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Sunday, July 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Unpleasantness at the Carnegie Deli

MANHATTAN (CN) - The owner of New York's Carnegie Deli sued her husband and his alleged mistress for $10 million, the amount she claims the couple stole from her and the business over the past two decades.

Marian Harper Levine claims in New York County Supreme Court that her husband, Sanford Levine - the former business manager of the deli -- began making significant withdrawals from the fabled deli's bank account in 2000, and that he forged her signature on checks to spirit more cash away from the business and from her personal bank and brokerage accounts.

In the 35-page lawsuit, Marian Levine claims her forged signature appeared on checks written to companies that did no business with the deli, and that her estranged husband hid the money in a different bank account, safe deposit boxes, in his girlfriend Penkae Siricharoen's restaurants in New York and Thailand, and in bank accounts and property owned by his daughter, Jodi Levine Smith.

At one point, Levine says, her husband and Sirichareon, a former hostess at the deli, "even brazenly opened an imposter restaurant in Bangkok called 'Carnegie Deli Thailand.'"

"The defendants' scheme lasted for years and took many different forms: diversion of the restaurant's daily receipts, theft of bonds and other assets, raiding the bank accounts of the business and its owner, pilfering enormous quantities of food products and supplies and receiving payment for 'no show' jobs, misusing restaurant employees for personal benefit, theft of trade secrets, and a host of other activities designed to enrich the Defendants and their associates at the expense of the Carnegie Deli and its owner," Levine says in the complaint.

She claims the couple's goal was to establish a Carnegie Deli-like establishment in Siricharoen's native Thailand.

This is not the first time Levine has gone after her husband in court. In October 2013, she sued her husband after discovering his alleged extramarital relationship with Siricharoen.

In that lawsuit, in the same court, Marian Levine claimed she did not discover the shenanigans going on until her husband and Siricharoen had been going together for 13 years.

According to the New York Daily News, Levine accused her husband at that time of giving Siricharoen a "sweetheart deal" on an apartment in the deli above the building.

Marian Levine inherited both the deli and the apartment building that houses it at 854 Seventh Ave. after her father's death in 2009. After their marriage, the Daily News said, Sanford Levine carried a business card that jokingly said, "MBD- Married Boss's Daughter."

He met Siricharoen while she worked at the deli, a favorite haunt of New York celebrities such as the late Henny Youngman and Woody Allen.

In addition $10 million, Marian Levine seeks punitive and exemplary damages, and injunctive relief preventing "the Defendants from using the Carnegie Deli's name, goodwill, products, trade secrets, and confidential information."

She is represented by Edward J.M. Little of Hughes, Hubbard & Reed LLP in New York.

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