Investors Say They’ve Blown $2 Million on the Mott; Cleary Confirms Departure

Photo: Courtesy of Emma Cleary

Emma Cleary now confirms that her investors have pushed her out of the Mott: “I’ve been duped and I’m not engaging in further conversations with them — they can talk to my lawyer. I tried to resolve this and they continued to act hostile and continued to show they were untrustworthy.” The situation, based on what we’ve heard from sources, is this: Cleary entered into what was initially a handshake agreement with her friend and investor Fred Loh (who works in finance). As architectural and contracting snafus mounted, Loh and Cleary brought on another investor, Lewis Black (not the comedian). At some point a board of directors was created and Cleary was terminated. The dispute seems to be over whether the board of directors was legitimate (and hence had the power to terminate Cleary) and whether the build-out missteps were Cleary’s fault or that of her partners. For their part, the partners of the Mott have sent us a statement that makes it clear they believe they are in the right, and that claims they have sunk over $2 million into the project.

The investors in The Mott restaurant have terminated Emma Cleary as an officer of the Company and member of the board due to mismanagement, misappropriation of funds, and misleading the investors, among other reasons. In the two years that this project has been underway, Cleary has failed to achieve virtually every milestone, despite numerous assurances, forcing the investors to take over active management of the buildout, launch and operations of the venue. Over $2 million was funded by investors who are at a loss after numerous promises, excuses, and inaction. “Ms Cleary misled us into believing that she had the experience and ability to launch restaurant and club operations and open a successful venue. However, the facts show that this was utterly false and misleading.” The new management of The Mott has taken action to remedy the situation and is on track to open one of the most exciting and newsworthy venues in Nolita.”

The restaurant is set to open in July.

Cleary has cast doubt on whether the operators will be able to open with a liquor license that lists her as the principal (“I’m not going to accept liability,” she tells us, “because I don’t know what these characters are going to get up to”), but this much is certain: Chef Brain Bieler is still onboard, as is general manager Gordon Adams, who worked with Cleary at meatpacking club PM. They’re still aiming to open by next Wednesday.

Earlier: Emma Cleary May Be Out at the Mott

Investors Say They’ve Blown $2 Million on the Mott; Cleary Confirms