Billionaire Wants to Know Who Defamed Him


MANHATTAN (CN) - Supermarket billionaire John Catsimatidis, who ran for New York City mayor in the 2013 Republican primary, claims in court that a group called Grocery Employees United defamed him in Internet videos accusing him of wiretapping and labor violations.
     Catsimatidis sued Grocery Employees United, an unknown, fictitiously named defendant, on Wednesday in New York County Supreme Court.
     Catsimatidis is the owner and CEO of Gristede's Foods, a well-known supermarket chain in New York.
     He claims that the unknown defendant(s) defamed him in YouTube videos that claimed he had pleaded guilty to 100 counts of wiretapping and paid a $1 million fine, and that he was fined $3.2 million for unpaid wages to Gristedes deliverymen.
     Both claims are false and defamatory, Catsimatidis says.
     The complaint states that on Aug. 31, 2013, the defendant posted a YouTube video that stated: 'Catsimatidis plead [sic] guilty on 100 counts of wire tapping and paid a one million dollar fine.' These statements are false. Defendant's video goes on to state that because of these statements plaintiff cannot be trusted."
     On Aug. 28, 2013, Catsimatidis claims, the defendant posted a YouTube video that stated: "'In 2004, Catsimatidis paid a 3.2 million dollar fine to the New York Attorney General for unpaid wages to Gristedes deliverymen.' These statements are false.
     "The August 28th video goes on to state that '[i]n 2010, Catsimatidis paid 1.5 million dollars for discrimination against women working at Gristedes ...' These statements are false." (Ellipsis in complaint.)
     Catsimatidis seeks damages for libel, tortious interference and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
     He is represented by Nicholas Katsoris.
     Catsimatidis also owns the real estate firm Red Apple Group and hosts a talk radio show.