Cipriani Got Stiffed $37K After Hosting Star-Studded Gala, Suit Claims

By Ben Fractenberg on March 27, 2014 7:23am 

MIDTOWN — The London-based European School of Economics stiffed luxury restaurant Cipriani for $37,000 for a fancy banquet honoring Donald Trump and Kathy and Rick Hilton in December 2012, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in Manhattan Supreme Court.

The school agreed to pay $183,833.70 for cocktails, food and live music at the Dec. 5 "Family Business Dynasties" gala to celebrate business moguls and their celebrity offspring, according to the lawsuit.

But they only paid Cipriani $146,833.70, according to court papers.

The fifth-annual fundraiser attended by Ivanka Trump and Paris and Nicky Hilton was held to benefit the European School of Economics Foundation's U.S. scholarship for underprivileged American students, according to a press release about the event.

Past fundraisers thrown by the foundation honored Beyoncé, Tracy Morgan and others, according to a press release.

The school cut an initial check to Cipriani for $121,833.70, according to the lawsuit. The catering hall, which has locations on 42nd Street and Wall Street, and the foundation reached an agreement that allowed for the balance to be paid in installments.

The first payment of $5,100 was due on March 13, 2013, followed by $7,500 bi-weekly payments thereafter, lawyers for the restaurant wrote in the lawsuit.

But the school only made six payments totaling $25,000, leaving the restaurant in the lurch for the $37,000 balance, plus interest and attorney fees, the court papers said.

The ESE is a private college that was recognized by the British Accreditation Council in 2009 and offers bachelor's degrees in business administration and global business as well as master's degrees in management, marketing and business administration, according to its website.

Its foundation is designed to provide scholarships to students, according to the site.

"The European School of Economics is a new concept in higher education," according to the website.

"Combining academic excellence, internationality and a pragmatism, the ESE degree and certificate [programs] are designed to prepare a new generation of leaders and entrepreneurs."

Michael Laufer, the lawyer representing Cipriani, declined to comment on the suit.

The school did not return requests for comment.

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