The owner and the manager of a Hamptons diner who admitted to stealing $132,000 in tips and wages from 23 low-wage workers have been sentenced to 6 months in jail and a conditional discharge, respectively, the state attorney general said Friday.
Richard Bivona, who owned the Princess Diner at 32 Montauk Highway in Water Mill, and John Kalogeras, who managed the restaurant, were charged with failing to pay restaurant workers and scheming to defraud them between August 2016 and February 2018, according to a news release from the office of state Attorney General Barbara Underwood.
In March, both men pleaded guilty to failure to pay the workers. Bivona also pleaded guilty to scheming to defraud, the release stated.
On Friday, Suffolk County Supreme Court Judge Fernando Camacho sentenced Bivona to 6 months in jail. He must also pay back $132,000. Kalogeras will serve no prison time but was sentenced to a conditional discharge.
The firm that owns the diner, RJT Food & Restaurant LLC, was also sentenced to a conditional discharge for scheming to defraud and failure to secure workers' compensation coverage, the release stated.
“Every worker is entitled to the wages they earn — period,” Underwood said in the release. “When employers skirt the law and steal from their employees, they’ll face the consequences.”
Officials said that the men didn’t pay their cooks, dishwashers and other workers, and that they also lied to employees about when they would be compensated. Authorities said some employees lived off cash tips because Bivona withheld credit card tips or paid them only a fraction of those tips.
The two men became partners when Kalogeras’ family sold the diner to Bivona in August 2016 and he kept Kalogeras on as manager.
“Mr. Kalogeras had sold his stake in the Princess Diner and stayed on to assist Mr. Bivona in the transition,” said Kalogeras’ attorney, Robert Schalk of Mineola. “Any criminal responsibility, albeit minimal, he took full responsibility for and full restitution was made to all parties.”
John Carman of Garden City, Bivona’s attorney, said: “Like many businessmen before him, Richard Bivona has accepted responsibility for failing to live up to commitments that he could not keep.”