DONEGAL chef Conrad Gallagher is in trouble again – and could face jail over it.
A default judgment of $137,565 (€110,400) has been registered in New York against the Letterkenny man and Paul Hurley, his business partner in the Purple Fig restaurant in Manhattan.
The pair were sued over unpaid wages by staff.
The restaurant, located on the Upper West Side, closed in 2012 after a series of bad reviews, with the New York Post awarding it zero stars out of five under a headline titled: “Fig-get about eating here”.
A formal investigation is now under way into Gallagher, who was made bankrupt in South Africa in 2009, and left a trail of debts behind him in Ireland again two years ago.
He claimed he didn’t own the Fig Leaf and was merely a consultant.
Hurley says Gallagher was responsible for paying the staff.
However Dubliner Hurley has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failing to pay $100,000 in wages to staffers at one of his other businesses.
He did a plea deal with the New York State Attorney General’s Office has allowed him to avoid a jail sentence.
Now a new investigation is under way.
Former workers are pursuing the civil case – and there may now also be a criminal investigation.
Gallagher was last believed to be in Orange County, California, where he was running an outside catering company called Vanity Catering & Events.
His website for the business however crashed in November and has been down since.