Legal troubles continue for the couple who ran the celebrated Maestro’s at the Van Dam restaurant on Broadway, even with the conclusion of the criminal case against them.
On Thursday, the same day that John LaPosta and Tina Kruger were placed on probation after repaying $175,000 stolen from the business, their former partner sued them in civil court, saying the loss was much higher.
In a lawsuit filed in state Supreme Court in Ballston Spa, William J. Donovan Jr. is suing the couple for more than $500,000.
“Because of the actions of defendants, Mr. Donovan has not been repaid his investment, while defendants took hundreds of thousands of dollars from the company without authority to do so,” Donovan’s attorneys state in court papers.
Court papers lay out a scenario in which Donovan made an initial $200,000 investment in starting the restaurant in 2010, and subsequently made a series of investments totaling $275,000, plus a $100,000 loan, after being told by LaPosta or Kruger that the company was running out of money.
The partnership ended in June 2014 after Donovan became suspicious. He subsequently hired accountants who made findings that were brought to the police. LaPosta and Kruger were arrested on charges of grand larceny and other crimes in April 2014.
This past April, LaPosta, 53, pleaded guilty in Saratoga County Court to second-degree grand larceny. Kruger, 55, pleaded guilty to a single count of petty larceny, a misdemeanor.
Both were placed on probation after repaying $175,000 to Donovan. That payment was delivered to the District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday.
Based on the restitution payment having been made, LaPosta was placed on probation for five years, and Kruger was placed on probation for three years.
Maestro’s was celebrated for its food during its brief life. LaPosta was head chef and Kruger was the manager, with an ownership stake.
The amount of restitution required to settle the criminal case and a probation sentence was an “appropriate disposition based on the facts and circumstances,” Assistant District Attorney Charles O. Bucca said in court on Thursday.
Since Maestro’s closed, LaPosta and Kruger have opened a new restaurant, Innovo Kitchen, in Latham.
Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.