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March 31, 2010

Famed chef Roberto Donna served a fat, juicy lawsuit

Washington, D.C.-area chef Roberto Donna is a big deal, culinarily speaking. His Galileo restaurant, opened in 1984, was named "One of the 10 Best Italian Restaurants in America" by Wine Spectator. The restaurant closed in 2007, but Donna has been a presence on television and the likes of "Iron Chef."

Donna is still chewing over the fallout from Galileo.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton kept alive a lawsuit filed by an Italian wine exporting company that contends it was defrauded by Donna.

The firm is called Cascina Ca De Lupis. The company had an arrangement with a Mr. Corrado Bonino to sell its wines to Galileo The company further alleges that Bonino and Donna struck a deal in late 2005, whereby the restaurateur received more than $450,000 worth of wine but paid less than he should have. In return, the company says, Bonino received an ownership interest in another restaurant owned by Donna, called Trattoria Beppo.

Donna sought to get the case dismissed; Judge Walton says it can proceed. Foodies and restaurant critics out there might want to check out the discovery in this baby.


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"Suits & Sentences" is a legal affairs blog written by Michael Doyle, a reporter for McClatchy's Washington Bureau. He was a Knight Journalism Fellow at Yale Law School, where he earned a Master of Studies in Law; he also earned a Masters in Government from The Johns Hopkins University with a thesis on the Freedom of Information Act. He teaches journalism as an adjunct instructor at The George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs.

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