MINEOLA, N.Y. (CN) – Former New York Jet wide receiver Wayne Chrebet says Nassau County police and fire officials forced him to close down his steakhouse to retaliate for his manager’s truthful testimony to a grand jury about officers falsely accusing a customer of assaulting them.
Chrebet says his manager Matthew Prince had seen the officers attack a customer at the defunct Bogart’s restaurant, and Prince told the grand jury that the officers had trumped up assault charges against the customer.
When Nassau County and nine of its defendant officers found out that Prince worked at Bogart’s, they repeatedly raided the restaurant, forcing customers to leave, Chrebet says.
He claims the officers promised they would stop harassing him if he would cut all business ties with Prince.
Chrebet says he did fire Prince, but the raids did not stop. He says the county cited him for overcrowding and for having a locked exit gate at the building, a supposed fire hazard.
Chrebet said officers would not let him take his own head count and ignored him when he demonstrated that the gate opened easily.
He claims officers demanded to see Prince even though employees assured them that he was not there.
Chrebet claims a police officer detained a black male patron when he left the restaurant and “cautioned” Chrebet’s business consultant against admitting “the black crowd.”
And he claims officers warned Chrebet’s father and a business associate that they should tell Prince he will be arrested for trespassing if he ever sets foot into Bogart’s.
Chrebet said he had no choice but to shut down his restaurant due to the damage to his business reputation and finances. No customer would want to dine in an establishment that police are constantly raiding, he says.
Chrebet seeks damages for tortious interference with business relations, negligent supervision, and constitutional violations.
He is represented in Nassau County Supreme Court by Matthew Jones of Sullivan Papain Block McGrath and Cannavo.