Owners of popular Lynora Osteria eatery embroiled in lawsuit


Lynora’s Osteria in downtown West Palm Beach, the cozy Italian eatery born of two successful restaurateurs, is being plundered by partner Angelo Abbenante and his father, Raffaele, claims a lawsuit filed by the restaurant’s two other partners.

Sascha Bennemann, formerly of Pistache French Bistro, and partner David Khoury, say the Abbenantes who deny the allegations have used the restaurant’s bank accounts for their own personal expenses, including real estate taxes, home construction, day trading and even a gym membership.

The allegations were leveled in a lawsuit filed earlier this month in Palm Beach County Circuit Court. The derivative complaint was filed on behalf of the restaurant’s parent, 225 East Ocean Avenue Inc., and seeks to remove the Abbenante family from control of Lynora’s bank accounts and cash.

For many years, the Abbenante family owned the popular Lynora’s Italian Restaurant in Lake Worth, started by Angelo’s parents, Raffaele and Maria in the 1970s.

Angelo, their son, joined forces with West Palm Beach restaurant veteran Bennemann to open Lynora’s in 2014, at 207 Clematis Street.

The eatery has been hailed as a successful blend of authentic old-school Italian cooking, with a modern twist.

But proper oversight of the restaurant’s finances has not been successful, Bennemann and Khoury alleged in the complaint, which names both Angelo and Raffaele Abbenante, who is listed as a 50 percent owner of the corporation.

Both Abbenante men have access to the company’s bank accounts, the lawsuit said. Cash withdrawals on the corporate credit card, in the amount of $50 or so, are common practices, the lawsuit claims.

And Lynora’s bank accounts have been used for Angelo’s personal expenses, including trips to Dunkin Donuts, gym memberships, bar tabs and personal purchases at Rooms-to-Go and Publix, the lawsuit says.

Bennemann claims Angelo also used corporate money for home construction jobs in the San Messina development in Lake Worth and a home in West Palm Beach, the lawsuit says.

Among the charges listed as inappropriate in the complaint: $44,000 to Raffaele and Maria; and some $70,500 in cash and distributions to Angelo and a separate business he owns.

On Monday, Angelo Abbenante denied the allegations and said the lawsuit was settled last Friday. But both Dave Roy, attorney for Bennemann, and Gary Betensky, attorney for Khoury, said that’s not true.

The case “is an ongoing lawsuit that has not been resolved,” Roy said.

Meanwhile, the kitchen has been “hijacked” by Raffaele and Maria and servers and managers fear for their jobs and personal safety, the lawsuit says.

Bennemann and Khoury said the restaurant’s 2014 taxes are “impossible to prepare,” even though the deadline is only two months away, the lawsuit says. Some payroll taxes also haven’t been paid, which could result in problems with the Internal Revenue Service, the lawsuit said.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

Pennsylvania man found dead after killing parents, shooting at ex-wife, police say
Pennsylvania man found dead after killing parents, shooting at ex-wife, police say

A Pennsylvania man who authorities believe killed his parents Wednesday evening after shooting at his ex-wife has been found dead, WCAU and WPVI are reporting. Update 3:53 a.m. EDT:  According to WCAU, authorities found Bruce Rogal, 59, of Glenmoore, dead early Thursday after his car crashed in the West Bradford Township neighborhood where...
‘Magic: The Gathering Arena’ may finally get game right for video games
‘Magic: The Gathering Arena’ may finally get game right for video games

Despite pioneering the trading card game on paper, Wizards of the Coast has had a rough go of it in the digital space. “Magic: The Gathering Online” hasn’t had wild success mainly because of stability issues and accessibility. “Magic Duels” was better but it didn’t seem to take full advantage of the medium or capture...
These Android phones have security defects out of the box
These Android phones have security defects out of the box

At least 25 Android smartphone models — 11 of which are sold by major U.S. carriers — carry vulnerabilities out of the box, making them easy prey for hackers, according to a new study from security researchers. Researchers from the firm Kryptowire found 38 vulnerabilities in 25 Android phones, according to Wired. They range from being able...
T-Mobile gets rid of robot system for customer service calls
T-Mobile gets rid of robot system for customer service calls

SEATTLE — T-Mobile is getting rid of that robotic voice on its customer service lines, the company announced recently. The telecom said it would connect users straight to a team of customer representatives, unique to their own city, when they call customer service. “ ‘Your call is important to us’ are the six emptiest words...
CNET: The best gadgets for dorm or apartment for less than $50
CNET: The best gadgets for dorm or apartment for less than $50

If you have a child, a relative or maybe even a friend away at school for the first time, their adjustment to a new living situation might be smoothed by a bit of technology, and you don’t need to break the bank to accomplish that. Here are four of CNET’s favorite gadgets for the dorm or apartment that can be had for less than $50. &mdash...
More Stories