Prank TV Show Sued for $100,000


LOS ANGELES (CN) - Howie Mandel's hidden-camera TV show "Deal With It" damaged a restaurant to the tune of $100,000 filming a prank, the owner claims in court.
     Baba Ji, the owner of Indian-Mexican fusion restaurant Cowboys and Turbans, claims Turner Broadcasting System, Mandel and host Theo Von broke a promise to avoid damaging his property while filming the TBS show. Ji, who also refers to himself as Baba Varma, also sued Four Years Productions and William Miller in the Superior Court lawsuit.
     He says the décor in his restaurant on Sunset Boulevard" is composed of unique, rare and antique furnishings and fixtures, including but not limited to a large antique Indian carved wood front door, a fire pit decorated with Moroccan tile and seating benches made from antique pianos."
     Varma claims that in October 2013 Four Years Productions breached the agreement by allowing an unidentified actress to "create loud noise, curse, yell obscenities, jump up and down on the Moroccan tiles of the fire pit and violently throw and break $200 worth of dishes on the floor."
     That left his restaurant "in shambles," he says, drove diners away and discouraged new ones from entering.
     He claims the show also damaged his restaurant moving equipment. He says a $7,000 Yamaha piano was broken, as were chairs, patio heaters and a $27,000 bench made from an antique piano.
     The antique Indian front door was damaged so badly it is jammed shut and will cost more than $3,000 to repair, Varma claims.
     "The customers of the restaurant cannot access the restaurant through the front door and most do not know how to access the restaurant though the back door. This damage causes plaintiff to lose about $500 per day in business, which to date amounts to a loss of $45,000," the lawsuit claims.
     After the show left a walk-in water cooler unplugged for a whole day of filming, the cooler's refrigeration system broke, and it will cost $4,433 to repair and has left him $200 short of produce each day, Varma claims.
     Varma says the defendants have refused to pay the repairs and damages. He seeks $103,408 for breach of contract and negligence.
     Mandel, a Canadian comedian and actor, has hosted "America's Got Talent" and "Deal or No Deal."
     The progenitor of the entire flock of so-called "reality" TV shows, Allen Funt's "Candid Camera," was incredibly subtle, by today's standards.
     Varma is represented by Richard Rosenthal of Beverly Hills.