Matzo art intrigue

Volume 18 • Issue 33 | Dec. 30 – Jan. 6, 2006

Under Cover

Roadhouse brass hits the road

A.& M. Roadhouse owner Arthur Gregory was summarily removed from his eatery last week by his business partner, Mark Gorton. Gregory and Gorton bought the lowbrow establishment on Murray St. in 1999 and weathered several difficult years together when most of their business lunch clientele scattered after 9/11. Business had been looking up, said Gregory, until he canned his bookkeeper last week only to be served walking papers by Gorton three days before Christmas. “It was my Christmas present, only I’m Jewish, so it was my Hanukkah present,” said Gregory, adding that his bookkeeper was tapped to replace manager Dave Wileman, who was also fired. “It was a total coup coup d’état.”

But Gregory was no innocent bystander caught in the crosshairs of a barroom brawl, a Gorton rep insists. Gorton, a hedge fund manager and owner of the Lime Group, an umbrella organization controlling several smaller companies, canned his partner because he embezzled money out of the Roadhouse into his own private accounts and the bar he owns with Wileman, B4, near Wall St., according to the rep. “He’s been stealing from the bar for many years and stealing from Mark Gorton,” said Christine Dalsass, office manager of the Lime Group. “He is honestly a crook in every sense of the word.”

Gregory has opened credit cards in Gorton’s name, bankrolled trips to Las Vegas, paid off his personal debt and launched B4, all with Roadhouse funds, said Dalsass. Gregory was not a hardworking employee canned the week before Christmas, Dalsass insisted. “He’s been working hard only to steal from the bar.”

Gregory insists the accusations are lies fabricated by his bookkeeper so he could land a management job at the Roadhouse. “My bookkeeper realizes he can get himself a job and extenuated the circumstances so it makes it look bad,” said Gregory, adding that he and Wileman had been planning to buy Gorton out of his 75 percent stake in the company in the New Year.

Holiday blackout

In other restaurant news, P.J. Clarke’s new Downtown locale in the World Financial Center is in the dark this holiday season. The venerable 120-year-old watering hole planned to open a Battery Park City spin-off this fall, but its opening has been delayed by Con Edison. The power company has yet to turn the electricity on at P.J. Clarke’s on the Hudson, keeping the new restaurant out of business all holiday season long. “The restaurant’s done, I have people sitting around waiting. I have a full staff. I have food pre-ordered,” said owner Phil Scotti. “There’s no dealing with Con Ed. You have to wait for them to come in and turn on the gas.”

Wall Street living

Miramax founder Harvey Weinstein is set to snatch up a few apartments at Cipriani Residences at 55 Wall St. The infamously tempered Weinstein brother is planning to bankroll temporary abodes for his talent with about $5 million, the New York Post reported. If only the former Regent Hotel spreads could have been available for Billy Bob Thornton and Jon Heder, the oblivious geek from “Napoleon Dynamite,” when they shot the Weinstein brothers’ flick, “Schools for Scoundrels,” in November in Battery Park City’s North Cove.

Free Press

Interviewer extraordinaire Barbara Walters will welcome Mayor Michael Bloomberg et al for the city’s New Year’s Day inauguration extravaganza. Clearly, Walters is much more than simply a dispassionate journalist, she’s a political host, too. Unless, of course, she’s upstaged by Liza Minnelli’s rendition of “New York, New York.”

Burying the lead

According to Abby Wilson, press secretary for Councilmember Eva Moskowitz, they weren’t too happy a recent article about Moskowitz’s upcoming job working with New York City charter schools that they pitched to The New York Times wound up on the back page of the weekend Metro section — by the obituaries, no less. In the article, Moskowitz, who is term-limited out of the Council, also said she plans to run for mayor in the future. Wilson has plans too. She’s heading to remote eastern South Africa this week to educate school children about H.I.V./AIDS and live in a mud hut for about a year. Asked about whether Madelyn Wils, former Community Board 1 chairperson, had indeed supported Moskowitz for borough president as some suspect, Wilson, fielding one of her last press questions before departing, said, “We don’t recall her openly supporting [Moskowitz].”

Critical parents

Bill Di Paola, director of Time’s Up!, tells us last week’s New York Times article about alternative-sticker-wearing undercover spies infiltrating the monthly Critical Mass bicycle rides with the assistance of police officers has people worried. “My parents are starting to freak out,” he said. “They don’t want me to give any interviews.”

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