As the Ciprianis remain under investigation for allegations that they pressured officials to renew their liquor licence, Giuseppe Cipriani has been mysteriously out of the country for the past four months. Is he hiding out? Did he have an immigration issue that prevented him from returning? No, says Cipriani. He’s just busy doing deals to expand the Ciprianis’s restaurant empire overseas.
Speaking from London, Cipriani tells us he’s close to sealing two deals with Russian partners to build a restaurant and a condo-hotel in Moscow. He says he and Italian tycoon Flavio Briatore are also hatching a hotel and restaurant in Dubai.
Cipriani vouches that neither he nor his attorneys have been contacted by the FBI or Cuomo’s office. “I really don’t know that there is an investigation,” he says. The State Liquor Authority, which fined the Cipriani restaurants $500,000 last year as a result of their tax problem, “is always trying to make trouble, but nothing more than usual that I know of.”
And what about dealing with Tishman-Speyer’s attempts to evict his family from the Rainbow Room?
“I have a team of lawyers to deal with that,” he says.
“There’s nothing more that I can do.”
Cipriani also says he’s ready to spend $10 million on the Rainbow Room, if he can sign a long-term lease. And when does he think he’ll come back to town?
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