The late great French restaurant Le Perigord has been ordered to pay $2.6 million to a union retirement fund in White Plains.
When Le Perigord closed last year after more than a half-century on East 52nd Street, Manhattan, owner Georges Briguet blamed the demise of the old-school French restaurant on high union healthcare and pension costs. The staff was represented by UniteHere Local 100.
The restaurant had stopped making payments to the National Retirement Fund nearly two years before it closed, triggering a “withdrawal liability” for benefits the employees had earned under their collective bargaining contract.
The retirement fund estimated that Le Perigord owed $1.7 million, and it demanded quarterly payments of $15,845 for 20 years.
The fund is administered by Alicare, an Amalgamated Life Insurance affiliate in White Plains.
The restaurant failed to make any payments, and the fund sued in 2016, demanding the total amount.
In its answer to the lawsuit, the restaurant said that the liability was the result of mismanagement by trustees of the retirement fund and that it was “greatly exaggerated and cannot be attributed to the actions of Le Perigord Inc.”
But the restaurant never requested a review or arbitration of the liability, U.S. District Judge Nelson S. Roman ruled in April. He granted summary judgment to the retirement fund.
On June 4, Nelson ordered Le Perigord to pay more than $2.6 million: The original $1,757,369 withdrawal liability plus $843,537 in interest and damages.