The Texas-based Vandelay Hospitality Group opens its L.A. outpost of Hudson House this week in West Hollywood and not everybody’s happy about it. Controversy and accusations continue to swirl around its founder and CEO, Hunter Pond.
A warrant for arrest was issued today in Colorado by the San Miguel County Sheriff’s office for charges of “harassment, striking, shoving, kicking, disorderly conduct and displaying an offensive hand gesture,” which appear in a public listing on the sheriff’s facebook page.
The incident is currently under investigation by the Mountain Village Police Department, whose jurisdiction includes the tony ski town of Telluride. Because of the ongoing investigation, police records are under seal.
In 2021 Glen Govias, a former general manager of fast-growing Dallas restaurant group sued the company for $1 million, alleging that it operates within a culture that is “shot through with racism, sexism, homophobia, and outright disdain for its employees.”
Govias claims that the company engaged in racist activity directed at employees and customers alike, claiming that corporate managers would demand the firing of employees based on their race, gender, and physical attributes, resulting in comments like “fire the Mexican guy” or “fire the ugly girl” from top leadership. Govias worked at the group’s Dallas area Drake’s Hollywood, an outpost of which is scheduled to open in West Hollywood.
Govias’s lawfirm McCathern Law is currently representing four individuals against Vandelay for employment discrimination, and wrongful termination.
“We actually had many more individuals come forward and complain to us about Hunter/Vandelay’s attitude and actions,” Levi G. McCathern, II said in a statement to L.A. Weekly. “There were others who did not want to pursue their claims for fear of being black balled in the restaurant industry, while others had waited too long and the time for legally filing a claim had passed.
Pond’s attorney Jason Friedman issued the following statement:
“Hunter Pond is a successful Dallas businessman and entrepreneur who was in Telluride, Colorado last October with his family for a wedding. According to a lawsuit filed today by Mr. Pond, after the wedding, when the family was walking back to their hotel, a woman apparently driving in excess of the speed limit veered towards Mr. Pond, his wife, and their two small children–coming within two (2) feet of his family. The driver did not stop to see whether Mr. Pond or his family were injured.
Subsequently, at their hotel, Mr. Pond saw the same woman again stopping in front of his hotel. At that point, Mr. Pond addressed the woman and voiced his displeasure with her actions. Thereafter, Mr. Pond went to sleep in his room and left Colorado the next day. He was not issued a ticket nor did the police search for Mr. Pond to interview him about the incident. Mr. Pond was not aware that the reckless driver filed a misdemeanor complaint about his interaction with her after she nearly hit his kids. Mr. Pond has filed suit against the woman for assault and negligence and expects to be vindicated.”
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