It’s been a long, hot summer for employees at East Hampton eatery Cafe De La Musique and its sister, Leo Nightclub. And now it’s getting sticky.
Nearly two dozen employees who spent the past three months serving Champagne to jet-setting millionaires at the high-end entertainment duplex are preparing a class action lawsuit to collect their earnings, according to nightlife insiders.
Yura Shabetayev, a senior operator in the venture, confirms he left the twin hot spots three weeks ago and plans to join that suit. A second source says that “waiters, bus boys and DJs also walked out” once they found their checks had bounced. We’re told the total amount allegedly owed to the angry employees reaches into the low six-figure range.
Further frustrating staffers is the fact that two of the nightlife veterans who launched the venue, Jeffrey Jah and Alvaro Garnero — who founded the original Cafe De La Musique in Brazil — have spent much of the summer globetrotting while workers say they are going unpaid.
The playboy businessmen first jetted off to Mykonos, Greece, for lingerie model Ana Beatriz Barros’ wedding, then went to Rio de Janeiro, where they’ve been networking and partying through the Olympics and posting photos on social media.
According to multiple insiders, another partner, club-staurant veteran Frank Cilione — who also operated the East Hampton boite Tsunami — was supposed to have been manning the shop in their absence and desperate employees have not been able to get a hold of him. Shabetayev tells us he is suing Cilione specifically.
Cilione did not return our request for comment.
Internal conflict has been on the menu at Cafe De La Musique since its doors opened over Memorial Day weekend.
Chef Cynthia Sestito, who appeared on Bravo’s “Top Chef,” left abruptly over the Fourth of July weekend, telling Eater.com her frustration with the venue’s owners led to her departure.
“I wish great success to whoever can handle this — not I,” she reportedly said.
Cilione told the food blog at least in Sestito’s case, ending the relationship was his decision.
“This is an unfortunate hiccup, but things happen for a reason,” he countered.
Sestito will be busy working at Friday’s Fifth Annual Food Truck Derby in Bridgehampton.
With Selma Fonseca