An internationally famend steakhouse will open in Dallas, regardless of a pair of lawsuits between the restaurant and the Dallas contractor who oversaw its building.
Steakhouse Nusr-Et, a glitzy new restaurant by famed colourful Turkish restaurateur Nusret “Salt Bae” Gökçe, will lastly open in Uptown at 1900 N. Pearl St. on March 4.
Gökçe is a enjoyable determine with a strong social community Thu and isn’t any stranger to prosecution; he was sued by staff of his new York and Miami eating places for mismanagement suggestions and extra time fee.
However in Dallas, he met his litigation match in Jim Benge, a restaurant building contractor who has been concerned in at the very least two dozen lawsuits, together with one along with his personal brother Jay, whom Benge employed after which fired. .
In response to Eater, Nusr-Et and Benge have a duel lawsuit alleging that Nusr-Et didn’t pay the payments, with an worker allegedly concerned within the embezzlement to BengeTexas.
Nusr-Et is just not the primary. Different Dallas eating places concerned in lawsuits in opposition to Benge lately embody Mellow Mushroom, Haymaker, Shares & Bondy, and TNT / Tacos & Tequila.
Those that have labored with Benge say he has a behavior of hiring subcontractors after which not paying them when the job is finished.
A lot of the contractors are self-employed and don’t have the means to sue or the years to speculate to chase the cash. However one – Hertz Electrical LLC and HTJ International Electrical LLC – employed an legal professional, Nathanial Martinez of Palter Sims Martinez PLLC, who gained a judgment in opposition to Benge and his firm Benge Normal Contracting LLC in 2019.
Benge employed Hertz in 2015 to do electrical and paint work on a number of initiatives, together with Quill Lounge and Matchbox Pizza, however didn’t pay Hertz for the work. Benge subsequently sued Hertz, alleging a producing defect as the rationale for not paying; Hertz disputed the non-payment.
A Dallas County jury discovered Benge responsible of breach of contract and fraud, and awarded Hertz damages and legal professional charges.
Martinez mentioned the case had been tried greater than 9 occasions. “My shoppers had been beginning to marvel if they’d ever make it to a jury,” he says.
Sadly, after Hertz’s victory, Benge filed for chapter within the North Texas District after which fashioned a brand new entity referred to as BengeTexas. Hertz subsequently filed a brand new lawsuit alleging that BengeTexas is a shell firm utilized by Benge to switch the enterprise and property of its former firm, Benge Normal Contracting, in an effort to keep away from paying Hertz. This trial is ongoing.
Lawsuits will not be uncommon within the entrepreneurial world of the Wild Wild West, the place massive sums of cash are concerned and shoppers are susceptible. Texas doesn’t have a licensing course of for contractors and there may be little oversight.
Famend Dallas restaurateur Jim Baron Blue Mesa Grill employed Benge to work at TNT Tacos and Tequila within the Quadrangle. He says he was given a low estimate upfront, with expenses added as soon as the job was executed.
“I’ve by no means seen a change order, not only one,” Baron says. “Ultimately he got here to me with an bill for $ 70,000 and it was for all of the supplies like drywall that the subcontractors ought to have provided however which weren’t calculated within the estimate. preliminary. He put a lien on the property. That is the way it goes with everybody. “
It led to arbitration and a lawsuit that Baron misplaced.
However, shoppers generally select the most cost effective and most unrealistic contractor’s deal solely to show round and take authorized motion when there may be inadequate work.
Nevertheless it’s uncommon to see contractors suing contractors and their members of the family.
The most important hits
In July 2016, ISC Constructing Supplies, a drywall firm, deposit a lawsuit in opposition to Benge Normal Contracting and Jim Benge for $ 6,710.44 of constructing supplies for the 2014 building of Shares & Bondy on the Dallas Farmers Market.
In September 2016, There was a mixture and counter-suit between Benge Normal Contracting and Platform Manufacturing Group, employed by Benge to do the fabrication and set up of metal on the North Dallas Public 972 restaurant. Benge’s lawsuit searching for $ 100,553 alleged that Platform didn’t do the job, so Benge employed a alternative.
Platform mentioned the location was not ready and that Benge had not obtained the right permission to take away bushes that weren’t within the drawings. Platform solely obtained $ 43,500 of its $ 144,053 payment and claimed the remaining $ 100,553.
In October 2016, High quality manufacturing facility work by Brownco LLC deposit a lawsuit in opposition to Jim Benge and Benge Normal Contracting for failure to pay a fee of $ 43,420.21 for cabinetry work executed in a showroom for homebuilder Ashton Woods.
In January 2017, Cowtown Excavation & Concrete, LLC deposit a lawsuit in opposition to Benge Normal Contracting, LLC for default of $ 25,945.50 for building on Haymaker at 1516 Greenville Ave., with Haymaker’s proprietor, Dallas Mars Companions.
In April 2017, Salon Quill deposit a lawsuit in opposition to Benge Normal Contracting LLC and James Benge individually for breach of contract. “Benge supplied providers, albeit defective providers, on Quill’s work,” the lawsuit mentioned.
The lawsuit mentioned Benge Contracting employed a number of subcontractors however didn’t pay lots of them, ensuing within the submitting of a number of liens on the Quill Lounge property. Quill refused to pay, so Benge Contracting additionally filed a lien on the property.
They reached a settlement by which Benge was presupposed to take care of the subcontractors, however left one, LoneStar Electrical Provide, which Quill was pressured to pay $ 9,970.15 in trade for a lien launch.
The lawsuit additionally says Quill discovered issues with the work carried out, together with lighting, electrical wiring and portray.
In July 2017, The Chimneys of Lil John deposit a lawsuit in opposition to Benge Normal Contracting for failing to pay for numerous chimney and / or gutter providers at Mellow Mushroom, the pizzeria at 2326 N. Henderson Ave. and for violating a subcontracting settlement, with an impressive stability of $ 7,902.98.
In January 2018, Dallas Mechanical Group deposit a lawsuit in opposition to Benge Normal Contracting for $ 12,872.18 for labor and heating, air flow and air-con supplies. Within the midst of this lawsuit, Benge Normal Contracting tried to drop off a discover of chapter, which the court docket didn’t initially authorize. (Benge deposit chapter once more in February 2020 and now operates below the brand new identify BengeTexas.)
In January 2018, Benge Normal Contracting deposit a messy lawsuit in opposition to Benge’s full brother Jay Benge, who had labored for Benge as a mission supervisor for lower than a 12 months. The lawsuit accused Jay Benge of “appropriating a few of Benge’s property and probably distributing data” that might be used to hurt Benge. He accused Jay of exhibiting up and inflicting bother within the workplace, together with practically hitting an worker with a truck. In November 2020, all events agreed to drop the case.
In February 2018, Ironworks Department deposit a lawsuit in opposition to Benge Normal Contracting for structural metal work on Mellow Mushroom, for breach of a subcontracting settlement with an unpaid stability of $ 7,902.98, for labor and supplies. They colonized in March 2019.
In April 2018, Inventive flooring options deposit a lawsuit in opposition to Benge Normal Contracting for tiling work on Mellow Mushroom for breach of contract for an unpaid stability of $ 14,804.84.
Among the lawsuits make for a compelling learn, such because the June 2019 non permanent restraining order in opposition to Money Hebel, a former worker who was mission supervisor for BengeTexas on the development of Cigars Worldwide at The Colony, then went to work for Cigars Worldwide instantly after his dismissal.
Benge assumed Hebel was merely incompetent and terminated his employment when the mission ended. It’s now evident that Hebel deliberately supplied “ free ” extras to Cigars Worldwide as a result of he had already agreed to make use of the confidential data he obtained to exclude Benge from the upcoming Cigars Worldwide web site in Fort Value and act as a building supervisor instantly for Cigars Worldwide. .
This lawsuit is especially notable since Nusr-Et’s counter-lawsuit in opposition to BengeTexas complaints Benge was engaged in comparable actions, with IE diverting funds to a former Nusr-Et worker and mission supervisor, as an alternative of paying contractors.
When contacted in regards to the lawsuits he amassed, Benge insisted on assembly in individual and needed the assembly to happen aboard a 56-foot-long sailboat that he himself has. constructed. It’s his ardour mission in addition to the matter of two profiles documenting his quest.
He had the boat saved in a warehouse close to Buckner Street. Boarding was like a Survivor problem, with a climb of a particularly slender staircase with out a balustrade, earlier than crossing a two-story vertigo-filled lifeless air zone to hurry to the gunwale.
Every little thing on board has been created from the best supplies: intricate inlaid wooden, mirror end chrome steel, cold and warm operating water, and a gimbal help for the range to maintain it stage if the boat hits a wave. It was arduous not to consider the assorted subcontractors who had not been paid.
Benge was targeted on the case he misplaced in opposition to Hertz Electrical and had a three-ring binder with pictures he mentioned confirmed poor execution. Nevertheless it was unattainable to say the place they got here from. “They may take the boat from me,” he mentioned, referring to Hertz.
However he dismissed the lawsuits saying it goes with the turf.
“I am an entrepreneur, it occurs, and we do loads of mothers who promise to pay subsequent month, so you must file a lien, despite the fact that I do not prefer it,” he talked about.
Nonetheless, on January 15, BengeTexas filed a lien in opposition to Nusr-Et for fee of $ 574,830.34. A listening to is scheduled for March 29.
In the meantime, Nusr-Et is taken Reservations; the opening weekend is already full.