Is there something in the water ― or cocktails? ― that the "Real Housewives" are drinking?
On the same day "New Jersey"-edition star Teresa Giudice was in court pleading not guilty to federal fraud charges, "Beverly Hills" cast member Lisa Vanderpump was included in a lawsuit alleging a litany of allegations including ― you guessed it! ― fraud.
Vanderpump, 52, and her husband, Ken Todd, were named as defendants in a lawsuit filed by bar entrepreneurs Ryan Allen Carrillo and Andrew Gruver, who allege that the couple unfairly snatched the West Hollywood venue where they were planning to open a business.
"Omg! Insider" obtained a copy of the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday in which Carrillo and Gruver allege they made a deal to open a casual dining gay sports bar, Bar Varsity, with defendant Elie Samaha as a partner. Samaha owned the lease on the venue and would put down the initial $500,000 investment fee; they would later split profits 50-50.
Plans for the project proceeded with an opening date scheduled for 2013, according to plaintiffs, who quit their jobs and began to focus on the bar. They met with architects, filed permits with the city, and met with contractors who would renovate the space. However, when demolition was to begin, Samaha failed to make the monetary investment that was agreed upon.
Soon after, defendants drove by the venue and saw a sign outside for P.U.M.P. Lounge and learned that Vanderpump and Todd had leased "their" venue out from under them. The lawsuit alleges the reality TV couple knew that there was an agreement in place to build Bar Varsity, but "intended to disrupt the performance of the Agreement."
Carrillo and Gruver state they suffered damages in excess of $4 million and are suing for breach of fiduciary duty, constructive fraud, breach of contract, and deceit, among other claims. However, Samaha and two associates from his Professional Restaurant Group, LLC are the ones at whom those claims are largely directed. Vanderpump and Todd are instead accused of two things directly: intentional interference with contractual relations and intentional interference with prospective economic relations.
They are also being sued with the larger group for violation of unfair competition law and the plaintiffs are requesting a temporary restraining order and injunction to stop construction on the P.U.M.P Lounge.
For her part, Vanderpump denies any wrongdoing.
“We had no prior knowledge of Ryan Carrillo and Andrew Gruver or their claim," she and her husband said in a statement to omg!. "We took the lease in good faith seven months ago and all of our applications and notices have been posted publicly. Any issue will be between them and the property owner.”
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