Penalties for first-time flouting of such labor laws are limited to full employee reimbursement of all contested funds if the charges are proven. Not surprisingly, Samuel disputes the allegations with his characteristic style of confutation: "They're full of shit. There's nothing there. People say a lot of shit."
Feldman, who has scaled back his involvement in Bistro A to a limited consulting role (he says he hasn't divested), claims he was unaware the restaurant was in the crosshairs of the pair of regulatory agencies. Yet these problems could have costs beyond the return of any improperly siphoned tips. With the food-service labor market tighter than rusted muffler bolts, help will be even harder to come by once the stench of picked-over tip pools wafts through the air. As one former server--patiently awaiting the recapture and return of a formidable wad of diverted tip loot--puts it: "Avner, bless his heart, just always seems to shoot himself in the foot.