A few weeks back, a rep for Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich informed us that he believed restaurateur Nello Balan was responsible for leaking a phony bill to the media, and he was looking into taking legal action against the shameless publicity-seeker. Abramovich hasn't filed suit against sued Balan—not yet, at least—but someone else has:
Nello Balan is the owner of Nello, the exceedingly mediocre Italian restaurant on the Upper East Side. He's also one of the city's most shameless—and most notorious—publicity hounds. Balan's latest attempt at drumming up attention, however, now appears to be exploding in his face. Last week, a receipt "surfaced" indicating that Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich had spent $52,000 on lunch. (The bill was for $47,000, but TMZ, which first reported the story, said the billionaire had tacked on a $5,000 tip.) But a spokesman for Abramovich tells us the bill wasn't his and the mogul may pursue legal action against Balan for suggesting otherwise.
It's been more than two years since restaurateur (and drama magnet) Nello Balan filed suit against Amy Sacco's Bungalow 8, accusing the club's bouncers of beating him up during a visit to the former hot spot back in May 2006. Nello came forward in the spring of 2007 to say that a bouncer had punched him in the eye and hit him over the head with a metal object (he also said his 21-year daughter was pushed), and the altercation left him with 10 stitches and a fracture to his eye-socket.
How do you raise extra funds when you're a restaurateur who is $1.8 million behind in taxes? Overcharge customers for shaved truffles! At least that's what Nello Balan is being accused of doing by a jilted customer who took his wife for lunch at Nello's on the Upper East Sidea few months back and says he was overcharged to the tune of $530 for two plates of pasta that weren't even that good. We're not sure how Balan will be able to blame his accountant for this error, but we're sure there's a waiter somewhere ready to take the fall. [Page Six]
It's been a stressful week for Nello Balan. The lawsuit-loving restaurateur had his two restaurants seized by the IRS on Tuesday on account of $1.8 million he owes in unpaid taxes. But it's been two days now, which has given him enough time to settle up with the authorities and re-open his eateries. It's also given him time to pass the blame. As he nibbled on angel-hair pasta topped with scalloped truffles, he told the Post that it was all his accountant's fault, since they made miscalculations and didn't inform him there was a problem until it was too late. Don't worry though: Nello assures us the firm has been fired.
Nello Balan's Nello on Madison Avenue and his Hamptons outpost, Nello Summertimes, were both seized by the IRS for tax evasion this morning, reports Eater. Details are still a bit sketchy at this point and it remains unclear when the restaurants will reopen. (We're guessing anyone with a reservation for tonight is out of luck.) Also unclear: whether Nello's ghost-related travails, which were covered by the Times this past weekend, had anything to do with the bust. [Eater]