Mario Batali, the pony-tailed celebrity chef and Los Angeles restaurant owner, has agreed to pay $5.25 million to settle the class-action lawsuit in which he was accused of bilking servers out of part of their tips, according to a Bloomberg News report.
Batali, who is frequently seen on television and touts a line of products including cookbooks and kitchenware, was sued in a New York federal court along with his business partner Joseph Bastianich, the report says.
Servers at his restaurants initially “sued in 2010 alleging their employers violated the Fair Labor Standards Act -- in part by pocketing gratuities equal to as much as 5 percent of nightly wine sales,” the report says.
Mario Batali co-owns 16 restaurants in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York, according to his website. The list includes L.A. hot spots Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza, which he opened with partners Nancy Silverton and Bastianich.
Last year, the restauranteur opened another Pizzeria Mozza along West Coast Highway in Newport Beach.