some form of a mental breakdown, at which point Tenenbaum and Rosen sought to have him sign over voting power in the company.

When Villano refused, the remaining partner, Fernando Mateo, stepped in, making an attempt on his own to secure the voting power to add to his 45 percent interest in the company. This dispute has resulted in Tenenbaum and Rosen suing both Villano and Mateo in an effort to prevent Mateo from securing a full 50 percent stake in the company. La Marina is a high-profile, high-profit business that stands to lose all parties involved a substantial amount of money if the dispute cannot be resolved. Currently, Mateo stands to lose the most as he is named in the lawsuit of unethical behavior, which goes deeper than the co-owner dispute at the heart of the recent media spotlight.

While many New York businesses that face unfortunate co-owner disputes will not be subjected to the additional strain of media hype and spotlight, any such dispute can be taxing on the business and applicable parties. As the case of La Marina suggests, complex business matters should not be taken lightly. Fortunately, there are avenues available to help business co-owners seek resolution and protection of their legal rights and the safety of their business.

Source: New York Post, Power struggle could sink celeb-friendly La Marina, Julia Marsh, Dec. 23, 2013

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