Joe Gorga and the Lauritas Head to Court on September 26, 2013 – Charges Reduced from Felony Assault Charges to Misdemeanor Disorderly Conduct (Updated 9/5/2013)
UPDATE 9/5/2013: According to NorthJersey.com on September 5, 2013, the assault and terroristic threat complaints against “Housewives” star Jacqueline Laurita of Franklin Lakes; her husband, Christopher; and Joe Gorga of Montville have been adjourned. The cases will now proceed in Ridgewood’s Municipal Court on September 26. The charges stem from a fracas at the grand opening of a salon in Ridgewood. The charges had been referred in April to the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office for grand jury consideration, which returned the matter to Ridgewood for resolution last month. The case of John Karagiorgis of Paramus, who is charged with assault and making terroristic threats as well as three counts of harassment, was also adjourned until later this month. Karagiorgis claimed he was assaulted by the “Housewives” trio when cameras were rolling for the Bravo television series. He said he sustained several injuries, including a head abrasion, when Jacqueline Laurita allegedly clubbed him with a stiletto heel.
UPDATE 8/24/2013: According to Celebuzz on August 23, 2013, a NJ court has decided the charges against Joe Gorga and the Lauritas should be downgraded from felonies to much lower misdemeanor counts. John Karagiorgis claims in his complaint filed in April and obtained by CB! that Jacqueline hit him multiple times on the head with her stiletto heel, while Joe and Christopher apparently “threatened to f**king kill” him and hit him repeatedly with a “closed fist.” Although John wanted those charges to be felony third degree crimes, the court said not so fast and quickly gave them all disorderly conduct offenses (equivalent to a misdemeanor charge). The stars apparently want the charges dropped, while the alleged victim, John, is prepared to keep fighting. All are expected to duke it out (legally) in court on September 5, 2013.
UPDATE 8/9/2013: According to RadarOnline, John “Johnny the Greek” Karagiorgis is looking into filing additional charges against Jac, Joe, and Chris. A source close to Johnny said “Johnny has said that he wants to file additional charges. He is going to possibly try and go after aggravated assault and aggravated assault with a weapon.” Johnny claims Jac removed her stiletto and bashed him over the head with it, causing him to sustain injuries. But it doesn’t end there. It seems that Johnny also wants to press charges against the network that caught the whole thing on camera — Bravo. “This fight was premeditated and then while it was happening the producers and security didn’t step in to stop anything. They were promoting the violence,” the source said. As it stands, all four parties involved are facing charges of harassment, assault, and terroristic threats. [WetPaint]
UDPATE 7/24/2013: According to The Bergen Record, court officials confirmed Wednesday that the criminal cases against Jacqueline Laurita of Franklin Lakes, her husband, Christopher, and Joe Gorga of Montville would proceed in Ridgewood’s Municipal Court on Sept. 5, starting at 4:30 p.m. The assault and terroristic threat charges — stemming from a fracas at the grand opening of a salon in Ridgewood — had been referred in April to the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office for grand jury consideration. But two weeks ago, the matter was returned to Ridgewood for resolution. Also due in court Sept. 5 is John Karagiorgis of Paramus, who is charged with assault and making terroristic threats as well as three counts of harassment. Karagiorgis claimed he was assaulted by the “Housewives” trio when cameras were rolling for the Bravo series. He claimed he sustained several injuries, including a head abrasion, when Jacqueline Laurita allegedly clubbed him with a stiletto heel. In April, Ridgewood’s municipal judge found there was enough probable cause for the charges against the four to proceed.
UPDATE 6/7/2013: A source tells Fame-Whorgas that Bravo only turned over one “tape” to the court although three cameras recorded the brawl. Apparently, Bravo is claiming that at least one cameraman was knocked over in the brawl and the recording was damaged and irretrievable.
According to The Bergen Record on April 24, 2013, charges against Joe Gorga and Chris and Jacqueline Laurita, and the counter complaint against John Karagiorgis, will be heading to grand jury; however, the hearings have not yet been scheduled for any of the defendants involved:
Criminal charges lodged against three cast members from “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” as well as the man they fought with [John Karagiorgis], have been referred to the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, an official confirmed Tuesday.
The cases against “Housewives” star Jacqueline Laurita of Franklin Lakes; her husband, Christopher; and Joe Gorga of Montville are currently “being prepared,” according to Maureen Parenta, a spokeswoman for Prosecutor John L. Molinelli, and will be presented at some point to a grand jury for indictment.
Those charges — assault and terroristic threats — stem from a bloody attack at the grand opening of a Ridgewood clothing boutique in late March.
John Karagiorgis of Paramus claims he was ambushed by the trio during the event, where cameras were rolling for the popular Bravo series. Karagiorgis claims he sustained several injuries in the incident, including a head abrasion — the result of Laurita clubbing him with one of her stiletto heels, he claims.
The charges against Karagiorgis — three counts each of harassment and assault, and two counts of making terroristic threats — have similarly been referred to the prosecutor’s office for consideration.
Earlier this month, Ridgewood’s municipal judge found there was enough probable cause for the charges against the show regulars and Karagiorgis to proceed.
Parenta said grand jury hearings had not been scheduled yet for any of the defendants involved.
Jacqueline Laurita Says Her Home is Not in Foreclosure; Jacqueline’s Business ‘JL Beauty Enterprises’ Could Have Huge Tax Debt (Updated 6/17/2013)
UPDATE 6/17/2013: TMZ reported that the Lauritas struck a deal with their bank and saved their mansion from foreclosure. “The Lauritas were sued by Hudson City Savings earlier this year. The bank claimed they missed a mortgage payment on her 5,600-square-foot crib — a cool $10,175. Here’s the kicker … under the housewife’s contract, one missed payment meant the bank could demand the entire balance owed, which it did. When the Lauritas couldn’t cough it up … HCS asked to foreclose. But good news … Jacqueline managed to strike a deal with the bank outside of court, and in return Hudson City Savings dropped the suit. The case was dismissed on April 17. Now if only that little tax problem could go away …”
On the morning of April 25, 2013, at 7:32 AM (15 minutes after this blog was published), Jacqueline Laurita tweeted that she is not rich nor is she broke, and implied that Autism treatments and therapies for her son Nicholas are causing financial distress for her family:
“Some say we are rich. Some say we are broke. We are not rich & we are not broke. We are doing ok. Autism treatments & therapies are very expensive ya know?”
According to TMZ on March 2, 2013, Jacqueline has a massive tax debt and owes the State of New Jersey $340,000. The tax debt of $340,000 is owed to the State of New Jersey, not the Federal government (IRS):
“The Garden State is picking a cat-fight with ‘Real Housewives of New Jersey’ star Jacqueline Laurita — claiming she needs to pay off a $340,000 tax bill … OR ELSE. The NJ Division of Taxation filed the tax lien against Jacqueline — who has been a regular on the show since season 1 — earlier this year for exactly $338,337.05. The docs don’t specify which year(s) Jacqueline allegedly racked up the debt, but if she doesn’t pay up soon, they could go after her assets. Jacqueline is not the only NJ housewife to botch her finances — her two nemesis on the show, Danielle Staub and Teresa Giudice, are both in the middle of a bankruptcy right now. Hey Bravo, maybe an episode called ‘The Girls Pay Their Bills’” is in order.”
A source close to Jacqueline says she owns her own business named JL Beauty Enterprises, which could be the cause of the Laurita’s huge tax debt owed to the State of New Jersey:
“Jacqueline should have never made comments about Teresa’s finances when she has issues. As for the tax lien, I wonder if this has to do with her business…JL Beauty Enterprises. I’m surprised she hasn’t commented about this twitter. Also, the years weren’t specified in docs as per TMZ. At any rate, she needs to pay her taxes like the rest of us. Jac started the company last year. She did tell someone on twitter she was making a million dollars. Tamara Tattles blogged about it. Not making excuses for her. This huge tax debt means the income was high. Can’t have it all.”
On September 2, 2012, Tamara Tattles published a Twitter direct message (DM) from Jacqueline to TeeCee66, where she claimed to be making over a million per year for endorsing products:
“I make over a million a year. I just love the [Acne] product. Besides the show, I have successful products out there that I don’t make known to the show to cheapen the brands. :0 I work too. I enjoy it.”
Perhaps one of the deals Jacqueline is referring to is her affiliation with Altruistic Beauty Medspa, which opens this fall in Oakland, NJ. According to Jacqueline’s biography on BravoTV’s website, Jacqueline is the owner of the spa, but the spa’s website suggests she is, at best, a celebrity partner:
“Aside from spending time with her family, Jacqueline continues her passion and career in the beauty industry as an owner of a beauty Medspa in Oakland, N.J. called, “Altruistic Beauty Medspa” that should be opening late summer/early fall 2013. The spa is dedicated to those who are unselfishly devoted to the welfare of others. This sanctuary is all about giving back [excerpt from Jacqueline’s biography on BravoTV’s website].”
Jacqueline is denying reports that her New Jersey home is in foreclosure. She told Tom Murro of FoxCT:
“Thank you for all who were concerned, but my house is NOT in foreclosure. We simply modified our mortgage which is a process. Our mortgage modification has been approved and all is good. My husband and I have ALWAYS filed and paid our taxes every year. We have NEVER evaded taxes. The $340k was from a tax audit in 2006 in which about 1/2 of that was added interest. We have been disputing this because we didn’t think it was fair to pay so much interest on something that we didn’t even know we owed until recently. The IRS is currently working with us to lower the amount owed, and once that new amount is decided we will, of course, pay the amount.”
However, according to TMZ on April 16, 2013, Jacqueline is being sued by Hudson City Savings Bank, and the bank is asking a judge for permission to foreclose on their home:
“A ‘Real Housewives of New Jersey’ star could be downgraded from ‘housewife’ to just plain old ‘wife’ … because a bank is trying to FORECLOSE on her mansion. Jacqueline Laurita is being sued by Hudson City Savings Bank. The bank claims Jacqueline took out a $1.6 million mortgage back in 2007 on a 5,600-square-foot pad, but in February 2012 failed to cough up the $10,175 monthly mortgage payment. Big mistake … according to the deal … if Jacqueline misses ONE payment the bank can demand the entire balance — which it did. The bank is now asking a judge for permission to foreclose on the home. It’s not Jacqueline’s only financial woe — the State of NJ says she still owes over $340,000 in unpaid taxes. If only she had a sex tape to hock.”
According to Zillow, a notice of lis pendends has been filed against the Laurita’s Franklin Lakes home — if a lis pendens is filed with the county recorder against a piece of property, this indicates that the house is already in some stage of the foreclosure process. The homeowners are no longer in the preforeclosure stage, or merely behind in payments.
One of the legal terms that homeowners in foreclosure often come across is lis pendens. They may initially find out about the term when attempting to refinance their house and the mortgage broker turns them down because of this type of document filed against the property. If a lis pendens has been filed, it will show up with the county recorder as a document affecting the title.
A lis pendens does not stop or prevent foreclosure at all, as it is merely a document serving notice upon any other party that is researching the particular property affected by the document. In most cases of a homeowner behind on the mortgage payments, the lender’s attorneys will file the initial foreclosure lawsuit with the court and a lis pendens will be sent to the county clerk or recorder’s office to indicate that a particular property is in the process of a pending litigation.
The term lis pendens is Latin for “lawsuit pending,” and the lawsuit that it is referring to is the legal process of foreclosure. If the lender was not suing for the property to be sold for payment of the defaulted mortgage loan, this document would never be filed in the first place, as no lawsuit would be pending.
In fact, a lis pendens specifically indicates that the property is facing foreclosure, and the document will show anyone, such as a title company or prospective foreclosure refinance lender, researching the real estate that it is involved in a lawsuit. So the lis pendens is meant to signify the foreclosure; it does nothing to prevent the foreclosure, but it does not itself affect the homeowners’ ability to save their home.
The most commonly used legal mechanism that would stop foreclosure is filing bankruptcy with the court, and even this only puts the process on hold while the creditor and debtor are coming to an agreement to negotiate a settlement of the debt.
Homeowners may also wish to consider getting rid of the lis pendens affecting their home by mounting a defense against the lawsuit that has led to the foreclosure process. This is a direct defense of the litigation, though, not an extra legal process like bankruptcy that may be used to put the suit on hold.
If a lis pendens is filed with the county recorder against a piece of property, this indicates that the house is already in some stage of the foreclosure process. The homeowners are no longer in the preforeclosure stage, or merely behind in payments. At this point, foreclosure can not prevented, as it is already being pursued by the lender and its attorneys — it must be stopped, and homeowners need to begin putting together a realistic plan and researching various ways to stop foreclosure, such as a mortgage modification, repayment plan, selling the house, or a foreclosure bailout loan.
The Lauritas were having financial issues at the same time as the Giudices. While RHONJ season 2 was taping:
- In September 2009, creditors of Chris and Joseph Laurita’s company, Signature Apparel, pushed the company into bankruptcy protection (the company had only been in operation since 2005).
- A month later, on October 29, 2009, the Giudices filed for bankruptcy protection.
It looks like Chris has formed several different LLCs to spread the money around for blk., just like he did with Signature Apparel and the Laurita Pyramid Companies (Pyramid Trading, Inc., Pyramid Trading Corp., Retail Solutions, Four Brothers Retail and Cool Five LLC). With the blk. venture, Chris already has more than one company name associated with it: including Blk Brands LLC and blk.beverages, LLC (there are probably others).
The Lauritas didn’t file bankruptcy protection – creditors of Signature Apparel filed an involuntary petition against Signature Apparel in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, seeking relief under chapter 7 of title 1 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The creditors forced the bankruptcy in hopes of getting restitution – basically going after the Laurita’s personally, and the other companies that they siphoned funds to (including Pyramid Trading, Inc., Pyramid Trading Corp., Retail Solutions, Four Brothers Retail and Cool Five LLC – collectively referred to as the “Laurita Pyramid Companies”).
The creditors of Signature Apparel are suing the Lauritas for “treating the assets of Signature Apparel as if those assets were Chris and his brother Joseph’s own personal assets – they wrongfully utilized and depleted the corporate assets of Signature to further their own individual financial interests.”
Chris and his brother Joseph each 50% owner/member of Signature Apparel LLC (which was formed in 2005 and went bankrupt in 2010), diverted funds from the company for personal expenses and transferred company funds to family members and other family businesses, draining the company so dry that it was an empty shell and creditors couldn’t be paid. Jacqueline is also named as a defendant in the case because she and other family members “accepted funds they knew belonged to Signature and for which they each knew they had performed no services and/or provided no value.”
From the original lawsuit filed on behalf of the creditors of Signature Apparel LLC against the Laurita brothers:
“Little Town will operate just fine without you.” – Chris Laurita to Albie and Christopher Manzo, Season 5 Episode 11
“What Caroline Manzo really wanted to talk about was her son’s new restaurant and daughter’s store: ‘It’s called Little Town and it’s opening in Hoboken at the end of April and its all the best of New Jersey and everything is farmed in New Jersey. Lauren’s working hard at her store. It’s celebrating its one-year anniversary. They’ve got me hopping’.” [NaughtyButNiceRob, April 8, 2013]
“Caroline was made an offer to return and declined — it is possible she is waiting for a bigger offer ($$) or has something up the pipelines. She had only participated in season 4 so that her children would get exposure for their business ventures. She knew it (being a Real Housewife) would one day end, so she made sure her children had established themselves in their own businesses. I don’t like to have personal feelings about cast, but I do admire her — she had a plan going into season 3, and that was to use this platform to assist in setting up her children financially.” [Former RHONJ Post Production Supervisor, September 17, 2012]
Albie and Christopher Manzo have “partnered” with New York City-based restaurateurs Michael Sinensky and Sean McGarr (who also own Little Town New York) to open a new restaurant in Hoboken called Little Town New Jersey (310 Sinatra Drive). The Manzo boys don’t actually run the restaurant — they are compensated for marketing the place using their “celebrity images.” Albie and Christopher live at 333 River Street, which is above the restaurant, so all they have to do is stop by the restaurant for occasional appearances, and their “fans” will buy them drinks for the privilege of hanging out with them.
Reality TV stars Albie and Chris Manzo — of Real Housewives of New Jersey fame — have teamed up with the Village Pourhouse owners to open a new eatery in Hoboken. Little Town NJ, at 310 Sinatra Dr., is slated to open April 9, and the Manzo brothers aim to give the new restaurant some New Jersey flair by using their mom Caroline Manzo’s recipes for the brunch buffet and Sunday Gravy on weekends. Little Town NJ, which incorporates a farmer’s market area where local farmers display their produce, is the third location of Manhattan’s Little Town NYC, owned by Michael Sinensky and Sean McGarr — who also own the Village Pourhouse on First Street in Hoboken. The much-anticipated opening had been scheduled for early November, but superstorm Sandy KO’d those plans. [NJ.com reports the grand opening is scheduled for April 9th]
SO PUMPED! RT @Hoboken411 Little Town NJ and Manzo Brothers set to open Hoboken restaurant in less than two weeks! – Albie Manzo (@AlbieManzo), April 4, 2013, Twitter
Little Town NJ and Manzo Brothers set to open Hoboken restaurant in less than two weeks! Hooray for Jersey! – Hoboken411 (@Hoboken411), April 4, 2013, Twitter
@Chefrey201: Just got the infamous @CarolineManzo meatball recipe for @LittleTownNJ stop by and check em out every Sunday” – Little Town NJ (@LittleTownNJ), April 6, 2013, Twitter
The Manzo boys are not owners/operators of Little Town NJ — they have nothing to do with the daily operations of the restaurant. This is the type of deal the Wakiles were hoping for — Richie explained it in season 3 episode 7 or 8 (and when they talked to Al Manzo about opening a restaurant, he laughed in their faces).
Albie and Christopher were guest bartenders for a Hurricane Sandy fundraiser at the restaurant in November 2012. Their mother Caroline has provided the recipe for her Italian-American gravy featured on the brunch buffet and “Sunday Gravy” on weekends.
Even in a write up for the opening, “lending their names” is used to describe Albie’s and Christopher’s association with the restaurant:
The Manzo brothers are not just lending their names and heritages. Don’t be surprised to see them in the kitchen, behind the bar – or even dining in! “I can’t wait for those doors to open,” says 26-year-old Albie, who recently got his bartending card. “This is the first brick and mortar spot that we have been a part of … It’s really a lot of fun to go in there, to see how far it’s come … It’s kind of the best situation for us to get into. We really can’t get yelled at if we go out because we’re at Little Town, and we’re still at work.” And when Season 5 of “Real Housewives” premieres later this year, fans all over the world will get a glimpse at the restaurant. Who knows, maybe Giudice will even flip a table there! “We’re going to feature it definitely” on the upcoming season, says Chris. “The one thing we do on ‘Housewives’ is we film our reality. Viewers are really going to get attached to it the way we have.”
The Manzo boys don’t actually work at Little Town NJ — they just make guest appearances as “celebrities” to promote the business and, of course, they can stop by any time to eat and drink for free. You have to wonder how much longer they can milk this reality TV fame.
Albie and Chris explain it best in the following interview from NJ.com.
The Manzo brothers are following in the footsteps of their parents, Albert and Caroline Manzo, who own the Brownstone in Paterson.
“We will see,” Albie, 26, said when asked about the new restaurant getting air time this season. “The cameras follow our life, and this is a big part of our life, so we will see what ends up making the show.
“We are really excited. If it is portrayed on the show it will be a lot of fun to watch, because you will see this thing coming along. You will see what it was like when Sandy hit and what it is today. ”
Little Town NJ was expected to open in November, but superstorm Sandy put a hold on those plans when Hoboken suffered extensive damage.
The Hoboken restaurant is owned jointly by the Manzo brothers and the owners of two Manhattan’s Little Town NYC eateries, Michael Sinensky and Sean McGarr, who also own the Village Pourhouse on First Street in Hoboken.
No restaurant owned by Manzos would be complete without something from the Brownstone menu. Family matriarch Caroline Manzo has provided the recipe for her “authentic hard-core” Italian-American Sunday gravy.
“We had that smell every Sunday and we could pig out on home-cooked Italian meals. I am sure we are not the only one missing that,” Chris said. “We are lucky that we can go home in a second and we are bringing that to everyone else.”
The partnership with Sinensky and McGarr grew out of a friendship that dates back to when the brothers flew the coop in Franklin Lakes to experience living on their own in Hoboken in November 2010.
The brothers started to hang out out at The Village Pourhouse and the four became friends “doing karaoke,” business partner Sinensky recalled.
“I noticed because they’re on TV, a lot of people try to buy them shots, so sometimes I get a free round when they’re tipsy,” Sinensky said.
After opening two Little Town restaurants in New York, McGarr and Sinensky were looking to open a restaurant across the Hudson with a focus on “all things New Jersey.”
“We mentioned the idea on LTNJ and they were ecstatic about it,” Sinensky said. “We couldn’t ask for better partners than Chris and Al for LTNJ. Their shared passion for supporting local mom-and-pop (shops) is what has made this such a great relationship.”
When McGarr and Sinensky leased the commercial space at the former Quays Restaurant & Bar — the ground floor of the building in which the Manzo brothers live — the deal was sealed.
“When they told us they found this space the stars couldn’t have been more aligned,” Chris said. “When I found out I could use my own bathroom I said ‘I’m in’.”
Despite their hectic schedules with the “blk” water venture they launched in June 2011, and filming for RHONJ, the brothers say they will be spending a good deal of time at the restaurant.
“I love what we are doing with blk water and I love Little Town,” Albie said. “I never feel personally as though I am working. It’s the type of place we are going to want to be whether it’s behind the bar, having dinner or sweeping the floor. It’s the type of place we are going to want to spend all of our time.”
Having grown up in restaurants, Chris says he is even more enthusiastic about the new restaurant than his other project.
“For me, doing blk, I love it. We all have a great time there, but it is work at the end of the day. You are dealing with a lot of corporate people you are making a lot of phone calls,” Chris said. “I look forward to the restaurant craziness.
“It is almost relaxing to me in some kind of twisted way,” he added. “It brings you back to your childhood. This is what we did when we were 16. If there was a problem at bar at the Brownstone I would get a call and I am there. When I was 18 we were out to dinner with five friends. There was a problem with all the valets at once and there were 200 cars. My dad said ‘I know you are not a valet, but get over here.’ We had to figure it out. It kind of brings us back to how we were raised. It’s going to be really fun for me.”
And the fact that the siblings spend every waking minute with each other does not worry them.
“We are with each other every minute,” Albie said. “We are really at this point morphing into the same person. It is not that we are putting up with each other’s stuff. We know what makes each other tick. We get along great. It is just an extension of yourself at this point.”
Once the restaurant opens, it’s almost a guarantee that their parents will drop in unannounced. Now empty-nesters at their home in Franklin Lakes, Albert and Caroline Manzo have a new place in uptown Hoboken, where they stay two or three days a week trying out life in the city.
“I think they kind of like it,” Chris said. “They don’t even tell us when they are town though.”
The official grand opening of Little Town NJ, with the formal ribbon-cutting and VIP guests, was on April 18, 2013.
If you attend, you’ll have the pleasure of meeting founder Micheal Sinensky and Sean McGarr, along with their celebrity partners Manzo brothers Albie & Chris.
Flashback: Hoboken411 and the owners took a three day tour of New Jersey back in 2012 to find the best!