John Karagiorgis’ Lawyer Says His Client Was Set Up by RHONJ Producers and Was Invited to the Event “to Make Peace”
The Bergen Record
April 4, 2013
The Posche II boutique’s grand opening was anything but posh when fists started flying at a “Real Housewives of New Jersey” event last weekend.
And now, village police have been fielding cross-complaints of assault and threats.
The bloody brawl erupted inside an East Ridgewood Avenue hair salon, which was not yet open, as television cameras rolled on Jacqueline and Christopher Laurita and Giuseppe “Joe” Gorga, who allegedly took on a Paramus man.
The fights have come to be expected at “Housewives” events — and Posche events in particular.
Kim DePaola, a recurring “RHONJ” character, known on the Bravo reality show as “Kim D.,” owns the tiny Posche boutique in Wayne. The group was celebrating DePaola’s second venture, where she will showcase her fashions inside a new salon co-owned by the Moxie Twins, Jenn and Jamie Dunn of Saddle Brook, also reality show veterans who own another successful salon across the street.
Saturday’s brawl was not the first time a DePaola event provided drama on “RHONJ.”
In 2009, cops were called to Posche’s fashion show at the North Jersey Country Club in Wayne after Jacqueline Laurita’s daughter, Ashlee Holmes, allegedly yanked out Danielle Staub’s hair extensions. Holmes was later found guilty of simple assault. And in 2011, a fight broke out between DePaola and Gorga outside a West New York restaurant after he accused her of orchestrating a “stripper-gate” plot to expose his wife’s alleged past as an exotic dancer.
This time, John Karagiorgis, an employee of Clifton institution Rutt’s Hut, accused the trio of attacking him.
“I was ambushed and attacked,” Karagiorgis said by phone Thursday, adding he still has “a mark on my forehead from a stiletto heel.”
Karagiorgis filed a criminal complaint with police Sunday accusing the trio of simple assault and making terroristic threats. But the reality show stars quickly fought back with their own criminal complaints, according to police, who did not provide details on the countercomplaints.
On Thursday, Laurita and husband Christopher, of Franklin Lakes, spent more than 45 minutes inside police headquarters, speaking with detectives.
Detective Chris McDowell said Thursday that no charges have been filed. A probable cause hearing will be scheduled in Ridgewood Municipal Court to determine if there is enough evidence to warrant any arrests.
Just after 2:48 p.m., the Lauritas with their lawyer, Mark McGuire, emerged from Ridgewood’s Village Hall, entered a black Mercedes Benz with tinted windows and drove off.
McGuire offered a “No comment” before getting into the vehicle, and later, did not return calls.
Online media outlets have reported that Karagiorgis allegedly made negative remarks about the Lauritas’ young son, who has autism.
“This is the type of notoriety I don’t want,” he added. “I never spoke negatively about any child.”
Karagiorgis was on hand for the boutique’s grand opening with wife Penny Drossos Karagiorgis.
Jenn Dunn, of Moxie Salon, said there was minor damage and one of her shampoo sinks was broken in the scuffle. But she downplayed the incident.
“It was really funny, because everyone was like, ‘Oh, why do you care?’ We’re just so happy that the ‘Housewives’ were with us,” said 27-year-old Dunn, whose second salon is under construction across the street from the sisters’ main shop. “We were all having a good time.”
A representative from Bravo could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Karagiorgis, however, said the incident was serious, leaving him with a broken nose, bruises, lumps and head trauma.
According to the complaint:
“The victim stated he was punched in the left eye and in the nose by Mr. Guiseppe Gorga.”
Gorga yelled, “I’ll [expletive] kill you,” as he was repeatedly punched in the head.
Gorga, of Montville, husband of “Housewives” star Melissa Gorga, and brother of co-star Teresa Giudice, then allegedly walked around the camera crew. That’s when the complaint alleges Christopher Laurita “punched the victim on the left side of the head with a closed fist.”
Laurita similarly threatened to kill Karagiorgis, the complaint alleged.
“Mr. Gorga then emerged from behind the victim and again punched him with a closed fist,” the complaint continues. “This time, he struck him in the back of the head.”
Next, the complaint says,
“Ms. Jacqueline Laurita then struck the victim in the forehead with the heel of a stiletto type shoe. Eventually, security for the television show was able to separate all parties involved without any further incidents.”
The police report states Karagiorgis “had obvious injuries to his head,” including lumps and abrasions.
Paula Phelan, head colorist at Moxie Salon, was in the other room during the brawl but said it was pretty crazy toward the end.
“All I saw was, there was a guy, he was bald, and he had a big gash on his head. And he was walking out. That’s all I saw,” she said. “One of our assistants was yelling that he had blood on his hands. He had to run and wash his hands really quick.”
Karagiorgis’ lawyer, Nicholas Sekas, said his client was set up by the show’s producers, and invited to Saturday’s event “to make peace.”
“He was assaulted and humiliated and they filmed it,” Sekas said, adding at one point, his client was being “held” for his attackers by security guards.
On March 1, while Bravo cameras rolled, Melissa and Joe Gorga had a sit-down with Penny Drossos Karagiorgis at Chakra in Paramus. The Gorgas reportedly wanted to confront Penny Karagiorgis, who allegedly has been peddling rumors about Melissa’s past. It was to Penny Karagiorgis’ North Arlington hair salon, La Chateau Allure Salon, that Kim D. took Teresa Giudice before Posche’s infamous 2011 fashion show.
“This was something that was done for a reality show gone awry,” Sekas said. “We will cooperate with the authorities because we want justice to be served. My client doesn’t want these people to get away with it.”
Sekas said more than three people were involved in the assault and called the incident an instance of “a reality show gone wild. It was done for a ratings grab.”
Caption: ‘Real Housewives of New Jersey’ star Jacqueline Laurita, along with her husband Chris Laurita (center) and lawyer, walked out of the Ridgewood Police Department just before 3 PM, Thursday, April 4, 2013.
Caption: John Karagiorgis in a photo provided by his lawyers, Sekas & Abrahamsen, LLC (click image to enlarge photo).
Rutt’s Hut has been featured on the PBS special “A Hot Dog Program”, numerous Food Network shows, and the Travel Channel’s “Deep-Fried Paradise.”
Abe Rutt started out small, hawking his red hots to passers-by along the highway that ran past the stand. Eventually, a sturdy brick building was erected around it featuring a bar and a dining area (the glassed-in counter and take-out room at the back of the building is what remains of the original hut). The business was sold in 1974 to Nicholas Karagiorgis, whose family still runs the restaurant with the rhyming name. The location just on the other side of the Hudson from Manhattan makes Rutt’s Hut a mandatory destination when in the New York City area. [Source]
‘Real Housewives of New Jersey’ Mayhem:
- Season one: Teresa Giudice’s table-flip
- Season two: Teresa Giudice chases Danielle Staub through the North Jersey Country Club
- Season two: Ashley Holmes yanks Danielle Staub’s weave
- Season two reunion: Teresa Giudice goes after Danielle Staub for bringing up the rift with her brother and sister-in-law
- Season two reunion: Andy Cohen wrestles Teresa Giudice; Cohen loses
- Season three: Joe Gorga and Joe Giudice battle it out at the Gorga christening after Joe Gorga pounds the table with his fists and calls Teresa Giudice “garbage”
- Season three: Joe Giudice, Albert, Albie and Christopher Manzo get into fight in Punta Cana (footage never airs)
- Season four: Melissa Gorga shouts at Teresa Giudice at the Summer Solstice party
- Season four: Joe Gorga verbally assaults Teresa Giudice at a family pool party
- Season four: The cast torments Gia Giudice
- Season four: Richie Wakile gives Joe Giudice a black eye and a bloody nose in Chris Laurita’s basement (actual footage never airs)
- Season four: Caroline Manzo shouts at Teresa Giudice on Jacqueline Laurita’s deck
- Season four: Caroline Manzo shouts at Teresa Giudice in Napa
- Season four: Joe Gorga verbally assaults Kim D at the season 4 PFS finale
- Season four reunion: Rosie Pierri shouts from backstage to Teresa Giudice: “I’ll cut your f**cking tongue out,” “I’ll kill you,” and “I’ll rip her f**king head off”
- Season five: Joe Gorga and Chris and Jacqueline Laurita physically assault John Karagiorgis (footage will never air)