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Restaurant News: Paul McGee Leaving Three Dots; Scott Harris Sues Purple Pig Partners

By Chuck Sudo in News on Nov 25, 2014 8:30PM

Thanksgiving week has seen a couple bombshell announcements from Chicago's restaurant world.

- Paul McGee, who made Three Dots and a Dash a global destination for cocktailers with his tiki drink program, is leaving the River North bar and stepping down from his position at Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises. In addition to Three Dots, McGee oversees the cocktail programs at RPM Italian, Bub City and other restaurants in the Melman empire. As for his future endeavors, McGee is not saying yet. He only allowed that he came to his decision after careful consideration and "I'm excited for what the new year will hold!" What could that new project be? There is speculation among the local food cognoscenti. [Eater Chicago]

- Trouble is brewing among the principal owners of The Purple Pig. Co-owner Scott Harris (of the Mia Francesca empire fame) has sued his other partners in the downtown hotspot, alleging, among other charges, embezzlement. Harris filed the lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court last week and named partners Jimmy Bannos Sr., Jimmy Bannos Jr., Tony Mantuano and Gary Valesky, and Purple Pig GM Laura Payne as defendants. Harris accused the Bannoses of authorizing over $584,000 in improper payments between Jan. 2010 and Nov. 20 and that those payments went toward such things as home repair, auto-related expenses and a particularly large tab at the James Beard Awards banquet in New York City. Harris also alleges Bannos Sr. steered money toward him, his son and Payne under the guise of bonuses or salaries, and that the other partners improperly transferred 0.66 percent of his share in the restaurant to Bannos Jr. last November, shorting Harris of $25,000 in payments between 2010 and 2013. Harris is seeking $1 million in punitive damages, a full audit of the Purple Pig's books, restoration of his full ownership stake and the removal of the Bannoses from the ownership team. This is going to get ugly, folks. [Crain's Chicago Business]